Maverick Vinales has left Monster Energy Yamaha ahead of schedule, the team announced on Friday.

Vinales and Yamaha agreed earlier this season to cut short a contract that was supposed to run through 2022, with the rider instead leaving at the end of this season.

But Vinales was at the centre of controversy at the Styrian Grand Prix, where he failed to finish.

The Spaniard cited electrical issues with his bike, but Yamaha told of his "irregular operation of the motorcycle", which "could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine".

Vinales was then cut from the Austrian GP and now will not ride for the team again.

The decision was announced in a statement, with Yamaha's team managing director Lin Jarvis explaining: "In Assen, Yamaha and Vinales already announced the mutual decision to cut short their original 2021-2022 programme and to finish it at the end of 2021.

"A commitment was made by both rider and team to continue to the end of the current season, with the team guaranteeing its full support and the rider giving his maximum efforts so that we could finish the project 'in style'.

"Regretfully, at the Styrian GP, the race did not go well or end well and consequently, after deep consideration by both parties, the mutual decision was reached that it would be better for both parties if we end the partnership earlier.

"The early separation will release the rider to be free to follow his chosen future direction and will also permit the team to focus its efforts on the remaining races of the 2021 season with a replacement rider – yet to be determined."

Vinales joined Monster Energy Yamaha in 2017 after leaving Team Suzuki Ecstar, where he had one victory across his first two seasons in MotoGP.

With Yamaha, Vinales added eight more victories among 24 podiums, finishing third in the championship in 2017 and 2019.

This year, he started the year with a triumph at the Qatar GP and was second as recently as the Dutch TT, where the initial announcement with Yamaha was agreed.

Vinales is sixth in the standings at the time of his departure.

Monster Energy Yamaha have withdrawn rider Maverick Vinales from Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix following his "irregular operation of the motorcycle" in last week's race.

The 26-year-old failed to finish the Styrian Grand Prix due to what he put down to multiple electrical issues.

However, Yamaha said in a statement on Thursday that Vinales' actions "could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine" and have withdrawn the Spaniard from the 11th round of the championship.

Yamaha's decision was taken after "an in-depth analysis of telemetry and data over the last days".

Vinales, who races alongside championship leader Fabio Quartararo, will not be replaced by another rider at the Red Bull Ring.

The nine-time MotoGP race winner announced in June that he is to leave Yamaha a year early at the end of the 2021 season.

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo enjoyed a "good day" at the Styrian Grand Prix, as his podium finish and Jorge Martin's win extended his lead at the top of the standings.

Quartararo finished third in a race that was suspended for half an hour due to an early crash, which saw two bikes engulfed in flames.

Both riders – Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Savadori – escaped relatively unscathed, though the latter was unable to restart the race.

The restart benefited Martin, who had set a record time at the Red Bull Ring to take pole position in Saturday's qualifying session.

Francesco Bagnaia had overtaken the Pramac Racing rider but, despite an early attack from Jack Miller after the restart, Martin recovered to cruise to his maiden MotoGP triumph.

Behind Martin, Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) claimed second, with Quartararo nipping into third – Miller's hopes fading when he skidded off the track at Turn 7 with 10 laps remaining.

Quartararo (172) now has a 40-point lead over Johann Zarco, who finished sixth, in the championship standings, with Mir further behind on 121.

"It feels so good because when there is a red flag it is always tough," said Quartararo.

"I was extremely good on the braking on Turn 3. I knew that there was a possibility to overtake and did it.

"I don't really know the position of the other guys apart from Joan and Jorge finishing in front. I am so happy. The best goal was to finish on the podium and we did it. So happy for Jorge, he took some points off Joan, so a good day."

Martin, meanwhile, was ecstatic after achieving what he labelled the first step on his path to pushing for world championship glory.

"I can't believe it, I don't believe it, that's why I'm not so excited! I think the ride was amazing. I kept a really constant pace. I was super focused," said the 23-year-old.

"Even if I did some mistakes, my target was to win the race. Joan was impressive today, he was behind me almost all the race but then in the last laps I tried a bit more and I took a gap for the lead.

"The last laps I was thinking about things – everyone who has helped me to be here – that's why I did worse in the last laps but I had this gap to manage. Thanks to all my family, this is one big step towards my big area to be world champion."

Reigning world champion Mir said: "Today was close. I'm happy because all weekend we have been there, overall.

"I needed a couple of faster laps to fight with Jorge, he did a great job. We must push a bit more, find something more for next weekend if we want to be on the top of the podium.

"I am proud of the team, they have done a great job and finally, the performance is higher, so happy and proud of them."

Jorge Martin capitalised on his record-setting pole position to claim victory in a dramatic Styrian Grand Prix on Sunday to seal his maiden win in MotoGP.

Martin, competing in his maiden MotoGP campaign, clinched pole with a time of 1:22.994 – the fastest recorded at the Red Bull Ring.

However, he needed a second chance to turn his superb qualifying session into a race triumph following an early red flag due to a crash involving Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Savadori.

Francesco Bagnaia had taken an early lead ahead of Martin, but when the race restarted, the original grid positions were used, and having reclaimed control from Jack Miller – who later crashed out – the Pramac Racing rider held firm to secure a first premier class success ahead of Joan Mir and runaway championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

Bagnaia wasted no time in getting on the attack and had overtaken Martin within seconds of the start, while Mir, Quartararo and Marc Marquez had an almighty tussle for position on Turn 6.

Yet their efforts proved fruitless as the red flag was soon raised.

Pedrosa fell on the exit hairpin of Turn 3 with Savadori subsequently colliding with the stricken bike.

Making his first start in MotoGP since 2018, Pedrosa came away unscathed, though Savadori had to receive further medical attention and was carried away on a stretcher. Meanwhile, race marshals had to contend with a fire on the track – a result of a ruptured fuel tank from one of the bikes.

After a 30-minute delay, the race restarted with 27 laps remaining. This time, it was Miller who was the early aggressor, with six-time MotoGP champion Marquez dropping to 14th and Martin back to third.

Miller could not hold on, though, with Martin picking his line perfectly to undertake, while defending champion Mir and Quartararo soon followed suit.

Matters were made worse for Miller with 10 laps to go, the Australian skidding out on Turn 7 as he attempted to hunt down Quartararo. It is the second successive race he has failed to finish.

The day instead belonged to Martin, the 23-year-old keeping compatriot Mir at bay to win with a 1.548-second cushion.

Quartararo came in in third, collecting more points in his quest for the world title, while Marquez – who finished on the podium in three of his four previous MotoGP races at the Red Bull Ring – had to settle for eighth.

Jorge Martin made history as he claimed his second pole of the MotoGP season, which resumed at the Styrian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Pramac Racing rider's winning time of 1:22.994 was the fastest recorded at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, as he finished 0.044s ahead of Francesco Bagnaia.

There was drama as Martin's effort was almost eclipsed by Fabio Quartararo, only for the runaway championship leader to exceed track limits by drifting into the green at the vital moment.

MotoGP debutant Martin made a strong start to his maiden campaign; taking pole in Doha in round two on the way to an impressive third-place finish.

However, injury during qualifying at the Portuguese Grand Prix two weeks later ruled him out of four races, while he was also forced to retire at the Dutch TT last time out.

Nevertheless, the 23-year-old has demonstrated brilliant determination to bounce back and finish fastest in qualifying, which he dedicated to his currently hospitalised grandfather.

"It wasn't the perfect lap," he said. "I started quite well in the first sector.

"I kept pushing and saw I was coming in hot, but then I made a mistake with the gearbox in corners four and five. 

"In the last two corners, I tried my best not to go to the green because with the wind, it was difficult. When I finished the lap and saw the time on my screen, I thought: 'that's a good time.'

"I want to dedicate this pole position to my grandfather. He's in hospital and he's battling a lot."

Despite missing out on a sixth pole of the season, Quartararo will begin Sunday's Grand Prix on the front row of the grid for Monster Energy Yamaha.

"It's a shame because of the track limit. I did the maximum with what I had," said the Frenchman, who is currently 34 points clear at the top of the riders' standings.

"Sunday, it looks like it's going to rain, so it's good to have a great position on the grid. 

"I pushed my bike to the limit. I will not say it's my best lap because I made many mistakes, but it's the first time that I've pushed that much on a bike."

It was a good day for Ducati with Martin and Bagnaia first and second with Jack Miller and Johann Zarco, who finished fourth and sixth respectively, not far behind.

World champion Joan Mir will start fifth for Suzuki Ecstar.

Meanwhile, seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, who announced earlier this week that he would retire at the end of this season, was 17th.

Provisional classification

1. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) 1:22.994
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.044s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.081s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.306s
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.328s
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.382s
7. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.454s
8. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.495s
9. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.514s
10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.542s
11. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +0.847s
12. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.950s

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has announced he will retire at the end of the 2021 season after a 26-year career.

The nine-time MotoGP world champion confirmed this campaign would be his last at the Styrian Grand Prix in Austria – where the Italian claimed his first Grand Prix podium in 1996  – on Thursday.

After falling down the pecking order at Yahama this season, Rossi, who has achieved 115 Grand Prix victories and 235 podiums in 414 starts, decided to continue his career with Petronas, though only managed to collect 17 points from the first nine races in the 2021 campaign.

Ahead of the summer break, the Italian was expected to announce his future plans and he did so during Thursday's exceptional news conference.

"It's a very sad moment," Rossi said to the media. "It's difficult to know that next year I will not race with a motorcycle.

"It was a long journey that I enjoyed very much. Next year, my life will change.

"It's a difficult decision but in the end in all sports it's results that make the difference, so I think it's the right decision. I can't complain about my career."

Rossi had been winless in MotoGP since the 2017 Dutch TT, though his legacy will not shrink away from the sport to which he has contributed so much.

Having set up the VR46 Riders Academy to help young Italian talent, Rossi's own VR46 team will make its debut in 2022.

While Rossi's next move remains unclear, there is speculation around him competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, given he has previously expressed a desire to compete with GT3 machinery.

Maverick Vinales has made the "difficult" decision to leave Monster Energy Yamaha at the end of the 2021 season amid reports he could join Aprilia.

The 26-year-old Spaniard was contracted to Yamaha until 2022 but has agreed to terminate his deal a year early.

Speculation of Vinales being on the move swept through the paddock at Dutch TT last weekend, although he denied a deal had already been struck with Aprilia to become Aleix Espargaro's team-mate next year.

"This partnership has been very significant to me over the last five years, and it proved a difficult decision to part ways," Vinales said in a statement.

"In these seasons together, we experienced both great achievements and tough times. However, the underlying feeling is of mutual respect and appreciation.

"I am fully committed and will strive to achieve the best results for the rest of the season."

Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said the decision to split was mutually agreeable.

He added: "It is with sadness that we will say farewell to Maverick at the end of the year. We are in the middle of our fifth season together and over the years we have achieved many highs but also had to manage many lows.

"After the German GP, which was the most difficult weekend of our partnership, we had important discussions in Assen and came to the conclusion that it would be in the interest of both parties to go our separate ways in the future.

"Yamaha will put in their maximum effort – as we always have done – to give full support to Maverick and finish this season in the very best way possible."

Aprilia Racing chief executive Massimo Rivola recently said the team would ask swiftly if the opportunity to sign Vinales arises. 

He told DAZN: "We don't know if Maverick will be on the market for 2022. If he is released by Yamaha, then he will certainly be of interest to us.

"But it is all to be built. First of all, we have to see if the rider is available and if he is willing to come to us. We have not spoken with him yet. But if he is released from Yamaha we will talk to him immediately."

Maverick Vinales has denied he has agreed to make a shock move to Aprilia but says he has been thinking about leaving Monster Energy Yamaha since the start of the season.

Talk of Vinales potentially being on the move swept through the paddock at Dutch TT this weekend.

The 26-year-old Spaniard is contracted to Yamaha until 2022 but he has been linked with a switch to become Aleix Espargaro's team-mate next year.

Vinales said he has not agreed a deal with Aprilia, yet gave a strong indication he will seek pastures now after finishing second behind MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo in Assen on Sunday.

"No it's not true," Vinales told DAZN after being asked if he was joining Aprilia

"Now, for the moment we go to the summer break and we'll see.

"Of course it's an option [to move on], I'm thinking about it since the beginning of the season, because I'm not able to show my full potential, I can't tell you more."

 

Aprilia Racing chief executive Massimo Rivola said the team would ask swiftly if the opportunity to sign Vinales arises. 

He told DAZN: "We don't know if Maverick will be on the market for 2022. If he is released by Yamaha, then he will certainly be of interest to us.

"But it is all to be built. First of all, we have to see if the rider is available and if he is willing to come to us. We have not spoken with him yet. But if he is released from Yamaha we will talk to him immediately."

Fabio Quartararo extended his MotoGP championship lead with a fourth win of the season at the Dutch TT on Sunday.

Quartararo got off to a great start from second place on the grid behind Maverick Vinales and engaged in an early battle with Francesco Bagnaia before surging away to victory by a margin of 2.757 seconds in Assen.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider will head into the summer break with a lead of 34 points, having dominated much of race that finished with team-mate Vinales in second place and Joan Mir third.

Bagnaia crossed the line back in sixth after he was given a long lap penalty, while Johann Zarco, second in the standings, was fourth and Marc Marquez claimed seventh despite starting back in 20th.

Quartararo got off to a lightning start, passing Vinales in a flash, but his lead proved to be short-lived as Bagnaia nipped in front of the Frenchman.

Vinales dropped back to third as Bagnaia, who started in third spot, and Quartararo scrapped it out for the lead.

The order of the front two changed a few times before Quartararo took control, while there was drama when Zarco and Alex Rins touched at Turn 10.

Marquez, the winner in Germany last time out, surged through the field following a rapid start and Valentino Rossi's race ended with a crash with 19 laps to go.

Bagnaia's hopes of catching Quartararo ended when he was penalised with 13 laps to complete and Jack Miller was able to get back on his bike after hitting the deck.

Vinales closed the gap on Quartararo but not enough to trouble the 22-year-old championship leader.

Fabio Quartararo does not consider himself the favourite at the German Grand Prix after his run of poles ended as he qualified in second on Saturday.

MotoGP world championship leader Quartararo was pipped by 0.011 seconds as Johann Zarco secured his place at the front of the grid.

That denied the Monster Energy Yamaha star a sixth consecutive pole position, with Marc Marquez (seven between 2013 and 2014) the last rider to enjoy such a streak.

Quartararo will still be expected to challenge for the victory on Sunday, though, having tied his career best with three top-category wins already this season.

The 22-year-old crashed out of his only previous appearance at the German GP in 2019 but is enjoying a run of eight races without a retirement.

But when asked about his chances, Quartararo instead backed Miguel Oliveira and said: "I think we will struggle a bit."

Oliveira, who qualified in sixth, just behind Marc Marquez, won the Catalan Grand Prix last time out for his second consecutive podium for the first time.

Quartararo added: "We are not feeling so great on that track. We can see the others struggling also quite a lot.

"But I give 100 per cent and I'm happy because it's not that far from pole position. Our pace is not that bad, so I will give my all tomorrow."

Zarco is still waiting on his first MotoGP win despite 11 podiums – including four this year.

He also discussed the difficulty of the circuit at the Sachsenring, having crashed in Q2 after setting his fastest lap.

"I'm all fine and pretty happy," Zarco said. "The emotion was particular, with the pole but then the crash.

"You have so much adrenaline in the body that then I need a bit of time to bring everything down to get my spirit clean. I'm okay now and pretty happy, because it will be important to start in pole tomorrow.

"It's a difficult track, but I'm finding the confidence on it and I hope tomorrow to get also this pleasure for all the race to play with the others and get a nice rhythm."

Marquez has won on all seven of his previous appearances in Germany, but he also started from pole on each occasion.

"I cannot pretend tomorrow to fight for the victory, because we are not ready," he said. "But to finish in the top five can be an optimistic and realistic result."


Provisional classification

1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 1:20.236
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.011s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.211s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.272s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.331s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.353s
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.381s
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.423s
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.574s
10. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.575s
11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.713s
12. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +0.899s

Marc Marquez did not finish a MotoGP race for the third straight time, a career first, as Miguel Oliveira triumphed at the Catalan Grand Prix.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez has not had the best of luck since returning from an injury that kept him out for the majority of 2020 and, after crashing in the Italian Grand Prix last week, the Spaniard suffered a similar fate on Sunday.

Marquez, aiming for a fifth consecutive podium finish in his home grand prix, spun out of control at turn 10, shortly after Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro had crashed out, with Aleix Espargaro soon joining his younger sibling.

Aleix Espargaro, sixth at the time, fell foul of the same corner that did for Marquez, who desperately tried to right his bike but was swiftly ushered away by track emergency staff as he followed up retirements in France and Italy.

Turn 10 subsequently claimed another big name, Valentino Rossi, who managed his best finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix (10th) but ended up skidding off the track here.

Yet up ahead, it was a demonstration of complete control from Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), who led for 23 laps in total after capitalising on a mistake from early front-runner Jack Miller.

The Australian had himself pounced on an error by championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who had claimed his fifth consecutive pole and was aiming for a career-first fourth win of a single season.

Yet despite fighting back to close the gap on Oliveira, Quartararo could not win in Barcelona as he did in 2020, and ultimately had to settle for fourth place, missing out on a third straight podium finish at the circuit.

Johann Zarco's daring overtake with three laps to go did the initial damage for Quartararo, who lost part of his protective leathers as he attempted to hold off Miller's challenge for third, but the Monster Energy Yamaha driver was handed a three second penalty.

It is Miller's first appearance on the Barcelona podium in seven attempts in MotoGP, while Zarco has surpassed his previous best tally of three top-three finishes in a single season.

Yet the day belonged to Oliveira, the Portuguese rider holding steady to clinch a third MotoGP race win.

TOP 10
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM)
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.175
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +1.990s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.815s
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +5.325s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +6.281s
7. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +8.175s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +8.378s
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +15.652s
10. Enea Bastianini (Reale Avintia Racing) +19.297s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 101
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) 90
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 88
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 76

Teams
1. Monster Energy Yamaha 192
2. Ducati 178
3. Pramac Racing 124
4. Suzuki Ecstar 99
5. Red Bull KTM 97

What's next?

The MotoGP schedule takes in Germany, with Chemnitz's Sachsenring hosting the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Fabio Quartararo claimed his fifth consecutive pole position on Saturday and revealed he is preferring qualifying sessions to races right now, even as he leads the MotoGP world championship.

Having won three of the first six events this season – including the Italian Grand Prix last time out – Quartararo is 24 points clear at the top of the standings. He has never won more than three races in a campaign in the top category.

But the Monster Energy Yamaha sensation is arguably reserving his best displays for Saturdays.

After another outstanding performance in qualifying at the Catalunya Grand Prix, Quartararo will again line up on the front row.

This career-best run of poles means the Frenchman becomes the 15th rider to reach 15 in the premier class and he is well placed to repeat his impressive past race performances in Barcelona.

Quartararo's first ever podium came at the event in 2019, while he won in 2020.

Yet even another victory might not be as enjoyable as the qualifying session in which he bettered Jack Miller with a time of a minute and 38.853 seconds. He had remarkably already lapped in under 1:40 seven times in FP4.

"Qualifying is the best thing to do on a race weekend," he said. "I enjoy it much more than the race because you push yourself to the limit."

Quartararo even felt he could have performed better as he took pole, although his level of performance on both medium and hard tyres means there is a decision still to make on Sunday.

Jorge Lorenzo, in 2012 and 2013, was the last man to celebrate back-to-back Catalunya GP wins.

"The pace was great, medium and hard," Quartararo said. "The qualifying was great and I did a great first run. But actually, my lap was not that perfect.

"I thought I could improve a little bit more and on my second run I prepared really well the rear tyre, but I went on the yellow flag in sector three.

"But the most important thing is we're on the front row, P1. I'm so happy to see the fans back and I think it's giving a boost for everyone."

The previous rider to have five successive poles was Marc Marquez, with seven across 2013 and 2014.

But the six-time MotoGP champion failed to even make Q2 on Saturday and explained that a circuit where he has four podiums in a row is not suited to his Repsol Honda.

"Our weak point is the traction, and at this circuit, if you don't have the traction, it's impossible to be fast," said Marquez, who is aiming to avoid three straight retirements for the first time in his top category career.

"At the other circuits, you can brake later, stop, go, pick up. But here, at Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 4, if you don't have the grip, it's impossible.

"Even in '19, when I was in a sweet moment, I was struggling here. Okay, you can say, 'You win the race', but I won the race because there was a strike in Turn 10. If not, I wasn't able to win the race.

"But anyway, let's see if tomorrow we can finish the race and continue this calendar."


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:38.853
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.037s
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.196s
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.246s
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.256s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.304s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.365s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.490s
9. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.506s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.578s
11. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +0.752s
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +2.938s

Jack Miller won the Spanish Grand Prix as the Ducati rider notched his first MotoGP victory since 2016.

The Australian made a superb start to lead and, despite being passed by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) in the middle stages, he held his nerve in the second half of the race to return to the front.

Miller finished ahead of Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in third spot.

Quartararo slipped down to finish 13th as he surrendered his place at the top of the world championship to Bagnaia.

The Frenchman started poorly as he slipped from pole position to fourth as Miller surged ahead, but like the Portuguese Grand Prix last time out he initially recovered.

Quartararo overtook his rivals on the final corner of successive laps to regain the lead before he pulled one-and-a-half seconds clear at the front.

With 11 laps to go, a third consecutive victory seemingly beckoned for Quartararo, but he dropped two seconds on one lap, allowing Miller to seize the advantage.

Miller was able to hold on until the end as he secured his first MotoGP win since the Dutch TT at Assen in June 2016 and his eighth overall.

Quartararo lost further ground as Italian duo Bagnaia with Morbidelli scrapped it out for second, with the former edging it to make it a one-two for Ducati.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) returned to the Jerez track where he suffered a broken arm last July –  an injury that kept him out for nine months – and came through unscathed.

Marquez, who had escaped injury in a big fall on Saturday and another accident in warm-up, started the race in 14th spot and eventually ended in ninth in his second race since returning.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claimed fourth place as Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) both secured top-six finishes.

TOP 10

1. Jack Miller (Ducati) 41'05.602
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +1.912
3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +2.516
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +3.206
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +4.256
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +5.164
7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +5.651
8. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +7.161
9. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +10.494
10. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +11.776

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 66
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 64
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 50
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 49
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 48

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 114
2. Ducati 105
3. Suzuki Ecstar 72
4. Pramac Racing 65
5. Repsol Honda 40

What's next?

Quartararo will hope for more luck on home turf at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on May 16.

 

 

Fabio Quartararo revealed how a change in mindset has helped him enjoy a strong start to the new MotoGP season after making it two wins from three races in 2021.

After prevailing in Qatar in the previous round, the Frenchman came out on top in an action-packed Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, despite a shaky start from pole position.

Quartararo – who rejoiced by copying Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration – was aided by Alex Rins crashing out when second, giving the leader breathing space at the front of the field.

"My start was good, but unfortunately others made better. I'm so happy, because honestly, I didn't expect to make that pace. The pace was so strong," Quartararo said.

"I knew we had a little bit of extra pace from Alex. He was running so fast then he made a mistake, but the pace that we set was unexpected from myself.

"But it feels great to enjoy that track a lot. It's a unique track."

The Monster Yamaha rider now leads the way in the standings, having approached the campaign with a more positive attitude. Francesco Bagnaia ended up taking second place in Portugal with reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir completing the podium.

"Yamaha made a big step compared to last year, but for more mentally I feel stronger," Quartararo explained to the media.

"I've learned a lot – last year, when the bike was not going so great, I was always thinking negatively. I've totally changed – feeling positive always.

"I arrived here and knew that the bike was working, and even those things that weren't working so well, I wasn't thinking about them. To set the pace we did was not easy, but I was focused."

Suzuki Ecstar's Mir recorded his first top-three finish in the embryonic stages of the season, a result he was happy with considering Yamaha have dominated so far with three straight victories.

"I knew that if I was unable to overtake in the last laps, it would be impossible to overtake in the straight," said Mir. "But it was a positive weekend overall.

"This is probably not the best track for me and I was able to finish on the podium, so I'm happy.

"In warm-up I felt really strong, but in the middle of the race I felt some trouble with some parts of the bike. In the last laps I managed to survive and was able to maintain a positive pace.

"This is not the best start to the championship for us, for me. But at both Qatar and here we were fighting for the podium.

"It is our goal to be fighting in Jerez and Le Mans too, then I expect to be stronger, but now I have to survive and score as many points as possible."

Fabio Quartararo overcame a poor start to win a dramatic Portuguese Grand Prix that saw Marc Marquez finish seventh on his long-awaited return.

Marquez said he was ready to "suffer" in his first race since sustaining a season-ending broken arm last July, but the six-time MotoGP champion enjoyed an encouraging comeback after making an early move from sixth to third.

However, it was Quartararo who took the victory, despite dropping down the field from pole position in a pulsating start, after Johann Zarco and Alex Rins crashed out in quick succession at the Algarve International Circuit on Sunday.

Quartararo took over from Zarco as championship leader after sealing back-to-back wins following his triumph in Doha, with Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir taking second and third place respectively.

Maverick Vinales could only finish back in 11th place on a great day for Quartararo.

Zarco darted up the inside in a dream start from third on the grid to take the lead from Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo, with Marquez also impressing during the opening laps in Portimao.

Quartararo dropped back to sixth and Marquez caught the back of Mir's Suzuki as he slipped back following a promising beginning to the race.

Rins, who started in second, moved passed Pramac Racing's Zarco in a flash at Turn 13 to hit the front before Jack Miller and Miguel Oliveira - winner on home soil last year - crashed out.

Quartararo had ominously put a disappointing start behind him to apply the pressure, becoming the latest leader of the race with 17 laps to go.

Rins tried his best to cut the gap in second place but spun off 11 laps from the end at Turn 10 after Valentino Rossi had crashed out from 11th place.

Quartararo was in complete control when Rins spun and a second-placed Zarco hit the deck, with Ducati rider Bagnaia holding off Mir for second, having been back in 11th, as the early championship lead changed hands.

Page 1 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.