RACE REPORT | MotoGP Portugal 2023

Francesco Bagnaia, the reigning champion, secured a perfect double victory at Portimao, winning both the Saturday Sprint and the main Sunday race.Maverick Vinales of Aprilia and Marco Bezzecchi of VR46 also earned their first podium finishes of the season in second and third place respectively.

The race was marred by an early collision between Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira, which eliminated both riders. Oliveira had delighted the home fans by leading the early laps of the main race, but his hopes of a podium finish were dashed when Marquez collided with Jorge Martin under braking for Turn 3 and then slammed into Oliveira, who was running second to Bagnaia. Marquez went to apologize to the RNF team after the race and is likely to receive a penalty at the next event in Argentina.

The incident also took Martin out of podium contention and opened up the opportunity for Vinales to take second place ahead of Jack Miller. Vinales closed in on Bagnaia, but the Italian responded and took a one-second lead into the final ten laps. Vinales, who was on a hard front tire, kept Bagnaia within range but was unable to catch him. Behind the top three, Johann Zarco took fourth place, followed by Alex Marquez and Brad Binder, who defied chronic neck pain to finish in sixth place.

The race was run with harder tires, except for Raul Fernandez, who opted for the soft rear tire. Aleix Espargaro and Fabio Quartararo had to work their way through the field after dropping to 14th and 15th place respectively on the opening lap, but they ultimately finished outside the top six. Enea Bastianini suffered a shoulder fracture after being taken out in the Sprint race, while Pol Espargaro was ruled out of the event after a nasty Friday accident. Bastianini and Espargaro are set to miss the next round in Argentina due to their injuries.

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