A MotorLand Aragón masterclass from Franco Morbidelli saw him take his second MotoGP victory today, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s fifth of the year, after controlling the race from lights to flag. Team-mate Fabio Quartararo ended the Gran Premio de Teruel eighth.
It was a perfect start for Morbidelli, who moved into the lead on the first lap and settled into a consistently fast rhythm, setting several fastest laps in the early stages. The Italian comfortably controlled the race and was able to break away from the rest of the field, before increasing the gap to the closest challenger on track: Alex Rins. Taking his second MotoGP victory by 2.205secs, Franco moves up to fourth in the riders’ standings and reduces his points deficit to 25.
Quartararo was able to gain a place at the start of the 23-lap race, but moved down to seventh in the opening laps. Although he dropped one place on lap 10, the Frenchman defended hard from those riders behind him and was able to maintain his eighth place throughout the race. Although the tyres started to lose grip in the closing stages, Fabio was able to cross the line eighth and maintain his second place in the world championship standings.
The Gran Premio de Europa, the first of two back-to-back races at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, will be next for the PETRONAS Yamaha SRT pair. Before the final triple-header of the year gets underway on 6-8 November, the duo will enjoy one week of rest.
That was a really strong race from Franco! I am so happy for him and also for the team, who did an amazing job as well. He is now back in contention for the world championship, with just three rounds to go and only 25 points shy of the leader. The bike looks good and he looks comfortable on it; we are very happy that he’s achieved his second MotoGP victory.
We need to analyse Fabio’s race and see how we can improve, but other riders also had the same problems that we did. We need to all sit down and see how we can make it better for the final three races. He is only 14 points off the leader in the championship and there are still plenty of points on offer in the next races. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this final triple-header of the year will play out.
I am very happy with this win; it feels a little bit different to when I won in Misano. It comes from the hard work that the crew has put in; they have done an unbelievable job and worked so well together to get this win. The bike was perfect during the race, I was feeling great and I just had to focus on getting the bike to the finish line in the shortest, fastest, time possible. This victory is for them, for my crew. Without their work it would not have been possible. So thank you. Now we are just 25 points from being at the top of the championship standings, which means that it is time to go super aggressive into the final three races of this year.
Really I wanted a bit more from the race today, as we found something this morning that improved the bike, but it didn’t help as much as we thought it would in the race. The feeling was not great but we scored some points today and we actually had a fairly good race, I was able to fight and defend my position. We will try to be faster in the next race at Valencia, which is a track that I like and I had a great feeling there last year. Also we don’t seem to suffer tyre drop off there, like we have done here. There are three races left this year and we know how fast we can be, so I might not be so happy with the result today, but I know we have some good opportunities coming and I’m looking forward to being there.