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REPORT: Martin masters Portugal, Acosta arrives on podium

Matt Clayton
Monday, 25 March 2024

Ducati’s Jorge Martin controlled round two of the season at the undulating Algarve circuit, while a late crash for Maverick Vinales gifted Pedro Acosta a podium in just his second MotoGP™ race.

Jorge Martin stormed to a significant championship lead after dominating the Portuguese Motorcycle Grand Prix on Sunday, the Spaniard leading all 25 laps as late chaos saw a pair of MotoGP™ world champions crash and star rookie Pedro Acosta inherit a podium on the final lap.

From third on the grid, Martin – last year’s championship runner-up – showed atypical patience as he was stalked by Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and Ducati pole-sitter Enea Bastianini, as a processional race at the undulating layout produced little drama until its closing stages.


When the temperature rose, it was white-hot; with three laps remaining, reigning world champion Pecco Bagnaia and new Ducati signing Marc Marquez clashed at Turn 5, Bagnaia returning to the pits to retire and Marquez remounting outside of the points.

Then on the final lap, Vinales – who won the 12-lap Sprint on Saturday and had spent the entire race shadowing Martin – suffered a gearbox failure and fell at the first corner. Bastianini scythed through to second, while Acosta – who had robustly overtaken KTM teammates Brad Binder and Jack Miller, Marquez and Bagnaia to ascend to fourth – was handed a remarkable podium in just his second top-flight race.

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Martin took his sixth MotoGP™ win by eight-tenths of a second over Bastianini, with Acosta five seconds further back and comfortably ahead of KTM stablemates Binder and Miller, who rounded out the top five.

Rewind 24 hours, and it was Vinales who stood on the top step for the first time for Aprilia in the Sprint, with Marquez finishing second after squeezing past Martin in the frantic final laps.

The race attracted a stunning record crowd of over 174,000 fans over the weekend, with most eyes on Trackhouse Racing Aprilia rider Miguel Oliveira; the sole Portuguese rider in the sport popped into ninth place in the Grand Prix after the late mishaps for Bagnaia, Marquez and Vinales.

Surprise packet

Pedro Acosta showed the hype surrounding his ascension to the top flight was justified with ninth in the Qatar season-opener, but Portugal – even before Vinales handed him a late gift – showed that he learns as rapidly as he rides.

From seventh on the grid, the Spaniard monstered Miller and then Binder within seven laps, and fought with Marquez for a second straight race, this time emerging on top.

Bagnaia was dispatched with five laps left with an opportunistic move at Turn 3, and while fourth would have been an incredible result for a rider so raw, his first podium was reward for his rapid learning curve. Few expected this much this quickly of the rider who won both lower-level categories as a teenager before arriving in the big time.

Number to know

5: Acosta is the fifth rider to stand on the podium within two races of his MotoGP™ career along with Marc Marquez (third in his first race in 2013), Jorge Lorenzo (second in his first race in 2008), Dani Pedrosa (second in his first race in 2006) and Jorge Martin (third in his second race in 2021).

Portuguese Motorcycle Grand Prix: top 10

  1. Jorge Martin (Ducati) 41mins 18.138secs
  2. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) +0.882secs
  3. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) +5.362secs
  4. Brad Binder (KTM) +11.129secs
  5. Jack Miller (KTM) +16.437secs
  6. Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) 19.403secs
  7. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +20.130secs
  8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +21.549secs
  9. Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) +23.939secs
  10. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) +28.195secs

Riders' championship standings (top 5)

  1. Jorge Martin (Ducati) 60 points
  2. Brad Binder (KTM) 42
  3. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 39
  4. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 37
  5. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) 28

What's next?

Round 3: Americas (Circuit of the Americas, Austin), Apr 12-14