CATALUNYA, Spain — Miguel Oliveira returned to winning ways thanks to a perfect performance in a scintillating Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, as just .175 seconds separated he and runner-up Johann Zarco at the finish.
It was the first victory of the season for Oliveira and for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
Zarco was second for Pramac Racing with Jack Miller elevated to third for Ducati Lenovo after point leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was handed a three-second penalty for shortcutting the course.
Miller took the lead at the start of the race with Oliveira jumping from fourth on the grid to ride second on the first lap.
Oliveira took the lead from Miller on lap two and was able to stretch a one-second advantage out, with Quartararo taking second on lap seven.
On Lap 12, Quartararo made his move. Better edge grip exiting turn four saw the Frenchman slice past Oliveira at turn five. However, Oliveira regained the top spot on lap 14.
With nine laps to go, Oliveira and Quartararo were edging clear with Zarco and Miller following.
Zarco’s tire choice was beneficial down the stretch as he moved to second and was quicker than Oliveira during the closing laps.
Still Oliveira held on for the victory
Zarco, Miller, Quartararo and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) completed the top five.