MotoGP Portugal: Rollercoaster Portimão

Portimao 2021

Portimão, a circuit that two years ago nobody had on their radar. A track around which the MotoGP circus gave a wide berth. The asphalt was too bad, the track very demanding.

But 2020 changed everything. The track was prepared out of necessity and included in the race calendar. A stopgap that quickly appealed with its track layout and speed.

Challenging with full speed. That demands material and drivers. Some overtaxed it. We saw many crashes this weekend. Most of them ended well with material damage. Others did not. In the crash in the second free practice, the LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami suffered injuries to the right collarbone. Nakagami started the race on Sunday from 21st place despite the pain and finished tenth. An extremely respectable performance despite great pain. The place next to Nakagami remained empty on the grid. Jorge Martin has to undergo surgery on his right hand and ankle after his bad crash in FP3.

The track also took its toll on the race. In the end, only 16 riders reached the finish. Radiant winner was the Yamaha factory rider Fabio Quartararo. The Frenchman showed his superiority already in FP4. No other rider was as consistent as him. Quartararo was only in sixth place after the first lap. But with his consistent lap times, the Yamaha rider managed to overtake the opponents. In lap 9, he displaced Rins in second place and took the first place. Quartararo did not give up this position until the finish line. For Yamaha it is a special success, because to win the first three races succeeded them last in the MotoGP season 2010. Next to Fabio Quartararo stood Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir. Portimão was also worth the trip this year for MotoGP. The makeshift track has become one of my favorites.

Wait, I forgot someone else. Marc Marquez. The Honda factory rider got back on the bike after his almost year-long break. All eyes were on him this weekend. How will he cope with the track? Will he be able to fully attack again? The answer to the last question is no. You could see that Marquez still needs time. His injury from last year was serious. His strength and confidence in the Honda must first return. His seventh place was a good start, but for the old strength it still needs time.

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