Fabio Quartararo takes maiden victory for Petronas Yamaha SRT in a gripping SpanishGP at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España.
The young Frenchman was quickly overtaken by Maverick Viñales who got a spectacular start to take the lead as reigning world champion Marc Marquez struggled to get away before quickly regaining composure to begin the hunt for Viñales as he made his way up to second. Jack Miller got a fantastic start on his Ducati powered Pramac machine to jump ahead of Quartararo but ran wide and lost the position to Quartararo before reclaiming third before the end of lap one. Despite a twitch from Viñales which saw the Spaniard bumped out of his seat, he kept the bike upright and in first position.
There was more heartbreak for Suzuki as Joan Mir was an early crasher after two laps making it 0 points for the team after Alex Rins was declared unfit to race after a lap Q2 crash.
As Marquez and Viñales continued to battle it out the lead, Marquez attempted to put some air between himself and the Yamaha rider which pushed the Repsol Honda rider to make a rare mistake but another fantastic Marquez save as he miraculously prevented himself from losing the bike entirely at turn 4. Marquez kept his Repsol machine propped up on his elbow and entire right side before trundling through the gravel to rejoin the race at the rear of the pack. It wasn’t long before the world-champion started his hunting, scything his way up the field and back to the leading pack and back into third. However, with only four laps remaining, disaster struck as Marquez suffered a huge crash at turn four which sent him careering into the gravel, taking a whack on the right arm from his Repsol machine for good measure. The Spaniard was taken to the medical centre to be checked over before being transferred to hospital via ambulance.
Away from the drama of the world champion, Viñales’ soft front Michelin rubber was no match for the Jerez heat and as the rubber began to drop off, it opened the door for Quartararo to take back the lead. The Yamaha duo of Viñales and Valentino Rossi opted for the gamble of soft fronts, whilst the remainder of the grid trusted in the hard. The gamble didn’t pay off and Viñales struggled with tyre life from early in the race and Rossi suffered with a mechanical issue which forced him to retire.
Jack Miller finished just off the podium in fourth while Franco Morbidelli ended the day in fifth and Pol Espargaro in sixth. Francesco Bagnaia walked away with a seventh place ahead of Miguel Oliveira who equalled his career best result in eighth. Danilo Petrucci took ninth place with Taka Nakagami rounding out the top-10 as the lone LCR Honda rider.
The oppressive conditions caused issues up and down the grid with only 15 riders managing to complete the entire race but allowing rookies Alex Marquez and Brad Binder to walk away with points in their maiden MotoGP race as they ended the race in 12th and 13th respectively behind Johann Zarco in 11th. Binder proved just how incredibly impressive he was after an unseen crash dropped him back to 18th where he fought his way back up. Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat and Aprilia’s Bradley Smith rounded out the points.
The start of the first double header got off to a thrilling start and with Marquez set to be out until at least Brno after surgery to repair a fractured right humerus, the 2020 world championship looks set to be an iconic season of racing.
Full results here.