Portuguese Grand Prix: Quartararo eases to win, Marquez seventh
Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo dominated the MotoGP Portuguese Grand Prix following a late crash for Alex Rins, while Marc Marquez was seventh in his comeback race.
Quartararo repeated his Doha race-winning route to victory at the Algarve, recovering from sixth at the end of the first lap to lead early on and go on to dominate to take a 15-point lead in the championship.
Johann Zacro powered his Pramac Ducati into the lead at the start as poleman Quartararo dropped to sixth, while Marquez leaped up to third.
Marquez was demoted from third by the reigning world champion Joan Mir, the Suzuki rider putting on an aggressive move on the Honda at the Portimao right-hander.
The pair came to blows again at Turn 3 on the following lap when Marquez touched the rear of Mir’s Suzuki and was lucky to stay mounted, with Quartararo capitalising to move back ahead to fourth.
In the lead battle Zarco held firm, but was coming under intense pressure from the Suzuki of Rins, who made a pass stick at Turn 13 on lap four – though Zarco eased back ahead on the main straight moments later.
Rins made another play for the lead at the end of the fifth lap at Turn 13, while Quartararo carved his way through on Zarco at the next corner.
The Suzuki rider held the lead for the next two laps, with Quartararo towing his way by Rins into Turn 1 on the ninth tour.
The pace for both Quartararo and Rins was hot, the pair trading fastest laps on numerous occasions and easing out a gap of over a second to the battling Zarco and Mir behind.
Rins kept the pressure on Quartararo, but the Frenchman didn’t crack and continued to hold his lead.
Quartararo’s afternoon was made easier on seven laps from the end when Rins pushed too hard in his chase and crashed out at Turn 5, gifting the Yamaha rider a lead of well over four seconds for the remaining tours.
Quartararo came under no threat to the chequered flag to secure his second-successive win in 2021.