Alex Marquez returned to winning ways with a masterful display at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Round 4 virtual MotoGP 2020 as Marc Marquez scored his first pixelated podium with a scintillating second place.
With the times in Qualifying as close as ever, the fourth virtual race of 2020 looked set to be another closer fought affair with many of the regulars back at the front. As the lights went out, it was Alex Marquez who got the jump into Turn One from second on the grid aboard his Repsol Honda Team RC213V with World Champion Marc Marquez close behind.
The early laps saw Alex fighting with Quartararo and briefly Bagnaia, two of Alex’s consistent rivals for the podium. Bagnaia’s challenge faded early and soon the 2019 Moto2 World Champion was left with just Quartararo to battle him. Expert defending kept the French rider behind until the closing moments when the pair collided and handed the lead to Marc on the second Repsol Honda Team machine. A hard fight erupted over the final lap between Alex and Marc, but it would be Alex Marquez who took the win in a thrilling last corner battle, earning his second victory of the virtual season in fine style. 25 points for the win moves him to the head of the championship table with a total of 86 points.
Marc Marquez got off to a similarly strong start on the RC213V and remained just off the back of the riders fighting for victory. Saving his tyres, the eight-time World Champion attacked in the closing stages to fight with his new team-mate after a crash between the riders fighting for victory. Making his move on the brakes, Marc seemed to have the advantage but narrowly missed out in the drag to the line. The second-place finish is Marc’s first virtual podium and sees the Repsol Honda Team become the first team to finish one-two in the virtual series.
Alex Marquez, 1st: “I’m so happy with this win. It wasn’t easy as all race I was watching for Fabio behind, we crashed and then when Marc came at the end, I really had to push. I knew a little bit from playing with him in the past what he would try so I focused on the corner exit, I knew he’d be strong on the brakes. It has been great to put on another show for the fans and I think this was one of the best races yet. Thanks everyone for watching!”
Marc Marquez, 2nd: “Finally we finished on the podium! It was a really good race and the Misano circuit suited my virtual style a little more. I pushed very hard in the last laps to try and beat Alex but he was just able to get a small advantage. Congratulations to him, it was nice to battle on track. Now we’ll have a big party! First and second is a great result for us and the team.”
Meanwhile, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Valentino Rossi was proud to claim third place in only his second Virtual MotoGP race. This edition, was less successful for Maverick Viñales. Multiple crashes ended his chance to add another podium result to his name, but he managed to finish in sixth place.
Rossi started the race from fifth, sandwiched between team-mate Viñales and Marc Marquez. He lost some time due to a race incident in the opening lap, but thanks to some earlier practice with the MotoGP20 game, The Doctor showed off his fresh skills by riding a mostly faultless race. He fought his way up from eighth to fourth place and stalked the leading three riders. When Fabio Quartararo crashed in front of him, the Misano hero was there to snatch up third place and finish 4.687s from first.
Viñales started from fourth place with a clear view of the top 3, but his hopes of battling at the front were soon taken away from him. He got involved in a typical Virtual MotoGP multiple-rider crash in the first corner, and it took him a bit of time to get into the rhythm. Despite suffering further crashes in the early laps, which put him in eleventh position with a 4.718s gap, he pushed as hard as he could and gradually picked up places to still secure sixth over the line, 0.566s behind the rider in fifth place and 14.313s from the lead.
Valentino Rossi: “I‘m happy to have taken part in the Virtual MotoGP Misano race. I trained a little bit more and I think the new 2020 MotoGP game is very cool. I was fast enough this time and qualifying went well. I started from the middle of the second row, in between Maverick and Marc Marquez. The race was good. Unfortunately, I crashed on the first lap but then I managed to keep a good rhythm and move up the order. I came up to fourth place and I was not far from the front in the last three laps. Then Quartararo crashed and I managed to get on the podium. I‘m very happy to take third because it was my virtual home race! I‘m happy for the team and the fans too!”
Maverick Vinales: “My race didn‘t go well. I qualified in fourth place, which wasn‘t bad, but I crashed already in the first corner and then many more times during the race. This time I couldn‘t train, and this caused that result. It‘s disappointing, because I wanted to fight at the front again. For sure I will train for the next round and come back stronger!”