AUSSIE Jack Miller stormed to a commanding victory under the Andalucian sunshine in yesterday’s Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez de la Frontera.
Miller took advantage of a stellar qualifying and powered his Desmosedici GP21 from third spot on the grid past pole sitter and championship leader Quartararo and led for the first two laps.
Quartararo dropped to fourth but kept his cool and quickly dispatched Miller’s team mate Pecco Bagnaia and satellite Yamaha rider Franco Morbidelli before claiming the lead entering lap four.
The young Frenchman stretched out a 1.5 second lead for the next four laps, making use of the clear track in front of him as the two Ducati’s and Yamaha battled behind.
By lap 14 however, Miller would close the gap to Quartararo to just eight tenths before making his move on lap 16 heading onto the start finish straight.
Bagnaia and Morbidelli would also take the Factory Yamaha rider, with Quartararo eventually dropping down the field to finish 13th, suffering with what would later be revealed as severe arm pump.
After the race, Quartararo would tell reporters that he was ‘lost’ as to what went wrong.
“I was comfortable with the pace, we had amazing pace this weekend and just had no more power in the arm.” said the Frenchman.
“It’s so sad because I was feeling really comfortable in front, I was P4 on lap one and I could overtake the leaders easily.”
Quartararo had arm pump surgery in his rookie campaign in 2019 and has had no ill effects since, particularly at Jerez, leaving the championship leader to ponder a solution that could potentially derail his near perfect start to 2021.
Miller would hold off a late charging Bagnaia for his first victory since 2016 when he took his Estrella Galicia Honda to the top step of the podium at a wet Assen.
“Last time I won it was a big old shock in the wet. This one I’ve definitely worked my arse off to get.” said an emotional Miller.
“I’ve never rode that precise, that good in my whole entire life. I don’t think I’ve done 25 laps in a row like that in my life so, it’s fantastic to get that.”
Morbidelli would have a steady ride to third, with the Japanese Honda rider Takaaki Nakgami in fourth and reigning world champion Joan Mir in fifth.
Marc Marquez would have a tough weekend as he makes his comeback after a potentially career threatening arm injury last year.
In his second race back, Marquez would eventually claim ninth in a race that would leave him ‘destroyed’ as he also fought the after effects of a high speed tumble in FP3.
Valentino Rossi would continue his tough 2021 campaign bringing his Petronas Yamaha home in 17th, two seconds behind his half-brother Luca Marini on the Rossi sponsored VR46 Avinitia Ducati.
Bagnaia now leads the MotoGP standings by two points from Quartararo, with Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales a further 16 points adrift in third.