SpanishGP: Fabio Quartararo stuns in Spain to claim maiden MotoGP win
Fabio Quartararo has won the opening round of the 2020 season after a stunning performance in Southern Spain.
The Spanish sun battered down on the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, with all riders, apart from both Monster Energy Yamaha riders, going for the hard front and soft rear tyres.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP riders, Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi, who were kicking off their 2020 campaign from 2nd and 9th on the grid, chose to run soft front and soft rear. Rossi was promoted to ninth after Alex Rins, and Cal Crutchlow were both forced to sit out of the Spanish Grand Prix due to injury.
The Frenchman started from pole position, but it was fellow Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales who took the hole-shot into turn one, followed by the #93 Repsol Honda.
Marc Marquez looked comfortable in second position but made his move in turn five, only to run wide, and gift Viñales the lead back onto the front straight but the Yamaha YZF-M1 couldn’t live with the power of the Honda and Marquez took the lead.
Meanwhile, in third, Jack Miller and team-mate Francesco Bagnaia had a bright start. At the same time, KTM’s Brad Binder and Pol Espargaro were also featured inside the top ten with Morbidelli behind, leading Valentino Rossi.
Back at the front, Marquez looked comfortable, that was up until a colossal turn four moments when the Spaniard lost the front of his RC123V Repsol Honda and being forced to sit up and run into the gravel trap.
With Marquez demoted to last, the eight-time World Champion was faced with a huge fight back.
Around the same time, South Africa’s Brad Binder slipped outside the points, dropping down to 18th place due to a mistake.
Fabio Quartararo recovered from a slower start, picking off Miller at the final corner making it a Yamaha 1-2.
Lap nine of the Grand Prix saw Maverick Viñales run into tyre trouble. The Spaniard had run wide a lap earlier at turn 6, but it was another mistake at the final corner that gifted Fabio the lead, and he never looked back.
Further back, Marquez had picked his way through to 10th position and moved into ninth with a move on Tech 3 KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and set his sights on a struggling Valentino Rossi. The Doctor made it easy for Marquez, running wide at turn six and effectively letting Marquez passed to chase the leading group.
Jack Miller moved into second while team-mate Pecco Bagnaia was locked in battle with Factory Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and KTM’s Pol Espargaro who was having a strong race in dry conditions.
Lap 19 gave the sight many fans didn’t want to see, Valentino Rossi pulled up to the side of the track to retire from the race with a suspected soft front tyre issue, this will be confirmed this evening.
As we hit the final five laps of the race, Marquez was in the thick of it, passing Morbidelli first, then a strong move on Bagnaia at turn 8, Pol Espargaro and a final corner pass on Andrea Dovizioso which put Marquez back onto the podium. Miller didn’t make it easy for Marc, re-passing the Honda rider into turn one. Marquez was back in front after the turn two hairpin.
However, things quickly turned sour for the reigning champion when he high sided out of turn three while chasing down Maverick Vinales. The Spanish rider was sent into the air and landed heavily on his right arm and immediately knew he was in trouble.
Marquez failed to remove his crash helmet with both hands, only being able to move his left arm. The Repsol Honda rider was transferred to the medical centre with a neck brace for further investigation.
Back at the front, the fast Fabio Quartararo controlled the gap to eventually win his first-ever MotoGP race ahead of Maverick Viñales who held on to second and a surprise Andrea Dovizioso who is suffering from a shoulder injury two weeks ago.
MotoGP Jerez – race results
- Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha Racing Team) 41:23.796
- Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +4.603
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) +5.946
- Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +6.668
- Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha Racing Team) +6.844
- Pol Espargaro (Red Bull Factory KTM) +6.938
- Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +13.027
- Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull Tech 3 KTM) +13.441
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) +19.651
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +21.553
- Johann Zarco (Hublot Reale Avintia Racing) +25.100
- Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +27.350
- Brad Binder (Red Bull Factory KTM) +29.640
- Tito Rabat (Hublot Reale Avintia Racing) +32.898
- Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +39.682
- NC: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +4 laps
- NC: Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) +6 laps
- NC: Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +7 laps
- NC: Aleix Espargaro. (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +23 laps
- NC: Joan Mir (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) +24 laps
NS: Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) – Warm Up injury
NS: Alex Rins (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) – Q2 injury
MotoGP will return to action next week for ‘The Rematch’ at the Jerez circuit, can Fabio Quartararo make it two from two in 2020? Find out next week!
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