News 27 Mar 2023

Dream start for Bagnaia with MotoGP success in Portugal

Teenage talent Acosta wins Moto2, breakthrough Moto3 victory for Holgado.

Image: Supplied.

Reigning MotoGP world champion Francesco Bagnaia started his 2023 title defence with a maximum points haul from Portimao, concluding the weekend on top at the Portuguese Grand Prix as Pedro Acosta and Daniel Holgado stood tall in Moto2, Moto3 respectively.

Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) won the newly-introduced sprint race on Saturday and continued his winning form to take out Sunday afternoon’s GP, ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales who kept the pressure on to the flag to finish second, just 0.687s from the lead.

A solid ride from Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) saw him finish third, the Italian 2.726s from Bagnaia come race-end and over five-seconds clear of Johann Zarco (Prima Primac Racing) in P4.

Zarco emerged on top of a multi-rider battle for fourth, leading Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) who impressed in fifth to commence his stint onboard a Ducati.

In tow of the Spaniard, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Jack Miller were sixth and seventh respectively, as former world champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha), Aleix Esparagaro (Aprilia Racing) and new LCR Honda Castrol rider Alex Rins completed the top 10.

Notably, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) collided with home-hero Miguel Oliveira (CryptoData RNF MotoGP Team) in the early stages, bringing both riders down and forcing Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – who was second in the sprint race – wide. Marquez has been given a double long-lap penalty to be served in Argentina.

In terms of the championship, thanks to his victories in both the sprint race and GP, Bagnaia leads on 37 points, ahead of Vinales (25) and Bezzecchi (16). Miller is fifth in the standings with 15 points.

Oliveira has been cleared to race next weekend after sustaining contusions to his leg, while Marquez suffered a possible broken hand in the fall. Both riders were fighting in the leading group at the time of the incident.

Image: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Ajo talent Acosta reigned supreme in the intermediate class, keepingĀ  Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) at bay in what quickly became a two-rider breakaway at the front of the field.

Tony Arbolino (ELF Marc VDS Racing Team) finished third, 4.460s from the lead, ahead of Filip Salac (QJMotor Gresini) and Manual Gonzalez (Correos Prepago (Yamaha VR46 Mastercamp) who completed the top five.

Notably after running inside the top three in the early stages, Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) finished 11th after serving a double-lap penalty that carried over from Valencia last year.

Image: Supplied.

Moto3 saw a breakthrough victory for Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3), edging David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) and Brazilian Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets -MSI) in what was a multi-rider battle for the lead.

Australia’s Joel Kelso qualified a career-best P3 and lead throughout the race, ultimately taking the chequered flag in ninth and 1.268s from the leader.

Unfortunately, following the race, he collided with race-winner Holgado after the finish line, bringing the Australian down heavily, resulting in a broken ankle.

The Red Bull Rookies Cup also competed in Portugal, with Angel Piqueras taking both victories while Australia’s Jacob Roulstone went 13-9 and Carter Thompson debuted in the class with 20-15 finishes after qualifying 12th.

Detailed results