The importance of Fabio Quartararo's 14 front-row starts to this year's title-winning MotoGP campaign was evident at Portimao on Sunday, where the Monster Yamaha star felt he had victory pace but couldn’t overtake slower riders.

It's a problem numerous Yamaha riders have highlighted in the past, but Quartararo's exceptional qualifying form - including consecutive front rows from rounds 3-15 - meant he has largely been able to avoid the issue.

At the previous Misano round, Quartararo had salvaged fourth place from a MotoGP worst of 15th on the grid, but been aided by eight riders crashing out.

At Portimao, hopes were high of seeing the first real duel between newly crowned champion Quartararo and nearest rival Francesco Bagnaia as the pair dominated free practice.

But Quartararo managed only seventh in qualifying and while Bagnaia turned pole position into a comfortable victory, Quartararo struggled to pass other Ducatis and crashed out of sixth place with three laps to go.

"When you are stuck behind a Ducati and you are just..." said a frustrated Quartararo. "Honestly, I could go much faster all the race. I could really have the pace of Pecco for sure.

"I remember he started 11th here [in April] and to overtake was not a big issue, but for me, I stayed 15 laps behind Martin, and even if he was riding one-second slower, I couldn't overtake.

"For me the grip was much better today, but to be honest, we are too far behind with the speed that we have in that kind of track.

"If you make a great qualifying, I was able to fight for the victory for sure. But if you miss the qualifying, you can say bye bye to the podium and the victory."

Quartararo's accident was his first in a race all season.

"To be honest, when I crashed I was on the limit and I couldn't make the corner, but I know that if I [went wide], I would have been overtaken by the others, and I just gave it a try, and the try didn't work!"

The young Frenchman sent a clear message to Yamaha that engine progress needs to be their top priority for 2022.

"It's really a shame that we have these kind of difficulties, because the bike is so good to ride, but with this speed, you can't make any mistakes.

"Even if we lose in another area, we need to gain on top speed, because to overtake is just a nightmare. Well, we just can't overtake.

"Also, during the year, you can bring new chassis. You can have an evolution at the Jerez test, at the Misano test, in the Barcelona test, but you can't have an evolution of the engine.

"So I think they [Yamaha] should push so much and so much on the engine, because to be honest, for the future it's not going to be easy."

With Quartararo out, the top Yamaha was Valentino Rossi in 13th place.

The accident also confirmed Ducati as the 2021 Constructors' champions and the Italian factory now holds a commanding 28 points advantage in the teams' championship heading into the Valencia finale.