Defending champion Adrian Montenegro and two-time champion Lorenzo Daretti shared the race wins in the first round of the 2021 MotoGP eSport Global Series.
In the race each rider didn’t win they finished in second, meaning the rivals are sitting at the top of the drivers’ championship with 45 points each.
The 2019 champion Andrea Saveri, known as AndrewZh, took pole position for the race at Portimao with Jack Hammersley for Red Bull KTM in second place in his debut Global Series event.
Despite a slow start compared to those around him, sticking onto the racing line and not running wide at Turn 1 meant Saveri kept first place with rookie Jack Hammersley in second at the end of the first lap.
On the run to the first corner on the second lap, Hammersley broke late and went to the inside of the turn, but he ran wide and took Saveri with him.
That left Montenegro free to take first place while Daretti, known as Trast73, moved into second.
In the remaining nine laps Daretti was unable to overtake the Repsol Honda rider which meant Montenegro won the first race in the 2021 MotoGP eSport Global Series.
Yamaha’s Daretti, who won both of the final two races in the 2020 season and finished as the runner up in the championship, took second place with rookie Piero Ricciuti completing the top three.
Saveri was running in third until he fell off the bike at Turn 13 and dropped to fifth place, one position behind Hammersley who dropped down the order after a connection issue for Aprillia’s Juan Antonio Nunez meant he unintentionally crashed into Hammersley on the second lap.
For the second of two races, this time taking place at Mugello, Saveri was the fastest in qualifying again with two-time champion Daretti in second and ahead of Montenegro.
It was another slow launch for Saveri which allowed Daretti and Montenegro through to take the top two spots with the Yamaha rider crucially taking the lead of the race.
From there the order at the front of the pack remained static which means Montenegro and Daretti have taken one victory each in the 2021 Global Series. This time Saveri was able to keep it together to cross the line in third.
Behind the podium finishers, there was a battle for fourth place that carried on through to the final lap involving Ricciuti and Cristian Montenegro, the younger brother of the 2020 champion.
Cristian Montenegro started from seventh on the grid but worked his way up to fourth by passing Ricciuti under braking for Turn 1 on the second lap.
That remained the status quo until the final lap when Cristian Montenegro made a minor mistake that took him off the usual racing line and cost him time.
Ricciuti squeezed his way past at the inside of Turn 12 and whilst the Suzuki rider fought back around the final corner, Ricciuti won the drag race to the finish line and took fourth place.
That overtake means Ricciuti is currently third in the drivers’ championship, 16 points behind the top two who are tied on points and two ahead of former champion Saveri.
The second round in the Global Series is scheduled to take place on August 20 with races at the Sachsenring and Red Bull Ring circuits.