Fabio Quartararo kicked off his 2020 season in style this weekend after taking his first ever MotoGP race win, which puts him at the top of the riders’ standings ahead of next weekend’s race. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli helped make it a weekend to remember for the team by equalling his best ever MotoGP finish (fifth) and helping place PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at the top of the teams’ standings.
Starting from pole position, Quartararo made a good start but lost places going into the opening corners of the first MotoGP race of the year. The Frenchman soon recovered and started to make his way towards the front of the race, where he battled fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Maverick Viñales for the lead. It didn't take Quartararo long to make his way past and start to pull out a gap to his rival. Fabio made no mistakes from then until the chequered flag came out to proclaim him a MotoGP race winner. The 2019 Rookie of the Year will now go into the next race of the year, which is also to be held at the 4.4km long Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, as points leader and confident of another good result.
It was also a good day for team-mate Morbidelli whose qualifying difficulties left him starting the race from tenth, which then became eighth due to the withdrawal of two riders. The Italian rode a smart race and rapidly started to make his way through the pack, to challenge for a podium finish in the closing laps. A small mistake made by Franco could have turned into something worse, but he was able to make a great save and cross the line fifth, equalling his best ever MotoGP result.
Fabio and Franco will not have to wait long before they are back out on track again, with the first practice sessions of the Gran Premio de Andalucía only days away (24-26 July).
It feels incredible. I don’t think the feeling has sunk in yet, I think that will come when I watch the race again. It’s a shame that my family, friends and fans are not here to see it, but it feels so good to finally be on the stop step of the podium. It was an amazing race and we were so consistent even though the track was really bad. There was very little grip and the tyres just dropped off so fast. I felt great on the bike so thank you to my team, partners and to Yamaha for that. I had one of the scariest moments of the race in the same place where I had the problem last year, I was worried it was going to happen again! All was good, but the last ten laps felt like they took so long to complete. Every lap we got closer to the end I was feeling better and better, just having some fun. This win is for my family, my brother especially, my best friend, my manager, all the fans who can’t be here, my team and also to those people that have suffered a lot during the last 4 months. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to Alex [Rins], Cal [Crutchlow] and Marc [Marquez].