Fabio Quartararo extended his MotoGP championship lead with a fourth win of the season at the Dutch TT on Sunday.

Quartararo got off to a great start from second place on the grid behind Maverick Vinales and engaged in an early battle with Francesco Bagnaia before surging away to victory by a margin of 2.757 seconds in Assen.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider will head into the summer break with a lead of 34 points, having dominated much of race that finished with team-mate Vinales in second place and Joan Mir third.

Bagnaia crossed the line back in sixth after he was given a long lap penalty, while Johann Zarco, second in the standings, was fourth and Marc Marquez claimed seventh despite starting back in 20th.

Quartararo got off to a lightning start, passing Vinales in a flash, but his lead proved to be short-lived as Bagnaia nipped in front of the Frenchman.

Vinales dropped back to third as Bagnaia, who started in third spot, and Quartararo scrapped it out for the lead.

The order of the front two changed a few times before Quartararo took control, while there was drama when Zarco and Alex Rins touched at Turn 10.

Marquez, the winner in Germany last time out, surged through the field following a rapid start and Valentino Rossi's race ended with a crash with 19 laps to go.

Bagnaia's hopes of catching Quartararo ended when he was penalised with 13 laps to complete and Jack Miller was able to get back on his bike after hitting the deck.

Vinales closed the gap on Quartararo but not enough to trouble the 22-year-old championship leader.

Maverick Vinales is full of confidence after putting his disastrous German Grand Prix showing behind him to claim pole position for Sunday's Dutch TT.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider finished last at Sachsenring last week, but stuck with the same bike at Assen and dominated qualifying on Saturday.

Vinales topped FP1, FP1 and FP3 before setting a new lap record of 1:31.814 seconds in qualifying, the 26-year-old finishing 0.071s ahead of team-mate Fabio Quartararo.

It was the perfect response on the back of last week's calamity, but Vinales insists the dominant showing at Assen should not come as a surprise.

"Honestly this should be the norm all weekends," he said. "I think we have a good level, our confidence is high.

"I have a really high confidence in what we are able to do but just we didn't find the way to do it before.

"This weekend we didn't touch anything. I said, 'don't touch the bike, it's perfect'. And working on that, it was good, I'm quite happy and now we'll see.

"Tomorrow we have a good chance, we will push at the maximum. For me the result isn't important – for me it's important to give the maximum from one to lap 25."

Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia will join Yamaha pair Vinales and Quartararo on the front row for Sunday's race, while Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco are on row two.

Quartararo tops the riders' standings and has a 22-point lead on Johann Zarco, but the Frenchman accepts he faces a tough task overhauling Vinales on Sunday.

"I think with Maverick we need to be clever, because it's true that on the paper we have really good pace," he said.

"So, I think if we need to play something in my opinion it's great to be clever on the first lap and see at the end.

"But it will depend. I feel great to fight for the victory. It's not that because my main contenders are behind me that I need to be careful.

"For me, it’s the beginning of the championship, we are not even in the middle. So, if I have one chance to fight for the victory I will go for it."

Marc Marquez came out on top in Germany last week, but he will start from 20th in Sunday's 26-lap Dutch TT after crashing in qualifying.

The Repsol Honda rider was flung from his RC213V early on in Friday's FP2 session and admits that accident affected him the following day.

"It's true that today I started the morning and the first thing was I was like, 'OK, it will be impossible to ride the bike' because after the crash from yesterday I had a lot of pain," he said.

"Then it was very difficult. This was in the morning, then in the afternoon step by step I felt better, and this makes me happy because it looks like now if it's in a better way.

"But it's true that the crash from yesterday affected me a lot today."

Provisional classification

1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.814
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.071s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.302s
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.500s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.580s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.636s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.783s
8. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.795s
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.852s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.934s
11. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.016s
12. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +1.105

Fabio Quartararo does not consider himself the favourite at the German Grand Prix after his run of poles ended as he qualified in second on Saturday.

MotoGP world championship leader Quartararo was pipped by 0.011 seconds as Johann Zarco secured his place at the front of the grid.

That denied the Monster Energy Yamaha star a sixth consecutive pole position, with Marc Marquez (seven between 2013 and 2014) the last rider to enjoy such a streak.

Quartararo will still be expected to challenge for the victory on Sunday, though, having tied his career best with three top-category wins already this season.

The 22-year-old crashed out of his only previous appearance at the German GP in 2019 but is enjoying a run of eight races without a retirement.

But when asked about his chances, Quartararo instead backed Miguel Oliveira and said: "I think we will struggle a bit."

Oliveira, who qualified in sixth, just behind Marc Marquez, won the Catalan Grand Prix last time out for his second consecutive podium for the first time.

Quartararo added: "We are not feeling so great on that track. We can see the others struggling also quite a lot.

"But I give 100 per cent and I'm happy because it's not that far from pole position. Our pace is not that bad, so I will give my all tomorrow."

Zarco is still waiting on his first MotoGP win despite 11 podiums – including four this year.

He also discussed the difficulty of the circuit at the Sachsenring, having crashed in Q2 after setting his fastest lap.

"I'm all fine and pretty happy," Zarco said. "The emotion was particular, with the pole but then the crash.

"You have so much adrenaline in the body that then I need a bit of time to bring everything down to get my spirit clean. I'm okay now and pretty happy, because it will be important to start in pole tomorrow.

"It's a difficult track, but I'm finding the confidence on it and I hope tomorrow to get also this pleasure for all the race to play with the others and get a nice rhythm."

Marquez has won on all seven of his previous appearances in Germany, but he also started from pole on each occasion.

"I cannot pretend tomorrow to fight for the victory, because we are not ready," he said. "But to finish in the top five can be an optimistic and realistic result."


Provisional classification

1. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 1:20.236
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.011s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.211s
4. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.272s
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.331s
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.353s
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.381s
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.423s
9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.574s
10. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.575s
11. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.713s
12. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +0.899s

Fabio Quartararo was left baffled as to why his leather race suit split open as he slipped from pole position to a fourth-place finish at the Catalan Grand Prix.

MotoGP championship leader Quartararo was aiming to seal back-to-back wins in Barcelona following his triumph on the circuit in 2020, but the Monster Energy Yahama driver slipped up early on and failed to finish on the podium.

Miguel Oliveira got Red Bull KTM's first win of the season, and the third race victory of his career, with Johann Zarco and Jack Miller completing the top three.

Quartararo was second until the final three laps, when Zarco made a daring overtake and caught the Frenchman out.

To complicate matters, Quartararo's suit had opened, with the 22-year-old's chest protector also slipping out.

He cut two corners as he battled with Miller for third, and was handed a three second penalty which cost him a third straight podium position at the Catalan Grand Prix.

"What happened I don’t know, I just know that I had the leathers completely open," he explained to reporters.

"I tried to just put it in a normal position again, I couldn't do it. So was difficult to ride, but unfortunately, it happens.

"It happened today, so Alpinestars is looking at how it's possible because at the end of the race it was possible to close it again.

"But it's like this, it was not our day but I can be happy with this fourth position… well, third, but finishing fourth."

Former MotoGP champion Casey Stoner tweeted his thoughts on the incident, insisting Quartararo should have been disqualified from the race.

"Well, I think I already have a penalty that I don't agree [with], demoted three seconds from P3 to P4," Quartararo said when Stoner's comments were put to him.

"I think this penalty is quite enough. It's finished, the race is finished, everything is safe.

"So, I think right now it's not enough to talk anymore because the race is finished. I think there's no point to talk anymore about these possible things."

It was a race which belonged to Oliveira, with the Portuguese rider holding the lead for 23 laps.

"The most difficult thing about the race was the mental ability to stay calm, it was so easy to be aggressive or to just override the tires at the beginning," he said in a news conference.

"I felt like that was the key, stay calm and the race will come to me."

Elsewhere in a frantic race, six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez crashed out on Turn 10, which also claimed Valentino Rossi and Aleix Espargaro.

Marquez has now failed to finish the last three races, a career first for the 28-year-old.

Marc Marquez did not finish a MotoGP race for the third straight time, a career first, as Miguel Oliveira triumphed at the Catalan Grand Prix.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marquez has not had the best of luck since returning from an injury that kept him out for the majority of 2020 and, after crashing in the Italian Grand Prix last week, the Spaniard suffered a similar fate on Sunday.

Marquez, aiming for a fifth consecutive podium finish in his home grand prix, spun out of control at turn 10, shortly after Danilo Petrucci and Pol Espargaro had crashed out, with Aleix Espargaro soon joining his younger sibling.

Aleix Espargaro, sixth at the time, fell foul of the same corner that did for Marquez, who desperately tried to right his bike but was swiftly ushered away by track emergency staff as he followed up retirements in France and Italy.

Turn 10 subsequently claimed another big name, Valentino Rossi, who managed his best finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix (10th) but ended up skidding off the track here.

Yet up ahead, it was a demonstration of complete control from Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), who led for 23 laps in total after capitalising on a mistake from early front-runner Jack Miller.

The Australian had himself pounced on an error by championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who had claimed his fifth consecutive pole and was aiming for a career-first fourth win of a single season.

Yet despite fighting back to close the gap on Oliveira, Quartararo could not win in Barcelona as he did in 2020, and ultimately had to settle for fourth place, missing out on a third straight podium finish at the circuit.

Johann Zarco's daring overtake with three laps to go did the initial damage for Quartararo, who lost part of his protective leathers as he attempted to hold off Miller's challenge for third, but the Monster Energy Yamaha driver was handed a three second penalty.

It is Miller's first appearance on the Barcelona podium in seven attempts in MotoGP, while Zarco has surpassed his previous best tally of three top-three finishes in a single season.

Yet the day belonged to Oliveira, the Portuguese rider holding steady to clinch a third MotoGP race win.

TOP 10
1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM)
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.175
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +1.990s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +4.815s
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +5.325s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +6.281s
7. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +8.175s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +8.378s
9. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +15.652s
10. Enea Bastianini (Reale Avintia Racing) +19.297s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 101
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) 90
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 88
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 76

Teams
1. Monster Energy Yamaha 192
2. Ducati 178
3. Pramac Racing 124
4. Suzuki Ecstar 99
5. Red Bull KTM 97

What's next?

The MotoGP schedule takes in Germany, with Chemnitz's Sachsenring hosting the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time.

Fabio Quartararo claimed his fifth consecutive pole position on Saturday and revealed he is preferring qualifying sessions to races right now, even as he leads the MotoGP world championship.

Having won three of the first six events this season – including the Italian Grand Prix last time out – Quartararo is 24 points clear at the top of the standings. He has never won more than three races in a campaign in the top category.

But the Monster Energy Yamaha sensation is arguably reserving his best displays for Saturdays.

After another outstanding performance in qualifying at the Catalunya Grand Prix, Quartararo will again line up on the front row.

This career-best run of poles means the Frenchman becomes the 15th rider to reach 15 in the premier class and he is well placed to repeat his impressive past race performances in Barcelona.

Quartararo's first ever podium came at the event in 2019, while he won in 2020.

Yet even another victory might not be as enjoyable as the qualifying session in which he bettered Jack Miller with a time of a minute and 38.853 seconds. He had remarkably already lapped in under 1:40 seven times in FP4.

"Qualifying is the best thing to do on a race weekend," he said. "I enjoy it much more than the race because you push yourself to the limit."

Quartararo even felt he could have performed better as he took pole, although his level of performance on both medium and hard tyres means there is a decision still to make on Sunday.

Jorge Lorenzo, in 2012 and 2013, was the last man to celebrate back-to-back Catalunya GP wins.

"The pace was great, medium and hard," Quartararo said. "The qualifying was great and I did a great first run. But actually, my lap was not that perfect.

"I thought I could improve a little bit more and on my second run I prepared really well the rear tyre, but I went on the yellow flag in sector three.

"But the most important thing is we're on the front row, P1. I'm so happy to see the fans back and I think it's giving a boost for everyone."

The previous rider to have five successive poles was Marc Marquez, with seven across 2013 and 2014.

But the six-time MotoGP champion failed to even make Q2 on Saturday and explained that a circuit where he has four podiums in a row is not suited to his Repsol Honda.

"Our weak point is the traction, and at this circuit, if you don't have the traction, it's impossible to be fast," said Marquez, who is aiming to avoid three straight retirements for the first time in his top category career.

"At the other circuits, you can brake later, stop, go, pick up. But here, at Turn 2, Turn 3, Turn 4, if you don't have the grip, it's impossible.

"Even in '19, when I was in a sweet moment, I was struggling here. Okay, you can say, 'You win the race', but I won the race because there was a strike in Turn 10. If not, I wasn't able to win the race.

"But anyway, let's see if tomorrow we can finish the race and continue this calendar."


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:38.853
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.037s
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.196s
4. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.246s
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.256s
6. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.304s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.365s
8. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.490s
9. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.506s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.578s
11. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +0.752s
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +2.938s

Fabio Quartararo acknowledged his win at Sunday's Italian Grand Prix did not leave him with a "great feeling" following the death of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier.

Swiss rider Dupasquier, 19, was struck by another bike after falling and slid along the track at Mugello in qualifying on Saturday. 

It was announced before Sunday's MotoGP race that he had died in hospital from his injuries. 

Quartararo became the first rider to win in Mugello after starting from pole position since 2014, extending his lead over Johann Zarco at the top of the championship standings to 24 points with five races completed. 

Quartararo was in no mood to celebrate, though, the 22-year-old revealing he thought about Dupasquier every time he went past the part of the course where the fatal incident happened. 

"Strange, strange day," Quartararo told reporters. "Honestly, there were a lot of emotions before starting the race.

"I get emotional really fast in every condition, so to start the race during that one minute of silence was really difficult and every time I crossed turn nine, I was thinking about Jason.

"This one is for him. It's not a great feeling. You achieve a win, but we lose one of our friends. So, it's not easy."

Meanwhile, Marc Marquez's hopes of securing a strong result in his fourth race since returning from a broken arm were ended at turn three on the second lap when he made contact with Brad Binder.

Marquez accepted responsbility for his early exit and said he is looking forward to getting his season back on track at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit next weekend.

"If someone is to blame it is me because he was coming from behind," he told DAZN. "I tried to overtake him on turn two. Several riders from the lane have fallen in that chicane.

"I was going to one side and he was coming to the other and he closed in front of me. Fortunately, I fell by myself.

"We have taken a little step this weekend. We have understood several things and we are lucky that next week we will be running again. I have not completed 23 laps at Mugello and I want to see if I can continue with my progression."

Marc Marquez crashed out on the second lap as championship leader Fabio Quartararo claimed a third MotoGP victory of the season at the Italian Grand Prix on Sunday. 

In a race overshadowed by the death of Moto3 rider Jason Dupasquier after a crash in qualifying on Saturday, Quartararo became the first rider to win in Mugello after starting from pole position since 2014. 

Meanwhile, Marquez's hopes of securing a strong result in his fourth race since returning from a broken arm were ended at turn three on the second lap when he made contact with Brad Binder.

Quartararo started from his fourth consecutive pole, but he was usurped by Francesco Bagnaia almost immediately. 

Ducati rider Bagnaia fell from the front on just the second lap, though, handing the advantage back to Quartararo, who fought off the threat of fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco to seal a third win in six races.

This latest victory extended his lead at the head of the standings to 24 points over Zarco, who was leapfrogged by Miguel Oliveria into second with eight laps remaining, with Joan Mir pushing him off the podium soon after. 

Alex Rins pushed Zarco further down the standings, but he was denied a push at a podium place when he crashed on the final corner. 

Oliveira beat Mir to the line for second, although the Portuguese rider was initially demoted to third for exceeding track limits on the final lap. It later transpired Mir had also committed the same offence and they were returned to their original positions. 


TOP 10
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Yamaha)
2. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +2.592s
3. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +3.000s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) +3.535s
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +4.903s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati Team) +6.233s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Gresini) +8.030s
8. Maverick Vinales (Monster Yamaha) +17.239s
9. Danilo Petrucci (KTM Tech3) +23.296s
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +25.146s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 105
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 81
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenevo) 79
4. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenevo) 74
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 65

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 169
2. Ducati 153
3. Pramac Racing 102
4. Suzuki Ecstar 88
5. KTM Factory Racing 64

What's next?

The Barcelona-Catalunya circuit plays host to the next race in the championship next weekend, with Quartararo looking for a repeat performance of his win there last year. 

Jack Miller claimed a second consecutive MotoGP victory on Sunday after coming through a chaotic French Grand Prix in which Marc Marquez suffered a dramatic fall from first place and then crashed out.

Miller had just one win from 102 races in the top category heading into the Jerez event earlier this month but now has two from his past two.

The Australian's latest success was far from straightforward but then little was in a wet race at Le Mans.

Miller enjoyed a great start to get ahead of pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo, only for an error to let Maverick Vinales duck through into the lead.

However, after a dry start under looming black clouds, the rain Marquez had hoped for after qualifying duly arrived and Vinales swiftly fell back.

Six-time champion Marquez, without a podium since his return from injury this season, had trailed the front three until the white flag came out but was back tussling with Quartararo by the time the leaders arrived at the pit lane to swap bikes.

A costly error saw Quartararo approach the wrong mechanics, forced to sprint to his other bike as Marquez claimed the lead.

Meanwhile, Miller, who ran off into the gravel prior to the change, was then caught speeding in the pit lane and charged with a double long-lap penalty.

Marquez opted for the medium tyres and tore away from Quartararo into the lead, but the slipperiest section of the track proved his downfall as a brutal crash saw the Spaniard flip off his bike.

Quartararo, aiming to become the first French victor in the top category at this grand prix since 1954, could not hold off Miller despite the penalty, however, and was himself penalised for the earlier pit mix-up.

Miller built a healthy advantage, while Marquez's race was over when he crashed a second time attempting to recover from the back of the field, skidding off the track in 11th but walking away from the incident.

The drama was not quite done, though, as the track dried rapidly and Johann Zarco, who had passed compatriot Quartararo, closed on Miller in his own bid to end the wait for a home winner.

Miller did just enough to hold on, with French fans having to settle for a pair of riders on the podium, Zarco second and Quartararo third.

That was at least enough to take Quartararo – previously without a home podium in all categories – to the top of the 2021 standings as prior leader Francesco Bagnaia trailed him in fourth.

Marc Marquez is hoping for rain at the French Grand Prix in order to challenge pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo, although he acknowledges a tough, dry race may be better for his rehabilitation.

Repsol Honda superstar Marquez broke his arm at the first event of the 2020 season and failed to return, seeing his run of four straight MotoGP titles come to an end.

The six-time champion only made his comeback at the Portuguese Grand Prix and is still getting to grips with his bike again.

Marquez has finished P7 and P9 but will start from sixth on the grid at Le Mans on Sunday after a strong Q2 in which he briefly led the way and finished only 0.437 seconds off pace-setter Quartararo.

The Spaniard won on his past two appearances at Le Mans and has a joint-high three victories in France, but he recognises the weather will have to play in his favour this time.

"It's true that to have a dry race in a good pace is impossible at the moment, because only in six laps I struggled the last laps," he said after qualifying.

"But it's true that if it's wet it's more a gamble. Now is time to take that gamble."

He added: "On one side, I'd prefer a dry race, because like this I continue with my preparation, with my rehabilitation.

"But it's true that, if it's raining, it's not a problem for me. It will be less demanding for the physical condition and will be a lot better."

There is the potential for a wet race, according to the forecast, although similar was true of Saturday, resulting in "mixed" conditions.

When it was put to Marquez that he was "the master" in such scenarios, he corrected the reporter. "I was the master in those conditions," he said, emphasising the past tense.

Quartararo is now the man to catch, having secured pole position for a third consecutive grand prix for the first time in his career despite having surgery following an arm pump issue in a collapse last time out in Spain.

The 22-year-old is already the most successful French rider in MotoGP history with five race wins, yet the most recent home victor at the French GP in the top category was Pierre Monneret in 1954 and Quartararo has never reached the podium in any category at the event.

He started from pole last year, too, but came ninth, and said at Parc Ferme on Saturday: "In the last lap, I said I crash or I make front row.

"That was real, because in the last sector I pushed myself to the limit.

"I even didn't know until I arrived here that I made pole position. I saw the three bikes and I said, 'Oh, it's a shame we are not in the front row', and then I saw my mechanics moving.

"It's pole position and I'm so happy to make it two years in a row in my home GP."

An intriguing Sunday lies ahead, with world champion Joan Mir starting from 14th and 2021 leader Fabio Bagnaia 16th.


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:32.600
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.081s
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.104s
4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.166s
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.277s
6. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.437s
7. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.520s
8. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.550s
9. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha) +0.791s
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +1.267s
11. Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia) +1.658s
12. Luca Marini (Esponsorama) +1.665s

Jack Miller admitted his first MotoGP win in just under five years left him "sobbing like a baby".

The Ducati rider won the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday to finish at the top of the podium for the first time since the Dutch TT at Assen in June 2016.

Miller took the lead early in Jerez and despite being overtaken by Fabio Quartararo he held his nerve in the second half of the race to regain the lead.

Quartararo faded and the Australian passed the chequered flag in first place ahead of Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) back in third.

"It’s out of this world, honestly. Ever since that chequered flag, ever since turn 12 I’ve been on this rollercoaster and it just keeps going," Miller told BT Sport.

"I’m crying and I’m sobbing like a baby. I don't know, it's too hard to put into words what I feel today.

"Last time I won it was a big old shock in the wet. This one I've definitely worked hard to get this."

Miller said he thought his chances of victory were gone when Frenchman Quartararo overtook him, but his near-perfect ride secured the win.

Quartararo slipped down to finish 13th as he surrendered his place at the top of the world championship to Bagnaia.

Miller added: "When Fabio [Quartararo] got past me I just thought he was going to bolt, he got nearly a second gap but then he plateaued off and started coming back to me so I just had to knuckle down and get past him.

"He began to really drop off as soon as I passed him so I knew then I had to just make my break and get away as quick as possible and try to manage my lead out front.

"It seemed like a tall order at the time as I still had like 12 or 13 laps to go and I was thinking ‘that’s a long time out front by myself’ but I was able to do it.

"I’ve never rode that precise, that good in my whole entire life. I don’t think I’ve done 25 laps in a row like that in my life. So, it’s fantastic to get that."

Jack Miller won the Spanish Grand Prix as the Ducati rider notched his first MotoGP victory since 2016.

The Australian made a superb start to lead and, despite being passed by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) in the middle stages, he held his nerve in the second half of the race to return to the front.

Miller finished ahead of Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in third spot.

Quartararo slipped down to finish 13th as he surrendered his place at the top of the world championship to Bagnaia.

The Frenchman started poorly as he slipped from pole position to fourth as Miller surged ahead, but like the Portuguese Grand Prix last time out he initially recovered.

Quartararo overtook his rivals on the final corner of successive laps to regain the lead before he pulled one-and-a-half seconds clear at the front.

With 11 laps to go, a third consecutive victory seemingly beckoned for Quartararo, but he dropped two seconds on one lap, allowing Miller to seize the advantage.

Miller was able to hold on until the end as he secured his first MotoGP win since the Dutch TT at Assen in June 2016 and his eighth overall.

Quartararo lost further ground as Italian duo Bagnaia with Morbidelli scrapped it out for second, with the former edging it to make it a one-two for Ducati.

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) returned to the Jerez track where he suffered a broken arm last July –  an injury that kept him out for nine months – and came through unscathed.

Marquez, who had escaped injury in a big fall on Saturday and another accident in warm-up, started the race in 14th spot and eventually ended in ninth in his second race since returning.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) claimed fourth place as Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) both secured top-six finishes.

TOP 10

1. Jack Miller (Ducati) 41'05.602
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +1.912
3. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) +2.516
4. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) +3.206
5. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +4.256
6. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +5.164
7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) +5.651
8. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +7.161
9. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +10.494
10. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +11.776

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 66
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 64
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 50
4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 49
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 48

Teams

1. Monster Energy Yamaha 114
2. Ducati 105
3. Suzuki Ecstar 72
4. Pramac Racing 65
5. Repsol Honda 40

What's next?

Quartararo will hope for more luck on home turf at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on May 16.

 

 

Fabio Quartararo made MotoGP history at the Spanish Grand Prix after becoming the first rider to secure four consecutive pole positions at the Jerez circuit.

The 22-year-old Monster Energy Yamaha rider, who won on each of the last two occasions he clinched pole at Jerez, set an early benchmark with a time of one minute and 36.807 seconds.

He was nearly toppled from top spot by his former team-mate Franco Morbidelli, who at one point got to within 0.005 seconds of a provisional pole position. 

Frenchman Quartararo's first time ultimately would have been enough to secure pole, but he went even better with a later run.

He ended the session with a best time of one minute and 36.775 seconds to secure first spot on the front row, with a 0.057s advantage over Petronas Yamaha's Morbidelli.

"It felt really good today," Quartararo told his team's official website. "Jerez is one of the tracks that I really like. I have ridden a Yamaha four times at this track and four times I got pole position. It's quite an amazing moment, I'm really happy about this.

"But I will say that today's Q2 session was a qualifying where I was more on the limit. I thought I was going to crash in turn six and turn 13. I made a mistake in turn six, but ultimately what matters is that we got the pole position today.

"Tomorrow it's not going to be easy, but I feel prepared and that I have good potential. The medium and hard tyres are both working well, so we will use the warm-up tomorrow to decide which one we will use."

Ducati team-mates Jack Miller and Francesco Bagnaia will start in third and fourth respectively, ahead of LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami in fifth.

Repsol Honda's former world champion Marc Marquez, meanwhile, put in a career-worst qualifying performance and will start Sunday’s race in 14th.


Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:36.775
2. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) + 0.057s
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) + 0.105s
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) + 0.205s
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) + 0.253s
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.299s
7. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.315s
8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) + 0.330s
9. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.369s
10. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.399s
11. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) + 0.712s
12. Stefan Bradl (Honda HRC) + 0.747s

Fabio Quartararo revealed how a change in mindset has helped him enjoy a strong start to the new MotoGP season after making it two wins from three races in 2021.

After prevailing in Qatar in the previous round, the Frenchman came out on top in an action-packed Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimao, despite a shaky start from pole position.

Quartararo – who rejoiced by copying Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration – was aided by Alex Rins crashing out when second, giving the leader breathing space at the front of the field.

"My start was good, but unfortunately others made better. I'm so happy, because honestly, I didn't expect to make that pace. The pace was so strong," Quartararo said.

"I knew we had a little bit of extra pace from Alex. He was running so fast then he made a mistake, but the pace that we set was unexpected from myself.

"But it feels great to enjoy that track a lot. It's a unique track."

The Monster Yamaha rider now leads the way in the standings, having approached the campaign with a more positive attitude. Francesco Bagnaia ended up taking second place in Portugal with reigning MotoGP champion Joan Mir completing the podium.

"Yamaha made a big step compared to last year, but for more mentally I feel stronger," Quartararo explained to the media.

"I've learned a lot – last year, when the bike was not going so great, I was always thinking negatively. I've totally changed – feeling positive always.

"I arrived here and knew that the bike was working, and even those things that weren't working so well, I wasn't thinking about them. To set the pace we did was not easy, but I was focused."

Suzuki Ecstar's Mir recorded his first top-three finish in the embryonic stages of the season, a result he was happy with considering Yamaha have dominated so far with three straight victories.

"I knew that if I was unable to overtake in the last laps, it would be impossible to overtake in the straight," said Mir. "But it was a positive weekend overall.

"This is probably not the best track for me and I was able to finish on the podium, so I'm happy.

"In warm-up I felt really strong, but in the middle of the race I felt some trouble with some parts of the bike. In the last laps I managed to survive and was able to maintain a positive pace.

"This is not the best start to the championship for us, for me. But at both Qatar and here we were fighting for the podium.

"It is our goal to be fighting in Jerez and Le Mans too, then I expect to be stronger, but now I have to survive and score as many points as possible."

Fabio Quartararo overcame a poor start to win a dramatic Portuguese Grand Prix that saw Marc Marquez finish seventh on his long-awaited return.

Marquez said he was ready to "suffer" in his first race since sustaining a season-ending broken arm last July, but the six-time MotoGP champion enjoyed an encouraging comeback after making an early move from sixth to third.

However, it was Quartararo who took the victory, despite dropping down the field from pole position in a pulsating start, after Johann Zarco and Alex Rins crashed out in quick succession at the Algarve International Circuit on Sunday.

Quartararo took over from Zarco as championship leader after sealing back-to-back wins following his triumph in Doha, with Francesco Bagnaia and Joan Mir taking second and third place respectively.

Maverick Vinales could only finish back in 11th place on a great day for Quartararo.

Zarco darted up the inside in a dream start from third on the grid to take the lead from Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo, with Marquez also impressing during the opening laps in Portimao.

Quartararo dropped back to sixth and Marquez caught the back of Mir's Suzuki as he slipped back following a promising beginning to the race.

Rins, who started in second, moved passed Pramac Racing's Zarco in a flash at Turn 13 to hit the front before Jack Miller and Miguel Oliveira - winner on home soil last year - crashed out.

Quartararo had ominously put a disappointing start behind him to apply the pressure, becoming the latest leader of the race with 17 laps to go.

Rins tried his best to cut the gap in second place but spun off 11 laps from the end at Turn 10 after Valentino Rossi had crashed out from 11th place.

Quartararo was in complete control when Rins spun and a second-placed Zarco hit the deck, with Ducati rider Bagnaia holding off Mir for second, having been back in 11th, as the early championship lead changed hands.

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