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MotoGP 2020: Starting grid and race preview for Andalusia Grand Prix

By Peter Thompson
Fabio Quartararo

Jerez, July 26: There could be a sense of deja vu at the Andalusia Grand Prix on Sunday (July 26) as Fabio Quartararo goes in search of a second successive victory in the absence of Marc Marquez.

Quartararo secured his first MotoGP victory in the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix last weekend and sealed a third consecutive Jerez pole six days later.

Marquez suffered a fractured humerus when he crashed out on home soil last Sunday and despite courageously getting back on his bike just four days after having a titanium plate inserted in his right arm to attempt to qualify, he will not start the race.

Maverick Vinales will start in second spot after having the fastest lap in Q2 chalked off for exceeding track limits, with Francesco Bagnaia on the front row for the first time.

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo stormed to another pole with a lap of one minute, 37.007 seconds, but Vinales came agonisingly close to denying him.

The Spaniard went just a centimetre too wide coming out of Turn 7 when he was under Quartararo's pole-clinching time and so that lap was chalked off.

Bagnaia capitalised on progressing from Q1 by taking a career-best third, with Valentino Rossi taking fourth ahead of Miguel Oliveira - who was also able to reflect on his best qualifying performance in the premier class.

World champion Marquez was only on track briefly in Q1 before deciding he could not continue, having completed 10 laps in the final practice session and also gone out for FP3.

Cal Crutchlow will start in 13th despite undergoing wrist surgery this week.

THE STARTING GRID

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha), 2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 3. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing)

4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 6. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)

7. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), 9. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).

10. Joan Mir (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 11. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati), 12. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM)

13. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), 14. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 15. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing)

16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Iker Lecuona (Tech 3 KTM), 18. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing)

19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR), 21. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda)

ANDALUSIA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Marquez and Repsol Honda came to the conclusion there was no point in taking any risks after he was unsurprisingly in discomfort when he returned to the track on Saturday, but he is hoping to return for the next round in Brno.

Opportunity knocks for the dominant Spaniard's rivals as they battle to dethrone him and Quartararo could leave Jerez on cloud nine if he takes the chequered flag again.

However, Vinales was only a whisker away from pole and there could be a pulsating battle to come in round two.

Alex Marquez will have to come from the back of the grid after he was also left clutching his arm following a crash on a tough start to the weekend for the family, with his brother ruled out.

WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

Fabio Quartararo (1st): "I was surprised to make pole position. I expect a really good race but we have a few riders who could pose a real challenge. We'll be trying our best to stay in front, stay focused, manage the pace and just do the best we can tomorrow."

Maverick Vinales (2nd): "Our potential was very strong today. My best lap time got cancelled, but I'm so happy because the bike is working so well. I can't wait for tomorrow's race."

Valentino Rossi (4th): "We still need time to work on the bike and to improve ourselves. The championship is shorter than usual this year but it is still long, and right now we will concentrate on improving ourselves rather than on the title. We will work hard for sure.”

Jack Miller (7th): "As it sits at the minute we're in this thing [the battle for the title]. We need to change our strategy. I think I've said all along, we've just got to get through these with as many points as possible, we're coming to tracks that I really do well at, and we'll be able to challenge."

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Story first published: Sunday, July 26, 2020, 9:45 [IST]
Other articles published on Jul 26, 2020
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