Both Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) missed out on a top-three finish in the first Virtual MotoGP™ Race after crashes halted both of the riders' progress. Quartararo was one of the pre-race favourites and impressed during qualifying by setting the fastest lap around the iconic Mugello to claim pole position for the #StayAtHomeGP.
However, it quickly went wrong for the Frenchman when he took out 2021 teammate Maverick VIñales at the first corner in a dramatic start to the race. He quickly began to recover before another crash made it certain the 20-year-old wouldn't find himself on the rostrum. Keen to make a statement on the final lap though, Quartararo set the fastest lap of the race despite having seriously worn tyres.
Primera carrera de la temporada aunque haya sido virtual! P.5! En la PlayStation tengo que practicar un poco más! ????????— Marc Márquez (@marcmarquez93) March 29, 2020
First race of the season although it was virtual! P.5! I have to improve a little bit more playing with the PlayStation! ????#StayAtHomeGP @MotoGP @MotoGPeSport pic.twitter.com/dC9X2Lkjc8
“I braked a little bit late and I lost the front, but I don’t know if it was me that made him crash or just the game," said Quartararo, after eventually coming across the line in fourth place. When asked if the first lap, first corner incident between Viñales and himself would turn their relationship sour, both confirmed it was already water under the bridge with El Diablo saying: "For sure we'll stay friends!".
Marquez, meanwhile, managed to avoid the drama at the opening corner and quickly began to escape. He was unable to match the pace of brother Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) at the front but was seemingly settling into a comfortable podium finish. That was until a crash allowed Viñales back into the podium hunt, with the factory Yamaha rider not needing a second invitation to steal third away from the World Champion.
What a race Hahahah ! 3 crashes and still got P4 ???????????? I got armpump in the beginning that why I was doing mistake ????— Fabio Quartararo (@FabioQ20) March 29, 2020
At least we got the Pole position and fastest lap of the race ???? pic.twitter.com/KC9NtgOdIm
However, despite eventually crossing the line in fifth after Quartararo's late pace was too hot to handle, Marquez was pleased with a top-five finish in the first Virtual Race: "I knew that my only chance was not crashing," said the eight-time World Champion. "I started well and was starting to get my rhythm but then I had a small crash. I started the race in fifth and finished the race in fifth, so a top-five at Mugello with my Honda and my riding style is fine."