Quartararo pushes to 8th place finish in #PortugueseGP, Morbidelli 14th
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo came back from another difficult start at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve and crossed the finish line in 8th place. Franco Morbidelli also secured his first championship points of the 2023 season. Though not able to engage in battles during the Grande Prémio de Portugal race like he had hoped, he kept at it and took 14th place.
Quartararo was starting from tenth on the grid due to Enea Bastianini being unable to take part in today‘s 25-lap Race. The Yamaha rider had hoped for a better start than in the Sprint, but it wasn‘t to be. He had his work cut out for him when he completed the first lap in 15th place. He put his head down to overtake several riders, and with Miguel Oliveira and Marc Marquez having crashed out, the Frenchman breached into the top-10 by lap 9.
With a big gap to the riders ahead and Jorge Martin stalking him, the number-20 rider couldn‘t ease off for a second. Pushing all the way, he was able to overtake Luca Marini with a brilliant move in Turn 2, with six laps to go. Martin followed him, but the Ducati rider was unable to keep up with Quartararo and crashed. With five laps left, the Yamaha man fancied his chances to enter the fight for fourth. On the penultimate lap, he overtook Aleix Espargaró for eighth place, which he held across the finish line, 8.543s from first.
Morbidelli was in a difficult position, starting from P16 as 20 MotoGP riders all dived into the first right-hander. Once the order settled at the end of the chaotic first lap, the Italian was at the back of the pack.
The number-21 rider had hoped for an improvement compared to the Sprint but didn‘t have the feeling he was looking for. Nevertheless, he battled with Fabio Di Giannantonio and Augusto Fernandez, aiming to collect as many points as possible. With several riders retiring from the race, the Yamaha man moved up to 14th place. He took the chequered flag 27.050s from first.
Today‘s results earn Quartararo his first 8 points, putting him in 10th place in the overall standings. Morbidelli sits in 17th place with 2 points. After Round 1, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team is in 8th place in the team championship with 10 points, and Yamaha are on the board in the constructors championship in 5th position with 8 points.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will now travel straight to the Termas de Río Hondo track for next weekend‘s Gran Premio de la República Argentina.
Of course, it was a difficult race, mostly because of where I qualified. Yesterday, I had an issue with launch control, but this time I chose a line that wasn’t correct, so we were super far behind. The pace was not too bad. If you look at my last lap of this race, it was very close to my fastest lap in last year’s race. I think the pace we all had during this weekend was extremely fast. I’m hoping to be fighting more towards the front in Argentina.
It was a very tough race. In the test, I was off the pace by 0.6s, and today I was off the pace by 0.5s, so I improved 0.1s. I need to focus on the positives. We did improve slightly, and I was very consistent in the race. I managed to bring the bike to the end of the race, and I got two points. I definitely hope there will be more positives in Argentina. I’m looking forward to it.