MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo seals first victory of season at Portimao

Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo was in a league of his own as he comfortably won the Portugese MotoGP to go joint top of the championship alongside Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins who, from the back row of the grid, finished fourth, writes MAURICE MONTGOMERY.

By Maurice Montgomery
Saturday, 30th April 2022, 1:19 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th April 2022, 1:21 pm
Monster Energy Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo celebrates victory in the Portuguese MotoGP race.
Monster Energy Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo celebrates victory in the Portuguese MotoGP race.

It was Ecstar Suzuki’s Joan Mir, the 2021 champion, who hit the front on lap one, opening a 0.7s gap over the chasing pack, headed by Quartararo.

The Frenchman made a lightning start from P5 to slot into second and began to hunt down the race leader. On lap four he powered into the lead and immediately opened a gap.

With a new fastest race lap on on lap ten, the race victory was his and the reigning champion went on to finish over five seconds clear of fellow countryman Johann Zarco on the Pramac Ducati. It was Quartararo’s first victory since the British GP at Silverstone 2021. Spaniard Aleix Espargaro completed the rostrum on the Aprilia.

Mir’s chance of a podium finish disappeared on lap 19 when Australian Lenovo Ducati rider Jack Miller lost the front as he went inside the Suzuki rider at turn one crashing out, taking Mir, much to the Spaniards frustration, with him into the gravel trap.

“I got this win by pushing myself to the limit," said Quartararo.

"To be honest, I pushed just as much in Argentina and Austin, but mainly here our bike feels good. The straight is not so long, and we have grip, which means that we can go ’hammer time'. In the race, I made an amazing start. I wanted to ride aggressively from the beginning, because I know that if we are behind our rivals here, we struggle.

"I'm super happy, because I managed to get that first victory of the season. It's the most important thing for me to never give up, and it turns out that really was the most important.”

American Joe Roberts won a chaotic and red-flagged Moto2 Portuguese GP. Lap nine of the race became a total wipe out as torrential rain hit the fastest part of the circuit and ten riders, including British rider Sam Lowes, ended up in the gravel trap.

In the seven-lap restart British rider Jake Dixon started from pole but crashed out at Turn seven.

Valresa GasGas Aspar’s Sergio Gaecia took victory and the lead in the Moto3 championship in Portugal.