Quartararo Locks Seventh Place at a Dramatic Catalunya GP 2023
It might’ve been chaotic during the start of the 2023 Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya but Team ENEOS kept their cool as Fabio Quartararo rode to a seventh place finish, while Franco Morbidelli finished 145h.
A multi-rider incident and highside from Francesco Bagnaia in the opening corners resulted in a red flag and a quick restart, reducing the race by one lap. Morbidelli and Quartararo started from P16 and P17 on the grid respectively, but after Enea Bastianini and Bagnaia were sent off for medical treatment, they moved up to 14th and 15th during the live timing.
With a superb restart, Quartararo slipped into tenth place and proceeded to tail Marc Marquez. On lap 3 he took ninth place from the hometown hero, and later on lap 4 moved up to eighth when Brad Binder suffered a mechanical issue. El Diablo overtook Jack Miller for seventh at the midway stage and closed an 0.8sec gap to the rider in sixth but was unable to make a move, ending the race in seventh, 10.821sec from first.
“Switching to last year’s setup and fairing helped a lot, and because of that, we had a great race,” Quartararo said. “Overall it was a difficult weekend, but we remained calm and worked hard to take important steps forward.”
Morbidelli completed the opening lap of the restart in 12th position but soon after battled various riders and was pushed down to 15th. After Binder retired, the Italian was back in 14th. He later lost positioning to Luca Marini, and Raul Fernandez also suffered mechanical issues that allowed Morbidelli to move up a spot again. With a big gap between riders ahead and behind him, Morbido had a solo race, which allowed him to focus on tire management. He finished 14th, 23.108sec from the race leader.
“At the restart I saw that almost everyone had new tires and we didn’t, so I expected the worst,” Morbidelli explained. “With less potential than the others, I tried pushing as hard as I could, but ultimately it wasn’t enough.”
Following the Catalunya GP, Quaratararo remains 11th in the overall standings with 82 points while Morbidelli remains 12th with 67 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP remain sixth in the team championship with 149 points, and Yamaha is fourth in the manufacturer championship with 102 points.