Quartararo Struggles at 2021 Algarve GP
In a season full of highs, the 2021 Grande Prémio do Algarve proved difficult for the ENEOS-sponsored Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team. Franco Morbidelli struggled once again to secure championship points, his injury preventing him from being able to push during the second half of the race, while teammate and newly crowned 2021 MotoGP Champion Fabio Quartararo crashed out of a top-7 finish.
Both riders were prepped for a challenging race at Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, starting from the third row of the grid. Morbidelli had difficulty after starting ninth, completing his first lap in 11th. He eventually found a solid rhythm by lap 5 and settled into 14th when he went up against Aleix Espargaró, who crashed out two laps later.
As the race went on, Morbidelli’s knee injury caused him to drop down to 17th position during the second half, eventually ending the race in 17th.
“I was hoping to have more speed during the race but unfortunately it didn’t work out,” said Morbidelli. “We’ll have to figure out what happened before Valencia.”
El Diablo didn’t have the best of starts from P7 compared to the rest of his incredible season, but Quartararo made up ground in the first corners, and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 3 as he closed in on the lead pack.
In order to have a shot at a podium, Quartararo would have to pass Alex Marquez and Jorge Martin. With 15 laps remaining, he launched an attack on Martin, but a lap later he wobbled in turn 13, allowing Zarco to pass. He eventually overtook Martin for sixth place, but a crash on lap 21 at turn 5 ended his race. This was Quartararo’s first NC this season.
“What a nightmare — it was impossible to overtake anyone,” Quartararo said. “I recovered a lot in certain areas of the track, but my acceleration and speed weren’t enough. A bad qualifying session made things difficult, unlike most of the season where I started from the front row. I’ll focus on finishing the season properly in Valencia.’
As Quartararo, Morbidelli and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP prepare for the final race of 2021, the World Champion Quartararo has 267 points while Morbidelli remains in 17th with 42 points. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP are still in contention for the Team Title, currently in second with 364 points and a 28-point margin to first. Yamaha is second in the manufacturer standings with 298 points, 34 points behind first and 71 points over third.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP heads to Circuit Ricardo Tormo on November 12-14, 2021 for the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana.