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Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha during Portuguese Moto GP
Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha during Portuguese Moto GP

Victorious Quartararo of Yamaha takes title lead in Portuguese GP

ANI | Updated: Apr 24, 2022 22:32 IST


Portimao [Portugal], April 24 (ANI): It was Portimao perfection for Yamaha Moto GP's Fabio Quartararo as he eased to a first win of 2022 and the World Championship lead at the Grand Prix of Portugal.
On a day to remember for France, he was joined on the podium by Johann Zarco of Pramac Racing in second, whilst Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro benefitted from late drama involving Joan Mir of Team Suzuki Ecstar and Jack Miller of Ducati Lenovo Team to take third. Quartararo is now tied at the top of the Championship with Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins, who put in the ride of the day by recovering from 23rd on the grid to finish fourth.
It was Portimao's perfection for Yamaha Moto GP's Fabio Quartararo as he eased to a first win of 2022 and the World Championship lead at the Tissot Grand Prix of Portugal. On a day to remember for France, he was joined on the podium by Johann Zarco of Pramac Racing in second, whilst Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro benefitted from late drama involving Joan Mir of Team Suzuki Ecstar and Jack Miller of Ducati Lenovo Team to take third. Quartararo is now tied at the top of the Championship with Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins, who put in the ride of the day by recovering from 23rd on the grid to finish fourth.

Nobody could match the metronomic pace of the reigning World Champion and he edged further and further into the lead. He set a new fastest lap of the race and Portimao lap record, a 1:39.435, on Lap 10 by which point Mir had thrown in the towel and was looking over his shoulder in the fight for second. Quartararo would eventually cruise across the line over five seconds clear of second place for his first victory since the British Grand Prix in August of last year and, as a result, he jumped to the top of the Moto GP World Championship.

It was much closer in the fight for the final podium places with Mir defending hard as Zarco applied more and more pressure. The Frenchman took advantage of a tiny error by the Spaniard out of the final corner to power past him down the start-finish straight and take second. However, he ran wide at the opening corner allowing Mir to swoop back through. A lap later Zarco got the job done, again capitalising on a small wheelie by Mir out of the final corner to dive through on the brakes into Turn 1.
Six laps remained, with Jack Miller now challenging Mir for third when the moment of the race took place between the usual sparring partners. The Australian pulled alongside the Suzuki man down the start-finish straight and they side-by-side on the brakes into the opening corner when the front-end of Miller's Ducati let go. Down went Miller and he took an innocent and unsuspecting Mir with him. The pair, thankfully, are both OK despite the frightening collision.
That elevated Aleix Espargaro to third as he eyed only the third MotoGP™ podium for Aprilia. The Argentine Grand Prix winner closed onto the rear wheel of Zarco on the final lap but couldn't find a way through. Zarco took second, the thirteenth of his premier class career, and Espargaro had to settle for third.
Fourth across the line was arguably the man of the day: Alex Rins. A quite incredible performance from the factory Suzuki man saw him come through 23rd and, in doing so, lifted himself to equal points with Quartararo in the Championship chase. Another strong comeback rider came courtesy of the home hero Miguel Oliveira. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing man clinched a top-five to bounce back from two crashes on home soil in 2021.
For the first time in Moto GP, we were treated to a Marquez versus Marquez battle on the final lap of the race. LCR Castrol Honda's Alex Marquez was holding off elder brother Marc quite brilliantly as the laps ticked by, before then, on the last lap, the Repsol Honda man squeezed his way through to take sixth place by only 0.020 ahead of Alex. Half a second back, Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia was gritting his teeth to salvage eighth place thanks to the last lap move on Honda's Pol Espargaro. Aprilia's Maverick Vinales took the final place inside the top ten.
There were crashes for Jorge Martin of Pramac Racing, Marco Bezzecchi of Mooney VR46 Racing, Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Idemitsu Honda, Brad Binder of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, bringing to an end a run of 18 straight point-scoring finishes and most notably, the former World Championship leader Enea Bastianini. (ANI)

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