Quartararo wins in Jerez to take a big lead
Frenchman follows up his season-opening Spanish Grand Prix victory with a start-to-finish triumph
Jerez — Fabio Quartararo of Petronas Yamaha led from start to finish to win the Andalusian Grand Prix on Sunday and take a big lead in the world championship standings.
Frenchman Quartararo, who also won the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last weekend, cruised to victory while the factory Yamaha duo of former champion Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales battled it out for second.
It was Spaniard Vinales who clinched runner-up spot after an overtake on the penultimate lap while 41-year-old Italian Rossi finished third to return to the podium for the first time since the Grand Prix of the Americas more than a year ago.
Rossi, who started fourth on the grid, made a good start and quickly moved up to second ahead of Vinales with the two Pramac Ducatis of Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia looking to reel them in.
“That one was tough,” Quartararo said after a race in which eight riders crashed or retired due to technical problems. “What an amazing feeling, it feels so good to make back-to-back wins.
“Strange conditions today, but I think it was one of the hardest races of my life.”
Victory moved Quartararo to 50 points in the world championship standings, 10 points ahead of Vinales.
Bagnaia, who had never finished on the podium, capitalised on mistakes from Miller and Vinales to move up to third and he eased past Rossi whose tyres were struggling for grip in the heat before Miller slid off at turn nine.
Petronas Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli looked set to challenge for a podium place before technical problems forced him to retire.
Bagnaia was cruelly denied a podium when his bike began trailing smoke and the Italian had to retire from the race.
Defending champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda did not take part as he continues to recover from surgery on a broken arm sustained in the season-opening race last weekend.
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