Quartararo Claims MotoGP Opener As Marquez Crashes

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Fabio Quartararo earned his first MotoGP victory on Sunday in Spain. (MotoGP Photo)
Fabio Quartararo earned his first MotoGP victory on Sunday in Spain. (MotoGP Photo)

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain – Fabio Quartararo earned his first MotoGP victory on Sunday, outclassing the field at Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto.

Maverick Vinales jumped to the lead at the start, with Jack Miller rocketing into second in impressive fashion. Miller ran wide shortly thereafter, allowing Marc Marquez to slip by into second while Quartararo briefly slotted into third after starting from the pole.

At the front, Marquez quickly chased down Vinales and took the lead in turn four on lap two. However, bad luck struck Marquez on lap five. In turn four Marquez nearly lost control of his bike, but he somehow stayed upright and avoided disaster while going through a gravel trap.

The mishap dropped Marquez from the lead down to 16th and handed the top spot back to Vinales. Quartararo soon hunted down Vinales and passed on lap nine to take the lead, but all eyes were on Marquez, who was storming back through the filed after his mishap.

In five laps Marquez went from 16th to 10th and was gaining ground on every lap. Quartararo was pulling away from the rest of the pack, but Marquez was gaining on him each lap as he continued his march up the field.

On lap 13 Marquez moved up to eighth while two laps later Quartararo stretched his lead to two seconds. Despite that gap, Marquez was still faster and gaining quickly. With 10 laps left Marquez was a second faster than the third-place bike of Vinales.

Two laps later Marquez continued making moves, passing Franco Morbidelli and Francesco Bagnaia before dispatching Andrea Dovizioso. Marquez was now fourth and he had the bikes of Miller and Vinales right in front of him. Quartararo, meanwhile, was five seconds clear.

Marquez now had a podium in his sights as he battled Miller for third. With six laps to go the battle started and by turn two with five laps to go the battle was over, with Marquez now chasing Vinales for second.

With four laps left Marquez was looking for a way around Vinales, but coming out of turn three disaster struck and this time Marquez couldn’t save himself. He flew off his bike, tumbling through the gravel trap and out of the race.

Marquez was later diagnosed with a transverse diaphyseal fracture to his right humerus in his right arm. He’s expected to travel to Hospital Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, where he is expected to undergo surgery to repair the break Tuesday.

There is no word on a timetable for Marquez’s recovery.

Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Quartararo was all by himself as he rode to his first MotoGP victory for Petronas Yamaha SRT. Vinales ended up second, with Dovizioso chasing down and passing Miller to steal the final podium position with two laps left.

Miller finished fourth, with Morbidelli taking fifth. Pol Espargaro, Bagnaia, Miguel Oliveira, Danilo Petrucci and Takaaki Nakagami completed the top-10 finishers.