The German had been satisfied with fifth choice of gate for the Qualifying race at the exciting track which offered innumerable line choices, a fact he underlined as he exchanged the lead with the defending world champion three times already on the opening lap before easing out a three second lead to lead for five laps before he eventually emerged second from an exhilarating three-way tussle at half distance to split the current series leader and reigning world champion to finish second.
Henry Jacobi: « It was a very good day with a good result already in the time practice so I had a good gate pick which is very important here in Portugal. I was second at the start, then Prado made a mistake and I got the lead for about ten minutes. I was battling with Prado and Olsen and in the end Olsen passed me. The last laps were very intense but Prado didn’t pass me! Sadly there are no points today, but I’ve a good feeling for tomorrow. »
The supreme performance of the Kawasaki KX250 was emphasised as no less than four further Green machines packed the top ten qualifiers with Roan van de Moosdijk, F&H Racing's European championship contender enjoying a wild card ride, sixth, BUD Racing's Brian Moreau seventh, Bike It DRT's Darian Sanayei ninth and Adam Sterry of F&H tenth.
Roan van de Moosdijk: «Today was like a dream for me with a third position in the timed practice session and then a good start in the qualifying race. I was seventh at first and worked my way up to fifth. I kept this position for a few laps but in the last few minutes I got arm pump as I’m not really used to racing at this speed; it’s another different world from the EMX250. Anyway sixth on the gate for the races is good; I’m excited for tomorrow and will try to enjoy the day. »
Brian Moreau: « It’s only qualifying day but I’m happy with my results today; the hard work I did to come back from my injury is starting to pay off. The results were good all day long with a second position in the free practice, a sixth in the timed practice and a seventh in the qualifying race. It’s the first time I’ve been riding in the top eight of a GP so I didn’t really know what to expect but it was a good experience. »
Green machines were also prolific in the top ten of MXGP Qualifying with four KX450s in the top ten. Alessandro Lupino once again displayed the starting qualities of the Gebben Van Venrooy Kawasaki as he took the holeshot and maintained top three to the finish, headed only by the two series leaders, while Clement Desalle, clearly much more comfortable after one further week to recover from last month's knee surgery, stormed the leaderboard to qualify fourth with his Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team colleague Julien Lieber seventh and BOS Factory's Tommy Searle tenth.
Alessandro Lupino: « I’m really happy, after the disappointment of Mantova! Today I came with another mentality; my goal was to ride aggressively and that’ what I did. The strategy worked well; I was never riding over the limit and the results are there so I’m confident for tomorrow. I know that some guys are fast and consistent but I will not give up and will again concentrate on getting good starts. Perhaps it could seem strange but we were running a stock engine today ... and I got the holeshot with it! »
Clement Desalle: « I was not so satisfied with my results in the practice sessions, but the lap times were so close! The qualifying race was much better. I got a good start from the thirteenth gate; I was sixth after a few corners and found the spot to pass for the fourth position which gives me a better gate pick and the goal will be to again get good starts and do my best even if I still have to be careful with my knee. »
Julien Lieber: «It was a good day for me with decent results in the practice sessions and a good start, even if I lost some positions in the first corner as I was on the outside. But I passed a few guys during the first lap and seventh is OK on the gate. The track will be rougher tomorrow but it was already nice to ride today and I had a lot of fun."