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Franco Morbidelli Secures First Podium of the Year for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in Jerez

Franco Morbidelli Secures First Podium of the Year for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT in Jerez

Franco Morbidelli returned to the podium with a third-place finish at this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix. The PETRONAS Yamaha SRT rider ran inside the top three positions throughout the race and crossed the line in third, 2.516 seconds off the race-winner. Maverick Viñales came home as the leading Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider, finishing in seventh position, after severe arm pump saw team-mate Fabio Quartararo forced to relinquish the race lead with 12 laps of the 25-lap race left to run.

MotoGP returned to action this weekend as the second European round of the 2021 season got underway in Jerez. The Spanish sun set the scene for 25-laps of the iconic Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli starting from the front row after an impressive qualifying performance.  

Launching from second on the grid, Morbidelli made a bright start, ending the opening lap of the 2.75-mile circuit in second place and looked comfortable aboard his PETRONAS M1 Yamaha. The Italian’s strong race pace saw him remain in the leading trio for the entire race, crossing the line in third just 0.604 seconds behind the second-place finisher.  

Starting from seventh on the grid, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales, slipped to ninth in the usual first lap battle. The Spaniard struggled in the early laps but worked his way back up to seventh place. Pushing hard to chase down Aleix Espargaro during the closing stages, he missed out on a top six finish by less than half a second. 

Starting the race from pole position, Fabio Quartararo slipped back to fourth in the opening laps before pulling off three perfect passes at Turn 13 to claim the lead on lap four and immediately opened a gap.  

With his lead well over a second, the Frenchman looked set to take a third win on the bounce until he suffered from a severe case of arm pump with 12 laps to go. Losing his lead in one lap, Quartararo couldn’t defend his position from Jack Miller. Unable to push due to the excruciating pain, he lost further positions over the next ten laps and eventually crossed the line in 13th, refusing to give up.  

Valentino Rossi finished the Grand Prix in 17th position after struggling with a lack of rear grip across the weekend.  

Quartararo now sits second in the standings, just two points adrift from the leader while team-mate Viñales maintains third place with 50 points. Yamaha still heads the constructor championship with 91 points and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team also remain in first place in the team championship. 

Yamaha return to action on Monday 3rd May for a single-day IRTA test at Jerez before returning to the track in Le Mans across the weekend of 14th - 16th May 2021 for the French Grand Prix. 

Gran Premio Red Bull De España Race Results: 
1. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) 
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) +1.912
3. Franco Morbidelli (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) +2.516
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +3.206
5. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) +4.256
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +5.164
7. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +5.651
8. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +7.161
9. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) +7.161
10. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +11.776
11. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +14.766
12. Stefan Bradl (Honda HRC) +17.243
13. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) +18.907
14. Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +20.095
15. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) +20.277
16. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) 20.922
17. Valentino Rossi (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) +22.731
18. Tito Rabat (Pramac Racing) +30.314
19. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) +37.912
20. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) +38.234
NC. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +14 laps
NC. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) +14 laps
NC. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL) +25 laps

MotoGP 2021 World Championship Standings 
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) 66 points
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 64 points 
3. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 50 points 

4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) 49 points
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 48 points
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) 39 points
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 35 points
8. Franco Morbidelli (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) 33 points
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki ECSTAR) 23 points
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 21 points
11. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) 19 points
12. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) 18 points
13. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) 17 points
14. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) 17 points
15. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) 16 points 
16. Stefan Bradl (Honda HRC) 11 points
17. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) 9 points 
18. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL) 8 points
19. Danilo Petrucci (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) 5 points 
20. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) 4 points 
21. Valentino Rossi (PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) 4 points 
22. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) 2 points 
23. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing) 2 points 
24. Tito Rabat (Pramac Racing) 0 points 

Franco Morbidelli

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Position: 3rd

"It was an incredible race and I was able to push so hard throughout the entire race. This morning my Crew Chief Ramon [Forcada] was able to work a bit of magic to increase our grip and improve my feeling on the bike. The whole team has done a wonderful job this weekend and it meant that I was able to ride really strong and aggressively. I’m really pleased with this result and that I could reward the team with this podium. It feels wonderful to back up there, especially as the championship is a lot tougher this year, it is very competitive. I’m enjoying this moment a lot and I hope it continues in the next races." 

Maverick Viñales

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Position: 7th

“Our rhythm was quite good, but everyone was going very fast, and it was very close in terms of lap times, so if you don‘t start at the front it‘s going to be a hard race. If we had started from the front, it would have been a different kind of race. But we did have a problem in the slower corners, and that‘s something we need to work on. On the rest of the track the bike was fantastic, but I had to brake really early to turn, and I lost too much in that area. I think if we solve that, the bike will be fantastic, so overall we are on a good level.” 

Fabio Quartararo

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Position: 13th

"The arm pump problem was clear today. For more or less 10 laps I could hold Jack Miller at bay by one second, but then I suddenly had no more feeling in my right arm. We were in a great position to win here. I could have even gone a bit faster. Our strong point of riding on the used tyre was finally not necessary, because I didn't have any power left in my arm. I will take my time today to think over the situation and try to make the best decision about how to deal with arm pump as soon as possible. My home Grand Prix is coming up next, and I want to be fit there, that's important to me. I know that the bike works well there and that I will perform well. I want to solve this problem as fast as possible, but in the best way."

Valentino Rossi

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT Position: 17th

“It was a difficult race because I did not have the speed and I suffered a lot with grip issues, in fact the pace that I had during the race was pretty much the same as in practice. In the beginning I found it hard to stop the bike. It did improve a bit and I wanted to try to score some points, but it was not possible today. It has been a difficult start to the season, but I do think that we can be competitive, so we need to work to understand how to improve the pace. We have a test tomorrow, so we will be able to try some things then. Hopefully this will give us some answers ahead of the race in France.” 

Razlan Razali

PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, Team Principal

“That was a great MotoGP race with a fantastic podium for Franco in third. We needed that result and it’s great to see him back up there. I am absolutely thrilled with this podium and we need to continue this momentum to the next race in Le Mans. It wasn’t an easy weekend for Valentino, as he couldn’t find the best feeling on the bike; but tomorrow we will have an important test to try to find an improvement.” 

Massimo Meregalli

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director

“We had a difficult and disappointing race today. Fabio had a problem with his right arm. Because of the arm pump he had no feeling and was in a lot of pain. It's such a shame. It happened suddenly while he was leading the race by 1.4s and with the pace to win. He was completely happy with the bike and was cruising to a victory. But our main concern is Fabio's wellbeing. Tomorrow he will get his arm checked. Maverick rode a steady race. His starting position held him back a bit. It's important to start from the front, especially with the lap times being so close. Unfortunately, we weren't able to let the bike turn the way Maverick wanted, and this is what we will focus on tomorrow during the test. Overall, these weren't the race results we had envisioned, but Fabio's form in the first half of the race shows we have great potential.”