MotoGP finally got underway on the weekend at Jerez, and boy, it was a doozy. In a nutshell: Fabio Quarararo won, on the Petronas Yamaha satellite bike, and Marc Marquez is going to miss some racing, thanks to a broken arm.
With a severely shortened MotoGP season, the organizers at Dorna are cramming a lot of racing into a short amount of time, and into a short amount of real estate—so far, all the races are restricted to the European continent, between mid-July and mid-November, with racers jumping around constantly to complete all the racing in limited time.
That frantic attitude seemed to trickle down to the racers last weekend. A couple of higher-placed riders were already out even before the race started; Cal Crutchlow broke his hand during warm-up, and Alex Rins fractured/dislocated his shoulder in qualifying. Then, when racing started, Marc Marquez ran off into the gravel, and miraculously stayed aboard the bike, pulling back into action.
Of course, anyone who follows MotoGP knows this wouldn’t rule Marquez out—back down to 16th, he started pushing his way back up to the front, while Yamaha and Ducati riders scrapped for the lead. Buuuuuuut, Marquez high-sided a few laps later (see it here), and that was it. Now, Marquez has a broken right arm; he’s supposedly undergoing surgery on his humerus, and will probably miss at least two race weekends.
That leaves Marc’s younger brother Alex as Repsol Honda’s top rider for the next little while, and that’s not good news for Big Red. Alex finished 12th at Jerez.
With Quartararo on top of the podium, Yamaha factory rider Maverick Vinales was second, and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso was third. Jack Miller (on a Pramac Ducati) was fourth, and might have made a podium if Marquez hadn’t high-sided in front of him (funny thing, how Marquez’s self-inflicted bad luck tends to spread around to other riders …). Franco Morbidelli, on a Petronas Yamaha, rounded out the top five, justifying his recent contract re-signing.
Wait—what about Rossi? The Doctor had a mechanical DNF with seven laps to go. Tough luck, but that’s racing. See full race results at MotoGP’s website here.