In MotoGP™ Virtual Race 4, it was Marquez vs Marquez for the first time ever, with Repsol Honda Team’s Alex Marquez coming out on top to become the first rider to taste victory in two Virtual MotoGP™ races. The Spaniard got the better of brother and teammate Marc Marquez in a thrilling final lap fight at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, with the pair joined on the podium by Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi, who profited from a last gasp crash for Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) to clinch a home rostrum.
Quartararo started from pole position for the third time in Virtual MotoGP™ thanks to his most dominant performance yet, ending qualifying nearly a second clear of Alex Marquez in second. The opening stages of the nine-lap scrap were typically chaotic, however: two of three previous victors, Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), crashed out after some possible contact with the returning Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Idemitsu Honda), Rossi crashed after some contact with Alex Marquez, and that allowed Quartararo to escape at the front, with both Marc and Alex Marquez unable to match the pace of the Frenchman. The younger of the Marquez brothers swooped through to second shortly after, however, with Marc admitting he’d rather try and secure a top-three finish then crash whilst chasing his brother…
Quartararo came across the line to complete the third lap with an advantage of nearly four seconds, but that lead suddenly evaporated when the Frenchman tucked the front and suffered another virtual race crash – allowing Alex Marquez to move into the lead. The Frenchman quickly set about chasing down the Mugello winner, and within two laps he was glued to the rear wheel of the Honda…
The pair would touch on a handful of occasions as the ante was upped, but ultimately on lap seven the race was blown wide open. A touch from Quartararo caused Alex Marquez to go down before the Petronas Yamaha SRT machine then clipped the stricken Honda… leaving both on the floor.
That left Marc Marquez in clear air in the lead, much to his surprise and accompanied by a brilliantly evil laugh, and the race was on for the two men picking themselves up and chasing him down.
It would all come down to the final lap and the final sector in what was a thrilling finale, with all three split by nothing. As Alex Marquez closed in on his brother, Quartararo closed in on the pair of them and all three were pushing to the absolute limit before finally one went over it: Quartararo. The Frenchman tucked the front once again and any chance of stealing a last-gasp win disappeared, with the two Repsol Hondas left to dice it out. The pair entered the final corner with Marc in front, but the eight-time World Champion ran slightly wide and his teammate needed no second invitation. Alex Marquez stuffed it up the inside and gassed it towards the line, getting there just ahead and taking his second virtual victory.
Rossi took full advantage of Quartararo’s untimely crash, taking the final podium place on home soil in style – and celebrating in style too as the ‘Doctor’ pulled out a real Misano trophy on the stream. Behind Quartararo, who remounted in fourth, Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Joan Mir took the final space inside the top five, ahead of Viñales and Bagnaia. Nakagami took eighth place, clear of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Lorenzo Savadori, with Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat completing the top ten ahead of Ducati Team’s Michele Pirro.
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