Vinales ends Ducati win streak after Bagnaia error, Marquez stars


Aprilia rider Maverick Vinales took a long-awaited victory in the MotoGP sprint at Portimao, as Pecco Bagnaia’s likely win was lost in a sudden Turn 1 off.

Behind Vinales, Marc Marquez celebrated his first podium as a Ducati rider in second place.

Defending champion Bagnaia had looked on course to a comfortable first place (which would’ve marked his first sprint win since August of last year), only to have a massive shake in the downhill braking to Turn 1 on lap 9 of 12 and drop out of the podium places.

It left Vinales – who has been battling suspected stomach flu this weekend – suddenly in the lead, and he soaked up pressure from Jorge Martin to successfully secure the win.

Though sprint wins don’t count as proper MotoGP wins for the record books, factually Vinales has become the first rider in the MotoGP era to win races for three different premier-class manufacturers – having previously won for Suzuki and Aprilia.

He also ends a Ducati win streak that spanned 19 races across sprints and grands prix, the firm having not been defeated since Vinales’ team-mate Aleix Espargaro’s Catalan Grand Prix win last September.

HOW VINALES GOT THERE

With poleman Enea Bastianini getting a pretty awful start, Vinales was in position to hold the lead under braking into Turn 1 – though the always-fast-starting KTM of Jack Miller barged past him through the quick Turn 2 right-hander.

That allowed Bagnaia to pick off Vinales, too, and at the end of the second lap Bagnaia dealt with his former team-mate Miller by taking a tighter line through the downhill final corner.

The race looked Bagnaia’s to lose from there on, with a heated battle raging behind him. Marquez had overtaken Vinales with a spectacular around-the-outside move earlier that lap, and was through on Miller on the following lap – but then made an error on lap five while in pursuit of Bagnaia.

It allowed Vinales back into second, yet left Bagnaia with nearly a second’s buffer out front – only for that buffer to be undone by Bagnaia’s off.

By that moment, Jorge Martin had got past Marquez, too, with a forceful Turn 3 move, and looked to be lining up an overtake on Vinales.

But the Aprilia man held firm, and after Vinales’ second place suddenly became the lead, a penultimate-lap error from Martin left him in the clear to bring the win over the line.

Martin, who complained post-race of an issue with the rear, then had Marquez barge past him with a divebomb at Turn 5 on the final lap.

Bagnaia was never anywhere close to rejoining the battle for the podium after his mishap, and even dropped to four seconds behind at the flag, but still managed to fend off Miller and Bastianini – both finishing within a quarter of a second of the reigning champion.

BEHIND THE LEAD GROUP

Rookie Pedro Acosta was seventh for Tech3 Gas Gas after fighting off Vinales’ Aprilia team-mate Espargaro, while Fabio Quartararo picked up a solitary point for Yamaha – having been the sole rider to start on the medium rear instead of a soft one.

There were four crashes in the race, each packed into the first four laps.

Quartararo’s team-mate Alex Rins was first to go down, followed by LCR Honda’s Johann Zarco – who remounted before parking his RC213V in the pits.

VR46 Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio and KTM’s Brad Binder were the other two riders to end up on the ground.

Bagnaia now leads the championship by two points over Martin, with Binder and Marquez eight and 10 off the lead respectively.





Source

Leave a Comment