Quartararo wins in Portugal, Miller crashes

Fabio Quartararo. Picture: MotoGP.com

Fabio Quartararo has moved into the MotoGP championship lead with victory in Portugal while Jack Miller was one of several big names to crash out.

Quartararo could not shake Alex Rins until the Suzuki rider went down less than seven laps from home at Portimao, and pre-race points leader Johann Zarco was on for a podium when he dropped his Pramac Ducati a lap later.

As such, it was another Frenchman, on a Monster Energy Yamaha, who took a second straight win while Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo) held off Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) in a late battle for the minor placings.

Zarco used Ducati’s holeshot device to good effect as he led the field into Turn 1, ahead of Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), Miller (Ducati Lenovo), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), and pole-sitter Quartararo.

Marquez emerged third from the opening corners while Mir rounded up Quartararo for fifth spot at Turn 3.

Mir passed Miller for fourth when #43 was held wide by Marquez at Turn 5, then got Marquez himself for third through Turn 10/Turn 11.

Marquez touched Mir’s rear tyre at Turn 3 on Lap 2 and dropped to sixth, the moment allowing Quartararo to nab fourth while Miller was a net unchanged fifth.

Quartararo passed Mir for third on Lap 4 at Turn 1, as Marquez continued to slip down the order.

Up the road, Zarco and Rins were chopping and changing position until the Suzuki rider consolidated the lead and the Pramac man ceded third to Quartararo late on Lap 5.

Miller had not long run wide and given fifth to Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) when he crashed out in an unusual place, between Turns 2 and 3, on Lap 6.

Zarco found himself in a fight over third position with the other Suzuki, of Mir, as Quartararo went past Rins into Turn 1 on Lap 9.

The top two began to gap the field, trading fastest laps along the way, while Bagnaia made steady progress through the field.

The Italian had lost pole position due to passing a yellow flag on his fastest lap and started 11th, but passed compatriot Franco Morbidelli (Petronas SRT Yamaha) for fifth at the start of Lap 17.

Rins was still going with Quartararo until he crashed on Lap 19 at Turn 5, meaning Bagnaia’s move on Mir seconds later at the tight left-hander was for third.

He pulled off a repeat on Zarco a lap later, just before the Pramac rider lost the front and wiped himself out at Turn 10.

By then, Quartararo was almost five seconds to the good, but Mir was not done.

He caught back up to Bagnaia in the final few laps but there was no way past and the 2020 champion took the chequered flag in third.

Quartararo’s 4.8s victory means he now leads the championship by 15 points, his nearest rival in the standings also being Bagnaia.

Fourth on the day was Morbidelli, from Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), Aleix Espargaro, Marc Marquez, Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda), Enea Bastianini (Avintia Ducati), and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda).

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha) ended up 11th having dropped to 20th on Lap 1 and even circulated in the 21st and final position at one point.

He is now third in the championship, 20 points behind team-mate Quartararo, while Miller dropped to 12th.

Joining the Queenslander as non-finishers were Zarco, Rins, Valentino Rossi (Petronas SRT Yamaha), and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda).

Rossi crashed on Lap 15 while running 11th and Pol Espargaro pitted after four laps with an apparent technical problem.

Round 4 is the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on April 30-May 2.

Race results: Portuguese MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 41:46.412
2 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +4.809
3 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +4.948
4 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +5.127
5 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +6.668
6 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +8.885
7 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +13.208
8 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +17.992
9 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati +22.369
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +23.676
11 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +23.761
12 10 Luca MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati +29.660
13 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +29.836
14 32 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +38.941
15 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +50.642
16 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 1 Lap
DNF 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati 6 Laps
DNF 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 7 Laps
DNF 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 11 Laps
DNF 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 20 Laps
DNF 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda 21 Laps

Race winner: 25 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA 61
2 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA 46
3 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 41
4 Johann ZARCO FRA 40
5 Joan MIR ESP 38
6 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP 25
7 Alex RINS ESP 23
8 Brad BINDER RSA 21
9 Enea BASTIANINI ITA 18
10 Jorge MARTIN ESP 17
11 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA 17
12 Jack MILLER AUS 14
13 Pol ESPARGARO ESP 11
14 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 9
15 Alex MARQUEZ ESP 8
16 Stefan BRADL GER 7
17 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 6
18 Luca MARINI ITA 4
19 Valentino ROSSI ITA 4
20 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR 4
21 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 3
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA 2
23 Iker LECUONA ESP 1

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