The Ducati racer has raced at Portimao four times since promotion to MotoGP. However, he has only finished second once in 2021. His other two appearances ended in P8 and failed to finish.
“It’s a long race. I’m happy and this year started the way the team and I wanted. Thanks to the team for their hard work over the winter.”
This weekend’s race is filled with drama. There was almost an incident at Turn 1 due to the aggressiveness of Marc Marquez. The Honda racer slipped to fourth place with local champion, Miguel Oliveira, racing to the front, followed by Jorge Martin and Francesco Bagnaia.
The Portuguese rider built up the lead to 0.3 seconds while the three riders behind him were fighting for second place. Fabio Quartararo has difficulty getting better than 15th place.
Entering the second lap, Pecco drove Oliveira from the top position. Marquez attempted to overtake Jorge Martin and collided with second-placed Oliveira at Turn 3. The RNF Racing driver received medical treatment at the trackside before being taken to the medical center for examination. This incident will be reviewed by the Stewards at the end of the race.
On the fourth lap, Maverick Vinales advanced to P2 after recording the fastest lap time. Jack Miller is in third place, Marco Bezzecchi and Alex Marquez complete the top five.
On the other hand, Marquez looked annoyed and sad when he returned to the Honda motorhome.
Bezzecchi took third place when he entered the fifth lap. Alex Marquez moved up to P4 after fumigating the Australian at Turn 5.
The KTM duo was more competitive although Miller dropped to fifth. Brad Binder recorded the highest speed and slid to sixth place.
Marquez, who was changing clothes, came out of the Repsol Honda garage and made an apologetic sign to the audience in the stands. After that, he headed to the RNF Racing garage to apologize. The boss of the Malaysian team, Razlan Razali, replied that there was no problem but the annoyance could not be hidden from his face.
With only 15 laps left, Fabio Di Giannantonio took his motorbike to the Gresini paddock. He also resigned.
Bagnaia was increasingly caught up and opened the advantage to 0.6 seconds from Vinales. Far behind them, the youngest Marquez continues to shadow Bezzecchi. Quartararo finally broke into the top 10 and was involved in a duel with Luca Marini for P9.
Seven laps remaining, Alex Marquez was flanked by the KTM pair and left behind from Miller. However, he capitalized on the Desmosedici’s strength in the straight to take another fourth place.
Jorge Martin’s hopes of getting on the podium vanished after a crash on the 21st lap. Aleix Espargaro spurred his motorbike closer to Miller.
Luca Marini fell at Turn 10 in an attempt to catch Quartararo. Espargaro and Johann Zarco battled for seventh position. They take turns filling the slot and almost contact.
Until the remaining three laps, the podium formation can already be seen. Pecco was 0.9 seconds ahead of Vinales and rider Aprilia, 1.392 seconds ahead of Bezzecchi. The third distance with the racer behind him is more than 5 seconds.
What a frustrating weekend for RNF Racing. The reason is, Raul Fernandez crashed at Turn 5 when the race was only two laps away.
Quartararo overtook Espargaro and moved up to P8. Alex Marquez dueled and lost to Zarco on the last lap so he lost fourth place.
Latest news from RNF. Oliveira took a knock to the upper right leg but broke no bones.
MotoGP Portugal 2023 results