Double delight sees Pecco Bagnaia take the early initiative, with Maverick Viñales and Marco Bezzecchi not far behind
The 2023 MotoGP™ Championship kicked off with a spectacular opening round at the Portuguese GP. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was the star of the weekend, putting in a dominant performance and claiming victory in both the first-ever Tissot Sprint and the Grand Prix race on Sunday.
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Bagnaia collected the maximum points on offer, securing 12 points from the Sprint and 25 from his race win, taking an early lead in the Championship with 37 points. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) came in second with 25 points, earned through a Sunday podium and Sprint P5, followed by Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) with 16 points thanks to his Sunday P3. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) complete the top five with 15 points each, with Gresini Racing's Alex Marquez a few points further back.
However, the 2022 title contenders Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) had a tough weekend. Espargaro never mounted a serious podium challenge but picked up 11 points from the weekend, while Quartararo’s P8 on Sunday meant he only earned eight points. Bastianini had the misfortune of picking up an injury in the Sprint, which ruled him out of Sunday's race, resulting in zero points.
Meanwhile, despite Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) securing a Sprint podium, he did not feature in the top 10 after his DNF on Sunday, leaving him with only seven points from the weekend. Unfortunately, he has since been ruled out of the Argentina GP.
It's still early days in the season, but Bagnaia's performance in Portugal has shown that he's once again a force to be reckoned with. However, with 20 more rounds left in the calendar, anything can happen, and fans can expect more thrilling races ahead, starting with a visit to Termas de Rio Hondo this weekend.
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) - 37 points
2. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) - 25 points
3. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) - 16 points
4. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) - 15 points
5. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) - 15 points
6. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) - 12 points
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) - 11 points
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) - 10 points
9. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) - 9 points
10. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) - 8 points