MOTOGP – SPRINT: Viñales victorious as Marc Marquez strikes late on Martin

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) is victorious after an exciting Grande Prémio Tissot de Portugal MotoGP™ Tissot Sprint, coming across the line to take a heroic victory in a monumental moment for his season. Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) ended the race in second after a brave last-lap overtake at turn five on Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) who was unable to show his full potential in a Sprint that was full of twists across a fast and furious 12 laps.

It was a brilliant start to the race from Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) who took the lead on the exit of turn one – storming away on the first lap. Polesitter Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) got swallowed by the front group as the Italian was demoted to P5 following an issue with his rear ride height device. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez was one of the riders who found a way through on Bastianini – jumping into third place after passing Viñales.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) hit the front of the race – trying to build a comfortable gap quickly. Marc Marquez soon found his way through to pass Viñales, taking second position to the delight of the #93 fans in the grandstand. Marc Marquez kept second position for a handful of laps before making a vital mistake and running wide at the tricky turn five.

Multiple riders crashed in the early stages of the Sprint including Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR). Before being swiftly followed by Fabio Di Giannantonio and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) in a disastrous end to their races.

Aprilia Racing’s riders were moving up the field throughout the Sprint as Viñales battled for the win and Aleix Espargaro made his way from 13th on the grid to eighth.

The fastest lap also changed hands throughout the race with Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) soon setting the best lap. Martin was pushing to keep his style as the King of the Sprints – overtaking Marc Marquez and stealing the fastest lap from the rookie.

Bagnaia made a big mistake on the entry to turn one, running wide and re-joining in fourth position in a pivotal moment. This mistake blew the Sprint wide open and created an all-out duel for the second Sprint victory of the year. Viñales expertly held off Martin with nothing separating them in what was turning out to be a nail-biting finish at the Portuguese GP.

However, Martin ran wide with just over two laps to go, which gave Viñales half a second of breathing space, and allowed Marc Marquez to plan his attack. The move from #93 came at turn five in a thrilling and brave move that allowed the eight-time World Champion to secure second place in his second weekend with Ducati.

MOTOGP – RACE: Martin wins and Acosta makes history

The 2024 Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal was a stunning lights to flag win for Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) as the number #89 took the victory and the Championship lead with it. But this is the world’s most exciting sport, and there are no single sentence explanations to cover 25 laps of MotoGP™ on the rollercoaster. Martin won, and Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) chased him close all the way until a heartbreaking last lap technical issue. Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) came though to take second and his first podium of the year. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech 3) made history as the third youngest podium finisher in premier class history with an incredible charge past Champions past and present. And?

11 World Championships went toe-to-toe, and all of them slid off into the run off area. Riders ok, but in one of the most dramatic incidents for some time, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) collided with only a handful of laps to go. The FIM MotoGP™ Stewards officially deem it a racing incident, but it seems a moment that will be debriefed for weeks, months, if not years to come.

Martin led the field on the entry into turn one, making a perfect start to the Portuguese GP. Chasing Martin out of the gates was Sprint winner Maverick Vinales onboard the Aprilia Racing machine. Bagnaia battled with Marc Marquez early too, with the two riders fighting inches apart for the same piece of tarmac on the opening lap. Bagnaia (in fourth) held off the eight-time World Champion as they settled in for an important race.

Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) lost the front at turn five, ending chances of a good result in lap two of the race. Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) crashed on lap five, falling at turn eight.

Meanwhile, Acosta was beginning to make ground in the early stages of the race,  battling with both Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines of Jack Miller and Brad Binder. Miller ran wide on the entry to turn one, dropping two positions and allowing Binder and Acosta to fight.

Acosta was on a charge, passing Binder after an impressive manoeuvre on the brakes, stealing the position from the South African. The rookie soon set his sights now on Marc Marquez, entering the top five in his first year in the class. Acosta was quickly catching Bagnaia, amazing the paddock with his confidence.

However, as the race progressed Acosta would run wide on the entry to turn one, getting sucked into the corner by Bagnaia’s slipstream. At the front however, the trio continued to run a hot pace with Martin leading the race by half a second as Bastianini waited for the right time to pounce from third position.

The fastest lap changed hands many times throughout the race with Acosta setting the pace in the early stages before Bastianini and Bagnaia responded. However, with 10 laps remaining Martin pushed to set a stunning 1:38.830 – extended his lead to the race briefly before Viñales responded one lap later.

Alex Marquez became the next retirement from the race after re-joining after a crash at the beginning of the race.

Acosta made a brave lunge at turn three, launching his attack on Bagnaia with five laps remaining in the race. Amazingly, Acosta checked out, bridging a gap of over two seconds with Marc Marquez now trying to pounce, falling on his first attempt to find a gap in Bagnaia’s defence. And then came the drama.

This time he wasn’t going to try and push it open a la Sprint, either. Four laps to go saw the Gresini remain an absolute shadow, but Bagnaia gained a little breathing space next time round. Just enough that when the #93 did strike, it was another absolute lunge – and it nearly did work. But Bagnaia is Bagnaia and the reigning Champion had anticipated, took back the inside line as tightly as possible… and that was that. The two diverged on the same space, and two into one doesn’t fit. Contact made, they both slid out as the crowd erupted.

Meanwhile, the rider sweeping past to take that fourth place? Acosta. But there was another twist in the tale for another rider up ahead, with fourth about to become premier class history.

Crossing the line for the last lap, Martin had enough in hand to bet on. But Viñales was suddenly slowing, hanging off the bike and then looking down as he headed into the run off. A late technical issue made it a heartbreaking end to the GP race for the Sprint winner, as he then crashed out as it said no more. And that put Acosta on the podium after his gung-ho charge for glory.

At the line, Martin was able to cross the line to win the Portuguese GP after a masterclass ride to win by 0.882. Bastianini came across the line in second ahead of rookie sensation Acosta who was promoted to the podium position in third – becoming the third youngest rider to finish on the podium in the premier class.

Binder and Miller brought their KTM’s to fourth and fifth position in a great day for the Austrian manufacturer. Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) finished in sixth after a solid Sunday for the Italian, ending the race ahead of the top Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ rider, Fabio Quartararo who was seventh. Aleix Espargaro was the sole Aprilia Racing rider to finish and to round out the top eight.

Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) finished ninth to the delight of the Portuguese crowd in the grandstand. Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team’s Fabio Di Giannantonio rounded out the top 10 as the team turns their sights to America. Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) finished in 11th, ahead of Joan Mir and Alex Rins. Rounding out the point-scoring positions were Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR) and Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR).

“It was a good battle. I never stopped believing until the end, but Jorge Martín pushed very hard and did a perfect race, so I had to settle for second. This is a special result for me, as Portimão isn’t among my favourite tracks. Surely, it’s a really great circuit, but prior to this weekend I had never been able to be really strong here. The three of us at the front did some push and pull throughout the race, but in the end the win was an impossible task today. Having Maverick (Viñales) ahead of me made my life a bit more complicated as he was really strong in the fourth sector, and I was never able to get close enough to him in the rest of lap. Things may have been easier had I been in front of him, but I was a bit nervous in the opening lap and made a few too many mistakes. I would like to thank the team and my family for their support because it wasn’t easy to return to top positions after such a complicated 2023 season.”
Enea Bastianini – P2

Augusto Fernández

“A big step today. I managed the low grip after a good start and also had some good fights. I made a few mistakes because I wanted to push more but we know we need to make steps and take points. Our pace is here right now but happy to get points and want to keep building. Congrats to Pedro. Incredible!”
Augusto Fernández – P11

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