Quartararo Takes Top 8 Finish at 2023 MotoGP Portugal Season Opener
The 2023 MotoGP season is off to a promising start for Team ENEOS riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli, representing Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, battling at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve for the Grande Prémio de Portugal. Quartararo had a challenging race start but managed to cross the finish line in eighth place, while Morbidelli finished 14th.
Starting from tenth on the grid, Quartararo had his work cut out for him when he completed the first lap in 15th. He overtook several riders later on, and when Miguel Oliveira and Marc Marquez crashed out, the Frenchman broke into the top 10 by lap 9.
Trying to close a large gap to the riders ahead, El Diablo refused to ease off, even with Jorge Martin trailing behind. He overtook Luca Marini brilliantly in Turn 2 with six laps to go, and on the penultimate lap, Quartararo passed Aleix Espargaró for eighth, holding the position across the finish line, 8.543sec from first.
“This was a difficult race because of where I qualified,” Quartararo explained. “My line was off, so it put me back far behind. My pace wasn’t bad, and the last lap of the race was very close to my fastest lap in last year’s race. I’ll be fighting for the front in Argentina.”
Meanwhile teammate Morbidelli started from a more difficult P16 and the Italian settled at the back of the pack after a chaotic first lap. Battling to collect as many points as possible, he moved up to 14th as several riders retired from the race, taking the checkered flag with 27.050sec from first.
“Very tough race but I need to focus on the positives,” said Morbidelli. “We made slight improvements and rode consistently, while managing to finish the race to collect two points. I’m looking forward to a more positive result in Argentina.”
Following the Portuguese GP, Quartararo collects his first 8 points, placing him in 10th place in the overall standings; Morbidelli is in 17th with 2 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is in eighth place for the team championship with 10 points, and Yamaha are in fifth place in the manufacturer championship with 8 points.
Team ENEOS head to Termas de Río Hondo for the Gran Premio de la República Argentina from March 30 through April 2, 2023.