Maverick Viñales has taken victory in MotoGP’s third virtual Grand Prix at the Circuito Jerez, becoming the third different winner in as many races.
MotoGP’s virtual event took place on what should have been the day of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Vinales worked his way through the field to be in the right place at the right time when previous championship leader Pecco Bagnaia crashed out in the closing stages.
There were flashbacks to the real 2019 MotoGP season for the Yamaha rider as a poor start dropped him from the fight for the win and looked set to leave him out of contention early on in the race.
However, Vinales was able to launch a strong comeback (just like he managed multiple times last year) to make his way into the battle for the podium.
That left him able to make the most of crashes for past winners Alex Marquez and Bagnaia, striking in the closing laps for the win.
“I’ve been close in the last few races,” Vinales said afterwards.
“But when I took the lead I was able to not make any mistakes. The important thing in these races is to keep the concentration, and it feels nice to be able to take a win!
“This year my starts, both in the race and in real life, have been much better – but I’ve been taken down in the first corner, every race!
“This year our starts on the bike are going to be very different with the new holeshot device on the bike.
“I think it was Tito Rabat who took me out today, but it’s just a game and some fun!”
Speaking afterwards, new series leader Alex Marquez said: “Another difficult race! The crash really wasn’t good and I’m confident that without it I could have won, it’s a shame but the second place moves us to the top of the points.
“It was really fun though, I really enjoy putting on a show for the fans and it’s also nice to have some jokes with the other riders.
“Next time we aim to go one better!”
Racing for the first time using the new MotoGP20 game, the younger Marquez brother came home in second while Bagnia recovered for third to keep the unofficial championship race alive.
Marc Marquez was fourth, holding onto the position despite slowing down to set up a last-lap battle with Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci. Alex Rins sneaked through to take fifth after a crash for Petrucci – but the Italian rider was nonetheless content with sixth after relying on a 4G router for the game!
With Moto2 and Moto3 joining for the first time, Qatar Grand Prix podium finisher Lorenzo Baldasarri took victory from Jake Dixon and Bo Bendsneyder.
The 2020 championship contender Gabriel Rodrigo took the win in Moto3, ahead of opening-round winner Albert Arenas and Raul Fernandez.
The race also had a more serious note too, raising money for MotoGP’s charity Two Wheels for Life. Using motorbikes to deliver healthcare in Africa and facing a double crisis by losing their fundraising opportunities and facing a huge workload, fans can donate here.