After a ton of wet practice and iffy conditions in qualifying, the Portuguese Grand Prix got underway in reasonably good conditions; it wasn’t as sunny as it’s supposed to be in the Algarve, but it was dry. Thanks to Jack Miller wiping Joan Mir out in a over-ambitious out-braking manoeuvre into turn one, when the MotoGP at Portimão came to it’s conclusion there were six different manufacturers in the top six, which is always nice to see. In the top ten, there were ten different riders (obvs), and this is how we’d rate their performances in yesterday’s race… out of ten.
1st Fabio Quartararo – 10/10
It was a bit of a masterclass from the reigning champ, and a reminder, after not that exceptional a start to the season, exactly why he deserves that title. If he keeps this form up, he’ll soon be a double world champ, as he leaves Portugal leading the championship standings (joint with Alex Rins); he was only fifth before the race. And there are some circuits coming up that the Yamaha ought to be strong at. Lets just hope he keeps his leathers zipped up.
2nd Johann Zarco – 9/10
Once Johann Zarco managed to dispatch Joan Mir, which he did of his own doing (well, with a little bit of help from the extra power the Ducati has), and without taking anyone out (like Miller did a few laps later) he had a fairly lonely race. He deserved second place though, and definitely wasn’t gifted it. I wonder if the Frenchman will ever actually win a MotoGP race.
3rd Aleix Espargaro – 8/10
With Miller and Rins both rolling around in the gravel together, all of a sudden Aleix Espargaro found himself in podium contention. Although he was kind of gifted third place, he rode a good race and fought a good fight with the likes of Rins, Oliveira and the Marquez brothers. Now, he’s third in the championship standings, just three points behind Fabio and Alex. It’s a long time since Aprilia had anyone that close to the front of a GP championship.
4th Alex Rins – 10/10
You could have almost written off Rinnsy, after having only qualified 23rd. But the Spanish Suzuki rider ploughed through the field like a warm (not hot) knife through butter; he did 12 of them on the first lap. Full marks for a fourth place finish is fairly rare, but on this occasion, Rins deserves it. He also deserves to be tied on points with Quartararo for the championship lead.
5th Miguel Oliveira – 7/10
Miguel might have been hoping for another win in front of his home crowd, but in all fairness, fifth place is a reasonable result for the little Portuguese feller. And on the only KTM in the top ten. Decent effort, all things considered.
6th Marc Marquez – 7/10
I don’t know if Marquez was hurting after the crash he had in the wet in practice, or was struggling with something else, but he didn’t seem like his normal self. Perhaps someone has had a chat to him and persuaded him that a sixth place finish is better than a crash whilst fighting for the lead. Because it is. He leaves Portugal with another handful of points, putting him in ninth in the championship, in a difficult (so far) season.
7th Alex Marquez – 8/10
Marquez the younger looked like he was doing everything he could to try and get passed his big brother, which he did a few times but just couldn’t make it stick. He’ll be frustrated to have lost out on a top six by 0.02 seconds, but it’s still a fairly strong result for the LCR Honda rider.
8th Pecco Bagnaia – 5/10
Who would have thought that after five GPs, Pecco Bagnaia would be languishing down in 10th in the championship? After his performance in the second half of 2021? Not me. But here we are. To be fair, eighth place was a valiant effort from last on the grid (after crashing in qualifying) but he’ll have to do better than that if he wants to take the fight to Quartararo, Rins and Espargaro.
9th Pol Espargaro – 6/10
You could see that Pol was trying his very best to hang on to his teammates shirttails, but I just don’t think he quite had the minerals yesterday. Still, it was better than last time out. Onwards and upwards.
10th Maverick Viñales – 7/10
You’d have to say Maverick was probably fairly lucky to get in the top ten with Miller, Mir and Bastianini all crashing in front of him, but you take whatever you can get. I’ll be honest though, now Aleix is putting his Aprilia on the podium fairly regularly, I reckon Maverick’s bosses will be starting to push him for better results.