Jerez, July 19 (IANS) Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed his first MotoGP victory – and France’s first since 1999 – in the season-opening Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana in Spain on Sunday after Marc Marquez had a heavy crash and broke a bone in his arm.
The Frenchman capitalised on a Lap 5 mistake from race leader Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as we witnessed a monumental comeback from the number 93 before the reigning world champion then suffered a huge crash at Turn 4 with four laps remaining. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completed the podium.
Marquez produced one of his mind boggling saves which saw him come back on the circuit in P16 after leading, with Marquez then producing an all-time great ride that saw him come back to P3.
However, with four laps to go, the Honda star suffered a huge crash at Turn 4 which saw Marquez heading off to the medical centre, as the battle for the remaining podium positions raged.
Vinales got a storming launch from the middle of the front row and grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) getting his Ducati off the line like a rocket to initially go P2. The Australian was wide though which let Marquez come through into second after an average getaway, with pole sitter Quartararo slotting into P3 at Turn 2 to get the better of Miller.
However, the Desmosedici grunt saw Miller get up the inside of Quartararo down into the Dani Pedrosa corner, as Vinales got out the seat around Turn 8 – an early scare for the number 12. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) was then past Quartararo on Lap 2 but Quartararo was back through at the final corner on that lap as Marquez and Vinales went toe-to-toe at Turn 4 before Marquez managed to make the move stick at Dani Pedrosa corner.
With 10 laps to go, Marquez was a second quicker than third place Vinales. Marquez getting back into a podium position was now a formality rather than a possibility. With eight laps to go, Marquez was just two seconds away from the podium as he hunted and passed Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Bagnaia. Dovizioso was then passed, Marquez a full second quicker than the Italian and now, amazingly, Marquez had Miller and Vinales right in front of him – up the road, Quartararo was over five seconds clear.
At the front, Quartararo was untroubled in the latter half and he took an incredible maiden MotoGP victory.