Fabio Quartararo wins #CatalanGP and re-takes championship lead; Franco Morbidelli 4th
Fabio Quartararo put in a dominant performance to win the Catalan GP, and move himself back into the lead of the championship standings. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli battled tyre wear to finish fourth at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and help increase PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s lead in the teams’ standings.
Quartararo didn’t make the best start off the line and lost places in the first couple of corners. However, the Frenchman was soon the quickest man on circuit and was able to find his way through to second on lap six, before taking the lead from team-mate Morbidelli on lap nine. Once there, Fabio didn’t look back and put in a perfect performance to win the Catalan GP and retake the championship lead, ahead of going to his home GP.
It was a sensational start for Morbidelli, who was able to convert his pole position to an early race lead. The Italian put in a strong performance, but as the track cooled and the tyres offered less grip, other riders were able to reel him in. A mistake on lap 14 let Valentino Rossi through, but the real fight came in the final laps. Unfortunately Franco couldn’t hold off those around him and he crossed the line fourth, maintaining his fifth position in the riders’ standings.
The MotoGP pair will now have one weekend without racing, before the championship tackles its penultimate triple-header, which starts with Fabio’s home GP: the Grand Prix de France at Le Mans (9-11 October).
This is the best moment that I have had in a long time! We have had some tough times since Jerez, so this actually feels better than those wins. I was not expecting to be so fast in the opening laps, but those two guys [Joan Mir and Alex Rins] were so fast at the end of the race. We need to look at why we are struggling at the end of the race. We know that our bike is better in qualifying, so we need to balance this a bit better, but at the end of the day the race result is the most important thing and we won. It feels so good though to be back on the top step of the podium. I am also so happy that I am able to race at my home GP next, because there are not many races in this season. My thanks to the team because this victory is well deserved.
I’m a little angry about finishing fourth, but it is a positive thing as it means we are at a good level and want more. I’m angry because I made a mistake in the race: I started a bit too hot and wore the tyre out too much early on. When fighting with Fabio I was too much on the limit and trying to recover in braking, in the end I lost two seconds running wide and the chance for a podium. I still feel like this was the best strategy though. However I cannot complain about this weekend; I got pole position and I was really fast in general, so I’m happy. Now we rest a little bit and try to also be fast at Le Mans.