Quartararo Clinches Second Place at 2021 San Marino GP
MotoGP fans were kept on the edge of their seats at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini on September 19, 2021, as Fabio Quartararo, rider from the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team, put on a remarkable performance until the very end of the 27-lap race. He scored an unexpected second place and 20 championship points, while new teammate Franco Morbidelli held his own during the opening stages, and bravely throughout the race to finish 18th.
Starting strong, Quartararo navigated the first corners in second place before settling in third, fighting with Jorge Martin on the two opening laps before Martin crashed out on lap 3. This left the Frenchman able to concentrate on chasing the Ducati front runner, Francesco Bagnaia.
Matching the pace of Bagnaia, a mistake by Jack Miller with 20 laps remaining allowed El Diablo to take second, inching his way closer lap by lap. He closed to within a 0.6sec deficit with four laps remaining. Quartararo was stronger in sectors 1 and 4 but Bagnaia had the advantage in sector 3. Fighting tooth and nail, Fabio came as close as 0.151sec but had to settle for second with a 0.364sec gap at the finish line. And by claiming his 19th premier class podium finish, Quartararo is now the most successful French rider in MotoGP history!
“I have an advantage of two race wins with four to go,” Quartararo said. “Last year I thought too much about the championship, but this time I didn’t think about it at all. I rode on the limit and am very happy with the outcome! Let’s see what I can do at the next round.”
Fans were thrilled to see Morbidelli back in action after a long recuperation break. Starting 16th on the grid, he fought through a busy mid-pack in the first corners, dropping to 20th after the opening laps before finding his rhythm. Although he gained positions after riders crashed or retired, he lost positions battling with Danilo Petrucci, Valentino Rossi and Luca Marini.
Even with his leg not fully healed, Morbidelli had a productive race, using the opportunity to put mileage on a bike again and complete a full race. Overtaking Marini again on the last lap, he finished 18th on his Factory Yamaha debut, 36.272sec from first.
“It was tough but nice to get back to racing,” he said. “I started well, and it was nice to stay in the pack for a few laps. While my leg is still healing, I managed to finish the entire race and remained consistent as I continue to learn about the bike. Overall, I’m very happy to be back and will continue to focus on improving the bike’s settings and feel.”
With his second place, Quartararo maintains his lead in the championship by 48 points, with 234 total points. Morbidelli remains 17th with the 40 points he scored during the first eight rounds. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are also first in the team standings with 329 points, while Yamaha holds second in the manufacturer standings with 262 points.
Quartararo, Morbidelli and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are heading Stateside, heading to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX on October 3, 2021 for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas.