The long wait is over for the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team: on Friday they will kick off the 2023 Moto2 World Championship. Riders Manuel Gonzalez and Kohta Nozane feel that last week‘s private Jerez Test and Portimao Moto2 Official Test have given them the confidence needed to start the season with some strong results.
Having impressed in his rookie season with three top-5 finishes (one here in Portugal and the other two in Australia and Malaysia), Gonzalez thinks that 2023 could be his year to get into the mix with the Moto2-class top contenders. He is keen to make a strong start to the season, and after two successful tests last week, he feels he can challenge for a podium.
Nozane made good progress during the winter test. Coming from WorldSBK, he has been working on gaining confidence with the Moto2 bike. The intermediate class is known to be a fierce competition, so the Japanese rider‘s main tasks this weekend are to make as many kilometres on the bike as possible, gain further experience, and have a positive first race with the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team.
The Autódromo Internacional do Algarve – better known as Portimao (after the port city from which it is half an hour‘s drive removed) – is situated in the Algarve region of Portugal. The circuit was opened in 2008 and added to the MotoGP calendar in 2020. It‘s a big hit with the riders but also especially with the fans, who can't get enough of their heroes taking on this track that is famous for its elevation changes. The circuit has 15 corners – nine right, six left – and the front straight will allow the Moto2 riders to really stretch the legs of their machines before a unique downhill descent into Turn 1.
As Daylight Saving Time commences this Sunday, the Grande Prémio de Portugal time schedule is in the GMT +0 time zone for Friday and Saturday, and in GMT +1 for Sunday. The new race weekend format, including MotoGP Sprints, has this weekend‘s Moto2 timetable (in local track time) looking as follows:
Practice 1: 09:50 - 10:30 (GMT +0)
Practice 2: 14:05 - 14:45 (GMT +0)
Practice 3: 09:25 - 09:55 (GMT +0)
Qualifying 1: 13:45 - 14:00 (GMT +0)
Qualifying 2: 14:10 - 14:25 (GMT +0)
Race: 12:15 (GMT +1)