Red Bull Motorsports
The 2020 MotoGP™ finally got underway at Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto in southern Spain for the Red Bull Spanish Grand Prix, where reigning champion Marc Márquez dazzled everyone with a stunning recovery ride through the field only to spectacularly crash out in his hunt for a podium finish.
Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo won his maiden MotoGP™ race, but all eyes were on Márquez, who after taking the lead in the early stages, made a rare mistake and narrowly avoided falling in the gravel, dropping back to 16th. Despite an incredible ride back through the pack, at the end of 25 laps of the 4.4km circuit it all ended in tears, as the Spaniard crashed out in a big way.
For Ducati's Andrea Doviziso, a hard-earned podium was a great reward for the Italian rider, who just two weeks after breaking his collarbone in a motocross accident, took third place in Spain.
Márquez made a great start from third on the grid, harassing the early leader Maverick Viñales, followed by Jack Miller, who'd qualified fifth on the grid. Pole-sitter Quartararo slipped back to fifth, as up front Márquez made his move under braking for turn one at the beginning of Lap 4 and attempted to make a break from Viñales.
The six-time MotoGP™ champion then pulled a gap over the Yamaha rider, before trying too hard and leaving the circuit on a sweeping left-hand corner. Artfully keeping his Honda upright, Márquez rejoined the fray in 16th, handing the lead back to Viñales and promoting Miller to second.
Miller, on the satellite Pramac Ducati, soon found himself in a scrap with Quartararo for second, as the French rider passed the Ducati for second place,. That soon became the lead, as Viñales made an error braking for the final corner and allowed Quartararo and Miller to stream past.
Further back, Marc Márquez fought his way back through the pack and with eight laps remaining he was back up into fifth after getting past Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaró, who was enjoying a solid race on his first race back with the Austrian manufacturer.
With six laps remaining, Márquez passed Dovizioso for fourth place, as just ahead Miller, who'd dropped to third, was once again up close with Viñales before the battle was joined by the rapid Márquez, who was third with five laps remaining.
One lap later it all went wrong. In his attempt to take second place, Márquez suffered a huge crash, tumbling into the gravel, which ended his race and broke his arm, for which he'll undergo surgery on Tuesday.
With the Honda rider out, the podium order shuffled once more and Dovizioso, riding with a plated collarbone, passed Miller for third. He hung on to the position to cap a strong start to the unique 2020 MotoGP™ season.
Now, the riders and teams prepare to return to Jerez in a week's time for the Andalusia MotoGP™.