FRENCHMAN Fabio Quartararo claimed his long awaited first victory in an action packed weekend in Jerez de la Frontera.
In a drastically amended 2020 MotoGP calender, the Gran Premio Red Bull de España 2020 acted as the first proper round in a rapid fire 2020 campaign.
Empty stands and masks aplenty were the only signs that the region was coming out of a global pandemic as the atmosphere retained its electricity for a weekend of racing.
Before the start of the premier class event, the support classes provided the perfect antidote for the 4 and a half month break.
Brazilian Eric Granado took a dominating victory in the inaugural MotoE event for the Avintia Esponsorama team.
Having raced in Qatar back on March 8, the Moto2 and Moto3 riders already had a taste of the tarmac this year.
In the Moto3 race, Albert Arenas carried on from his early season form by taking his second victory in Jerez.
In the 600cc Moto2 event, Italian Luca Marini took his Sky Racing Kalex to an easy victory after snatching the lead from Jorge Martin early on in the race.
As the MotoGP guys took to the track in the sweltering afternoon sun, temperatures were brushing 40c with track temperatures even higher.
As the lights turned to green, Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales used his M1’s new holeshot device to claim the lead into turn one.
On lap three, championship favourite Marquez pounded the pressure on Vinales before taking the lead.
Clearly pushing his RC213V to the limit in the Andalucian sun, Marquez lost the from into turn four, performing one of his miraculous saves before rejoining the track back in sixteenth.
Vinales pushed on before being caught by Petronas Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo and Pramac Ducati’s Jack Miller.
Quartararo took the lead on lap nine and never looked back, pulling a six second lead on Vinales by the end of the final lap.
Marquez scythed through the field with precision, making his way up to third again with a struggling Vinales on a soft front Michelin firmly in his sights.
However on lap 22, the reigning champion lost the rear of his Honda which threw him into a vicious high side exiting turn three.
In visible pain, he was placed in a neck brace before being taken to the Clinica Mobile for examination.
Quartararo’s victory marks his first in the premier class after a string of pole positions, fasted laps and almost-wins throughout 2019.
It is also the first time a Frenchman has won in the series for 21 years since Regis Laconi won at the 1999 Valencia GP.
After the race, Marc Marquez was confirmed to have fractured his arm in the accident, all-but-ruling out his title hopes.
“Marc took a big hit to the upper arm, now they are checking it and doing an X-Ray,” explained Repsol Honda team boss Alberto Puig.
Slow motion footage of the crash showed Marquez’s front tyre smashing into his upper arm before he cartwheels numerous times through the gravel.
“Marquez will travel to the Hospital Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona on Monday, July 20 and is aiming to be operated on by Dr Xavier Mir and his team on Tuesday, July 21.” he continued.
Rumours suggest he is aiming to be fit for the Czech GP on August 9 in Brno.
The MotoGP paddock will remain in southern Spain at the Circuito de Velocidad de Jerez for the third round of the series, the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia next weekend.