Fabio Quartararo was robbed of a win in Spain thanks to arm pump. Coming into his home round, he’s wounded from surgery. Will he bounce back, and what effect will the weather have this weekend?
The Spanish Grand Prix looked, in the early stages, to be another domination display by Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo. He was a good two seconds ahead of Jack Miller’s Ducati and had a good rhythm. Then arm pump problems started, and he plummeted down the order, from first to 13th in only about 10 laps. So bad was the result, he lost the championship lead which he comfortably held coming into the weekend.
The result, though, was a memorable win for Miller, the Aussie’s first since Assen 2016, and Ducati’s first win at Jerez since 2006. It was a 1-2 result as well, with Francesco Bagnaia taking second in the race and the championship lead with it. The concertina in the standings now means any of the top 5 are within touching distance of the title.
Undoubtedly the biggest talking point coming into this weekend is rain. It is expected to relentlessly pour down all weekend, with a thunderstorm warning in place as well. Last year, we had sudden rain before the race too, which was won by Danilo Petrucci, then on a Ducati.
It was the first time Ducati had ever won a French Grand Prix, with the Le Mans track generally being dominated by the Yamaha and Honda riders. 11 of the current MotoGP riders have won a race at Le Mans in one of the three classes, with only Marc Marquez and Valentino Rossi having taken more than one. Neither look to be able to add to their tally this year, with the Honda facing some front-end problems, Marquez still suffering from his injuries, and Rossi just seemingly off the pace.
Quartararo could finally win his home round, but his recent surgery may hinder his chances a little. It doesn’t help that he was dismally off the pace at Le Mans last time when it was also wet.
Another man with problems is Aleix Espargaro, the Spaniard will undergo arm pump surgery next week after the race after problems in the Jerez test last Monday. The Aprilia man may face troubles with his arm this weekend that could stop his magnificent charge up the field.
On the other end of the spectrum, reigning winner Jack Miller is known for his love of rain. He won the iconic 2016 Assen TT when it was wet-dry-wet and the opposition fell around him. We know as well, that Alex Marquez is a bit of a wet weather star after his brilliant podium in last year’s French GP, and KTM showed their competence in the drizzle then too. If this rain prophecy does hold, the race will be incredibly open.
One thing we do know though, whether it be rain or shine, MotoGP never fails to deliver an exciting race!