JEREZ • Frenchman Fabio Quartararo won for the second straight week at Jerez yesterday, as he dominated the Andalucia MotoGP while bikes crashed and broke down behind him in searing heat.
Quartararo, on a satellite Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, was followed home by Spaniard Maverick Vinales and Italian veteran Valentino Rossi, both on Yamaha factory bikes, as only 13 of the 21 starters finished.
“That was tough,” said Quartararo at the finish.
The Frenchman has won both races in the coronavirus-delayed MotoGP season.
“It feels so good to make back to back wins,” he said.
Quartararo has a 50-point lead over the reigning champion Marc Marquez, who was absent with a broken arm.
While Quartararo disappeared up the track in the heat haze, the two Yamaha works riders had to fend off challenges from the Ducati-Pramac pair of Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who climbed to second before his engine failed, and Australian Jack Miller, who crashed.
Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR) inherited fourth place.
Rossi showed that, at 41, he is still capable of competing. The seven-time MotoGP world champion has always enjoyed cheeky celebrations and this time, he climbed onto a barrier and punched the air in a victory dance in front of a completely empty grandstand due to Covid- 19 restrictions.
In a separate development, Enea Bastianini also gained his first Moto2 victory yesterday when he beat fellow Italian Luca Marini in the scorching Andalucia GP.
“I pushed from the first lap and managed to close the gap on Luca (Marini) in the last few laps,” said Bastianini, who moved to second in the championship ahead of Luca Marini, Rossi’s half-brother, who won the previous race at the same circuit in Jerez.
Japanese rider Tetsuta Nagashima, who crashed in practice, had a difficult end to the race in the scorching heat and could only manage 11th, but kept the championship lead, two points ahead of Bastianini.
Marco Bezzechi, who started from pole position, finished third, completing an all-Italian podium.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Tatsuki Suzuki won the Andalucia Moto3 GP yesterday as championship leader Albert Arenas crashed on lap 15.
Suzuki, who started from pole, scored his second victory in the class and climbed to second in the championship behind Spaniard Arenas, who had won the first two races of the season.
After a long battle at the front, Suzuki edged Briton John McPhee and Italian Celestino Vietti at the line.
“I tried to stay as long as possible in front of the pack,” said Suzuki.
South African Darryn Binder, whose brother Brad is racing in MotoGP, finished fourth after starting 25th on the grid. — AFP