Fabio Quartararo became a national hero when he crossed the line on Sunday at the Spanish GP.
Aboard the Yamaha M1, Quartararo became the first Frenchman to take a MotoGP race win since 1999 and the first non-Honda satellite rider to cross the line a champion in the MotoGP era.
“It feels so strange without the fans. I would love them to be here to cheer with them, but honestly, this race was for them.” – Fabio Quartararo
Last season, the Petronas SRT rookie wowed time and time again, but could never quite clinch the win from reigning titleholder Marc Marquez. Though thoroughly deserved and proof of Quartararo’s potential, there was no last-lap black and orange battle this time, with Number 93 absent as the chequered flag waved.
Having just taken the lead on lap three, Marquez suffered a front end-slide and was forced to rejoin the circuit in 19th place. Despite being 9.3 seconds behind Maverick Vinales, the Spaniard seemed to carve through the entire field in the same breath.
“If you take Marc’s data from today, every rider would be destroyed. Because he’s unbelievable.” – Alex Marquez
In position 10 by lap 10, 8 by lap 13, 6 by lap 17, 4 by lap 19 and finally into 3rd position with 5 laps to go, Marquez pushed relentlessly to catch up and remind fans of his 8-time world champion status. In the case of this home race though, determination was perhaps his downfall.
On lap 22 and flying at 150km/h, Marquez lost control of his RCV’s rear and was launched into the air. Left with a shoulder fracture and huge frustration, the Repsol Honda rider will undergo surgery but will miss the second Jerez event.
This wasn’t the only malady of the weekend, with injuries ruling Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins out of the first race completely; 34-year-old Crutchlow took a heavy knock in the morning warm-up, resulting in a fractured wrist and mild concussion while Suzuki rider Rins suffered a similar fate to Marquez, dislocating and fracturing his shoulder in qualifying.
At the same time, Australian Jack Miller reported that a numb hand meant he just missed out on podium contention, leaving him as “a sitting duck” for the final laps of the race on Sunday. Instead it was Maverick Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso who came in at 2nd and 3rd, after strong performances.
“It could have been better but this was a really good race for me. The bike felt great, my tyres were both spectacular. It was just a shame I couldn’t turn the grip and be as smooth on the throttle towards the end.” – Jack Miller
Disappointment also ended Valentino Rossi’s race prematurely, when a mechanical issue saw his machine come to a halt on the home straight of lap 19. As fellow Italian Franco Morbidelli matched his MotoGP PB with fifth-place, there were three M1s in the top five and The Doctor left as the weakest link with a red alert on his dash.
Though it wasn’t his own victory, Rossi still got the chance to celebrate when his brother Luca Marini won the Moto2 race. With a 1.3 second advantage over Tetsuya Nagashima, Marini dominated the intermediate class race. Success also came for British rider and Fandom Pay ambassador, Sam Lowes, who, despite a significant testing injury from his last ride at Jerez and lengthy recovery, came in at fourth place behind Jorge Martin.
Meanwhile reigning Moto2 champion and fellow Fandom Pay ambassador, Alex Marquez, made his premier class debut with Repsol Honda. He was top rookie in 12th ahead of Brad Binder, Tito Rabat and Bradley Smith.