MONTMELO, Spain – Fabio Quartararo returned to his early season form with his third MotoGP victory of the season on Sunday at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
The victory allowed the Petronas Yamaha SRT rider to reclaim the MotoGP championship leader as Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who entered the weekend as the championship leader, failed to finish after crashing out of the race.
Polesitter Franco Morbidelli took the lead at the start with Jack Miller going from fourth to second. Behind them the drama began right away, with multiple riders nearly colliding before Johann Zarco went down in front of Dovizioso, taking them both out of competition before a lap was complete.
At the front, Valentino Rossi turned his front row starting spot into a strong early run by taking second from Miller. Quartararo soon joined Rossi in passing Miller, giving Yamaha control of the first three positions after one lap.
Quartararo stayed glued to Rossi and after a few laps was able to dispatch the multi-time MotoGP champion before turning his attention to his teammate, Morbidelli, at the front of the field.
On lap nine Quartararo made his move on Morbidelli, taking the lead as they raced into turn one. With 11 laps later Morbidelli nearly went down in turn one, opening the door for Rossi to snatch second and set off in pursuit of Quartararo.
Rossi’s run in second soon ended as the Yamaha rider went down in turn two on the 16th circuit, ending his day and handing the runner-up spot back to Morbidelli. However, the Suzuki duo of Joan Mir and Alex Rins eventually caught and dispatched Morbidelli, dropping him to fourth at the finish.
All of that happened well behind Quartararo, who crossed the finish line .928 seconds ahead of Mir. Rins took third ahead of Morbidelli, with Miller completing the top-five riders.