Miller leads Ducati 1-2 at Jerez after Quartararo drama - The Race
MotoGP

Miller leads Ducati 1-2 at Jerez after Quartararo drama

May 2 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Jack Miller scored his first MotoGP win since 2016 in the Spanish Grand Prix as a dominant-looking race for Fabio Quartararo unravelled dramatically.

The now-former championship leader looked en route to a dominant third consecutive win of the year – and a third straight win at Jerez – but faded massively in the final 10 laps, paving the way for Miller’s first win as a Ducati rider.

Quartararo in the end tumbled to a painful 13th, and surrendered the MotoGP championship lead as a result. He now trails Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia by two points.

The sole Ducati on the front row – that of Miller – predictably took the lead off the line, with Quartararo also slipping behind Franco Morbidelli and Bagnaia.

But after finishing the opening lap in fourth the Frenchman reeled off three successive overtakes down the inside of the final corner, Curva Lorenzo, meaning that by the end of lap four he had retaken the lead from Miller.

As Quartararo began to break away, his gap over Miller briefly stabilised at seven tenths, before another push by Quartararo nearly doubled the lead.

But as the halfway point passed Quartararo’s pace suddenly dropped off a cliff, the Frenchman visibly struggling badly on corner entry and soon running laptimes nearly two seconds off the pace. After the race when he returned to his garage, Quartararo appeared to be in severe pain and would not remove his helmet or lift his visor while a TV camera was close by.

Fabio Quartararo Yamaha MotoGP Jerez 2021

Very quickly he was caught by Miller, who made short work of Quartararo on the main straight and soon took over a comfortable two-second lead despite making an early error in clean air.

By then Bagnaia – who had spent some of the race being stuck behind Aleix Espargaro before getting the move done at Dry Sac – had also taken care of Morbidelli, and a subsequent pass on Quartararo left him two seconds off Miller.

After seeing off an initial counter-attack from Morbidelli, Bagnaia closed to within a second of Miller on the penultimate lap, but had no more to offer, with the Aussie leading a Ducati 1-2 by 1.912s at the chequered flag.

Morbidelli scored his first podium of the season in third, with LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami repeating his career-best result in fourth and Suzuki’s reigning champion Joan Mir completing the top five.

Both Nakagami and Mir took full advantage of Quartararo’s rolling roadblock period to pass Espargaro, who was sixth again for Aprilia.

Quartararo’s Yamaha team-mate Maverick Vinales didn’t make much progress, eventually finishing seventh ahead of Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) and the works Hondas of Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro.

Miguel Oliveira was the top KTM in 11th. His team-mate Brad Binder was the only representative of the Austrian marque in Q2 on Saturday, but crashed twice during the grand prix, first at Turn 2 and then at the final corner.

His first crash came on the second lap but was already the second of the race, with Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) having fallen on the opening lap.

The other two crashes came from Alex Rins, who had a bizarre slow fall after running out wide at Dry Sac while chasing after Suzuki team-mate Mir, and Avintia Ducati rookie Enea Bastianini.

Seven-time MotoGP race winner Valentino Rossi continued his miserable current MotoGP streak, finishing out of the points in 17th place, one spot ahead of Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin stand-in Tito Rabat.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 25 13 41m05.602s 1m37.908s 0 25
2 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 25 0 +1.912s 1m38.059s 0 20
3 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 25 0 +2.516s 1m37.993s 0 16
4 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 25 0 +3.206s 1m38.101s 0 13
5 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 25 0 +4.256s 1m38.239s 0 11
6 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 25 0 +5.164s 1m38.262s 0 10
7 Maverick Viñales Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 25 0 +5.651s 1m38.148s 0 9
8 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 25 0 +7.161s 1m38.165s 0 8
9 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 25 0 +10.494s 1m38.122s 0 7
10 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda 25 0 +11.776s 1m38.356s 0 6
11 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 25 0 +14.766s 1m38.52s 0 5
12 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 25 0 +17.243s 1m38.399s 0 4
13 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 25 12 +18.907s 1m37.77s 0 3
14 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 25 0 +20.095s 1m38.677s 0 2
15 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 25 0 +20.277s 1m38.869s 0 1
16 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati 25 0 +20.922s 1m38.639s 0 0
17 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 25 0 +22.731s 1m38.792s 0 0
18 Tito Rabat Pramac Racing Ducati 25 0 +30.314s 1m38.901s 0 0
19 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 25 0 +37.912s 1m39.22s 0 0
20 Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 25 0 +38.234s 1m38.028s 0 0
Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 11 0 DNF 1m38.43s 0 0
Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati 11 0 DNF 1m38.508s 0 0
Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 0 0 DNF 0s 0 0

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