Quartararo Finishes Second at 2021 Grand Prix of The Americas
MotoGP returned to COTA for Round 15, the Grand Prix of The Americas, and the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team celebrated another successful finish with Fabio Quartararo’s second place podium. By defending his positioning and chasing the race leader, the Frenchman earned 20 valuable championship points to give him a 52-point advantage with three rounds remaining in the season. Meanwhile, teammate Franco Morbidelli is still dealing with a leg injury and was unable to fully engage in the race, yet rode bravely to finish 19th.
With a great P2 start off the grid, El Diablo slotted into second through the first corners, leading the pack as he chased Marc Marquez on the Repsol Honda, keeping the gap under 0.5sec. Even though Jorge Martin applied pressure at the start of lap 6, Quartararo was able to maintain his position but lost crucial time to Marquez. After finally breaking away from Martin, the Frenchman focused on rhythm and sped to the checkered flag for second, 4.679sec from first.
“Despite the first 12 laps being the toughest [against Jorge Martin], we did a great job,” said Quartararo. “This is the best second place I’ve completed in my life, better than a victory because I’m getting closer to my dream. I can’t help but feel emotional with three races left and having a 52-point advantage!”
Morbidelli started 13th on the grid and was able to smoothly navigate the tight first corners in the busy mid-field, completing the opening lap in 15th. Battling against Miguel Oliveria, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaró, Iker Lucuona and Valentino Rossi, he was unable to defend his position. After three riders crashed, Morbidelli held 17th at the midway stage.
He tried his best to remain competitive while still injured, and put in consistent lap times despite the physically demanding layout of COTA, which added to the discomfort of his left knee. He lost places to Danilo Petrucci and Takaaki Nakagami, ultimately finishing 19th.
“This race was very tough, and I wasn’t able to perform at my best because the track is so demanding,” said Morbidelli. “As I’m still recovering, I was trying to get the bike to the end, and I’m still learning the bike. The next GP is a few weeks out, so I have more time to heal and prepare for that race.”
Following the COTA race, Quartararo’s lead in the championship stands at 52 points, with 254 total. Morbidelli remains 17th with 40 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP is second in the team standings with 349 points, and Yamaha continue to hold second in the manufacturer standings with 282 points.
Team Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will return to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli for the Gran Premio dell’Emilia-Romagna, taking place October 22-24, 2022. Quartararo will have his first chance to be crowned 2021 World Champion if he can amass enough points over his closest rivals!