Fabio Quartararo took a huge step towards a maiden MotoGP world title by winning the Catalan Grand Prix to regain the championship lead on a day where two of his title rivals suffered big disappointments.
Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo took the chequered flag for the third time in 2020, while former riders’ standings leader Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) crashed out on lap one having started way back in 17th and Maverick Vinales stumbled to ninth.
Joan Mir (Suzuki) is now the nearest rival eight points back after the Spaniard came home in second ahead of Alex Rins, who passed Quartararo’s team-mate and pole-sitter Franco Morbidelli late in the race having started 13th.
Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) looked nailed on for a landmark 200th podium but agonisingly crashed out at Turn 2 with nine laps to go.
Quartararo had slipped to third off the line before leaping past Rossi into Turn 1 with 19 laps to go and pulled off a similar move on Morbidelli a few laps later to hit the front.
The Frenchman never looked back en route to a third win of 2020 but it was heartbreak for Rossi, who came off when losing the front with nine laps to go, having earlier managed to pass Morbidelli.
That sequence of events helped Mir, who started back in eighth and jumped into second to celebrate a podium finish with Morbidelli’s tyres wearing badly in the closing stages.
Morbidelli missed out on the top three altogether when a flying Rins made the pass with a couple of laps to go and earn his place in the top three.
Dovizioso’s miserable weekend, which saw him fail to get out of Q1 in qualifying, continued when he was wiped out by Johann Zarco, who had fallen trying to avoid the stuttering bike of Danilo Petrucci.
Vinales will rue a poor jump off the line that saw the field bundle past him and left the Spaniard fighting it out way back in the pack.
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