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MotoGP 2020: Quartararo eyes response as Marc Marquez remains absent at MotorLand

By Peter Thompson
Fabio Quartararo

Aragon, October 14: The leading MotoGP title contenders had a weekend to forget at Le Mans and will be looking to respond by making gains in Spain at Grand Prix of Aragon.

Danilo Petrucci won the French Grand Prix ahead of podium debutant Alex Marquez in wet conditions last Sunday.

Fabio Quartararo could only finish ninth after starting on pole in his homeland, but extended his lead to 10 points as Joan Mir crossed the line in 11th.

MotoGP 2020: Petrucci reveals rain worries after Le Mans triumph

The Aragon GP this week will be the first of back-to-back races at MotorLand, where Repsol Honda confirmed Marc Marquez will not make his return from a broken arm.

Nineteen points separate the top four riders in the battle for the title, with Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Vinales third and fourth respectively.

MotoGP 2020: Marc Marquez's Aragon GP return ruled out

The last seven races have been won by different riders and Quartararo is the only one to have claimed victory more than once in a strange season.

Fourth spot for Dovizioso in France ensured he made ground on Quartararo and it is all to play for in the battle for the title.

LAST TIME OUT

Petrucci claimed just the second win of his career in the premier class, ultimately coasting home following a titanic tussle for much of the race.

Rain delayed the start but, once they were able to get under way it looked like a Ducati 1-2-3 could be on the cards.

Petrucci, Dovizioso and Jack Miller were battling it out at the head of the field, eventually joined by Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins to seemingly set the platform for a four-way battle to the finish.

However, Miller went off the track with eight laps remaining, dropping him down the field before the Australian was forced to retire.

Rins was not in contention for much longer, as a slip at the first chicane effectively ended his bid for victory. While able to get back on the bike and resume racing, he finished 16th.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT MOTORLAND ARAGON

Given the way the season has panned out so far, it is probably anybody's guess what to expect at MotorLand.

What is guaranteed is that Marc Marquez's dominance of the race will end, given he is not ready to return.

The reigning champion has won the Aragon GP in each of the last four years, his most recent success coming ahead of Dovizioso and Miller.

His younger brother, Alex, should be riding on the crest of a wave after his best performance in the premier class last weekend.

Wednesday marked the 19th anniversary of Valentino Rossi's maiden premier class victory, but the legendary Italian will not have been in any mood to celebrate given his woes of late.

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Home comforts – After Casey Stoner's first two victories (2010 and 2011), only Spanish riders have won in the following eight editions of this race (Marc Márquez 5; Jorge Lorenzo 2 and Dani Pedrosa 1).

Not a happy hunting ground for Italians - MotorLand Aragon is, of the circuits of the 2020 MotoGP season, the only one at which an Italian rider has not tasted victory.

Spain gains for Quartararo - Championship leader Quartararo has won in the last three MotoGP races held in Spain, all of them in 2020 (Grand Prix of Spain, Andalucia and Catalonia).

Dovi desperate to stop the rot - Dovizioso has not finished on the podium in his last five races. If he not in the top three at MotorLand, it will be his worst run without a podium in the top category since 2016 (7 races).

Rossi retirements racking up - Valentino Rossi has abandoned in his last three races for third time in his 500cc/MotoGP career (previously 2011 and 2019). He has never abandoned four races on the spin.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders 1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 115 2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 105 3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 97 4. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 96 5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) 81

Teams 1. Petronas Yamaha 192 2. Suzuki Ecstar 165 3. Ducati 161 4. Monster Energy Yamaha 154 5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 135

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Story first published: Wednesday, October 14, 2020, 20:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Oct 14, 2020