Quartararo Finishes Third in Challenging 2021 German MotoGP
Rain and wet conditions prior to the race added drama to the Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, but the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team fought hard. Fabio Quartararo managed a solid third place for valuable championship points while teammate Maverick Viñales struggled most of the race, finishing 19th.
Quartararo had a strong qualifying session, placing him second on the starting grid. He dropped to fifth into turn 1, then lost another position in the first lap before settling into sixth. Initial plans were for tire conservation in the opening stages of the 30-lap showdown at Sachsenring. But when light rain started to fall nine laps into the race, riders tried to make the most of their slick tires while they still had a dry track.
Overtaking Johann Zarco on lap 10 for fifth place, Quartararo found himself at the back of a four-rider pack fighting for second. By lap 17 he passed Aleix Esparagró, and with that, a podium was within grasp. Although Quartararo was able to pass Jack Miller for third, the gap couldn’t be closed, and El Diablo crossed the finish line in third, a 6.772sec gap behind the race winner.
“This podium finish feels like gold,” said Quartararo. “We struggled throughout the week, but I fought until the very end, giving it my all… which is so important for the team. Next up is Assen; one of my favorite tracks. The bike will be fantastic there, which means we’ll enjoy it a lot!”
Viñales had a very difficult weekend in comparison, starting 21st and last on the grid. Working on the most difficult track to overtake in the MotoGP series, his goal was consistency and trying to make up ground whenever possible.
After a tough opening stage, he passed Franco Morbidelli on lap 13, then latched onto a three-rider battle for 15th place. Viñales inched up to 17th, but with seven laps to go found himself pushed back to 19th. The Spaniard didn’t quit, and immediately set a red sector in S1, ready to line up against Morbidelli once more for another attack. But his earlier charge took a toll on his tires, forcing him to complete the race in 19th, 24.715sec from first.
“I had issues from the beginning and we weren’t sure what was happening,” Viñales explained. “We had a few good laps, then I got stuck behind the Ducatis, which were impossible to pass. Not much more I could do, even with good rhythm.”
Following the German GP, Quartararo increased his lead in the championship standings with 131 points and a 22-point advantage. Viñales remains sixth overall with 75 points. Yamaha is first in the manufacturer standings with 159 points, and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP also remains first with 206 points.
Quartararo and Viñales head to the TT Circuit Assen on June 25-27, 2021 for the Dutch GP.