Quartararo and Morbidelli Take Top 12 Finish at 2023 Spanish MotoGP
Despite a difficult competition for the Gran Premio MotoGP de España, Team ENEOS riders Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli defied the odds for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP. Their determination throughout the race, even with long-lap penalties in the 24-lap restart, helped them claim tenth and 11th place respectively.
The dramatic Sunday start was a repeat of Saturday’s sprint, and Quartararo collided with Marco Bezzecchi and Miguel Oliveira, resulting in a red flag that shortened the race for a restart. Given a long-lap penalty to be completed in the restart, he started from P16 and gained five positions on the opening lap. By the end of lap 4, the Frenchman completed the penalty and rejoined in 14th place.
However, El Diablo was struck by bad luck again as he was given another long-lap penalty since the first one was deemed incorrect—he served the second long-lap penalty at the end of lap 7 and back in 16th place. Pushing the limit, he overtook several riders along with many others who crashed out of the race, and was close to challenging Takaaki Nakagami for ninth on the final lap but came up short. Quartararo finished the race in tenth, 15.846sec behind the race leader, despite two long-lap penalties.
“I wasn’t trying to overtake at the race start, I was simply trying to survive the corner,” Quartararo explained. “Without space riding between Marco and Miguel, all I could think about was the corner. Aside from the penalties, our race pace was good.”
Morbidelli had a good launch from P14 in the restart, completing the first lap in 13th place. However, he received his own long-lap penalty following a four-rider incident in Saturday’s Sprint, and an appeal made by Yamaha was denied by race officials.
He served his long-lap penalty at the end of lap 3, falling to 18th place, but was able to move past Stefan Bradl on lap 8 to follow Quartararo at a distance, overtaking a few riders to show good pace. Morbido finished the race behind his teammate in 11th, 17.209sec from first.
“What a crazy start getting away unscathed through those first corners,” Morbidelli said. “Once I caught up with the group and finished the penalty we were able to do some overtakes.”
Following the Spanish GP, Quartararo is 11th in the overall standings with 40 points; Morbidelli is 12th with 34 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are sixth in the team championship with 74 points and Yamaha are fifth in the manufacturer championship with 49 points.
Team ENEOS heads to Le Mans for the Grand Prix de France, from May 11 to May 14, 2023.