Quartararo Ends 2021 With Top 5 Finish at Valencia GP
The ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team set out to impress at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, the final round of the 2021 MotoGP season. The race would also mark an emotional final appearance for MotoGP legend and former Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider, Valentino Rossi, making it a busy weekend for the MotoGP teams.
Fabio Quartararo started strong at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, finishing a solid fifth place, while Franco Morbidelli enjoyed the best seat in the house, riding directly behind The Doctor for the majority of the race and finishing 11th.
Quartararo started eighth on the grid and had a good opening lap, moving quickly to sixth as the pack went over the line for the first time. El Diablo tagged onto the back of the leading group as the field started to pull apart, applying pressure to Jack Miller and overtaking him on lap 5. But their fight wasn’t over; they swapped positions again on lap 9, and Quartararo managed his speed and tires for the remainder of the race. With Alex Rins crashing out on lap 11, the Frenchman moved back into fifth and held it to the checkered flag.
“More than just a good result, I wanted to have fun for the final race,” said Quartararo. “We finished in the top 5, which was an enjoyable way to end a great season!”
Morbidelli started 11th on the grid and while not fully fit, he battled well in a busy mid-pack, completing lap one in 13th. After Takaaki Nakagami and Rins crashed out of the race, Morbidelli moved back to 11th, shadowing his mentor Rossi, who rode the last race of his illustrious MotoGP career to tenth position.
Matching Rossi’s pace the entire race, Morbidelli has shown great progress since joining the Factory Yamaha team after his knee surgery, and crossed the finish line 14.085sec behind first while enjoying the greatest view of the race for #46’s final competition.
“I was lucky enough to enjoy Valentino’s last laps while riding behind him,” Morbidelli explained. “Initially I wanted to stay as far away as possible to avoid being involved in anything that could upset his final race, but when I pulled up from behind, I enjoyed the moment. I tried to stay behind him but he’s really fast and difficult to overtake! Towards the end, he increased his pace, which was simply amazing. I’m very fortunate to have witnessed and competed in this race.”
For the 2021 MotoGP season, the World Champion Quartararo finished with 278 points; Morbidelli added 5 more points to his overall total but remained 17th with 47 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP took second in the team standings with 380 points and a 53-point deficit to first. Yamaha finished second in the manufacturer standings with 309 points, 48 points behind first and 69 points over third.
ENEOS Motor Oil, Yamaha Motor Co., LTD, Yamaha Motor Racing SRL, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP express their gratitude to Valentino Rossi for the amazing 16 years he spent with Yamaha and his top-10 results are special memories we’ll always cherish.