Repsol Honda Team's Alex Marquez put in a stunning performance in the first Virtual MotoGP™ Race by taking victory by over seven seconds after fighting past Pramac Racing's Francesco Bagnaia in a gripping early fight for the lead. It means the reigning Moto2™ World Champion clinched victory in his debut MotoGP™ race to, sort of, become the first rider to take victory in his debut MotoGP™ race since Max Biaggi back in 1998 at Suzuka.
The rookie made a great start from fourth on the grid and was luckily able to avoid the chaos around him on the opening lap when poleman Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) dove under the inside of the number 73, only to tuck the front and take out fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) instead of the Repsol Honda man. Then began a fierce fight with Bagnaia with the pair swapping places turn after turn at the iconic Mugello. A former Moto2™ rivalry looked to have ignited in MotoGP™ during the #StayAtHomeGP.
Eventually, Marquez was able to break clear of Bagnaia following a crash for the Italian, taking the chequered flag over seconds clear with the Spaniard even remarking "want me to wait for all of you at the finish line" as he took the chequered flag.
"So happy," started Alex Marquez. "I knew before the race I wasn’t the fastest one, especially in one lap, so my target was to be as consistent as I could be. I had a good fight with Pecco in the opening laps until he had his crash at Arrabbiata. I want to say thank you to Putut Maulana [Moe27 - an Indonesian MotoGP™ eSport rider], who gave me some setup tips.
"I didn’t pass the tips to Marc because yes he’s my teammate but he’s my rival also! I’m looking forward to doing another race now. I will say to Dorna I want to do it again, but I want a little more notice. I only had a few days to prepare, so to have a week would be better for next time."
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