Quartararo extends championship lead with 2nd in #SpanishGP, Morbidelli 15th
The Gran Premio de España had the fans on the edge of their seats as 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo chased 2021 Vice Champion Francesco Bagnaia. The Yamaha man tried to put the pressure on, but in the end settled for second place. Franco Morbidelli didn‘t let tyre pressure issues hold him back from putting up a fight, especially at the end of the race. He secured 15th place.
Quartararo had a good launch from P2 on the grid and held his position. He knew that Bagnaia was trying to build a lead early on, and the Yamaha man would do everything in his power not to let that happen. The two were starting to break away from the pack.
The number-20 rider managed to keep the pressure on, staying closely behind. The front men were the only riders able to dip under the 1‘38s mark, clocking 1‘37.6s times on lap 5. El Diablo was on the limit every lap and was trying to make a move on the last lap. He was dangerously close, but in the end came just short of being able to put in an overtaking manoeuvre. He took the chequered flag in second place, 0.285s from first, but with an increased lead in the championship of 7 points.
Morbidelli initially had a good start from P16 and picked up a position but crossed the line in 16th place. Having settled there, the Italian was keen to gear up for a fight for the championship points. However, tyre pressure problems held him back.
Nevertheless, the number-21 rider continued to push. With Alex Rins going wide and Johann Zarco crashing out, he maintained his position for the majority of the race. He kept his head down but saved his tyres for the final stages. With five laps to go, he was setting various personal best sectors and followed it up with an overtake on Luca Marini to take 15th place. A brilliant last lap saw him almost take 14th place from Maverick Viñales, but in the end he crossed the finish line in 15th, 27.519s from first.
Today‘s results keep Quartararo in the lead in the championship standings with an 89 points total, while Morbidelli is now in sixteenth with 18 points. After Round 6, Yamaha and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team move up to second place with 89 points in the Constructor championship and continue to hold third position with 86 points in the Team championship.
The team will be back in action at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto tomorrow for the one-day official IRTA test.
It was a really tough race. I tried to overtake Pecco on the first lap because I knew that staying behind him was going to be difficult for my front tyre. I tried everything, but he was really fast. I think the pace that we managed today was just insane. My front tyre was superhot, super high pressure. I couldn‘t brake harder, but I could maintain that pace with him. I think the gap to the guys behind us was quite big, so both of us were really fast today. Congratulations to him. It wasn‘t a real battle, because we didn‘t overtake, but it was still an intense race. We enjoyed it a lot.
When you start from far behind, and it’s difficult to overtake like it is for us, the front pressure goes sky-high and you can’t ride anymore. Basically, I couldn’t push all race long. I could only push when I overtook Luca, three laps before the end. Actually, the lap times weren’t so bad towards the end. But starting from far behind things are like this. We will work to refine everything and make another step in tomorrow’s test, and then we will see in Le Mans.