Moto GP – Portuguese GP – Race
A bright sunny day enlights the Algarve International Circuit, as the inaugural round of the 2023 Moto GP championship gets underway. As riders line up at the starting grid, the expectation rise, if someone could give some opposition against the Ducati bikes on today’s race.
Lights were off and race was underway with a massive head start from home hero Miguel Oliveira, as Jorge Martin, Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia closed the first four spots at the standings, but things shake up quickly on the first laps. Bagnaia quickly rebound from a sloppy start and found himself leading after passing all 3 mentioned riders. A dramatic turn of events would occur, as Marc Marquez overcooked his braking and went directly to Oliveira’s bike, causing a double DNF in the process, with also damaging Jorge Martin’s race, with a previous contact and making him lose crucial time.
Race quickly develop after that incident, as Bagnaia was leading, with only Maverick Viñales being able to keep up the pace with the Ducati bike, at some seconds behind, there was VR46 Ducati of Marco Bezzecchi, starting to separate from a racing group, composed of Alex Marquez, Binder, Miller and Zarco.
Later than half of the race and the gap between Bagnaia and Viñales remain constant, as the Aprilia could kept the pace on technical sectors, but was far behind on the speed on straights. Bezzecchi kept as a lone wolf for several parts of the circuit. In the meantime, the group behind the VR46 Ducati was starting to get congested, as several riders started some battles, as Alex Marquez defend the 4th place from Brad Binder and Aleix Espargaro started a feud with Johann Zarco. Many riders were finishing prematurely their race, as Di Giannantonio, Jorge Martin, Luca Marini, Raul Fernandez.
As the top spots were pretty much secured, the race focused on the battle between 4th and 9th, as several riders were making moves, Fabio Quatararo joined the group, after taking on Joan Mir and Alex Rins, meanwhile Johann Zarco was finally able to pass Aleix Espargaro and went on a late charge on the final laps, overtaking all Miller, Binder and Alex Marquez and grabbing an unlikeable 4th at the end of the race. Bezzecchi gets the last step of the podium after a solid race, Viñales grabs a strong 2nd place result and Francesco Bagnaia goes back 2 back and grabs the new maximum possible points of the weekend, with a dominant display.
1. Francesco Bagnaia /// 2. Maverick Viñales /// 3. Marco Bezzecchi
4. Johann Zarco /// 5. Alex Marquez /// Brad Binder
7. Jack Miller /// 8. Fabio Quatararo /// 9. Aleix Espargaro
10. Alex Rins /// 11. Joan Mir /// 12. Takaaki Nakagami
13. Augusto Fernandez /// 14. Franco Morbidelli
DNF: Raul Fernandez, Luca Marini, Jorge Martin, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Miguel Oliveira, Marc Marquez
Ducati starts the year with another race win from Bagnaia and keeps the momentum from last year’s championship. Meanwhile some other manufacturers like Aprilia and KTM could develop their bikes and challenge for the top spots, meanwhile others like Yamaha and Honda seems like they have a long way to go, if they want to be competitive. Next week the calendar moves to Argentina, as Termas del Rio Hondo prepares for the 2nd round of the championship.