MotoGP 2020: Marquez absence presents opportunity for title hopefuls

By Peter Hanson 22 July 2020 54
MotoGP 2020: Marquez absence presents opportunity for title hopefuls

Marc Marquez's unfortunate injury at the season-opening Spanish Grand Prix presents an opportunity for his MotoGP rivals for this weekend's return to Jerez.

Defending champion Marquez crashed out late in last Sunday's first race of 2020 when he attempted to chase down second place as part of a recovery mission from an earlier error on home soil.

A huge highside saw Marquez skid across the gravel before an ugly collision with his bike left him needing medical treatment, with it later revealed he had sustained a broken humerus, which will see him miss out on the Andalusia Grand Prix.

The Repsol Honda rider underwent successful surgery in Barcelona on Tuesday and while a return date is not yet known it is reported he could be back for round three at the Czech Republic Grand Prix on August 9. 


LAST TIME OUT

An action-packed race saw Fabio Quartararo eventually benefit from Marquez's day to forget.

The Petronas Yamaha rider ended the wait for a French premier-class winner that dated back to 1999 and saw him finally turn a pole position into a victory after six unsuccessful attempts during an outstanding rookie season in 2019.

Maverick Vinales had led at one stage but ultimately settled for second, while Andrea Dovizioso was rewarded for a patient ride when he pipped Jack Miller to the podium.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN SPAIN

Honda Racing Corporation team manager Alberto Puig stated the other contenders cannot be "really proud or happy of winning a title without the best rider in the world participating in it".

But opportunity knocks and Quartararo will be among those aiming to seize it with another triumph at Jerez this weekend.

Vinales may have had an even better finish had he not made an error to relinquish the lead to Quartararo and will fancy his chances of being involved at the top again.

Miller was involved in the scrap at the top for most of the race before being reeled in by Dovizioso and both men are sure to want to join the fight to open up an early gap over Marquez.

Do not expect to see a replacement for Marquez, whose brother Alex will be the sole Repsol Honda representative this weekend. Cal Crutchlow, who underwent surgery on a fractured wrist sustained in the warm-up at Jerez, hopes to be involved, as does Alex Rins despite a fractured and dislocated shoulder as a result of a crash in qualifying.


TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

French record for Fabio? - Quartararo became the fourth French rider to win a MotoGP race in the top category (after Regis Laconi, Christian Sarron and Pierre Monneret) and has the opportunity to become the first to record two victories.

Round-one victory a bad omen? - In the past five years, the winner of the first race of the season has failed to go on and win the MotoGP world championship; the last rider to manage that feat was Marquez in 2014.

Rossi's barren podium run - Valentino Rossi has failed to finish on the podium in his past 17 MotoGP races, his worst run in his 21 seasons in the top category; he went 16 races without a podium for Ducati between 2011 and 2012.

Pole success for Quartararo - Since he joined the MotoGP top category last year, only Marquez (10) has recorded more pole positions than the French rider (7).

Maverick's consistency - Vinales has finished on the podium in five of his past nine MotoGP appearances, although he has only recorded one victory in that time (Malaysian Grand Prix, 2019).


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders 

1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 25 
2. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 20 
3. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 16 
4. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 13 
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha)11

Teams

1. Petronas Yamaha 36
2. Ducati 23 
3. Pramac Racing 22 
4. Monster Energy Yamaha 20 
5. Red Bull KTM 13

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Peter Hanson

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