MotoGP 2020: Quartararo looking to consolidate championship lead on home turf

By Patric Ridge 8 October 2020 42
MotoGP 2020: Quartararo looking to consolidate championship lead on home turf

Fabio Quartararo can nose himself further ahead in the MotoGP championship standings as the season heads to his native France.  

This year's title battle is wide open with Marc Marquez absent through injury, though Quartararo took a big step by claiming the win at the Catalan Grand Prix last time out. 

The 21-year-old Frenchman now holds an eight-point lead over Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), with Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 18 points behind in third. 

Quartararo is now looking to maintain his form – and retain his lead – by becoming the first home rider to win the French Grand Prix since Pierre Morenet in 1954.

LAST TIME OUT

Petronas Yamaha rider Quartararo clinched his third race victory of the season in Barcelona after Andrea Dovizioso – who had led the way in the standings – crashed out on lap one. 

Vinales, winner of the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix, also failed to impress, slumping to a ninth-place finish following a poor jump off the line that left him scrapping it out at the back. 

Valentino Rossi looked nailed on for a landmark 200th podium, only to crash out at Turn 2 with nine laps remaining, with Mir coming second ahead of Alex Rins, who charged up from 13th. 

Quartararo's team-mate Franco Morbidelli, meanwhile, missed out on the top three after Rins' late effort.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT LE MANS

The rearranged season is into the final six races, with Quartararo looking to make home advantage count to really propel himself as the favourite to clinch the title. 

Though no French rider has won the event in 66 years, Quartararo already has as many MotoGP wins in 2020 as all his compatriots combined through the history of the top category, with Morenet, Christian Sarron and Regis Laconi only managing one each. 

However, Mir is a close second after a brilliant showing in Barcelona, while Dovizioso and Vinales will be aiming to bounce back from their disappointments in Catalonia. 

The omens are particularly promising for Mir and Vinales, with Spanish riders having won 10 of the last 11 French Grands Prix, including the last eight in a row, while Rins should not be counted out. 

Rossi may have crashed out last time, but the veteran campaigner is hunting down a career milestone and nobody has finished in the top three more often at Le Mans in 500cc/MotoGP. 

Indeed, Rossi's next challenger in that regard is Jorge Lorenzo, who has six podium finishes at the famous track. 

TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Quartararo moving on up – With his win in Barcelona, Quartararo became the second French rider to reach ten podiums in the top category. Of other French riders, only Sarron, with 18, has managed more podium finishes. 

Retirements hitting Rossi hard – Rossi has been forced to finish early in his last two MotoGP rides. He has only retired in three races in a row on two previous occasions throughout his 21 seasons in the top category, in 2011 and then again in 2019. 

Century up for Mir – Suzuki rider Mir has reached 100 points from eight races held so far in 2020. It is eight more than the 92 he managed from 17 appearances in MotoGP last season, and he is aiming to finish on the podium for a fourth successive race for the first time. 

Vinales reaches MotoGP landmark – Should he race, Vinales will contest in his 100th MotoGP race. In the previous 99, he has claimed eight wins, 26 podiums, 13 pole positions and nine fastest laps. 

Petrucci's home from home – Danilo Petrucci has finished on the podium in the last two editions of French GP (second in 2018 and third in 2019). At no other circuit has the Italian rider more podiums than at Le Mans, with his two top-three finishes level with the amount he has managed at Mugello. 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 108
2. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 100
3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 90
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 84
5. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 77

Teams
1. Petronas Yamaha 185
2. Suzuki Ecstar 160
3. Monster Energy Yamaha 148
4. Ducati 123
5. Pramac Racing 118

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