MotoGP
French rider Fabio Quartararo (centre) of Monster Energy Yamaha Motogp, French rider Johann Zarco (left) of Pramac Racing team and Spanish rider Aleix Espargaro of Aprilia Racing team celebrate during the podium ceremony for the Grand Prix of Portugal at the Algarve International race track on April 24. Photo: EPA/JOSE SENA GOULÃO

Fabio Quartararo repeats MotoGP win in Portugal

Organisers say MotoGP due to return to Portimão in 2023

The reigning MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo came out on top once again at the Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix in Portimão, repeating his 2021 victory and dashing Portuguese fans’ hopes of a Miguel Oliveira win.

The Portuguese rider did finish in the top five (5th), an impressive result considering he started the race in 11th.

However, the star of the day was Frenchman Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), whose dominant performance propelled him to the lead of the World Championship. He was joined on the podium by Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing).

The result was an emotional one for Quartararo, whose previous results in 2022 had become “tough to accept”.

“It was quite a long time since I achieved a victory, I think it was in August at Silverstone,” Quartararo said, cited by motorsport.com.

“But also the tough times that I had this year. It was a short time, four races, but when you win the championship, you always want to fight again for the championship,” he added.

“For me, it was tough to accept that I was happy to finish seventh in Austin,” Quartararo said.

“But today to fight for the victory again was something special, something emotional because I have always said I will fight the same for P1, P5 or P10. And, of course, today it was much more fun, and that’s why I got that emotional,” he added.

On the other hand, Miguel Oliveira felt like he could have achieved more than a top-five finish.

“But we had some difficulties during the race. To finish fifth on a day when not everything goes well is something to be proud of,” the 27-year-old said after the race.

One thing that did go his way was the overwhelming support he received from fans. Hundreds of bikers travelled to Portimão on Wednesday, April 20 to escort him from the town’s riverside to the Algarve International Racetrack.

If all goes according to plan, Miguel Oliveira will have another opportunity to repeat his 2020 victory as the championship’s organiser has confirmed plans to bring the race back to Portimão next year.

“I want to highlight that we are very happy about this GP and Portugal is always an interesting market for the MotoGP World Championship, with fans faithful to our sport,” said Carmelo Ezpeleta, executive director of Dorna, in a written statement cited by Lusa news agency.

He added that the 2023 calendar is being worked on and should be announced in September, with the plan being to have Portimão on it.

Ezpeleta also said that the riders are fans of the circuit, and that the Algarve is a “very welcoming” region.

This will come as music to the ears of tourism authorities in the Algarve. João Fernandes, the man who leads the Algarve’s two most important tourism entities – the tourism board (RTA) and association (ATA) – said the event has a direct and indirect economic impact of around €50 million on the region.

By Michael Bruxo
michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com