Quartararo dominates to take victory in Portimao

Fabio Quartararo dominated the Grand Prix of Portugal to take both the victory at Portimão and the lead of the World Championship.

It was a disaster for Johann Zarco who found himself in the gravel at Turn 10 and lost the championship lead on lap 20.

As the lights went out, Zarco got off to a good start and led into Turn 1 ahead of Alex Rins and Marc Marquez.

Quartararo didn’t have a good start and found himself down in P6 after starting on pole.

At the end of the first lap, Zarco led from the two Suzuki’s of Rins and Joan Mir.

Mir was then clipped slightly by Marquez at the beginning of lap 2, which sent Marquez slightly wide but Mir was unaffected.

Quartararo’s charge then began on lap 4, passing Mir for P3 into Turn 1.

Rins then took the lead of the race on the fifth lap, passing the Frenchman of Zarco into Turn 13, which subsequently allowed Quartararo through for P2.

Jack Miller can’t seem to get a break after a poor start to the season, the Australian found himself in the gravel at Turn 3 on lap 6 after losing the Ducati under braking.

Last year’s race winner in Portugal, Miguel Oliveira, was down on the same lap too, losing his KTM into Turn 14.

Quartararo then started to pressure Rins for the lead on lap 8, eventually passing the Suzuki into Turn 1 at the start of the next lap and instantly began to check-out.

Pecco Bagnaia started to make up positions after starting from the fourth row of the grid, passing Brad Binder for P6 at the start of Lap 12.

After dropping a handful of positions early in the race, Zarco then passed Mir for P3 on the pit straight, the Pramac’s speed coming in useful for the Frenchman.

Rossi’s torrid start to the year continued in Portimao, The Doctor dropped his Petronas SRT bike at Turn 11 on lap 15 of the race.

Rins looked to be closing up on Quartararo’s Yamaha on lap 19, closing the gap to three and a half tenths, but the Spaniard then lost the bike into Turn 5 and was out of the race.

Quartararo’s lead was then up to 4.3s from Zarco at the beginning of lap 20.

However the Pramac rider was passed by Bagnaia into Turn 5 on the same lap, Zarco then dropped his Ducati at Turn 10, retiring from the race and losing his lead in the championship.

It was smooth sailing for Quartararo in the closing laps, the Yamaha rider took the chequered flag 4.8s ahead of Bagnaia, with Mir in third.

Franco Morbidelli will be pleased with his result, the Italian finished in fourth with Binder and Aleix Espargaro behind him.

The two Marquez brothers of Marc and Alex finished in seventh and eighth, with Enea Bastianini taking an impressive ninth place.

After suffering a big crash on Friday, Taka Nakagami crossed the line in tenth, ahead of Maverick Vinales who will be disappointed with an 11th place finish in Portimao.

Luca Marini ended the race in 12th, ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Lorenzo Savadori.

Iker Lecuona rounded off the points finishers in 15th on his Tech3 KTM.