In true MotoGP fashion, the 2023 season started with many twists and turns and left everyone on the edge of their seats, including the riders. Defending champion Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia from Ducati won the inaugural sprint race on Saturday followed by a dominating performance on race day and winning the grand prix. The Ducati rider couldn’t have asked for a better start to the new season as he managed to keep Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales at bay while Marco Bezzecchi from VR46 rounded up the podium positions respectively.
Portugal MotoGP: Crash, Boom, Bang for Marquez
Pole sitter Marc Marquez was in the thick of things from the word go as he was pulled back by Pramac’s Jorge Martin and then by the local favourite Miguel Oliveira. The eight-time world champion Marquez had other plans and wanted to take a quick dash and overtake both the riders. Instead of coming off the corner ahead of them, the Honda rider clipped Martin and went straight into Oliveira. Hence, the race ended for both Oliveira and Marquez in lap 3. Even though the RNF Aprilia rider has hit on his right leg, scans later revealed that no severe damage was done as fractures were ruled out. Marquez, on the other hand, will miss the next race in Argentina as he suffered a hand fracture and had to undergo an operation. The race stewards have found the former world champion guilty of irresponsible riding and have imposed a Double Long Lap Penalty for his next race.
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Portugal MotoGP: Double victory for Bagnaia
It was a mixed-bag weekend for Ducati as the defending MotoGP champion Bagnaia eased into a fairly straightforward win after an initial onslaught by Pramac’s Martin, Oliveira and Marquez.
The inaugural Sprint Race on Saturday was a bittersweet moment for Ducati as Enea
Bastianini and VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini collided with each other on the second lap. Therefore, the factory Ducati rider broke his right collarbone and was ruled out for Sunday’s race and the upcoming Argentina Grand Prix. On the other hand, Bagnaia won the Sprint.
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On race day, after the mayhem caused by Marquez, it was cruise control for Bagnaia. The defending champion was put under some pressure by Vinales who managed to cut the lead down but it was a classic case of too little too late for the Aprilia man.
Portugal MotoGP: Late resurgence
There was a heated battle for the final podium position between Bezzecchi, Gresini’s Alex Marquez and the KTM duo — Jack Miller and Brad Binder. The VR46 rider wasn’t letting go of his advantage and managed to leave the rest behind while it became an all-out war for P4. Marquez was all set to hold on to the coveted position but it was Pramac’s Johann Zarco who rained on his parade and snatched P4 from the Spaniard in the final turn of the race. Binder finished behind Marquez taking sixth place ahead of his teammate Miller. 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo signed off his miserable outing in eighth while Aleix Espargaro and Alex Rins completed the top ten.
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