Our reigning MotoGP Champion, Pecco Bagnaia, has enjoyed a dream start to his 2023 season after taking a clean sweep in the first weekend of action. The Ducati rider has won Saturday’s Sprint Race before going on to dominate in Sunday’s Feature Race. He was joined on the podium by Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi.
After making history by winning MotoGP’s first ever Sprint Race on Saturday, Pecco Bagnaia has carried on his winning streak on Sunday, with victory at the Portuguese GP Feature Race. He took the lead on Lap 2 and, despite a good challenge from Maverick Vinales, he never looked back and took the chequered flag with a comfortable 0.68 second lead.
Our pole sitter, Marc Marquez, crashed out of the race on Lap 3. He made a huge mistake in the braking zone into Turn 3 and clipped the back of Jorge Martin, who was running in 3rd. As he went down, he clattered into the back of home hero Miguel Oliveira, running in 2nd, and brought him into the gravel with him. His injuries saw Oliveira stretched off track and taken to the medical centre – we are still waiting for an update on his condition. Martin was lucky to stay upright and rejoined the track in 16th, before crashing out of the race at Turn 2, on Lap 20 of 25.
Two of the big hitters are OUT! 😮
The luckless @_moliveira88 is collected by @marcmarquez93 on the brakes into Turn 3! 💥
Hopefully Miguel is all OK 🤞#PortugueseGP 🇵🇹 pic.twitter.com/fcoWDOPyT8
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) March 26, 2023
Taking advantage of this drama was Maverick Vinales who carefully made his way through the incident and found himself up to 2nd, after starting 7th. He was quickly on the back of Bagnaia but didn’t quite have the pace to steal the lead from him. He ended the day in 2nd.
Marco Bezzecchi rounded out the podium spots with a well-earned 3rd place. He took 3rd from Jack Miller on Lap 6 but failed to close the gap on the leading pair. For much of the race, the battle for fourth was where the majority of the action was taking place, and Miller was a key part of this. He battled with Alex Marquez, Brad Binder, Aleix Espargaro and Johann Zarco for much of the race. However, on the final lap, Zarco bested all of them as he leap-frogged from 7th up to 4th with a late move. Alex Marquez, Binder and Miller were forced to settle with 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.
Fabio Quartararo had a difficult day starting in 10th, losing 5 places at the start and then fighting his way back up to end the race in 8th. He took that spot on the penultimate lap as Espargaro made a mistake that opened the door for the Frenchman.
With 6 riders failing to finish the race, all 14 finishers crossed the line to secure some points. Those non-finishers included Luca Marini who suffered his fourth crash of the weekend – a disappointing start to his season after such a consistent year in 2022 – as well as Fabio Di Giannantonio, who retired with mechanical issues on Lap 11, and Raul Fernandez, who crashed on the penultimate lap of the race.
After a perfect weekend, Bagnaia is sitting pretty at the top of the championship standings. Just behind him is Vinales, lagging behind by 12 points, and Bezzecchi, a further 9 points behind.
We only have to wait 7 days for the drama to continue, as the grid will be in action on the 1st and 2nd of April in Argentina.
|1st||Pecco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo|
|3rd||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46|
|4th||Johann Zarco||Prima Pramac|
|6th||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM|
|7th||Jack Miller||Red Bull KTM|
|8th||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha|
|10th||Alex Rins||LCR Honda|
|11th||Joan Mir||Repsol Honda|
|12th||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda|
|13th||Augusto Fernandez||GASGAS Tech3|
|14th||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha|
|1st||Pecco Bagnaia||37 points|
|2nd||Maverick Vinales||25 points|
|3rd||Marco Bezzecchi||16 point|
|4th||Johann Zarco||15 points|
|5th||Jack Miller||15 points|
Feature Image Credit: MotoGP