Bagnaia wins Portuguese GP, Marquez crashes into Oliveira
Monday 27th March, 2023 - 12:58am
Francesco Bagnaia has won the Grand Prix at the Portuguese MotoGP round while Marc Marquez took Miguel Oliveira out of the race in ugly fashion.
The latter two were in the hunt at least for podium positions until the Repsol Honda rider clattered into Oliveira’s RNF Aprilia on Lap 3.
Bagnaia pulled clear due to the incident and the Ducati Team rider would not be headed again, with Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales remaining second thereafter and Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) greeting the chequered flag in third after 25 laps around Portimao.
Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) made a last-corner pass for fourth, leaving Alex Marquez (Gresini Ducati) fifth, from Red Bull KTM duo Brad Binder and Jack Miller.
Rounding out the top 10 were Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), and Alex Rins (LCR Honda).
Bagnaia has therefore kicked off his bid for back-to-back MotoGP crowns with maximum points after also winning the first ever Sprint race in the category’s history.
It was a wild opening to the Grand Prix proper, with Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) looking to have taken the lead into the first corner, only for Oliveira to fire in deep but then run wide.
Pole-sitter Marc Marquez was also aggressive at Turn 3 his lunge forced Martin to sit up, opening the door for Oliveira to grab the lead after all.
Martin emerged in second place, from Bagnaia and Marc Marquez, before the 2022 world champion made his move.
Bagnaia passed Martin into Turn 1 on Lap 2 then picked off Oliveira for first place at Turn 13, but worse was to befall those two on Lap 3.
Marc Marquez outbraked himself at Turn 3, clipping Martin and then making heavy contact with Oliveira which took both the #93 Honda and #88 Aprilia down.
Bagnaia skipped about one second clear while Viñales assumed second place and Miller third, with Martin down to 16th after being forced wide in an incident which will be reviewed post-race.
Bezzecchi passed Miller for third on Lap 6 and Alex Marquez for fourth on Lap 7 when the Queenslander ran wide at Turn 5, by which time Viñales had caught up to Bagnaia.
‘Top Gun’ tailed ‘Pecco’ for several laps before the factory Ducati man stretched the gap to a full second by the end of Lap 15, and another 1.5s over third placed Bezzecchi.
The gap between Bagnaia and Viñales fluctuated somewhat but was one second again with five laps remaining, as Bezzecchi held a comfortable third.
Alex Marquez, meanwhile, was in a battle for fourth spot initially with Miller and then with the other Red Bull KTM of Brad Binder, as Espargaro and Zarco diced for seventh position.
Binder finally passed Alex Marquez for good on Lap 24, only for Zarco to pass both of the KTMs on the final lap.
However, the Pramac rider was not done, squeezing past fellow Ducati pilot Alex Marquez as they rounded Turn 15 for the last time to snatch fourth.
Up front, Bagnaia cruised home on the final lap, with Viñales securing second and Bezzecchi third.
Quartararo’s eighth came after he lost multiple positions off the start for the second afternoon in a row, then ran on the cusp of the top 10 for much of the race.
Joan Mir (Repsol Honda) finished 11th, from Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), Augusto Fernandez (GasGas Tech3), and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha).
Raul Fernandez (RNF Aprilia) and Luca Marini (VR46 Ducati) crashed out, as did Martin just after clawing his way back into top 10, while Fabio Di Giannantonio retired his Gresini Ducati at the end of Lap 10.
Round 2 will be held at Argentina’s Termas de Rio Hondo circuit next weekend (March 31-April 2, local time).
Championship points to follow
Race results: Grand Prix race
|1||1||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||41:25.401|
|2||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+0.687|
|3||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+2.726|
|4||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+8.060|
|5||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+8.125|
|6||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+8.247|
|7||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+8.381|
|8||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+8.543|
|9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+9.294|
|10||42||Alex RINS||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+11.591|
|11||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+16.992|
|12||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+17.448|
|13||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+21.723|
|14||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+27.050|
|DNF||25||Raul FERNANDEZ||ESP||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+2 laps|
|DNF||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+4 laps|
|DNF||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+6 laps|
|DNF||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+15 laps|
|DNF||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+23 laps|
|DNF||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+23 laps|
Race winner: 25 laps
|20||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||0|
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