Francesco Bagnaia wins the Portuguese Grand Prix after a dramatic race where there were thrills and spills.
Marc Marquez started on pole position once again, battling for the holeshot at turn one, against the Ducati’s. At turn one it would be the home hero, Miguel Oliveira who led the way on his Aprilia.
Marquez had a messy start, making contact into turn three, sending the Repsol Honda rider wide. On the exit of turn three, more contact was made between himself and Jorge Martin, sending Marquez down the field.
Maverick Vinales made a great start, passing Marquez on the opening lap after his mistake, and sat in fourth position. Marquez quickly found a way passed the fellow Spaniard, after diving down the inside at turn five.
Reigning MotoGP World Champion, Francesco Bagnaia had a safe start, riding in third position. He would eventually make a move on Jorge Martin at turn one after a better drive out of the final corner.
Leading the way was Miguel Oliveira, at his home race in Portimao and his first race with the CryptoDATA RNF Aprilia team. Oliveira bridged a gap of 0.330 from Bagnaia after the first lap, with a delighted Portuguese crowd.
Fabio Quartararo lost five positions on the first lap of the race, which after a disappointing qualifying left the 2021 world champion in 15th. Quartararo had work to do, after scoring zero points in the Sprint.
Drama at the front
On lap three Marc Marquez out-braked himself heading into the tight turn three, while in fourth position. He would hit the side of Jorge Martin before hitting the side of, Miguel Oliveira. This resulted in a devasted Portuguese crowd, as both riders’ races were over.
This accident resulted in Miguel Oliveira having a contusion on his right upper leg, escaping fractures. Marc Marquez was also injured, as he broke the first metacarpal of his thumb on his right hand. Marquez also received a double long-lap penalty for the next race in Argentina, provided he is fit to race.
Maverick Vinales was now in second position, with a podium looking likely in his first race weekend in 2023. Vinales was now the top Aprilia, with his teammate Aleix Espargaro in ninth position.
After the collision, Jack Miller was also elevated into the podium positions, as he continued to have a great debut onboard his KTM. Marco Bezzecchi passed Miller for third position later in the race.
Alex Marquez continued to have a great start to his season, as he switches to the Gresini Ducati for 2023. The 26-year-old eventually found a way through on Jack Miller to claim fourth position.
Fabio Quartararo was now in the top 10 and continued to show his pace in the longer races, after struggling in qualifying. Quartararo was ahead of Jorge Martin who was later diagnosed with a fractured toe.
Bagnaia in control
Bagnaia was in control of the lead of the race and looked to do the double this weekend in the first weekend of the year. The reigning Champion made a gap of over one second from Vinales.
Jorge Martin’s race got from bad to worse, with the Prima Pramac Ducati rider crashing out of the race.
The remaining Honda riders, Alex Rins, Joan Mir, and Takaaki Nakagami were having their own battling further down the field. Alex Rins led the way in 10th with Mir and Nakagami behind.
Alex Marquez continued to battle with both KTM’s for fourth position, with Johann Zarco passing Miller for sixth. Zarco made an incredible move for fifth position on Brad Binder, before passing Alex Marquez for fourth after an incredible last lap.
Bagnaia managed his gap throughout the closing stages of the race, with his gap reducing to half a second. He would cross the line to take the double on his first attempt, winning both the MotoGP Sprint and the main race.
Vinales and Bezzecchi joined Bagnaia on the podium with Italian manufacturers locking out the top five. Johann Zarco held into fourth place, ahead of Alex Marquez who rounded out the top five.
Fabio Quartararo managed to pass Aleix Espargaro for ninth position, after a great recovery ride. Quartararo was now tenth in the Championship, just 29 points from the Championship leader, Francesco Bagnaia.
MotoGP standings after the Sunday feature race:
|20||49||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||0||-37|