With the world’s MotoGP riders homebound due to international health concerns, MotoGP held its first-even Virtual Race. Held on the Mugello Circuit, the race pitted many of the top riders against each other on the MotoGP 19 video game by Milestone. Leader Alex Márquez was hounded by Pecco Bagnaia for most of the race, following a hectic opening two laps. However, on the penultimate lap, Bagnaia went down, and Alex Márquez cruised to an easy win. Bagnaia was able to remount and hold off a charging Maverick Viñales in a battle for P2.
Viñales had his front end taken out early in the first lap as a fallen Quartararo slid into him, putting both out of contention early. The two had been the fastest qualifiers, and were on the front row of the grid with Bagnaia. Viñales suffered a second crash and was visibly angered, though he regrouped and finished on the podium.
Much like the real world, Fabio Quartararo was the fastest qualifier and put in the fastest lap of the six-lap contest, yet he finished off the podium. Crashes slowed Quartararo down, and he finished just under 1.5 seconds off the podium, and 4.5 seconds ahead of Marc Márquez. Marc Márquez held down a podium position for the first three laps before getting passed by Viñales. Quartararo got by Marc Márquez on the penultimate lap to take P4.
Winner Alex Márquez credited his strategy of consistency over sheer speed. “I knew before the race I wasn’t the fastest one,” Alex Márquez said, “especially on 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.”
Additionally, Alex Márquez signaled how serious he took the race when he revealed he had gotten some help. “I want to say thank you to Putut Maulana, who gave me some setup tips.” Maulana is known as Moe27, and was a 2019 MotoGP eSport Finalist.
The race was placed on a center screen, with the ten riders shown at home on individual insets. Dogs, kids, friends, and significant others occasionally made cameos before, during, and after the racing.
MotoGP 19 is available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Microsoft Windows. An updated version, MotoGP 20, will be available on April 23.
MotoGP Virtual Race Results – Round 1, Gran Premio D’Italia Oakley, Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello
- Alex Márquez, Repsol Honda Team: 10:38.643
- Pecco Bagnaia, Pramac Racing Ducati: +7.093 seconds
- Maverick Viñales, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP: +8.496
- Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT: +9.968
- Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda Team: +14.416
- Alex Rins, Team Suzuki Ecstar: +19.548
- Joan Mir, Team Suzuki Ecstar: +23.247
- Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Tech 3: +29.702
- Iker Lecuona, Red Bull KTM Tech 3: DNF
- Aleix Espargaró: Aprilia Racing Team Gresini: DNF
- Fabio Quartararo: 1:44.454
- Maverick Viñales: 1:44.486
- Pecco Bagnaia: 1:44.754
- Alex Márquez: 1:45.154
- Marc Márquez: 1:46.358
- Miguel Oliveira: 1:47.021
- Alex Rins: 1:47.361
- Joan Mir: 1:47.588
- Iker Lecuona: 1:47.593
- Aleix Espargaró: 1:54.151
- Fabio Quartararo: 1:44.115
- Pecco Bagnaia: +02.23 seconds
- Maverick Viñales: +0.833
- Alex Márquez: +1.270
- Marc Márquez: +1.643
- Iker Lecuona: +2.805
- Alex Rins: +3.441
- Joan Mir: +3.511
- Miguel Oliveira: +4.047
- Aleix Espargaró: +5.552