Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo extended his championship lead this weekend, finishing an enthralling Spanish Grand Prix in second place. It was a difficult affair for team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who recovered positions in the closing stages to finish 15th. WithU Yamaha RNF Racing MotoGP Team’s Andrea Dovizioso missed out on a points finish, while Darryn Binder suffered an early crash, ultimately retiring to the pits.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo capitalised on the strong pace he had shown all weekend with a podium finish as the MotoGP World Championship returned to Andalucía. The factory Yamaha rider gave his all in a mesmerising fight for victory in front of the returning Spanish fans but narrowly missed out on maximum points, finishing the Spanish Grand Prix in second.
Having demonstrated blistering pace across Friday’s practice sessions, Quartararo looked certain to be in the hunt for victory. With temperatures higher for Sunday’s 25-lap Grand Prix, a strong start from the middle of the front row saw the Frenchman hold position in the opening stages as he settled into his rhythm.
Locked to the rear wheel of Francesco Bagnaia, it would soon become clear the battle for the victory would be a two-horse race as the duo opened a comfortable gap to the riders behind. Keeping the pressure on the race leader, the Yamaha rider looked to take the lead in the opening half of the race but couldn’t find a way by the Italian.
Knowing his mid-to-late race pace was strong, the Frenchman picked up the pace at the midway stage and began reducing Bagnaia’s lead, bringing the gap down to less than half a second. The 23-year-old was determined to secure his second victory of the season and put on a relentless display, matching the leaders’ lap times in what was an enthralling cat and mouse battle.
Unable to get his Yamaha M1 within striking distance, Quartararo started the final lap just half a second adrift of the race leader. Continuing to close the gap, the Spanish Grand Prix looked set for a grandstand finish, but Quartararo was too far back to pull off a move, finishing second, a narrow 0.285 seconds behind the winner.
It was a difficult affair for Franco Morbidelli who picked up a point for 15th place. The Italian started the Grand Prix in 16th, but a tough start didn’t see the number 21 make the progress he had hoped for in the opening laps. Sitting 16th at the halfway stage, Morbidelli lined up a pass on fellow countryman Luca Marini to claim 15th place. A last lap battle with Maverick Viñales saw the Roman rise to 14th briefly but he dropped back a position at the final corner.
WithU Yamaha RNF Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso and Darryn Binder had counted on their pre-season experience as they returned to Jerez. A tough weekend saw Dovizioso start the Grand Prix from 23rd position and endured a tricky start to the race. Slipping down the order in the first laps, the experienced Italian worked his way back up to the cusp of the top 20 and continued to make progress in the closing stages, ultimately rounding out his Grand Prix in 17th.
Team-mate Darryn Binder enjoyed a strong start to the race and was sitting in the points battle before a turn two crash saw him slide out of 17th position. Re-joining, the South African pushed on, but later retired to the pits, ending his sixth premier class race early.
Claiming 20 World Championship points, Fabio Quartararo sees his championship advantage grow to seven points with an 89 points total. Franco Morbidelli sits 16th with the RNF Racing Yamahas in 20th and 21st place with Dovizioso 2 points ahead of team-mate Binder.
The MotoGP teams are back in action for the post-race test on Monday after which they’ll enjoy a short break before returning to action across the weekend of 13-15th May for the Grand Prix de France at the Le Mans circuit.
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 2nd
“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.”
Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 15th
“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.”
Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF Racing MotoGP Team, 17th
“I didn’t expect a good race, to be honest. I didn’t have strong front grip and I saw all the other riders around me struggling with that. It was very strange that nobody at all from the first lap straight braking in the middle of the corner and it was very difficult. It happened already in the past in Jerez, sometimes it is like this in the race. It’s very strange, but when you see the lap times from the front group you are a bit surprised because without the grip, this was impossible. It’s pretty bad, I expected to be able to push, but I couldn’t from the first lap. So, I just tried to survive and finish the race somehow.”
Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, DNF
“I’m super disappointed that I crashed. Honestly, I’m still more happy with this race than Portimao. I’d rather crash out of fighting amongst the other guys than riding around last. At least in this race in the first laps, I was able to fight with the other guys and I felt like I was faster. I managed to make a nice pass on Marini at turn nine and was just behind Morbidelli and I think I got a little bit too excited. Going into turn two, I didn’t do anything too crazy, I had a little movement in the rear and the front closed. I wish I could have hung around a couple more laps and follow Morbidelli, but it is what it is. The grip was quite low today even in Warm Up, I felt I was doing a good job to getting the power down, I passed quite a lot of guys in the first laps already and I was feeling really strong. Overall, I feel like I know exactly what I need to work on. I’m really excited for tomorrow to try all sort of things and focus on these points and try to improve in that direction.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“The aim today was to score as many points as possible today. This was a track we thought we had a good chance to do a good race, though we did already figure it would be a difficult one to win. We got the job done. These 20 points for Fabio are important. He did try to win, and came close, but there came a point in the race that he understood he had to give the situation some consideration. I think he can be happy with this second place, and especially with the pace he showed today. Franky finally found something this morning that he likes and feels comfortable with on the bike. The feeling he had this morning was good. I would like to say that I think that because of this new setting his season will really start in two weeks‘ time in Le Mans. It‘s a shame that it came too late for this weekend. Starting from the sixth row was difficult. It made the tyre pressure go up, making it very difficult to ride, but he managed. He did what he could, knowing he could have done a completely different race. This is a positive sign, so we are looking forward to Le Mans with increased confidence, and we also have tomorrow‘s test to get some extra work done.”
Razlan Razali – WithU Yamaha RNF Racing MotoGP Team, Founder & Team Principal
“It was another difficult weekend for both our riders. Unfortunately, we did not score any points this weekend. It was a hard weekend to start with, with both riders struggling to find their rhythm with both their Yamaha YZR-M1. However, during the race we were happy that Darryn was fighting and managed to position himself as high as 17th before he crashed just behind Franky (Morbidelli) and did his fasted laps of high 38s. In a way, we are happy of what he has done although we obviously would like him to finish but he has learnt and understands the M1 better, which he will follow through to the test tomorrow.
“With Andrea, he did not have a good start. He was practically in the last positions but made a comeback to as high as 17th. Again, he’s still not comfortable with his riding style on the M1. But he has the opportunity to relook at his style during the test tomorrow.”
Gran Premio Red Bull De España Results
- Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team
- Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.285
- Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing +10.977
- Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team +12.676
- Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team +12.957
- Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +13.934
- Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +14.929
- Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP +18.436
- Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +18.830
- Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +20.056
- Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team +20.856
- Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +23.131
- Alex Marquez – LCR Honda Castrol +23.306
- Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing +27.358
- Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +27.519
- Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +29.278
- Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +35.204
- Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP™ +35.361
- Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +38.922
- Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +43.378
- Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing +44.299
- Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing +67.681
- Stefan Bradl – Honda HRC 10 laps
- Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing 9 laps
- Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF Racing MotoGP Team 5 laps
2022 MotoGP World Championship Standings
- Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 89 points
- Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing 82 points
- Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP 69 points
- Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 69 points
- Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 56 points
- Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 56 points
- Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing 51 points
- Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 48 points
- Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 44 points
- Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 points
- Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 42 points
- Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 35 points
- Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing 28 points
- Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing 27 points
- Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 21 points
- Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 18 points
- Alex Marquez – LCR Honda Castrol 16 points
- Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 15 points
- Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 14 points
- Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 8 points
- Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 6 points
- Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 3 points
- Raul Fernandez – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 0 points
- Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP 0 points
- Stefan Bradl – Honda HRC 0 points
26. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing 0 points