2020 MotoGP: Petronas SRT starts season with a win by Quartararo, Hafizh Syahrin finishes sixth in Moto2 – paultan.org07/20/2020
After much anticipation, the 2020 MotoGP season flagged off in Jerez, Spain with a convincing win by Franco Morbidelli of Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT). Taking his maiden win in his second season with Petronas SRT, Quartararo, riding the Yamaha YZR-M1, finished on the top step of the podium in a time of 41’23.796.
Quartararo stamped his supremacy over the race, with second place finisher Maverick Vinales of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP coming in 4.603 seconds behind with third place winner Andrea Dovisioso a further 1.3 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Jack Miller of Pramac Racing on a Ducati Desmosedici come in fourth, while Quartararo’s team mate Franco Morbidelli was fifth, followed by Pol Espargaro of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in sixth.
A shocking moment came four laps into race when world champion Marc Marquez highsided coming out of turn 3, fracturing his humerus, or right upper arm bone. This came after Marquez performed one of his miracle saves earlier in the race, bringing his Repsol Honda Racing RC213-V back upright after the front wheel washed out on lap 5.
Pushing hard, Marquez fought his way back from sixteenth to third position only to have his hopes of a winning start to the season dashed by the crash. With only 13 races in a race season truncated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the chances of Marquez recovering from his injuries in time and regaining his lost chances appear to be very slim.
Tyre choice played a crucial role in the Jerez race, with most of the field opting for a hard compound front tyre, a new formulation from series tyre provider Michelin. Bucking the trend, fan favourite Valentino Rossi chose to ride on a soft compound, a decision that would haunt him as he dropped out of the race, as well as saying he had problems with the rear tyre, also a new from Michelin.
In Moto2, Malaysian racer Hafizh Syahrin, riding for Inde Aspar Team, finished in the points with sixth position, 15.5 seconds behind race winner Luca Marini of Sky Racing Team VR46. Syahrin, fondly known to Malaysian racing fans as “El Pescao” or The Fish, was relegated to the Moto2 intermediate class after a dismal showing with KTM Red Bull Tech3 in MotoGP last year.
As for Moto3, Khairul Idham Pawi, riding for Petronas Sprinta Racing, only managed 22nd place, almost half a minute behind first place finisher Albert Arenas of Gaviota Aspar Team. After the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix, the MotoGP circus stays in place for the next race, the Red Bull Andalucia Grand Prix at Jerez, this coming weekend.
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