The French Fabio Quartararo has won his second successive victory in the MotoGP World Championship and is positioned as the new leader of the competition after fulfilling the forecasts despite a bad start, but the pace he had exhibited in practice has transformed it into a getaway when and as he wanted in the Portuguese GP in Portimao.
Pecco Bagnaia and Joan Mir have accompanied him on the podium, first for the world champion this 2020, with Marc Márquez completing his first race in nine months in seventh place. And after his 2020 celebration a la Kilian Mbappé, his compatriot, he has now invented one a la Cristiano Ronaldo, a shout of ‘siiiiu’ and back included, this Juventus fan.
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Marc Márquez had raised this Saturday his doubt whether he could finish the race with 25 laps, 114.8 kilometers in a row between chest and back. He had been warned by his doctors and his physiotherapist before making his debut in Portimao after 265 days off that he would go from more to less physically and that he would have to face severe discomfort in his fingers, forearm and right elbow that he feels due to overexertion. But if Marc needed to lean on the two Suzuki at a turn to go to Q2 (thanks to Mir) and get sixth on the grid (thanks to Rins) for the pace, he would have to fight with himself and with his limit of pain and fatigue .
To start with, different strategies for the tires and if the middle striker was everyone’s choice except Petrucci for the rear, the KTMs and the Yamaha decided to take a different path and opt for the hard instead of the middle. And among them favorites such as Oliveira, the winner of the previous year with Grand Chelem included, although this Sunday he started from the fourth row, and Quartararo who had just won the previous race.
From pole Quartararo has lost the initiative as planned, the Yamaha have a very serious problem with the starts that they must correct if they want to qualify for the title, and Zarco, Rins, Marc Márquez, Miller and Mir have won the game with Maverick Viñales, the other official Yamaha, twentieth and penultimate from 12th place on the grid. Pol Espargaró also had problems in the opening laps and ended up abandoning on the fourth lap.
The leader Zarco has already lined up everyone chased by the Suzuki of Rins and Mir who has been involved in an incident at Turn 3 when Márquez has touched him from behind and the Repsol Honda has lost positions which has Quartararo took advantage of to arrive and put himself fourth.
That triplet that Marc Márquez has reached in the first lap has been his swan song because on the third lap he dropped to ninth, a position in which he remained in the first third of the race after Aleix Espargaró trying to avoid further problems and closing the chasing group at the top. Then he has progressed through the falls until he finished seventh just behind Aleix Espargaró and ahead of his brother Àlex, who also added his first points of the year, and 13 ”behind the head. And unanimous applause from the entire Repsol Honda box on his arrival. And sitting in his chair he has not been able to avoid the tears, it was not for less after the bad thing that has happened and the doubts that have crossed his head in nine months of hell.
From the tenth lap, Marc began to improve his lap times when throughout the GP he had not gone beyond a maximum of seven laps. He needs kilometers and he has found his place to set up his arm, the least were the points to obtain. Portimao is not a circuit for great crushes, it is one of the most physically demanding and I have never competed on it before.
Alex Rins, after several attempts, has finally consolidated the overtaking on Zarco and Quartararo has thought less of it to then attack his compatriot on the sixth lap. And a twist later Mir has done the same, but has given it back. The quartet has already been in the lead with almost a second over Morbidelli.
At the beginning of the ninth round, Quartararo decided to go on the attack and beat Rins, touch included. If he took out of his pocket the rhythm that had been saved, the Frenchman could already break the race, but the Suzuki have continued to trace his rhythm after releasing Zarco until when he reached the halfway point of the race he made the change of pace, an ordeal that only Rins has dared to accept although he has gone with the hook and seven laps from the end Rins made the mistake and crashed into turn 5.
Quartararo has already been left alone for his second win in a row with 4 ”5 over Zarco and Bagnaia who has also surpassed Mir, the Mallorcan has hooked the Ducati like a limpet. A lap later neither Zarco could have avoided the fall at Turn 11 with which he handed over the lead to his compatriot.
With three to go and Quartararo comfortably in the lead, the fight for the podium has been a matter of three Bagnaia, Mir and Morbidelli, a last lap in which the slightest mistake would condemn them, neither could win a place and finally Bagnaia and Mir have climbed to the podium to the detriment of Morbidelli
Two of the men who were expected more this 2021 have also left empty, Jack Miller has fallen in the ninth lap and Valentino Rossi, twelfth in the first race and already out of the points in Losail-2 has signed a new zero in Portimao due to fall. He had just come back on his comeback to eleventh place after beating his brother Marini and has gone to the ground. If in Jerez, one of his favorite gardens, he does not take back the helm ‘Il Dottore’, we will hardly see him grant himself another year in MotoGP.
With regard to the rest of the Spanish after that 6th to 8th of Aleix, Marc and Àlex Márquez, eleventh Maverick Viñales of 16 who have finished and 15th Lecuona who reappeared after his compartment syndrome operation. Fall of Rins and Pol Espargaró has retired in the fourth turn