|Fabio Quartararo wins 2nd straight at Jerez|
For the first time since Phillip Island 2014, Yamaha have three machines on the podium. Fabio Quartararo was utterly dominant on Sunday at the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia, with Maverick Vinales and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP teammate Valentino Rossi having a memorable fight for the rostrum – this is The Doctor’s first podium since the 2019 Americas GP.
A week on from winning his first-ever MotoGP win in the Spanish MotoGP, Quartararo did it all over again for the Andalucia MotoGP at the same track – Jerez.
Starting from pole, Quartararo was quick off the line and led the pack into the first corner, holding that position for the first circulation. The young Frenchman then used the grip and performance from his soft rear tire and the braking stability from the hard front, to put together two fast laps – including the fastest of the race on lap-three – to gap himself from the field. He increased his lead as the 25-lap race progressed and crossed the line to take his second victory in as many weekends, his triumph also secured the position of First Independent Rider and strengthened his place at the top of the overall standings.
There was a three-way Yamaha scrap at the front though and it was Quartararo leading Vinales and Rossi, who had a slight gap to the two Pramac Racing riders of the quick starting Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia. Quartararo was getting down to business though and Vinales was wide at the final corner trying to get past Quartararo, which let The Doctor through. This was bad news for Vinales who could see Quartararo striding clear and the Spaniard was impatient – but there was no way past his teammate. Just behind, Bagnaia went for P4 underneath Miller but was wide, then made a miraculous save to keep his GP20 upright.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Quartararo’s lead on Lap 4 was up to 1.5 seconds and Vinales couldn’t find a way through on Rossi. The Pramac Racing duo were also breathing down the YZR-M1 rider’s neck as the number 20 Petronas Yamaha SRT started to clear off into the distance. Rossi couldn’t do anything about Quartararo’s pace that was well over half a second quicker a lap, by Lap 6 it the Frenchman’s lead was nearly three seconds.
With 10 laps down Quartararo’s lead was looking unassailable, with Bagnaia making progress to get through on Miller and Vinales, as the Italian locked his radar onto the boss’ rear wheel. However, the race in Jerez was quickly starting to become a race of attrition in the blistering Andalusian heat – some parts of the track were sitting at a ridiculous 63 degrees. Miller slid out of contention at Turn 9 having made his way through on Vinales at the beginning of the lap, with teammate Bagnaia soon passing Rossi for second place.
Morbidelli had made steady progress and was the fastest man on track as he went in the hunt for that illustrious first MotoGP podium. But then it was a cruel end to the Italian’s race as he encountered engine troubles with nine laps to go. Heartbreak for Morbidelli, and there would be more incoming for his compatriot Pecco Bagnaia. Safely in P2 ahead of Rossi, smoke started to stream out of his GP20. The 2018 Moto2 World Champion didn’t realise at first but heading onto the back straight, just six laps away from spraying the bubbly, Bagnaia was out of contention.
This saw Rossi back up into second, with Vinales back in the podium places just behind. El Diablo’s lead was up to nearly nine seconds and the win – barring any mistakes or reliability issues – was his. Vinales was clambering all over the back of the number 46 but Rossi was a demon on the brakes heading into the Dani Pedrosa corner. It was really looking like Vinales just wouldn’t be able to find a way through but having not put a wheel wrong for the whole race, Rossi was slightly wide at Turn 9 – and Top Gun pounced. Vinales was up to second and was able to immediately get some bike lengths on Rossi, who couldn’t relax with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) just eight tenths down.
|Quartararo leads at the start|
However, at the front, it was all about one man. Quartararo made no mistakes in the brutal conditions to take his second consecutive victory, cementing his lead in the Championship over second place Vinales. The Spaniard salvaged second place which could be crucial in the long run, but he had no answer for his 2021 teammate today. Rossi’s return to the rostrum is more than welcomed for the 41-year-old, a mesmerising ride in these conditions by Rossi who now notches up 199 MotoGP podiums, his 235th across all classes.
Nakagami’s P4 was the Japanese rider’s best ride in the premier class. Finishing just 6.113 away from the win and half a second from the podium is phenomenal for Nakagami who sits 4th in the Championship heading to Brno. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) banished the demons from the Spanish GP to finish 5th seven days later – his equal-best in MotoGP. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) recovered from a P14 starting slot to take sixth in Jerez after a third place finish last weekend. It’s just about all the Italian could have hoped for, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) the only KTM to finish in a tough day for the Austrian factory with Oliveira, Binder and Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3) all crashing out.
Just 1.8 seconds behind Pol Espargaro was Repsol Honda Team’s Alex Marquez, the reigning Moto2 World Champion produced an impressive ride in just his second MotoGP race in the toughest of conditions to take the chequered flag in P8. The lone Repsol Honda managed to beat Johann Zarco (Hublot Reale Avintia) as the Frenchman took P9, with the remarkable Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) defying the odds to complete the race and take 10th. An unbelievable and super-human effort from the Spaniard suffering a dislocation-fracture to his shoulder eight days ago. Tito Rabat (Hublot Reale Avintia), Smith and the other injured rider on the grid Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) were the final finishers – a sterling effort from the latter.
Binder once again showed his cracking pace after dropping back in the Turn 1 incident, but the South African rookie crashed unhurt at Turn 13. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) also crashed – riders ok.
50 from 50. Quartararo has had a perfect couple of weekends in Jerez and will head to Brno as the title leader. Vinales takes home two second places – far from a disaster – and will be looking to build on a successful weekend, with reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) returning to the MotoGP arena.
Fabio Quartararo – Petronas Yamaha SRT:
“Its again an amazing feeling to be back on the top. It was a really tough race because the conditions were much more difficult than last week. We had better performance from the tyres from the beginning, with a bit of drop from mid-race, but I managed them really well and they felt good, especially the front. On the straights braking was really powerful and it gave lots of support. I really want to continue in this way and want to say thanks to my team and everyone that believes in me, and also to Michelin for good tyres."
|1||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+0.000s|
|2||12||Maverick VIÃ'ALES||SPA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+4.495|
|3||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+5.546|
|4||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+6.113|
|5||36||Joan MIR||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+7.693|
|6||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+12.554|
|7||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+17.488|
|8||73||Alex MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+19.357|
|9||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Hublot Reale Avintia||Ducati||+23.523|
|10||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+27.091|
|11||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||Hublot Reale Avintia||Ducati||+33.628|
|12||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+36.306|
|13||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||1 Lap|
|63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||6 Laps|
|21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||9 Laps|
|33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||13 Laps|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||14 Laps|
|43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||15 Laps|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||17 Laps|
|27||Iker LECUONA||SPA||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||20 Laps|
|88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||0 Lap|