Alex Rins was the only rider able to match the pace of Fabio Quartararo during Sunday's Portimao MotoGP, but the Suzuki rider walked away empty handed after a late fall.

While Quartararo dropped from pole to sixth on the opening lap, Rins retained his second place, then passed fellow front-row starter Johann Zarco for the lead on lap 4 of 25.

The recovering Quartararo took the advantage from Rins on lap 9, then unleashed a searing pace. But Rins remained glued to his rear wheel and set a new lap record on lap 18, by which time they were several seconds clear of the field.

But any chance of a victory showdown, and an almost certain first podium of the season, ended shortly after when Rins lost the front of his GSX-RR and slid out of the race at Turn 5.

"I’m quite impressed because I improved a lot compared to last year," said Rins, who finished 15th and nearly 30-seconds from the winner last November. "But in the end, we weren’t able to get our prize because of the crash.

"I was riding on the limit. Fabio was very strong, but it felt like a good limit and I didn’t feel like I was over the limit at any point.

"Sometimes when you are in the limit, the bike is shaking and spinning in all the corners, you can't breathe. But this time, I was riding quite well. I was riding on the limit, but relaxed. I was controlling very well the spin, the wear of the tyre.

"It’s a big shame because we analysed the crash and data and I did nothing wrong on that corner. Same braking point, same pressure on brakes. But sometimes this happens.

"Today I was watching the Moto3 warm-up and it looked like Qatar. A lot of dust on the track. But lap by lap the line was getting better and better," he added. "Also I was talking with Vale, and he said that he analysed his crash and it was also the same as the lap before.

"I’m not saying that the Michelin tyres are going very bad because I did a good pace and I was there with Fabio. But maybe the track condition was not 100% today.

"For sure, the victory today was a bit difficult, but we lost a very important 20 points."

Quartararo went on to win the race by 4.8s over Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) with Rins' team-mate Joan Mir completing the podium.

 

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