Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo was the favourite going into race day at the Autódromo Internacional Algarve, and he dominated the field once again. The youngster delivered a masterclass in Portimao, making it back-to-back victories and taking over the lead in the championship standings. Maverick Viñales had a very different experience during today‘s 25-lap dash. He struggled to find a good feeling at the start of the race, but his perseverance still earned him 11th place.
Quartararo started from pole and slotted into sixth place after the usual shuffle of the order through the first corner. Seeing the three riders at the front trying to break away, the Yamaha man sprang into action and kicked the pace up a notch. On lap 2, he passed Marc Marquez and Jack Miller to take over fourth place. He soon latched on to the back of the leading group and swiftly swooped past Joan Mir.
The battle for glory was on. On lap 6, the Yamaha rider passed fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco. It was then just Álex Rins between him and first place. With 17 laps to go, the number-20 rider hit the front for the first time. He then got his head down and tried to break away.
Only Rins was able to stay close to Quartararo, but the Yamaha‘s blistering pace eventually proved too much for him. With seven laps to go, Rins crashed out. El Diablo remained unthreatened for the remainder of the race, winning it with a 4.809s margin over the rider in second place.
A poor start from P12 by Viñales saw him complete the first lap in 20th place. Matters got worse when in lap 3 he was pushed to last. Nevertheless, the Spaniard put his head down and continued to fight.
While the Portimao track showed its teeth and claimed various crashers, the number-12 rider steadily improved his pace and climbed up the order. By the halfway stage of the race his rhythm was improving. He found himself in 14th with nine laps to go and with a group of three riders ahead of him.
He overtook Luca Marini, and two further crashes meant Top Gun moved up another couple of spots. He had his eyes on ninth place but came just 0.085s short of a top-10 finish, taking 11th with a 23.761s gap to first.
Today‘s results put Quartararo in the lead of the championship standings with 61 points, and Viñales‘ damage limitation allowed him to stay in third place in the championship standings, with a 41 points total. After Round 3, Yamaha heads the Constructor championship with a maximum points total of 75, and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team also remain in first place with 102 points.
The MotoGP paddock will travel to Spain next for the fourth round of the 2021 MotoGP season. The Gran Premio de España will be held at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto from 30th April - 2nd May 2021.