Quartararo Extends Title Lead with Second Place at 2022 Spanish MotoGP
It was another thrilling race for the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team at the 2022 Gran Premio de España. Fabio Quartararo kept fans on the edge of their seats by putting the pressure on Francesco Bagnaia throughout the race, but ultimately finished second. Franco Morbidelli fought against tire pressure issues to come home in 15th.
After a great qualifying session, El Diablo started from P2 on the grid, maintaining his position even as Bagnaia built an early lead — Quartararo stuck with him as they broke away from the pack.
Both riders were the only ones able to dip below the 1:38sec mark, clocking 1:37.6sec times on lap 5. The Frenchman was on the limit every lap and came extremely close to passing Bagnaia on the last lap, but took the checkered flag only 0.285sec behind the leader. The points meant Quartararo increased his championship lead to 7 points.
“This was a really tough race,” Quartararo explained. “I tried everything, but [Bagnaia] was fast. The pace was insane, my front tire was super-hot with super-high pressure. I couldn’t brake harder but I was able to maintain his pace.”
Teammate Morbidelli had a good start from P16, picking up a position but finished the opening lap in 16th and settled there. Looking to build more championship points, tire pressure problems unfortunately held him back.
After Johann Zarco crashed out, Moridelli held his position for the majority of the race, saving his tires for the final stages. With five laps remaining, he set personal best sectors and overtook Luca Marini for 15th position. During a brilliant final lap, he attempted to overtake Maverick Viñales but eventually crossed the finish line 15th, 27.519sec from first.
“It was difficult to overtake because the front tire pressure went sky-high and can stop you from riding,” explained Morbidelli. “I couldn’t push for the entire race, except when overtaking Luca, and the lap times were better towards the end. We’ll continue to refine and see how we do at Le Mans.”
Following the Spanish GP, Quartararo remains in the championship lead with 89 points, while Morbidelli ranks 16th with 18 points. Yamaha and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP moved up to second place in the manufacturer standings with 89 points, while holding third in the team championship with 86 points.
Quartararo and Morbidelli head to Round 7 of the 2022 MotoGP season, held at Le Mans from May 12-15.