Yesterday, KTM’s Pol Espargaro claimed that the MotoGP rider who wins the Catalan Grand Prix will be the one who cares the least about crashing and remains upright—and he wasn’t wrong. The crash-heavy event at Barcelona was a wild one, and it ultimately favored Fabio Quartararo, the only rider who has won repeat races this year.
Quartararo won the first two races of the season, both of which took place Jerez. Since then, we’ve seen a variety of different winners that has led to an incredibly tight battle for the championship. Coming into this weekend, only four points separated the top four riders, with Quartararo trailing championship leader Andrea Dovisioso by a single point.
After his win, Quartararo has reclaimed the championship lead.
The race was a chaotic one, with Dovisioso crashing out on the opening lap. He and Johann Zarco made contact, and both riders went down.
But that wasn’t the only chaos of the afternoon. Three other riders failed to finish: Valentino Rossi, Pol Espargaro, and Miguel Oliveira.
Rossi’s crash was an especially heartbreaking one. The Doctor has had a difficult season, with a best finish of third to buoy his three retirements. His front-row qualifying position for the weekend promised the world, especially considering the fact that he also signed a contract for the 2021 season. There were high hopes for Rossi this weekend.
And it looked as if he might match them—that is, until he crashed. Rossi was holding steady in second place when the bike gave way in a series of tight turns. Rossi was thrown to the ground, and his chances at rounding out a dream weekend were shot.
Joan Mir and Alex Rins took second and third places, respectively. Franco Morbidelli and Jack Miller rounded out the top five.
“The most important thing was the front row,” Quartararo said after the race. “I didn’t make a real good start, but the first braking was really good. I always made clean overtakes. When we can overtake on the straight, we can fight for the victory. That was the positive of having three Yamahas on the front row.
“I suffered a lot the last month, never being back on the podium since Jerez. It was not easy for my brain.”
Joan Mir felt that he was close to victory, saying, “Today we had a really good race. It was a shame because I was missing a lap. I saw that Fabio was dropping his pace, and I was faster than him on the last lap, but it was too close. Today was not the day.”
Alex Rins had an incredible race. Starting from 13th on the grid, he fought his way up to a podium position—an especially promising finish considering the rider suffered a shoulder injury in Jerez that forced him to miss the race in order to receive surgery.
“This race was hard for me, as the previous weekends,” he said after the race. “I’m not 100% physically with the shoulder injury from Jerez, but I’m so happy for the race. I was so back on the grid, and I tried to get my mind free. I tried to go step by step.”
The next race will be at the Le Mans Bugatti Grand Prix Circuit on October 11, 2020.