Reigning champion and 2022 leader Quartararo was forced to settle for fifth at the San Marino MotoGP, while Francesco Bagnaia won his fourth race in a row.

Quartararo’s lead at the top of the standings, with six races to go, has been cut to 30 points at a time when Bagnaia’s form is red-hot.

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“It was heartbreaking to watch,” BT Sport’s Laverty said about Yamaha rider Quartararo. 

“Fabio is performing miracles, as we say every weekend. But fifth was the best he could do!

“He still rode an exceptional race but he’s still not there.

“Ducati is so strong around this race track and Aprilia matched them.

“It is a worrying prospect for him. He will start to feel the pressure.

“The Ducatis are strong at a lot of different venues to come.”

The remaining races are at Aragon, Japan, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia and Valencia.

Quartararo, much like he endured at Misano, faces being surrounded by Ducati riders including Enea Bastianini, Johann Zarco and Jack Miller which could hand a major title advantage to Bagnaia.

“He needs to take the victory at Phillip Island and Thailand, where he was so strong in 2019 battling with Marc Marquez,” Laverty said about Quartararo.

“Then it comes down to Valencia, mano-a-mano at the final round! What a weekend!

“I hope it doesn’t come down to team orders but Ducati’s strength in numbers will come to the fore in these last six rounds.

“Pecco is sublime. But it’s all the Ducatis. Every time, they will be between Pecco and Fabio.

“We have some tracks where, on paper, Ducati are strong. And it’s not just one Ducati. He’s got a fight on his hands.”