MotoGP: Portuguese Grand Prix Rider Ratings
Here are my ratings for the MotoGP riders throughout the Grand Prix of Portugal.
Fabio Quartararo - Started 1st/Finished 1st- 10/10
Fabio Quartararo is in the best form of his MotoGP career! Fabio has won two races and finished 4th in the three races so far in the 2021 season. These results have put Quartararo at the top of the MotoGP World Championship! If Fabio can continue this form he has found, and if he does not let the pressure get to him, like it did in 2020, then he might find his name on the MotoGP World Championship trophy at the end of the season.
Francesco Bagnaia - Started 11th/Finished 2nd - 9/10
Saturday started well for Pecco as he qualified on pole with a circuit lap record at Portimao. However, after Bagnaia had celebrated his pole position he returned to his pit box when his team had to tell him that his pole lap had been taken from him due to infringing a yellow flag. This clearly had Bagnaia all fired up for the race! This was obvious as Bagnaia had picked off every rider in his path and got towards the front, of course Bagnaia was fortunate due to Zarco and Rins crashing in front of him. However, Bagnaia did finish 2nd and gained 20 priceless Championship points, which puts him 2nd in the World Championship.
Joan Mir - Started 9th/Finished 3rd - 8.5/10
A 3rd place finish was an excellent result for Joan Mir! This is of course due to the Suzuki GSX-RR not being the most well-equipped bike around Portimao. However, Joan made it work and stuck the Suzuki on the podium, which is of course damage limitation for the reigning World Champion. Mir now sits 5th in the World Championship and is 23 points behind Fabio Quartararo.
Takaaki Nakagami - Started 21st/Finished 10th - 8.5/10
In a way Takaaki's result was overshadowed by the return of Marc Marquez, but this fellow Honda rider pulled out some heroics of his own. In a Friday practice session Taka had a vicious crash coming down the hill towards turn 1, this crash was so bad and left Nakagami in so much pain that he could not qualify. But in the race the Japanese rider arguably had the best raceof anybody! He soldiered through the race and managed to carve his way into 10th place! Obviously, this result does not seem outstanding but it does secure Taka his first points finish of 2021.
Brad Binder - Started 15th/Finished 5th - 8.5/10
Brad Binder is slowly becoming a Sunday man in MotoGP. He has a poor qualifying result, but then suddenly Brad is up at the front during the race. Binder made quick work of some of the top riders and was in the top 5 by the end of the race. If there were 5 more laps in the race then I believe that Binder could have found himself up near the podium.
Franco Morbidelli - Qualified 5th/Finished 4th - 8/10
Franco has seemingly turned round the two poor results from the Qatar races. Morbidelli finished 3rd at the Portuguese Grand Prix last year, and this year he finished 4th. Which may be seen as a downgrade but after two poor results Morbidelli looked like his old self. Franco looked fast, consistent and up for a fight! After qualifying on the second row, he seemed determined to get a good result. He had the potential to get a podium, but he lacked the speed down the straight, which is where Francesco Bagnaia would leave Mir and Morbidelli for dead. But overall, it was good to see Franco near the front again.
Marc Marquez - Started 6th/Finished 7th - 7.5/10
Marc is back in MotoGP and it is safe to say he still has his speed from before his injury! But his arm muscles are not fully up to MotoGP race level, this is due to not being able to activate these muscles in a gym. His qualifying performance was exceptional to say he had nine months off of a MotoGP bike, but his race was as expected. Marc finished 7th in the race which seemed good, however he did benefit from Zarco, Miller and Rins crashing out of the race in front of him. Marc would have finished 10th without these crashes, which is still a decent result. However, this is still an amazing result for Marquez, and it is good to see him back in MotoGP.
Aleix Espagaro - Started 7th/Finished 6th - 7/10
This may have been Aleix's biggest race in his MotoGP career. This is because Aleix had to prove that the new Aprilia RS-GP had improved from 2020. The Qatar races produced good results for Aleix, however it is one of his favourite tracks and the Aprilia has gone well around the track in the past. However, Espargaro put all the speculation to bed after he finished in 6th at Portimao, which is drastically different to Qatar. The Aprilia could well reach the podium, all it has to do is go up a few places in the race, which sounds simple, but it sadly is not.
Enea Bastianini - Started 16th/Finished 9th - 6.5/10
Again, Bastianini is proving he is a great racer instead of a qualifier. The race for Enea was rather average for his standard now but he is consistently finishing in the top 10. Bastianini is a very impressive and consistent rider to say that he is a MotoGP rookie, but he is of course a Moto2 World Champion.
Luca Marini - Started 8th/Finished 12th - 6.5/10
Luca is another MotoGP rookie, and he did go backwards during the Portuguese Grand Prix. However, he did show his talent this weekend as he put himself on the third row after qualifying. During the race though Marini did claim his first MotoGP points, and it was very respectable that he managed to hold off his half-brother, Valentino Rossi, for most of the race. This is a sign of Luca's gradual improvements in MotoGP.
Alex Marquez - Started 13th/Finished 8th - 6/10
This has been Alex's best result of the 2021 MotoGP season after he crashed out of both Qatar races. This point finish should keep him in Honda's good books for now. Alex was annoyed that he could not beat his brother around Portimao, but it was a good result overall.
Valentino Rossi - Started 17th/Did Not Finish - 5/10
Sadly, Rossi making his way from 17th on the grid to 11th in the race, but crashing out, is a good result for Valentino! Rossi lacked race pace at Qatar, but seemingly made another step at Portimao. The real question is can Valentino find his past form at Jerez?
Johann Zarco - Started 3rd/Did Not Finish - 4.5/10
This may be a bit high for Johann because of the crash, but he still displayed such a great race before the crash. Johann was in the podium position and looked comfortable to finish on the podium again. However, the Pramac Ducati had a gearbox problem which was partly due to the crash, but I do believe that Johann was partly to fault due to the pressure he was under.
Pol Espagaro - Started 14th/Did Not Finish - 4/10
Pol was hindered in Portimao due to a rear brake failure from the moment the lights went out. This is what caused Espargaro to pull into the pits, which is of course not his fault. However, it could be argued that Pol should have qualified higher up the grid than 14th place.
Danilo Petrucci - Started 18th/Finished 13th - 3.5/10
Danilo has had a disastrous start at KTM and has finally scored his first points on the Tech 3 KTM, he is starting to find his feet at KTM which is good steps. Petrucci's result was good as well to say he is carrying an injury from the first Qatar race. However, his race was slowed by the roadblock that was Luca Marini.
Alex Rins - Started 2nd/Did Not Finish - 3/10
I cannot begin to state my disappointment in Rins during his MotoGP career. One minute he looks like he could get a podium and commit to a title challenge, but the next minute you see the Spaniard rolling through the gravel after he has crashed pushing too hard! The only thing that has made me put Rins here is because he qualified 2nd and showed pace to stay with Fabio, until he crashed.
Iker Lecuona - Started 19th/Finished 15th - 3/10
Well, it was Lecuona's first point scoring position from 2021, but according to Iker it was his worst weekend in MotoGP. This was however Iker's first race at Portimao so that does let him off a bit. However, he will need to improve quickly before Remy Gardner or Raul Fernandez steal his seat for 2022.
Miguel Oliveira - Started 10th/Finished 16th - 2.5/10
Miguel has been very local about the Michelin tyre he won with around Portimao last year was removed from the allocation. Oliveira went for the next best thing and managed to crash out of the race. Sadly, he just cannot adapt to the new front tyre.
Jack Miller - Started 4th/Did Not Finish - 1.5/10
Jack Miller was the favourite to win the first two races at Qatar, but he finished 9th in both and had a heated battle with Joan Mir. Jack then crashed out of the Portuguese Grand Prix in a rather rookie style, this is because he lost the front end after witnessing a rider in front of him make a mistake. Sooner or later Jack will need to up his game before the pressure cooker that is Ducati show him the door.
Maverick Vinales - Started 12th/Finished 11th - 1/10
The real Maverick Vinales is back! After two brilliant races in Qatar, it was a matter of time until Maverick went back to his old ways. In fact, it happened in Portimao! Vinales had a dreadful start, got out muscled into turn 1 and found himself in last place! Thankfully, he managed to compose himself and claim a few points as he finished in 11th. But let us be honest this version of Maverick Vinales is not good enough to win a World Championship.