The reigning world champion wins for the first time since Silverstone last season amid Yamaha’s struggles.
Fabio Quartararo returns to winning ways as he took a commanding victory here at the Algarve Circuit, where he also took victory the year prior in similar fashion. The victory puts him back to the top of the championship table with 69 points, tied with Suzuki’s Alex Rins who finished fourth in today’s race. Quartararo took the win over five seconds ahead of his compatriot Johann Zarco, who started on pole. After spending a majority of the race battling for 2nd with Joan Mir, he made the pass late in the race before Mir was eventually taken out by Jack Miller in the first turn after the Aussie came into the turn too hot, handing the final podium spot to Aleix Espargaro.
Rins’ 4th place finish was a very impressive result for the Spaniard after he qualified 23rd, he gained 12 places on the opening lap alone and charged through the rest of the field, as well as several crashes handing him a few free positions. Home hero Miguel Oliveira took a solid 5th place, a breath of fresh air after struggling to score any points after his impressive Mandalika victory.
The Marquez brothers had an impressive duel, with Marc just barely taking P6 by two hundredths of a second ahead of his younger brother while Pecco Bagnaia finally managed to grab 8th after tailing Pol Espargaro all the way up to the final lap, and Maverick Vinales covers the top ten.
Jorge Martin was the first faller of the day, another disappointing end as it becomes his third retirement in five races. Austin winner Enea Bastianini crashed a few laps later, recording his first retirement of the year and subsequently losing his title lead once again. Brad Binder also crashed out for the first time this season, as he struggled to match the pace of his teammate Oliveira who had the home advantage. Jack Miller fell and took Joan Mir down with him a lap later, and no hard feelings were shown as the pair consoled each other immediately after the accident. The last retirees were Fabio DiGiannantonio and Aprilia wildcard Lorenzo Savadori, who retired their respective bikes a few laps before the finish. Raul Fernandez did not start the race, as he was declared unfit after sustaining a hand injury following a qualifying crash.
Fabio Quartararo now leads the championship with 69 points, tied with Alex Rins who sits behind the Frenchman in the table due to countback rules. Aleix Espargaro returns strong and sits 3rd in the standings, only three points behind the top two riders. It isn’t the end of the world yet for Bastianini as he still sits 4th overall, only eight points behind the leaders, and Johann Zarco covers the top five with 51 points, as he slowly but surely claws his way to the front with his solid performances combined with hard-earned podiums.
The next race in Jerez is a great opportunity for Rins and Quartararo to extend their respective points gaps to their rivals, as it is a strong track for both Yamaha and Suzuki due to the number of corners that suit their bikes’ characteristics, as well as relatively short straights. However, their rivals shall not be ruled out as well, because although Quartararo lost his comfortable lead to an arm pump injury mid-race, Ducati took a 1-2 finish after running comfortably on the podium all race, proving that anything can happen during a race.
Featured Image – motogp.com, Dorna Sports
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