MotoGP Barcelona: Miguel Oliveira secures his first victory of 2021
The form book was thrown of the window once again in MotoGP this afternoon as Miguel Oliveira clinched his first victory of the year in Barcelona.
The Red Bull KTM rider made a great start and took the lead in the opening stages of the race, overtaking Jack Miller. Race favourite Fabio Quartararo took the lead away on lap 12, however Oliveira would fight back two laps later the run down to turn one.
The Portuguese rider was able to pull the pin, with his hard front and rear tyres working perfectly. Despite a late surge from Johann Zarco, Oliveira held on to cross the line with a 0.175 advantage.
It's Oliveira's third premier class victory and his first for the factory KTM team. Oliveira has taken 45 points from the last two races. It's KTM's fourth victory in MotoGP.
Zarco secured his fourth podium of the season in second, the first time he's achieved that feat in a single premier class campaign. It's the eighth time that Zarco has finished second in MotoGP.
Quartararo crossed the line in third but was demoted to fourth after being handed a three-second penalty for using the shortcut between turn one and two. The Monster Energy Yamaha rider had little choice after running in too deep whilst trying to fend off Zarco.
Quartararo suffered all kinds of issues in the closing stages of the race. His medium front tyre began to drop dramatically, whilst the Frenchman also had a problem with his leathers. Quartararo was seen removed his chest guard, and his leathers were clearly unzipped. It's believed that his airbag had deployed during the race.
As a result of Quartararo's initial penalty, Jack Miller inherited the final spot on the podium. It's the Australian's third podium of the 2021 season. However, Quartararo has since been handed another three-second penalty for riding with his unsuit unzipped. This has dropped him down to sixth and Quartararo's championship lead over Zarco has been cut to 14 points.
Reigning champion Joan Mir inherits fourth after dropping back in the final few laps. At one stage it looked like Mir had timed his attack on the podium perfectly, however his grip levels would drop.
Maverick Vinales battled back from another slow start to take fifth ahead of Francesco Bagnaia and Brad Binder. The latter had struggled to get by multiple riders in the race and made contact with Vinales at turn 10.
Franco Morbidelli and Enea Bastianini completed the top 10 in Barcelona, with Alex Marquez taking 11th on the LCR Honda. Luca Marini crossed the line in 12th, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami. The Japanese rider was handed two long lap penalties; one for using the shortcut at turns one and two, and another for ignoring the first penalty.
Jorge Martin and Lorenzo Savadori were the final two finishers in 14th and 15th respectively, with both men collecting points. Martin suffered a scare before the race had even started. The Pramac Racing Ducati rider suffered a highside at turn five on his sighting lap, but thankfully was able to walk away and start the race from pit lane on his second bike.
Pol Espargaro crashed out of his home Grand Prix at turn five on the fifth lap, whilst Danilo Petrucci joined him on the DNF list at turn nine on the following lap.
Marc Marquez's promising start to the race came to a premature end on lap seven. The Repsol Honda rider was battling inside the top seven when he fell at turn 10. It's the first time in Marquez's MotoGP career that he's failed to finish three consecutive races.
A few laps later Aleix Espargaro also fell at turn 10. The Aprilia rider was seventh when he fell but had been as high as second on the soft rear tyre in the early stages.
Valentino Rossi became turn 10's third victim on lap 16. The Petronas Yamaha rider was struggling down in 13th when he hit the deck. It's the nine-time champion's second DNF of the season.
Moments later, Iker Lecouna went down for the third time this weekend. The Spaniard crashed at turn 13 to complete the Tech3 KTM team's dismal Sunday.
MotoGP Barcelona: Fabio Quartararo clinches his fifth consecutive pole of 2021
First published: 5 June 2021 by Josh Close
The Frenchman becomes the first rider to achieve that feat in the premier class since Marc Marquez did the same in 2014. Quartararo is also the first Yamaha rider to achieve five in a row since Jorge Lorenzo in 2010.
MotoGP Day One - Johann Zarco leads the combined standings on Friday
Quartararo, who also topped FP4 earlier in the day, recorded a best lap-time of 1:38.853, which was enough to lead the field by 0.037s. It's Quartararo's 15th pole in 40 MotoGP appearances.
Jack Miller bounced back from a Q1 appearance and a huge crash at turn three to take second spot. The Aussie was up in the first sector when he high-sided on the exit of the third corner.
Johann Zarco completed the front row on his Pramac Racing Ducati. It's Zarco's fourth front row appearance in seven races. Miguel Oliveira missed out on a front row spot by just 0.050s in fourth.
Franco Morbidelli led the way in the early stages of Q2 but eventually had to settle for fifth, ahead of Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro. Vinales looked to be flustered once again with riders following him, with Aleix Espargaro riding closely behind the M1 at one stage.
Brad Binder qualified eighth and appeared to be hampered by Zarco on his final lap. The Frenchman dove down the inside of Binder at turn 10 and pushed the South African wide. Francesco Bagnaia was ninth after struggling in the third sector, and having a lap cancelled early on.
Reigning champion Joan Mir had put his Suzuki on the front row was had his lap cancelled for exceeding track limits. As a result, Mir had to settle for 10th and will again have a big job on his hands tomorrow afternoon.
Valentino Rossi's positive day came to a premature end a few minutes into Q2. The Italian hit the deck at turn four and, despite returning to the circuit on his second bike, will start the race from 11th.
Pol Espargaro was the slowest rider in Q2 and crashed out in the closing seconds. The Honda rider will start his home race from 12th.
Despite attempting to repeat his antics from last week, Marc Marquez failed to make it out of Q1 and will start the race from 13th on the grid. The Repsol Honda rider had latched onto the back of Miller, much to the amusement of the Aussie, but it was Pol Espargaro who gained the most behind the pair.
Takaaki Nakagami qualified 14th after momentarily leading the session with a few seconds remaining. The returning Jorge Martin was 15th ahead of Iker Lecouna, who had an eventful day in Barcelona. The Tech3 KTM rider crashed at turn five during FP4, before hitting the deck at some speed at turn nine in qualifying.
Enea Bastianini was the leading rookie in 17th, ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Luca Marini. Alex Marquez and Lorenzo Savadori complete the field for the Catalan GP.
Tomorrow's race is scheduled to take place at midday (UK Time) - in between the Moto3 and Moto2 events.
MotoGP Barcelona: Johann Zarco pips Franco Morbidelli to top spot on Friday
First published: 4 June 2021 by Josh Close
The Frenchman went fastest with his final flying lap of FP2, recording a 1:39.235 to pip Franco Morbidelli by just 0.021s. Morbidelli also posted his best lap-time at the final attempt on the 2019 M1.
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Championship leader Fabio Quartararo completed the top three on his Monster Energy Yamaha M1, whilst KTM's Brad Binder was fourth overall. Francesco Bagnaia was the best-placed Ducati rider in fifth spot.
Maverick Vinales was sixth on his first day working with new crew chief Silvano Galbusera. Vinales parted ways with Esteban Garcia this week and will now work with Valentino Rossi's former chief mechanic.
Jack Miller was seventh ahead of rookie Enea Bastianini, whilst Aleix and Pol Espargaro completed the top 10. Aleix Espargaro topped FP1 for Aprilia.
Elsewhere, Takaaki Nakagami missed out on a spot in the top 10 by only 0.049 in 11th. Danilo Petrucci and Luca Marini had relatively positive afternoons in 12th and 13th respectively. Miguel Oliveira was 14th after opting to do a run on the hard front and rear tyre combination.
Marc Marquez has work to do in tomorrow morning's FP3 session if he's to avoid having to go through Q1. Despite holding a top three spot for the majority of FP2, the Repsol Honda rider dropped significantly down the order once the field began completing time attacks. Marquez ends day one in 15th.
Reigning champion Joan Mir also faces another frustrating Saturday in 16th, whilst Rossi's disappointing year continued in 17th. Jorge Martin, on his return from injury, was 21st overall - 1.950s off the pace set by teammate Zarco.
Alex Rins will not race this weekend after breaking the radius bone in his right arm during a cycling accident at the circuit on Thursday morning.
Tomorrow's FP3 session is due to begin at 08:55 (UK Time) and will be followed by FP4 at 12:30. Q1 and Q2 are pencilled in for 13:10 and 13:35 respectively.