Looking to convert pole position into a first MotoGP victory, Johann Zarco was momentarily pushed down to fourth, before regaining second round the outside of turn one.
Showing the best race pace in free practice, Mir made a breathtaking start from second, as did another pre-race favorite in Fabio Quartararo, who went from fifth to second.
Fabio Quartararo launches 2022 MotoGP title bid
However, the best start of anyone came from Alex Rins who gained ten places on the opening lap. Brilliant stuff from the Argentina and COTA podium finisher.
After opening a near eight tenth lead over Quartararo, the reigning world champion went three tenths quicker than the Suzuki rider to significantly close the gap.
Continuing to gain time in the final sector, Quartararo got a lovely slingshot out of the final corner on lap four as he powered his way, yes ‘powered’ his Yamaha past Mir on the run down to turn one.
With a clear track ahead of him, Quartararo continued to break away from Mir as the gap was now over a second. Instead of looking ahead, Mir’s biggest challenge was now coming from behind as Zarco began closing in.
But as was the case in Mandalika, which ultimately cost him victory, Zarco was spending too much time stuck behind the 2020 world champion. Despite his pace advantage
Further back the two Repsol Honda’s were embroiled in a tight battle for ninth. After nearly making contact at turn one, Marquez responded to Espargaro’s aggressive overtake by lunging down the inside at turn 15. A great move from Marquez.
With battles continuing to rage on behind him, Quartararo’s Sunday stroll in the Algarve included a new all-time race lap record on lap nine – 1:39.435s.
Following an early fall for Pramac rider Jorge Martin, another rider who is in contention for a 2023 factory Ducati seat crashed out.
Yes, it’s the rider you’re thinking of… Championship leader Enea Bastianini went down at turn eight, before Takaaki Nakagami also crashed at turn 14.
The Japanese rider managed to get back underway in what was quickly becoming another weekend to forget for the LCR Honda man.
With Zarco still stuck behind Mir with 12 laps left to run, Miller began closing in places on the podium after picking up his pace.
Feeling the heat from Miller behind, Zarco attempted his first overtake for second but ran wide which gave the place back to Mir.
Despite his difficult weekend, one that left the Italian less than 100% for the race due to several big crashes, Francesco Bagnaia was in the midst of producing a brilliant effort as he moved up from last to 12th with eight laps remaining.
Miller wipes out Mir in battle for Portimao podium
While one factory Ducati was making good progress, the other caused huge drama as Miller wiped out Mir at turn one.
The Australian attempted to overtake Mir, who was already proving very difficult to out-brake into turn one, just ask Zarco, however, Miller lost the front before collecting the Spaniard. A sarcastic applause followed from Mir before Miller was seen apologizing for his mistake.
With victory for Quartararo in the bag, Aleix Espargaro rapidly closed in on Zarco for second, however, the Aprilia rider was unable to get through on the final lap.
Marc and Alex Marquez had a tasty fight for sixth – Marc got the better of his younger brother following a move at turn 14, while Bagnaia got the better of P. Espargaro one corner later, again on the final lap.