RIDER RATINGS: Two riders faultless, but which riders were given awful scores?

Rider ratings for the Portuguese MotoGP as Francesco Bagnaia remained perfect to kick off his title defence.
MotoGP Portimao 2023
MotoGP Portimao 2023

Francesco Bagnaia - 10

(Qualified 2nd, finished 1st)

(Sprint race finish - P1)

Bagnaia’s perfect weekend got even better after leading all-but one lap in Portimao.

After overtakes on Jorge Martin and Miguel Oliveira on lap two, Bagnaia was able to control his pace despite heavy pressure from Maverick Vinales. A sensational performance after kicking off his title defence with victory in the Sprint, Bagnaia reminded everyone why he’s the clear favourite to become Italy’s first back-to-back MotoGP champion since Valentino Rossi in 2008-09. 

Maverick Vinales - 10

(Qualified 7th, started 6th, finished 2nd)

(Sprint race finish - P5) 

While it wasn’t the double victory of Bagnaia, Vinales was the only rider that was able to keep the Ducati rider honest throughout the 25 laps race. Had Vinales not shown incredible speed to draw himself closer during the early stages, then Bagnaia would have taken a comfortable win. After showing more speed than Espargaro in the Sprint, the factory Aprilia rider took his level to heights that Espargaro couldn’t live with during the Grand Prix. 

Marco Bezzecchi - 9

(Qualified 8th, started 7th, finished 3rd)

(Sprint race finish - DNF)

After making a crucial error in the Sprint race, Bezzecchi bounced back with a brilliant podium. Embroiled in an early battle with Alex Marquez, Jack Miller and Brad Binder, Bezzecchi’s rhythm proved too much as he gradually pulled clear.

Marco Bezzecchi Portimao MotoGP
Marco Bezzecchi Portimao MotoGP

Johann Zarco - 9

(Qualified 10th, started 9th, finished 4th)

(Sprint race finish - P8)

One of the performances of the weekend, Zarco’s fairly quiet start to the race was followed by an explosive turn of pace during the closing stages. Battling hard against Espargaro for several laps, Zarco then made light work of Miller, Binder and Marquez in the space of two laps to claim an unlikely podium. 

Alex Marquez - 8

(Qualified 13th, started 12th, finished 5th)

(Sprint race finish - P9)

After a disappointing qualifying given the pace he showed in practice, Marquez produced a performance that Ducati will be extremely pleased with. Fourth for much of the race, Marquez was able to snap back at the likes of Miller and Binder at every opportunity. It was another clear sign that huge potential exists between Marquez and Ducati.

Brad Binder - 9

(Qualified 15th, started 14th, finished 6th)

(Sprint race finish - P12)

Not himself for much of the weekend due to a persistent neck injury, Binder produced yet more Sunday miracles to beat teammate Miller. A stunning start from P14 was a big reason for his strong result, however, Binder claimed P6 on merit after showing very strong race pace. 

Jack Miller - 8

(Qualified 5th, finished 7th)

(Sprint race finish - P4)

Unable to fight at the front as he did in the Sprint race, Miller was still very competitive on his debut weekend with the KTM team. A difficult pre-season seemed to suggest that Miller could be in trouble at Portimao, which was far from the case. 

Fabio Quartararo - 6

Fabio Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

(Qualified 11th, finished 8th)

(Sprint race finish - P10)

Another poor start to the race left Quartararo in difficulty, although the 2021 world champion fought back to claim P8, which is not the result he would have been hoping for. Yamaha’s problems were again visible against their competition and Quartararo will need big improvements from the Japanese manufacturer if he’s to be a threat for the title. 

Aleix Espargaro - 6

(Qualified 12th, started 11th, finished 9th)

(Sprint race finish - P6)

After showing pace towards the end of the Sprint race, Espargaro struggled to match it during the Grand Prix in what was a tough opening round for the Spaniard. 

Alex Rins - 5

Alex Rins Honda MotoGP
Alex Rins Honda MotoGP

(Qualified 16th, started 15th, finished 10th)

(Sprint race finish - P13)

Despite being happy with his adaptation to the Honda in pre-season, Rins and LCR struggled to fight their way through the field after a poor qualifying session. Rins did manage a solid recovery during the race, although accidents ahead of him gifted the Spaniard a top ten finish.

Joan Mir - 4

(Qualified 14th, started 13th, finished 11th)

(Sprint race finish - DNF)

Mir would have been given the same grade as Rins had he finished Saturday’s Sprint, however, the former Suzuki rider made a big error of judgment which caused him to hit Quartararo, thus giving him a below par score.

Takaaki Nakagami - 5

(Qualified 18th, started 17th, finished 12th)

(Sprint race finish - P15) 

Not the weekend Nakagami would have wanted as he regularly proved to be the slowest of the four Honda riders.

Augusto Fernandez - 6

(Qualified 19th, started 18th, finished 13th)

(Sprint race finish - DNF)

After failing to finish his first race in the premier class, Fernandez took advantage of incidents ahead of him to score points for the first time in his MotoGP career.

Franco Morbidelli - 4

(Qualified 17th, started 16th, finished 14th)

(Sprint race finish - P14)

Although he made progress during the race in terms of position, Morbidelli’s results were again a disappointment as he failed to deliver a noteworthy performance.

Raul Fernandez - 5

(Qualified 20th, started 19th, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - P11)

After a strong recovery during the Sprint race, Fernandez looked set for a promising Grand Prix before crashing out with just a few laps remaining. Fernandez was also off the pace shown by teammate Oliveira throughout the weekend. 

Luca Marini - 2

(Qualified 9th, started 8th, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - DNF)

Fastest at two of the three pre-season tests, Marini showed anything but that type of form when it came to the race weekend. The Italian crashed out of both races, which included hitting Enea Bastianini in the Sprint, which is why a grade of 2 has been handed out. 

Jorge Martin - 7

(Qualified 3rd, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - P2)

A strong grade for Martin considering he did not finish the Grand Prix as second place in the Sprint and being in contention for the podium during today's main race showed that the potential is there for a big season. Martin was third before an error from Marc Marquez took him out of contention and dropped him to P15. The Pramac rider later crashed out of tenth place. 

Fabio Di Giannantonio - 4

(Qualified 21st, started 20th, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - P16)

Di Giannantonio was nowhere near the pace of Marquez throughout the weekend, and while more was expected from the Italian, Di Giannantonio’s race came to an end not because of a crash, but because of a technical issue. 

Marc Marquez - 3

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

(Qualified 1st, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - P3)

Saving Marquez from joining Marini on a score of two was the fact he scored a pole position and podium in the Sprint with a Repsol Honda bike that is lacking performance, however, his mistake on lap three sent the Portuguese crowd into anger after wiping out Oliveira. Marquez initially hit Martin before clattering into Oliveira at full speed, which left the Aprilia rider unable to walk away from the scene of the accident.

Miguel Oliveira - 6

(Qualified 4th, DNF)

(Sprint race finish - P7)

Looking set to challenge for the podium, Oliveira’s race-ending crash could have bigger consequences after it appeared as though the ex-KTM rider suffered injuries. While the results were not what Oliveira would have wanted at his home round, the RNF Aprilia rider was impressive on his official debut with the team and showed why he’s a five-time race winner in MotoGP.

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