30 Apr, 2023
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli defied the odds on a very difficult Gran Premio MotoGP de España Sunday. The teammates both had to complete long-lap penalties in the 24-lap restart, but still managed to finish in the points, taking 10th and 11th place respectively.
The dramatic start to the Saturday Sprint was repeated at the start of Sunday’s Race. This time it was Fabio Quartararo who collided with Marco Bezzecchi and Miguel Oliveira, resulting in a red-flag situation. The race was shortened from 25 laps to 24 for the restart.
Quartararo was given a long-lap penalty by Race Direction as a sanction for the incident in the initial Race, to be completed in the restart. He had a good start from P16 and gained five positions on the opening lap. At the end of lap 4, the Frenchman completed the penalty and rejoined in 14th place.
But bad luck struck again. El Diablo was given another long-lap penalty as Race Direction deemed the first one incorrect. He served the second long-lap penalty at the end of lap 7 and found himself back in 16th place. Aggravated by the situation, the number-20 rider was pushing on the limit. He overtook Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez, and Fabio Di Giannantonio, and with multiple riders crashing out and retiring from the race, Quartararo salvaged a top-10 position. He was close to challenging Takaaki Nakagami for ninth on the final lap but came just short. He took the chequered flag in tenth place, 15.846s from the race leader, despite the two long-lap penalties.
Morbidelli had a good launch from P14 in the restart, completing the first lap in 13th place. However, the Italian was given a long-lap penalty by Race Direction following the four-rider incident in Saturday’s Sprint, to be completed in today’s race. Yamaha had put in an appeal on behalf of Morbidelli, but the appeal was denied.
The number-21 rider served his long-lap penalty at the end lap 3, falling back to 18th place. But he didn’t let that dampen his spirit. He manoeuvred his way past Stefan Bradl on lap 8 and then followed his teammate at a distance, overtaking Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez, and Di Giannantonio, showing good race pace. With various riders crashing out or retiring from the 24-lap contest, Morbido crossed the finish line in 11th place, 17.209s from first.
Today’s result sees Quartararo in 11th in the overall standings with 40 points. Morbidelli is in 12th place with 34 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team are 6th in the team championship with 74 points, and Yamaha remain 5th in the constructor’s championship with 49 points.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will stay on in Jerez for a one-day MotoGP Official Test on Monday, after which they will have a week off before they start Round 5, the Grand Prix de France, held at the Le Mans track.