Alex Marquez has claimed victory in the inaugural MotoGP Virtual Race after seeing off Francesco Bagnaia.

The opening digital race, arranged to help fill the void in MotoGP activity caused by the coronavirus, saw ten riders battle over a six-lap race at Mugello following five-minutes of qualifying in which Fabio Quartararo grabbed pole position.

Despite lining up at the front, it was a disaster start for Quartararo as he crashed with future team-mate Maverick Vinales at the first corner, which allowed the younger Marquez and Bagnaia bolt to the front chased by reigning MotoGP world champion Marquez.

With the ability levels ranging widely between the riders, put on more as a light relief amid the coronavirus pandemic, multiple crashes saw the order shaken up but both Alex Marquez and Bagnaia remained the class of the field at the front.

By lap four, the new Repsol Honda rider had built up a useful one-second advantage over Bagnaia and with the pressure mounting on the Pramac Ducati rider looking to close the gap he crashed and lost vital time to the current Moto2 world champion.

With a mistake-free final lap, Alex Marquez stormed to victory ahead of the Italian by seven seconds.

Vinales recovered from his first corner tangle with Quartararo to take third place for Monster Yamaha, just 1.4s off Bagnaia at the chequered flag. Quartararo produced the fastest lap of the race on the final lap to charge to fourth place for Petronas Yamaha ahead of Marc Marquez who missed out on the podium fight in fifth place.

Suzuki duo Alex Rins and Joan Mir looked the most evenly matched out the team-mates taking part in the game, with Rins edging Mir for sixth place.

Further back Miguel Oliveira led the KTM charge in eighth place, while his team-mate Iker Lecuona and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro were both unclassified finishers.

A second MotoGP Virtual Race is already planned for Sunday April 12. The racetrack and rider line-up for ‘Virtual Race 2’ is still to be confirmed, but Dorna is promising some of the Race 1 grid will return for round two, with ‘fresh faces from the likes of the Ducati Team and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing also slated to take part’.

MotoGP Virtual Race – Mugello Results:

1. Alex Marquez, 6 Laps, 10m 38.643s

2. Francesco Bagnaia, +7.093s

3. Maverick Vinales, +8.496s

4. Fabio Quartararo, +9.968s

5. Marc Marquez, +14.416s

6. Alex Rins, +19.548s

7. Joan Mir, +23.247s

8. Miguel Oliveira, +29.702s

9. Iker Lecuona, NC

10. Aleix Espargaro, NC

 

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