Quartararo Victorious in Portuguese Grand Prix
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo emerged victorious in the Algarve this weekend, dominating proceedings at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve to take the 2022 MotoGP World Championship lead.
Fabio Quartararo returned to winning ways this weekend as the European stint of the MotoGP World Championship got underway in Portugal – securing his first premier class victory since Silverstone last season.
An abundance of rain set the scene for most of Friday and Saturday’s running, MotoGP riders were relieved to be welcomed with dry but overcast conditions for Sunday afternoon’s 25-lap encounter.
Starting from row two, Quartararo got the perfect launch and found himself in second position by the end of lap one. Getting his head down and setting an early fastest lap, the Yamaha rider quickly reduced the gap to leader Joan Mir and worked his way by the Spanish rider on lap four with a brave pass up the inside at the downhill turn one.
With a clear track ahead, the 2021 World Champion extracted maximum performance from his Yamaha M1, making the most of his medium compound Michelin tyres. Setting a consistent fast pace, ‘El Diablo’, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on Thursday, continued to open the gap. Bettering his previous fastest lap with a 1:34.435 on lap ten, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider had opened a comfortable three second advantage by the halfway stage.
With no one pressuring him, the rider from Nice ticked off the laps, eventually crossing the line to take his first victory of the season, finishing 5.409 seconds ahead of second place.
WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team’s Andrea Dovizioso had a strong weekend in Portugal, concluding his efforts with an 11th place finish. The Italian, who had started the race from 16th, slipped to 18th in the opening corners. Using all his experience, the former MotoGP race winner started to make up ground and found himself on the cusp of the points by lap 17. Incidents for riders ahead elevated the Italian into the points, and he eventually finished the race in 11th place.
It was a tricky weekend for Franco Morbidelli aboard the Monster Energy Yamaha. The Italian had struggled with changeable conditions and started the race in 19th. Holding position on the opening lap, the 2017 Moto2 World Champion started to make progress and was inside the points by half race distance. Crashes for riders ahead brought the Roman to 13th, but with the gap ahead too much to conquer, he settled for a 13th place.
South Africa’s Darryn Binder had his first taste of MotoGP machinery at the rollercoaster of Portimao. The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP rider worked hard in the opening laps, and ultimately finished the race in 17th.
With an additional 25 World Championship points for victory, Quartararo now sits top of the World Championship standings, tied with Alex Rins on 69 points. Franco Morbidelli heads to Jerez in 15th while the WithU Yamaha RNF riders are separated by two points in 20th and 21st places respectively.
There’s no rest for the MotoGP paddock as they travel to Spain and the Circuito de Jerez across the 29th April -1st May.
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 1st
“I got this win by pushing myself to the limit. To be honest, I pushed just as much in Argentina and Austin, but mainly here our bike feels good. The straight is not so long, and we have grip, which means that we can go ’hammer time‘. Today, I felt amazing from the Warm Up on. In the race, I made an amazing start. I wanted to ride aggressively from the beginning, because I know that if we are behind our rivals here, we struggle. And we did it! I'm super happy, because I managed to get that first victory of the season. It's the most important thing for me to never give up, and it turns out that really was the most important.”
Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team – 11th
“At the end, we took some points. Relating to our speed, it was good, but overall, I’m not satisfied. On one hand, it’s interesting, because if you see my pace at the end of the race, it was quite good. The first half part of the race, when you have the grip, I’m not able to be faster and this is the point we need to work on. This is also the reason, why I’m not that fast in the practices and also why I lose a lot of time in the beginning of the race. When I was behind Maverick, he was starting to push and he was doing 1:40.5s. I couldn’t do lower than 1:40.7 and I did a mistake and went out of the track. At the end of the race, alone I was doing 1:40.2s. I don’t have the feeling and I don’t see how to use the bike at the beginning of the race. I think it’s good to have Jerez immediately and the test after the race, so we can work on that.”
Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – 13th
“It was a tough race weekend because we needed time to improve our dry base setting. We had none before this morning. We had the chance to make a small adjustment from the Warm Up to the race. The bike felt a bit better than it did during Warm Up, but unfortunately we need to work more on these settings and have more experience with them, which we didn't have this weekend. In the race I was braking early and not accelerating in the right way. I was slow.”
Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team – 17th
“It was an ok race. Unfortunately, it has been a difficult weekend with all the rain and this morning we only had Warm Up as a dry session and I was really struggling in Warm Up. I was very slow. In the race, luckily, I managed to find a bit of feeling. I went from doing 1:44s in Warm Up to doing 1:41s in the race, so I improved like three seconds. I managed to do all the race at a quite ok pace. Unfortunately, I really needed more dry laps on the big bike here to be able to make a step forward to stay with the other guys. I was with Di Giannantonio and we were catching Bezzecchi towards the end of the race, but when Di Giannantonio had a problem, I wasn’t able to close the gap to Bezzecchi on my own. I felt my references haven’t been good on my own. Overall, I made a good step forward from the Warm Up to the Race, but another session in the dry would have definitely helped.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“We are extremely happy with this first victory of the season, which the team fully deserves after the last few difficult GPs. Fabio was in another league today. This was a circuit where we had to exploit the advantage that this track gives us, gathering as many points as possible. In Warm Up, he already showed how fast he was, and we started thinking that anything was possible. Fabio made the best scenario happen, and he did it in his own way. It's nice to see Fabio back in the lead of the championship standings. Franky had a difficult day at the office. All the wet practice sessions leading up to today didn‘t allow him to work more on the bike for a dry race. We are already thinking about the next GP in one week‘s time.”
Razlan Razali – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, Founder and Team Principal
"Portimao, the first European Grand Prix was a difficult one due to the conditions from Friday, wet, cold and tricky. We didn't have a single dry session except towards the end of FP4 when the track became dry. It was a full dry race today and we are very happy with Andrea finishing 11th and becoming the second top for Yamaha after the win by Quartararo. I think he was determined and found a way to get the potential out of the YZR-M1 and he looks forward for the next race in Jerez next weekend.
"For Darryn, it continues to be difficult to adapt to the bike. It's a shame he could not score any points. He was consistent in his lap times together with the group of riders but unfortunately, when he was on his own he was not able to register the same kind of pace. We take the positives and go to Jerez with a reset and try to be a little more aggressive in all the practices there."