Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP maintained their 100% win record this weekend after Fabio Quartararo converted pole position into his second victory of the season with a perfect race in Portugal. The Frenchman claimed victory by 4.809 seconds in what was another masterclass from the factory Yamaha rider. PETRONAS Yamaha SRT returned to the top five with Franco Morbidelli enjoying a strong ride to fourth.
Fabio Quartararo delivered another sublime performance in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship as the 21-year-old opened his European campaign with another race win, taking victory at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve.
Starting from pole, Quartararo found himself in sixth by the end of lap one. Sat in the leading group, the pole-sitter quickly picked off his competitors, making his way back into the podium positions by lap four. The Frenchman wasted no time moving up the order and took the lead, passing Johann Zarco and Alex Rins by lap nine. With clear track ahead of him, Quartararo showed his hand, immediately setting the fastest lap of the race with a 1:39.999 before bettering it with another fastest lap, a 1:39.472.
Rins tried to keep up with the race leader but made a mistake and crashed out leaving Quartararo with a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack. Controlling the race until the end, he crossed the line to take his second consecutive race victory and secure the championship lead.
Team-mate Maverick Viñales slipped to 21st from his 12th place grid position but battled his way through the pack to eventually cross the line to claim points in 11th place, 23 seconds adrift of his race-winning Yamaha counterpart. Viñales heads to round four lying third in the overall standings with 41 points, 20 points behind team-mate and championship leader Quartararo.
PETRONAS Yamaha SRT returned to the top five with Franco Morbidelli narrowly missing out on a podium with fourth place. The Italian started the Grand Prix from fifth position and found himself in a race-long battle for the top five. After the opening laps, Morbidelli had slipped to seventh, but quickly made his way through the pack, taking sixth place following a crash before passing Aleix Espargaro on lap seven to claim fifth. The 26-year-old saved his rear tyre for a late charge, closing the gap to Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir, but fractionally missed out on a podium finish, claiming fourth. After a strong start, team-mate Valentino Rossi crashed out of the race while fighting for a top ten position.
After three rounds, Yamaha lead the world championship with Fabio Quartararo with the second factory Yamaha of Viñales sitting third. Yamaha also extend their lead in the constructors’ championship, while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP head to Jerez with a 41-point advantage in the teams’ standings.
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.
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 1st
“It‘s good to be back in this mindset, I feel like I‘m full of confidence. Because I brought the confidence of winning the Doha GP with me, I felt the same here. We now know what we need to do to be competitive. As long as I have a good feeling with the front, I‘m going fast. In today‘s race, I just focused on my riding – but what a pace! I didn‘t expect it! I was about half a second off my qualifying lap, so that was amazing. I also felt the pressure from Rins coming up behind me. I wanted to make a gap, but then he made a mistake. I was riding well and easy, and I was still able to make a gap to Bagnaia, so I was so happy. We did an amazing job! Yesterday we were first in all the sessions, and today we won. So, thanks to the team. These are important points, and now we go to one of my favourite tracks, Jerez. I can‘t wait to ride there. This is a great way to start the celebrations for my birthday in two days.”
Franco Morbidelli – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, 4th
“I’m very happy to be fourth today and it’s been a great weekend for us. The race was really good and I was able to fight my way through at the beginning. Then my rhythm and pace was good enough to stay there and battle for a podium place. I was a little surprised about that and I’m proud that we were able to do so. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough potential to attack fully, but I’m really pleased with this result anyway. It’s a good injection of energy after the two races in Qatar, the feeling with the bike is back and now we just need to enjoy this moment. Let’s see what happens in Jerez!”
Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 11th
“I don‘t know what the issue is yet, but for sure there was something wrong. Our lap times were very slow. I couldn‘t do anything, starting from the first lap. It‘s a shame, because it was not the result I was expecting. It‘s pretty strange that we went from winning in Qatar and starting this weekend in first position to not being able to be inside the top 10 in the race. But you always have ups and downs, that‘s life. We now have time to analyse the situation. For sure, we need to change something to make our results more consistent. But after this we are going to Jerez, which is a good track for us, so I‘m just going to focus on that and forget this race.”
Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, DNF
“Today things were better because we improved some settings on the bike and we used the hard rear tyre, which gave me a better feeling. My pace was a lot better than yesterday, but unfortunately when you start from behind it is always difficult. I lost a bit of time on the first corner but after that I was thinking that I could make it into the top-ten. Unfortunately, I lost the front in Turn 11, it’s quite a demanding corner on the front tyre, and my race was over. It’s a shame because we could have taken some good points today, but we know that we have made improvements.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“When we came here, we weren‘t roaring with confidence. Last year left some doubts in our minds, but after Fabio‘s fantastic win today – which he achieved by pure speed and race craft – we have been put at ease. The confidence that Fabio had in his YZR-M1 allowed him to keep his head cool. He had a strong ride from sixth to first place. Once at the front, he also didn‘t let pressure from behind get to him, because he knew he had the pace today. It was a great victory for him personally, and also for the team and the Yamaha engineers in Japan – it shows how far we have come since November last year. However, it‘s been a day of two extremes for the team. Maverick wasn‘t able to find the confidence he was looking for in the opening stages. But he did do good damage limitation. He kept pushing, and because of the many crashes, the five points he collected today are all the more valuable. We will closely check what prevented Maverick from getting the feeling he needed to be more competitive in this race, so he can come back stronger in Jerez.”
Razlan Razali – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, Team Principal
“It was a real rollercoaster weekend for the team and another difficult one for us. We can be happy with a good fourth position in MotoGP for Franco. We all needed the good result and it will give him renewed confidence to come back even stronger in the next round in Jerez. Valentino showed signs of improvements and recovered well, unfortunately he crashed but there are some positives we can take from the race today.”
Grand Prémio 888 De Portugal Race Results:
- Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP)
- Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +4.809
- Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +4.948
- Franco Morbidelli (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) +5.127
- Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +6.668
- Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +8.885
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +13.208
- Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Team) +17.992
- Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) +22.369
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU) +23.676
- Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +23.761
- Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) +29.660
- Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +29.836
- Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +38.941
- Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +50.642
- Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1 lap
- Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +6 laps
- Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) +7 laps
- Valentino Rossi (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) +11 laps
- Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) +20 laps
- Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +21 laps
2021 MotoGP World Championship Standings:
- Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 61 points
- Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) 46 points
- Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 41 points
- Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 40 points
- Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) 38 points
- Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 25 points
- Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) 23 points
- Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 21 points
- Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) 18 points
- Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) 17 points
- Franco Morbidelli (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) 17 points
- Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) 14 points
- Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) 11 points
- Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) 9 points
- Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Team) 8 points
- Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) 7 points
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU) 6 points
- Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) 4 points
- Valentino Rossi (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) 4 points
- Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 4 points
- Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) 3 points
- Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 2 points
23. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) 1 point