MotoGP: Bagnaia wins in Portimão as Oliveira crashes out

Huge disappointment as Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira crashes out after being hit by Marc Marquéz during lap 3

Italian rider and reigning MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia won the season-opening Portuguese Grand Prix on Sunday in what turned out to be a hugely disappointing race for national motorsports fans.

Miguel Oliveira, Portugal’s star rider who was racing on his new bike, was blindsided from behind by Marc Márquez during lap 3, causing both riders to crash out from the race. Márquez also collided with Jorge Martin before crashing into Oliveira, causing the Spaniard a broken toe and an injured ankle.

The crash came when Oliveira was in second place, clearly in the fight for a podium finish, making his early exit from his home GP all the more frustrating.

Today was a shame. Obviously, to end my home GP after two laps is not what I was expecting for sure,” Oliveira said after the race.

“Anyway, I think we can be very proud of the progression we had, coming from a difficult day on Friday, qualifying like we did yesterday, having the podium in hand in the sprint race.

“The start we made today, leading, coming second, I think today was a clear opportunity to score a podium. From the crash I’m still very bruised on my right side,” the Portuguese rider said.

After the crash, Márquez immediately checked on Oliveira, who remained on the ground and was removed from the track on a stretcher, despite not seemingly sustaining any major injuries.

First of all I’m very sorry to Oli, his team, to his fans at the Portuguese GP. I did a big mistake,” Márquez said after the race.

“It was not my intention obviously, my intention was not even to overtake Martin at that point. I had a massive lock on the front (tyre), maybe the hard front (tyre) option was not ready.

“After that big lock I released the brakes and when I released the brakes the bike goes inside and I was able to avoid contact with Martin but not with Oli. Sometimes these kinds of things happen in races and I understand I made a big mistake,” he added.

“I have a few injuries but now, for me it’s not important. What’s important is Miguel is okay. I will come back when I’m ready,” said Marquez, who was due to undergo checks in hospital in Barcelona on a possible fracture to his right hand following the accident.

Having escaped the mayhem of the crash, Bagnaia picked up where he left off last season.

It was very long race, I’m very happy. This season we started as I wanted, how the team wanted. Thanks to the team which has done an incredible job,” said Bagnaia after the race.

Maverick Viñales finished second, while Marco Bezzecchi closed out the podium in third.

By Michael Bruxo

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Portugal Resident