Francesco Bagnaia proved the only rider capable of challenging Alex Marquez for victory in the first 'Virtual MotoGP Race', around an online version of the Mugello circuit.

The Pramac Ducati star, who had qualified second of the ten riders behind Fabio Quartararo, shadowed Repsol Honda 'rookie' Marquez until the penultimate lap - when he ran wide at Arrabbiata 2 and digitally highsided on the kerbs.

However, the pair were already so far clear of the field that Bagnaia was still able to finish the incident-packed six-lap contest in second place, albeit some 7sec behind Alex Marquez.

"A first MotoGP podium, but in a different way," smiled Bagnaia, the only Italian and Ducati rider taking part in the opening Virtual Race.

"It was nice. I fought with Alex, but then crashed when I touched the kerb in Arrabbiata 2. In any case I had fun. I'm happy with second."

Bagnaia, said to be the fastest of the VR46 Academy riders when they play video games together, quipped: "Can we keep these points for the start of the normal championship?"

"No, no!" replied reigning champion Marc Marquez, who finished the race in fifth.

Pramac Ducati team manager Francesco Guidotti admitted it had been more fun to watch than he had expected.

"I am very happy with today's race result, I hope it will be the same for the real racing season!" he said. "I really enjoyed the Virtual Race, I had so much fun even if I'm not a real video game lover! The mood is positive and we can’t wait to get back on track!"

With the real MotoGP calendar still up-in-the-air due to the coronavirus, a second Virtual Race (with a to-be-confirmed rider line-up) will be held on Sunday, April 12.

MotoGP Virtual Race 1 – 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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