Quartararo back in control with commanding Catalunya MotoGP win as Dovi crashes

Fabio Quartararo sends out a warning to his rivals with a very convincing third victory of the season in the Catalunya MotoGP as Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi crash out
Fabio Quartararo, Catalunya MotoGP. 26 September 2020
Fabio Quartararo, Catalunya MotoGP. 26 September 2020
© Gold and Goose

2020 Catalunya MotoGP - Race Results

Fabio Quartararo has regained control of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship standings with a convincing third victory of the season in the Catalunya MotoGP, while Andrea Dovizioso’s race ended on lap one for the second year in succession.

After a few wobbly events since his formidable double win out of the box in Jerez, Quartararo produced a flawless performance reminiscent of that on Spanish soil again by shrugging off a tardy start to pick off fellow Yamaha riders Valentino Rossi and Franco Morbidelli before sprinting clear.

The Frenchman’s joy was compounded further by a disastrous end to a dismal weekend for erstwhile MotoGP leader Dovizioso after he was wiped out by Johann Zarco at Turn 2. With Joan Mir finishing second and Maverick Vinales in 10th, Quartararo leads Mir by eight points.

Off the line Morbidelli couldn’t have dreamed of a better start from his maiden pole position, completing the long run down to Turn 1 comfortably ahead of Jack Miller - getting his customary rocket start from fifth - Quartararo and Rossi.

With Miller’s initial burst simmered by a moment into Turn 10 - which came remarkably close to skittling Morbidelli a la Jorge Lorenzo - Rossi was also up to second on Quartararo with a fine pass into Turn 5.

From here the Yamahas began to assert their control to pull away from Miller and Mir, the Spaniard starting well but dropping off the pace in the early laps as is often customary.

Steadily Quartararo began to flex his muscles, first dispatching of Rossi again at Turn 1 on lap four before nosing ahead of his Petronas SRT Yamaha team-mate Morbidelli with an identical pass three laps later.

With Rossi dropping off the back of the pair, it appeared victory would come down to a straight fight between the PSRT pair, only for Morbidelli to get it all wrong under braking into Turn 1 on lap 15 as the rear wheel skipped on the asphalt, the Italian then lucky to save the front-end as he tried to dip the Yamaha into the corner. 

Dropping him to third and almost four second back, Morbidelli was out of the race fight but he did - briefly - regain second at the expense of Rossi, who slid out with 9 laps remaining at Turn 2 as the cool conditions began to make life particularly hard on a left lean angle, with both Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira suffering exactly the same fate at the same turn.

It meant Quartararo was released to cruise home for a timely third win of the year, making him the first familiar 2020 winner since his own triumphs in July.

Behind him, the fight for second ramped up with Morbidelli coming under attack from Suzuki as both Mir and Alex Rins - up from 13th on the grid - once again came on strong in the latter laps. Pulling off passes on the penultimate lap to grab second and third, it is the first double podium for the manufacturer since its return to MotoGP action in 2015.

Mir’s second place emphasises his title credentials on a terrible day for Dovizioso and Vinales. Dovizioso’s race ended abruptly when Zarco ahead - spooked by a slide by Danilo Petrucci ahead - wiped out wide and took the Italian with him. Vinales, meanwhile, suffered another mysterious drop off in pace accelerated by a slump from fifth to 15th on the first lap alone, the Spaniard eventually recovering to ninth.

Ahead of him, Miller held on for fifth from a charging Pecco Bagnaia in sixth position, while the ever-dependable Takaaki Nakagami kept Honda’s points ticking over with an ascending run to seventh.

Petrucci enjoyed one of his most convincing results for some time in eighth position, ahead of Vinales and Cal Crutchlow, who landed his first top ten finish of the year in tenth.

A desperate day for KTM ended with Brad Binder in 11th place in a dent to its 2020 MotoGP title targets, with Aleix Espargaro again close but still adrift in 12th on the Aprilia,

Alex Marquez enjoyed another solid race to grab points for 13th, with Iker Lecuona and Tito Rabat beating Bradley Smith and Stefan Bradl for the final digits.

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