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Motorcycles Fabio Quartararo Wins First MotoGP Of 2020

00:25  22 july  2020
00:25  22 july  2020 Source:   cycleworld.com

When a Superbike legend proved his worth in MotoGP

  When a Superbike legend proved his worth in MotoGP Called into replace an injured Casey Stoner for two rounds in 2012, Jonathan Rea made a splash, but never dived full-time into MotoGP. Achieving legendary status in World Superbikes in the years since, what Rea did on the factory Honda more than warranted a permanent stay in MotoGP ... © Repsol Media Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda Team Many riders have made the World Superbike/MotoGP crossover over the past three decades, with the likes of Cal Crutchlow, Ben Spies, Marco Melandri, Max Biaggi, Troy Bayliss, Nicky Hayden - to name but a few - either making winning moves in or out of the production-based series.

As the 2020 MotoGP of Jerez, Spain, approached its conclusion, race leader Fabio Quartararo felt they were the longest laps in his experience. This would be the day of Quartararo’s first-ever MotoGP win.

a group of people riding skis on a snowy road: Aged 21 years, Fabio Quartararo wins his first MotoGP race with a convincing 4.5-second lead at the checkered flag. © Provided by Cycle World Aged 21 years, Fabio Quartararo wins his first MotoGP race with a convincing 4.5-second lead at the checkered flag.

Maverick Viñales had nailed the start and was first into turn 1 with Jack Miller (Duc) just behind. When Miller ran wide (as often happens when fast-starting riders arrive hot into One) Marc Márquez passed for second. By turn 4 Viñales and Márquez were even, and two corners later, Márquez’s intended plan looked on track. Márquez had suffered “a small crash” in practice and Quartararo had set pole. Then Márquez came back to show tremendous pace in Sunday morning warm-up.

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Honda team principal Alberto Puig said after the race, "The strategy was to make a good start when the lights went out and try to go on to lead the race from the front. This is what was happening until Marc had a moment and had to run off track early in the race."

On lap 5, Viñales saw Márquez close the front (rider-speak for the sudden lightness in the bars when front grip drops) and then make one of his miracle saves—this time by the elbow. He didn’t let the gravel swallow him and he was able to rejoin—in last place. Now began a dash through the field that will be long-discussed and admired.

a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle: Marc Márquez jumped to an early lead, just as planned, until a mistake on lap 5 tipped the first domino in the Spaniard’s undoing after an inspired charge from behind. © Provided by Cycle World Marc Márquez jumped to an early lead, just as planned, until a mistake on lap 5 tipped the first domino in the Spaniard’s undoing after an inspired charge from behind.

Six laps in, early leader Viñales knew he’d chosen the wrong front tire—he and teammate Valentino Rossi were soft/soft, while the rest of the field was hard/soft. “The steering closed a couple of times,” he said, forcing him wide in corners.

Fabio Quartararo Is Ready For The Challenges Of 2020

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He slowed to 1:39s as he missed braking points. This pace reduction allowed Quartararo to pass Miller, then Viñales himself. Shortly, Quartararo was leading, pulling away from Viñales and Miller.

a group of people riding skis on a snowy road: Aged 21 years, Fabio Quartararo wins his first MotoGP race with a convincing 4.5-second lead at the checkered flag. © MotoGP Aged 21 years, Fabio Quartararo wins his first MotoGP race with a convincing 4.5-second lead at the checkered flag.

Behind, Márquez had made up six places to be 10th, now lapping a second faster than the lead group. His lap 12 was the fastest of the race, a 1:38.3. A lap later he blew past two more riders, and on lap 16 (of 24) he was just two seconds out of a possible podium finish. Those being passed so summarily must have felt themselves irrelevant.

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Miller and Viñales were just ahead. After a brief thrust and parry with Miller’s Ducati horsepower, ending at turn 2, Márquez was lining up second. Exiting T3, Márquez lost the rear, then it re-gripped in a classic highside, lofting him like a mortar round. Landing in the gravel, he was hit in the right upper arm by his own bike’s front tire, producing a complete break of the humerus. At last report he was to wait 12 hours for the injury to stabilize, then be repaired in an operation in Barcelona. Beginning this Friday is practice for the second MotoGP of 2020, the Andalusian, also to be held here at Jerez.

Jerez of all people: Quartararo on the podium for the first time with youth idol Rossi

 Jerez of all people: Quartararo on the podium for the first time with youth idol Rossi Fabio Quartararo follows the second one week after his first MotoGP victory, but it is something else that he is delighted about 50 out of 50 possible world championship points two races: For Fabio Quartararo, the Jerez doubles went perfectly at the start of the 2020 MotoGP season.

a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle: Marc Márquez jumped to an early lead, just as planned, until a mistake on lap 5 tipped the first domino in the Spaniard’s undoing after an inspired charge from behind. © Repsol Honda Marc Márquez jumped to an early lead, just as planned, until a mistake on lap 5 tipped the first domino in the Spaniard’s undoing after an inspired charge from behind.

A red “stop forthwith” light illuminated on Rossi’s dash on lap 19. He did, on the straight. A “technical issue.”

“My problem is the same as last year. I’m in trouble with the temperature and the grip of the rear tire.”

Tires are new this year, but the allocations have been scrambled along with the schedule—by coronavirus. This race normally runs in May but this was intense July heat, not the mildness of springtime.

a group of people riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: An incorrect tire choice cost Maverick Viñales the win in Spain—his lap times dropped as grip diminished. © Provided by Cycle World An incorrect tire choice cost Maverick Viñales the win in Spain—his lap times dropped as grip diminished.

All credit to Viñales for breaking out of his usual pattern of slow start followed by having to waste rubber to fight back past other riders. He also used Márquez’s pass to compare his setup and riding with Márquez’s: “After Marc passed me I was (right) behind him and figured out a lot of things. Now I know where to improve for the next race. I clearly saw which areas we have to work on.”

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  Valentino Rossi Interview After Jerez MotoGP Podium Valentino Rossi Interview After Jerez MotoGP PodiumCan you imagine his feeling when the numbers began to go against him? Last year Rossi stepped on the podium only twice (in Argentina and Texas), while his teammate, 25-year-old Maverick Viñales, scored two wins and a second place, and 21-year-old Fabio Quartararo scored five podiums in 2019 and two victories in a row this year.

Cal Crutchlow’s natural honesty has provided listeners with much understanding (and is probably a major reason Honda has employed him—he is candid when other riders are “careful”). His weekend was on course until a crash at the end of Sunday warm-up, putting him out with concussion and neck trauma.

Álex Rins (Suzuki), through practice one of three riders with the highest pace, was injured at the end of Qualifying 2 and did not ride.

Our best information this time comes from Andrea Dovizioso, who like Crutchlow steers his own course. Criticized earlier this year by Ducati Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti for not throwing caution to the wind and going for broke, Dovi said merely that he would not reply to such things.

This season’s new Michelin tires were described by Márquez: “Michelin has changed the construction of the rear: There is more grip into and out of corners.”

Pundits had predicted this should help the Yamahas, which are engineered generally to support a riding style somewhere on “the corner-speed spectrum” (I say “spectrum” because there are such wide differences between the styles of the two Yamaha factory men, Rossi and Viñales).

a group of people riding on the back of a motorcycle: An incorrect tire choice cost Maverick Viñales the win in Spain—his lap times dropped as grip diminished. © MotoGP An incorrect tire choice cost Maverick Viñales the win in Spain—his lap times dropped as grip diminished.

But Márquez continued: “In corner entry it (the new rear) pushes more on the front.”

Barcelona MotoGP: Quartararo dominant in first practice

  Barcelona MotoGP: Quartararo dominant in first practice Petronas Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo dominated the opening practice for the MotoGP Catalan Grand Prix by 0.410 seconds, while Misano podium finisher Joan Mir crashed. © Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images Fabio Quartararo, Petronas Yamaha SRT The final part of the second triple-header this season got underway in cool conditions at the Catalunya circuit, with Quartararo setting the early pace on his Yamaha at the scene of his debut MotoGP podium in 2019. The French rider is battling illness this weekend, but leaped to the top of the order at the start of the session with a 1m41.

Kenny Roberts in 1982 described Dunlop’s giant new rear tire as being “…like driving a race car with a locked rear end—it doesn’t want to turn.”

“For sure a tire like this is better for Yamaha and Suzuki because they ride with the rear,” Márquez continued.

Dovi revealed that there is much complexity in tire behavior—not just a matter of more grip or less grip: “…the tires are unusual and we have not yet understood them fully. We must continue to study them and look for confidence on the front.”

a man riding a motorcycle on a track: Andrea Dovizioso, fresh off a broken collarbone, rode a steady race to finish on the podium. © Provided by Cycle World Andrea Dovizioso, fresh off a broken collarbone, rode a steady race to finish on the podium.

On Saturday, after an unusual number of setup changes in search of more confidence in the front, Dovi said, “It’s not so much a question of the bike as of its tires. The new Michelins work differently and you have to adapt your way of braking, entering corners, coming off the brakes, and opening the gas. They are really small differences but it is not easy to change so much. It is not even clear what we have to do.”

Pretty different from the idea of just gettin’ out there and gassin’ it up. It’s one thing to notice such differences but quite another for a rider to reset the way he rides to take advantage of them.

Johann Zarco, speaking of now being on a Ducati instead of the KTM, and the Yamaha before it, said, “It is not yet automatic for me to ride the Ducati. In fact, I have to learn, memorize, and then put into practice. Every time (on the bike) I have to follow this procedure.”

Yet when Zarco burst onto the scene on a Tech3 satellite Yamaha in 2017, his pace surprised everyone, and he was immediately able to do things that were the envy of Yamaha factory riders. His style certainly did not look as if riveted together from memorized pieces: learn, memorize, and then put into practice. Somehow, some top riders can smoothly integrate their many piecemeal analyses into the fluid motions of their riding—and make it work. Others, just as fast on a given day, instead fall back into their own “natural style” when under pressure, forgetting what they’ve learned recently.

Quartararo takes the blame for multiple Misano crashes

  Quartararo takes the blame for multiple Misano crashes Fabio Quartararo says his first crash in the MotoGP San Marino Grand Prix was a result of him pushing “like it was the last lap” to catch Jack Miller, and recorded his first non-finish of the season following a second fall. The Petronas SRT rider dropped from third to fifth at the start and got stuck behind factory Yamaha counterpart Maverick Vinales for the first six laps.Quartararo admits he got “too excited” following Vinales, as he knew he had better pace, and when he cleared him at the end of lap seven he tried to go after the third-placed Pramac Ducati of Miller.

a man riding a motorcycle on a track: Andrea Dovizioso, fresh off a broken collarbone, rode a steady race to finish on the podium. © MotoGP Andrea Dovizioso, fresh off a broken collarbone, rode a steady race to finish on the podium.

I have been surprised to find most of the commentary on this race taking the form, “Wow, Márquez didn’t win. But gosh, he’s clearly the best, and he is six-time MotoGP champion. He just made a little mistake—that’s all.”

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Here is the point. Every rider has talent—some more, some less—and in the process of trying to win races that talent is a major, but not the only, tool in the toolbox. Another part of winning is effectively managing that talent. We have all seen brilliant riders toss away championships by letting themselves speed up until they crashed—they failed to manage their talent. Denis Jenkinson described similar problems in his 1958 book, The Racing Driver—racers must balance the intoxication of operating at the highest level with management by sensible caution. The human mind does not speak with a single voice.

Yes, Márquez does crash, but notice that he does so mainly in practice—so much so that it looks like he uses crashing as a learning tool. This weekend he said, “It is difficult to understand the limit of the Honda.

a man riding a motorcycle on a track: It was Quartararo who managed his talent most successfully to take the win at Jerez. © MotoGP It was Quartararo who managed his talent most successfully to take the win at Jerez.

“To understand the limit, you have to crash.

“During the tests I try to find it, in order to have clear ideas for the race.”

Yet Pol Espargaró said, “…this is Marc, and those people who say he risks too much do not know anything about motorcycling, because that’s the way he has achieved all his results.”

There is no doubt that Márquez is comfortable near the limit—we saw him slice through the field after his visit to the gravel, making 0.8 to 1.0 second per lap on Quartararo, the race leader. Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci was one of those passed: “He passed me, in the corner where he crashed, at twice my speed.”

Mir taunts Quartararo: "Fabio lost the most at Le Mans"

 Mir taunts Quartararo: Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo talk about their championship fight in front of Aragon - pursuer Andrea Dovizioso does not give up and now wants to attack After the rainy battle in Le Mans (France) has Fabio Quartararo (Petronas-Yamaha) ten championship points ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki). Five MotoGP races will still be driven in 2020. MotorLand Aragon in Spain will start this weekend. "I think Quartararo is the driver to be beaten this weekend," said Mir as the favorite of the French.

Dovi made clear the fact that all riders in this series must be willing to ride beyond themselves: “…if a rider doesn’t push hard to surpass his limits, he can’t even stay at these levels. This is the reason why many riders arrive in MotoGP, show some good form, and then drop down.”

We don’t know when Márquez can rejoin the series but he has shown in the past that we must prepare to be surprised.

Many riders observed that although FP4′s 140-degree Fahrenheit asphalt temperature was high and the track was slippery, conditions in the race were worse. Apologists who are saying “Márquez became number one by just going for it, so we have to accept this crash as part of his nature” are doing the man a disservice. He crashes a lot in practice, and hardly at all in the races themselves. That is clearly his conscious choice, not the fury of an enraged tiger. On this day he got a bit ahead of himself—not once, but twice. Missing this race, likely next week’s, and perhaps the one after that is a high price to pay.

His brother Alex summed up Marc’s dash to the front, “…it took Marc two laps to clean the tires (detritus from the gravel sticks all over them) and find the right temperature. Once he regained his pace he realized he had a good one, but he didn’t even think of reaching the podium. In fact, he believed he was getting fifth or sixth place.”

This result also emphasizes the almost complete dependence of Honda in MotoGP on Marc Márquez, for without him its highest-finishing rider was Takaaki Nakagami, in 10th.

a man riding a motorcycle on a track: It was Quartararo who managed his talent most successfully to take the win at Jerez. © Provided by Cycle World It was Quartararo who managed his talent most successfully to take the win at Jerez.

The men who managed their talent successfully were Fabio Quartararo, winning by 4.5 seconds, Maverick Viñales, who overcame a past of slow starts and coaxed his ailing soft front tire back to life sufficient to finish second, and Andrea Dovizioso, managing his tires uniquely well on a track that has not favored him or Ducati, making a last-moment pass on Jack Miller for third.

Mir taunts Quartararo: "Fabio lost the most at Le Mans" .
Joan Mir and Fabio Quartararo talk about their championship fight in front of Aragon - pursuer Andrea Dovizioso does not give up and now wants to attack After the rainy battle in Le Mans (France) has Fabio Quartararo (Petronas-Yamaha) ten championship points ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki). Five MotoGP races will still be driven in 2020. MotorLand Aragon in Spain will start this weekend. "I think Quartararo is the driver to be beaten this weekend," said Mir as the favorite of the French.

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