The shorten MotoGP Season couldn’t have started better for Fabio Quartararo as the Yamaha Satellite rider rode to his second straight win at the weekend’s Race of Andalucia. With Reigning Champion Marc Marquez out for the season, at least for the time being, everyone gets a shot at the title. It was a 1-2-3 finish for Yamaha at the Andalucia race with Quartararo, Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi on the podium.
Quartararo didn’t put a foot wrong in Sunday’s race, leading from the lights to the flag and making it back-to-back victories in Jerez. Team mate Franco Morbidelli wasn’t so fortunate as he was out of the race due to mechanical faults.
Quartararo made the perfect getaway off the line and held the lead into the first corner. Vinales gave chase, but ran wide and would drop back to third after the first lap. It would turn into a tricky race for VInales into the middle part of the race. Rossi inherited second from his team mate’s slip and kept it for a bit. A relatively unknown Francesco Bagnaia would cause a panic in the factory Yamaha garage as he managed to slot above Rossi and Vinales during the early stint.
Up front, Quartararo made it looked easy as he pounded the track to increase the gap to the rest of the field. Vlnales dropped back to sixth, after another slip, but it won’t bother him too much with the powerful Yamaha factory machine. With 13 laps to go, Rossi who had lost a place to Bagnaia came under pressure from Morbidell. The 9-time champion refused to give in as he eyed for a podium finish. The Doctor had not climbed the rostrum since the 2019 Americas Grand Prix. Rossi regained second place on lap 20 of 25 when Bagnaia suffered a mechanical failure. In the final stint, Rossi defended from his team mate but Vinales simply wanted it more.
As the laps counted down, the race became one of attrition with Quartararo on the verge of his back-to-back win. He would finish 4.495secs ahead of Viñales and Rossi.
Just behind the trio of Yamahas, Takaaki Nakagami had his best MotoGP weekend to date as he finished fourth, the LCR Honda rider’s best result in the premier class, Joan Mir took fifth ahead of Ducati front man Andrea Dovizioso who was sixth, ahead of KTM’s Pol Espargaro.
Repsol Honda’s rookie rider Alex Marquez took a courageous eighth place in his home race. The Spaniard was the lone representative of the team with team-mate withdrawing from the weekend as he continues to recover from surgery on his broken humerus. The Kid started aggressively in the opening laps and gained seven positions on the first lap alone. Fending off the attacks of fellow rookie Iker Lecuona, He would settle into what would be a consistent, but lonely eighth spot. Johann Zarco and Alex Rins would complete the top ten finishers classification in the race.
The upcoming race in two weeks moves to the Automotodrom Brno, in the Czech Republic, for their third race of the season from 7-9 August.
Race of Andalucía results
1 QUARTARARO Fabio Yamaha SRT 41’22.666
2 VINALES Maverick Yamaha MotoGP 4.495
3 ROSSI Valentino Yamaha MotoGP .546
4 NAKAGAMI Takaaki LCR Honda 6.113
5 MIR Joan Suzuki 7.693
6 DOVIZIOSO Andrea Ducati 12.554
7 ESPARGARO Pol KTM 17.488
8 MARQUEZ Alex Repsol Honda 19.357
9 ZARCO Johann Avintia Racing 23.523
10 RINS Alex Suzuki 27.091
1 QUARTARARO Fabio 50
2 VINALES Maverick 40
3 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 26
4 NAKAGAMI Takaaki 19
5 ESPARGARO Pol 19
6 ROSSI Valentino 16
7 MILLER Jack 13
8 MARQUEZ Alex 12
9 ZARCO Johann 12
10 MIR Joan 11