Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo won his first MotoGP race of 2022 in Portimao, as points leader Enea Bastianini crashed out early in the race.
Quartararo got off to a strong start, jumping from fifth on the grid to third at Turn 1, then passing pole-sitter Johann Zarco at Turn 3 to claim second behind leader Joan Mir.
The factory Yamaha rider appeared to have found a strong rhythm right away, closing up on Mir’s Suzuki through the first few rounds and slingshotting past the 2020 premier class winner on the run to the first turn as soon as he reached him.
Quartararo subsequently extended his lead for the rest of the race, building a lead of up to 6.5 seconds to win his first grand prix in the 2022 MotoGP world championship, while Zarco held on to second despite being pushed by Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in the closing stages.
Zarco dropped to fifth after battling with form on the first lap, but the Pramac rider immediately recovered to reclaim second from Mir as the race approached its final third, though factory Ducati rider Jack Miller and Espargaro were closing in on the rostrum battle.
Espargaro moved up to third to put pressure on Zarco, but the Argentina Grand Prix winner was forced to settle for his second podium result of the season.
On the other hand, Suzuki’s Alex Rins, stormed to fourth place from 23rd on the grid, the three-time premier class race winner used a dazzling start that saw him jump to tenth by the conclusion of the first lap to achieve his fourth top five finish in as many races.
Miguel Oliveira rounded out the top five for KTM ahead of Marc Marquez, who snatched the place from his brother Alex on the penultimate lap finishing sixth and seventh respectively.
On the final lap, Francesco Bagnaia pipped Pol Espargaro for eighth, the Ducati pilot rebounding from 25th and last on the grid to win important championship points, while Maverick Vinales’ sister Aprilia rounded out the top 10.
Marco Bezzecchi had a difficult weekend after sliding from sixth on the grid to 15th on the opening lap, the VR46 driver forced to settle for a single point as Remy Gardner claimed rookie honours in 14th.
Meanwhile, Bastianini’s chances of a successful recovery were dashed when he ran wide at Turn 8 early in the race, losing the front end of his Ducati and withdrew from the race, handing the series lead to race winner Quartararo.
Brad Binder was another victim of the Algarve International Circuit’s rollercoaster characteristics, falling from 11th place late in the race, while Jorge Martin’s race barely got off the ground after he tucked the front of his Pramac bike at Turn 14.
As a result of his victory in Portugal, Quartararo currently leads the series by 69 points, tied with the relentless Rins, with Aleix and Bastianini three and eight points behind the duo, respectively, heading to Jerez for the Spanish GP.
MOTOGP PORTIMAO, PORTUGAL – RACE RESULTS
|1||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||41m 39.611s|
|2||Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+5.409s|
|3||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+6.068s|
|4||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+9.633s|
|5||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+13.573s|
|6||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+16.163s|
|7||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+16.183s|
|8||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+16.511s|
|9||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+16.769s|
|10||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+18.063s|
|11||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+29.029s|
|12||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+29.249s|
|13||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+33.354s|
|14||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+40.205s|
|15||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+46.052s|
|16||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+49.569s|
|17||Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||+50.303s|
|Lorenzo Savadori||ITA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||DNF|
|Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||DNF|
|Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||DNF|
|Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||DNF|
|Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||DNF|
|Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||DNF|
|Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||DNF|