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European GP: Quartararo hopeful of hitting back in Valencia

06/11/20

The Frenchman is optimistic he can hit back.

Fabio Quartararo is hopeful a double-header in Valencia will give him the opportunities to take the upper hand in the battle to be crowned MotoGP™ world champion.

Quartararo trails championship leader Joan Mir by 14 points with just three races remaining.

Mir is out in front despite incredibly not having won a race in a strange season, with the usual dominant force Marc Marquez sidelined by a fractured arm.

Quartararo knows there is a little margin for error ahead of the European Grand Prix this weekend, having finished 18th and eighth in back-to-back races at Motorland Aragon before a break last week.

The Petronas Yamaha rider finished second at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo last year after starting on pole and is determined to make a statement at a track where he feels very much at home.

He said: "Although we had two difficult races last time out in Aragon, I want to take advantage of the good feeling I have always had on a MotoGP™ bike at Valencia in these two races coming up. It's a small track, but is one that I like. I had a great feeling there last year, when I took a podium and the pole position, and also in the post-season test.

"Of course I hope to be able to repeat that this weekend. There are three races left this year and a 14-point gap with the leader.

"We know how fast we can be, so I think we have some good opportunities coming into these final events in Valencia and Portimao, and I'm looking forward to the first of them this weekend."

Valentino Rossi may miss out once again after it was revealed the legendary Italian has returned another positive coronavirus test.

LAST TIME OUT

Franco Morbidelli kept his remote title hopes alive as he climbed to fourth in the standings with a second win of the season after Takaaki Nakagami crashed out at the Teruel Grand Prix.

Morbidelli was down in sixth coming into the race at Aragon but had refused to write off his championship hopes and duly moved 25 points behind Mir.

The Italian benefited from the early exit of Nakagami, who was sharp off the mark after a debut pole but quickly ran wide and skidded off the track before the first lap was up.

It was a miserable day for those on Honda bikes as rookie Alex Marquez - second in the previous two races - climbed from 10th in pursuit of a breakthrough win, only to depart at Turn 2 with 10 laps remaining.

Mir was third behind Alex Rins, who crossed the line 2.205 seconds after Morbidelli.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN THE EUROPEAN GRAND PRIX

It has been said many times before in such an unpredictable season, but it really is hard to know exactly what to expect.

A break would surely have been welcome for Quartararo following his recent struggles, while Nakagami will have been liking his wounds after missing out on a maiden win.

At a circuit where championships are decided, two races in a row in Valencia could determine who takes Marquez's title off him.

World Superbike rider Garrett Gerloff is on standby to replace Monster Energy Yamaha's Rossi if he does not return two negative COVID-19 results from testing on Wednesday.

TOP FIVE STATS

Wayne reigned in Spain - The last time that European Grand Prix was held in the premier class was in 1994, with Luca Cadalora as winner. Wayne Rainey won in the first three editions (1991, 1992 and 1993).

Happy hunting ground for Lorenzo - Spanish riders have won in eight of the last nine MotoGP™ races at this track. (Jorge Lorenzo, 4; Dani Pedrosa, 2 and Marc Marquez, 2), with Andrea Dovizioso as the only exception in 2018.

Sharing the wealth - Morbidelli and Quartararo (three) are the only rider to have secured two or more MotoGP™ wins in 2020.

Mir a model of consistency - Mir has finished on the podium in six MotoGP™ races in 2020, twice as many as any other rider (Quartararo, Maverick Vinales, Morbidelli, Alex Rins and Pol Espargaro have three each).

Misery for Morbidelli - Morbidelli has abandonments in his two MotoGP™ appearances at Circuit Ricardo Tormo, more than at any other circuit in the top category.

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

  1. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 137
  2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 123
  3. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 118
  4. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 112
  5. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 109

Teams

  1. Suzuki Ecstar 242
  2. Petronas Yamaha 235
  3. Ducati 180
  4. Monster Energy Yamaha 176
  5. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 157