News 25 Apr 2022

MotoGP champion Quartararo back on top in Portugal

Drama leads to Roberts Moto2 win as Garcia does it again in Moto3.

Image: Supplied.

Defending MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo won his first grand prix of the 2022 season in a commanding performance at Portimao, with Joe Roberts winning Moto2 and Sergio Garcia taking the Moto3 victory.

In a day to remember for France, Monster Energy Yamaha’s Quartararo was joined on the podium by Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing Ducati) in second, with Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro P3.

Espargaro benefitted from late drama involving Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), the pair taken down following a mistake from the Australian entering turn one with just six laps remaining.

Quartararo is now leading the championship, tied on points with Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins, who put in arguably the ride of the day by recovering from 23rd on the grid to finish fourth.

Another strong comeback ride came courtesy of home hero Miguel Oliveira, as the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing man clinched a top five, ahead of Alex Marquez (LCR Castrol Honda), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenevo Team) in a gritty effort, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing).

Image: Supplied.

Grabbing a golden opportunity in a red-flagged and dramatic Moto2 encounter, Roberts bolted nearly three seconds clear in only a seven-lap sprint, taking the first intermediate class win for the USA in 32 years and the first in any class since 2011.

Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took second to extend his points lead by a margin after drama for key contenders, with Jorge Navarro (Flexbox HP 40) completing the podium.

A first start saw Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) take the holeshot from Aron Canet (FlexBox HP40) before the Spaniard then hit the front, but an isolated rain shower at turn two then caught out 11 riders, including the top six at the time.

The leading trio of Canet, Beaubier and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) were joined in the gravel trap seconds later by Chantra, Arbolino, Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing), Albert Arenas (Autosolar GasGas Aspar), Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Zonta van den Goorbergh (RW Racing) and Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing).

None of the riders involved in the turn two pile-up were able to take part in the restart, meaning we had a revised grid of 18 riders. Autosolar GasGas Aspar Team’s Jake Dixon fired from pole position and took the lead on the opening lap, with Roberts starting second, but disaster struck for the Brit at turn seven as he slid out.

Championship leader Vietti fought his way back into second for a valuable 20 points as key rivals were denied the chance to score, making the most of his slice of fortune as he extended his title lead out to 34 points. Strong rides came in from Marcel Schrötter and rookie Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 MasterCamp) to take fourth and fifth.

Image: Supplied.

In Moto3, Valresa GasGas Aspar Team’s Garcia took his second win of the year in Portugal, first escaping in the lead and then fighting it out in a five-rider battle that went down to the final lap.

COTA winner Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was back on the podium in second as he gets into the 2022 groove, and likewise Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in third position.

That’s a second win for Garcia this season and it puts him into the championship lead by two points ahead of Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing), while Australian rookie Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) took P9.

The Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup was also on-track at Portimao this weekend, with race one won by Jose Rueda and he crossed the line first again on Sunday, but had exceeded track limits at the final turn and was docked a place, handing victory to Collin Veijer. Australian Harrison Voight impressed with a pair of fourth-place results, now P4 in the point-standings led by Rueda.

Detailed results