With perhaps his strongest Friday of the season, Marc Marquez secured his spot in Q2 without issue as he consistently lapped inside the top ten. Joan Mir was the victim of an unlucky crash but avoided serious injury.
A day of contrasting fortunes marked the final Friday of the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season for the Repsol Honda Team. Both Marc Marquez and Joan Mir started in a steady fashion, building their speed in the opening laps of the morning session. Although the conditions were cold to begin with, the Spanish sun would steadily heat the track to provide record-breaking conditions on the new surface.
Donning a special ‘Kansha’ helmet to highlight his six most memorable moments with HRC, Marc Marquez was straight to work and purely focused on the task at hand. Building a solid foundation with seventh, 0.373s from first, in Free Practice 1, the eight-time World Champion would maintain the small gap to the leaders in the afternoon as the 2016 lap record finally fell. A best time of 1’29.459 kept Marquez in seventh overall and guaranteed a slot on the front four rows of the grid for both of races.
With a weekend like no other in front of him, Marquez admitted he began the weekend taking extra risks in order to end his current time in the Repsol Honda Team on a high note. Carrying this speed into Qualifying on Saturday will be crucial for battling at the front come the Sprint and Sunday’s Grand Prix, the tight Valencia circuit notoriously difficult to overtake at.
Joan Mir suffered a luckless start to the Valencia GP. A fall at Turn 8 within the opening minutes of the session saw the #36 land heavily, immediately heading to the medical centre and then local hospital for further checks. Fortunately, both sets of scans revealed no major damage, Mir sitting out the afternoon session with a pending medical check on Saturday morning.