Fabio Quartararo dominates the MotoGP of Portimao, Jack Miller crushes Joan Mir | MotoGP
Seeking to convert pole position into a first MotoGP victory, Johann Zarco was momentarily relegated to fourth place, before winning back to moto two on the outside of the first corner.
Showing the best race pace in free practice, Mir got off to a stunning start from second place, as did another pre-race favourite, Fabio Quartararo, who moved from fifth to second.
Fabio Quartararo launches 2022 MotoGP title bid
However, the best start of all came from Alex Rins who moved up ten places on the opening lap. Brilliant stuff from Argentina and from the COTA podium.
After opening a lead of almost eight tenths over Quartararo, the reigning world champion went three tenths faster than the Suzuki rider to close the gap considerably.
Continuing to gain time in the final sector, Quartararo pulled off a nice slingshot into the final corner on lap four as he snuck his way, yes “powered” his Yamaha ahead of Mir in the race towards turn one.
With a clear track in front of him, Quartararo continued to slip away from Mir as the gap was now over a second. Instead of looking ahead, Mir’s biggest challenge now came from behind as Zarco began to close in.
But as was the case in Mandalika, which ultimately cost him victory, Zarco was spending too much time stuck behind the 2020 world champion. Despite his pace advantage
Further on, the two Repsol Hondas fought a close battle for ninth place. After nearly making contact at turn one, Marquez responded to Espargaro’s aggressive pass by diving on the inside at turn 15. A great move from Marquez.
As the battles continue to rage behind him, Quartararo’s Sunday drive through the Algarve included a new all-time race lap record at lap nine – 1:39.435s.
After an early crash for Pramac rider Jorge Martin, another rider who is in the running for a 2023 factory Ducati seat crashed.
Yes, that’s the driver you’re thinking of… Championship leader Enea Bastianini crashed at turn 8, before Takaaki Nakagami also crashed at turn 14.
The Japanese rider managed to get back on the road in what was quickly becoming another weekend to forget for the LCR Honda man.
With Zarco still stuck behind Mir with 12 laps to go, Miller started to edge closer to the podium spots after picking up his pace.
Feeling the heat from Miller behind, Zarco attempted his first pass for second but ran wide which gave way to Mir.
Despite his difficult weekend, which left the Italian less than 100% for the race due to several big crashes, Francesco Bagnaia was producing a brilliant effort as he moved from last to 12th with eight laps to go.
Miller knocks out Mir in battle for Portimao podium
While one factory Ducati was making good progress, the other caused huge drama as Miller wiped out Mir at the first corner.
The Aussie tried to pass Mir who was already proving very hard to brake in the first corner, just ask Zarco, however, Miller lost the front before recovering the Spaniard. A sarcastic applause followed from Mir before Miller was seen apologizing for his mistake.
With Quartararo’s victory in the bag, Aleix Espargaro quickly closed in on Zarco for second place, however, the Aprilia rider was unable to pass on the final lap.
Marc and Alex Marquez had a tasty fight for sixth place – Marc got the better of his younger brother following a move at turn 14, while Bagnaia got the best of P. Espargaro a corner later, still in the last round.