2021 Jerez MotoGP Race Result: The Start Of A Fairytale With The End Of A Thriller

With the Circuit of Jerez having been a Yamaha playground over the last couple of days, Fabio Quartararo started the race with the enthusiasm of a thousand toddlers and although things seemed to go his way for much of the race, the fairytale turned into a nightmare in the blink of an eye and Jack Miller became the hero of the day. It was a long wait for the Australian since Assen 2016 so the tears were justified while he picked up the winner’s trophy in Jerez. To make it a perfect day for Ducati, teammate Pecco Bagnaia followed him home in second and became the fourth different championship leader in four consecutive races this season. Franco Morbidelli was definitely not the man Yamaha planned to see on the podium but third place on a two-year-old antique was not too shabby.

It was not particularly surprising to see Miller use the holeshot device to perfection to take the lead off the line from Morbidelli, Bagnaia and Quartararo, followed by Aleix Espargaro, Takaaki Nakagami and with Joan Mir making a good start up to seventh. Maverick Viñales and Alex Rins kept close, but Johann Zarco made a pretty poor start from the second row of the grid and dropped out of the top 10. Aleix Espargaro, Nakagami, Mir and Viñales managed to hold onto the leaders in the early stages, but Rins crashed out at turn six on the thrid lap, for the second consecutive race. Having started from his worst qualifying position in the premier class, Marc Marquez joined the top 10 early on but soon came under attack from the likes of Zarco and Brad Binder and immediately lost positions to colleagues Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl, going back to 14th position.

Back at the front, Miller held onto the lead from Morbidelli, while Quartararo found a way past Bagnaia by lap 3. The Frenchman soon encountered former teammate Morbidelli and made quick work of him, going in pursuit of Miller and quickly launching an attack into turn 13 to lead the way by lap 5. The Ducati could not reply at turn one and the Yamaha man started to extend a gap of over seven tenths of a second on that lap. Morbidelli had a harder time finding a way past Miller and was losing ground early on, dropping one second back on the Australian and holding back a group including Aleix Espargaro, Bagnaia, Nakagami, Mir, Viñales and a recovering Zarco. About half a second back, the Honda trio of Pol Espargaro, Marquez and Bradl kept themselves entertained, with the occasional interference from Enea Bastianini.

Quartararo and Miller continued to be the fastest men, eight tenths apart on track, with Morbidelli not much slower but not reducing the gap to the leaders either. Aleix Espargaro did not look like a threat in the early stages but kept around half a second behind the provisional podium men, fending off Bagnaia until lap 9, when the Italian picked up the chase into turn 6. Nakagami was biding his time to attack the Aprilia too, while Mir was in charge of the next group one second down the road, including Zarco and Viñales.

With Quartararo over a second ahead of Miller at the halfway mark of the race and that gap keeping steady, all eyes were on the battle for third, two seconds behind, where Morbidelli came under threat from Bagnaia. The Petronas man clung onto that podium admirably, with his great exit from turn 13 mitigating the Ducati’s advantage on the straight but you can do one thing right a million times and still get it wrong the next time around, so a mistake at the final turn eventually handed Bagnaia third position with 11 laps remaining.

While all that was unfolding, Quartararo suddenly lost his entire advantage over laps 14 and 15 and all of a sudden, Miller found himself ahead into turn one next time around. The Frenchman seemed to struggle to even keep close to the Australian, dropping a full second back over the course of the next lap and soon allowing Bagnaia to fly past at turn 5. The disaster continued when Morbidelli found a way past at turn 9 and Quartararo’s prospects looked bleak given the small gaps in the rest of the top ten. The likes of Nakagami, Mir and Aleix Espargaro were next to overtake him, but none of that probably hurt quite as much as seeing Viñales go past at turn 1 with 6 laps remaining. Zarco followed suit at turn 5 and Marquez as turn 6, the Honda man admirably holding onto a top ten and being one of the fastest men on track in the closing stages of the race.

While all eyes were on the shocking collapse of Quartararo, Miller had a two-second advantage to manage ahead of teammate Bagnaia for the final handful of laps, with Morbidelli steadily getting closer to try to make it a battle for second. He had no threat from behind, where Nakagami was busy fending off Mir and Aleix for fourth, with Viñales not too far back.

The final couple of laps saw Bagnaia halve the gap to his teammate, but the Australian kept calm and took the checkered flag firmly in command. Bagnaia won’t be too disappointed as he picks up the championship lead to go with the second place trophy, while Morbidelli saved the day for Yamaha with third. Nakagami was the lead Honda, while Mir settled for fifth ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Viñales had a pretty low key race in seventh position, ahead of Zarco and with the bruised Repsol Honda duo of Marquez and Espargaro rounding out the top ten positions. Miguel Oliveira and Bradl also made it past Quartararo in the final laps, the Frenchman finishing 13th.

Quartararo’s misfortune puts Bagnaia in charge of the world championship standings, albeit by a mere two points ahead of the Frenchman, while Viñales is 16 points behind and Mir 17 down on the leader.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 43 Jack Miller Ducati 41'05.602
2 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati +1.912
3 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +2.516
4 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +3.206
5 36 Joan Mir Suzuki +4.256
6 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +5.164
7 12 Maverick Viñales Yamaha +5.651
8 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +7.161
9 93 Marc Marquez Honda +10.494
10 44 Pol Espargaro Honda +11.776
11 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM +14.766
12 6 Stefan Bradl Honda +17.243
13 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +18.907
14 9 Danilo Petrucci KTM +20.095
15 27 Iker Lecuona KTM +20.277
16 10 Luca Marini Ducati +20.922
17 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +22.731
18 53 Tito Rabat Ducati +30.314
19 32 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia +37.912
20 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +38.234
Not Classified
  33 Brad Binder KTM 14 Laps
  23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 14 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
  73 Alex Marquez Honda 0 Lap
Round Number: 
4
2021
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Comments

Always enjoy your way with words.

What's not to love about Motogp? Miller rights his 2021 campaign by winning a dry race in convincing fashion. The upwelling of emotion expressed through Miller's comments afterwards was felt through the screen. Interesting. The factory Ducatis finished first and second at a bogey track. Morbidelli said the race was "easy." He rode on the limit for the entire race and left everything on the track. Top Yamaha was a "satellite" rider on a two-year-old (?) bike. Race favorite fades inexplicably. Aprilia equals best ever result and slightly reduces the time differential to the race winner. Two riders that dominated Motogp in the previous two decades seemed to be racing in survival mode while giving it their best. Last year's champ had no answer for the podium quest. Pol Espargaro's predictions about tires and crashes were realized. 

One possible positive aspect of Marquez' injury and compromised physical capabilities is that he is unable to so deftly ride around the inherent problems of the RC213V. His physical limitaions may make him more aware of the bike's limitations. This would increase the accuracy of his feedback to the HRC engineers. And with one eye on the unknown future concerning his full recovery, being that no one knows to what extent his "full" recovery will be and when, making the bike easier to ride in the near term is in everyone's (HRC camp) best interest.  

Rossi's transition from Motogp rider to team owner is taking place right before our very eyes. More and more during his post-race press debriefs, he is giving glowing praise about the performances of the VR46 Academy riders after discussing his own less than mediocre race results. Does he even see what is taking place?  

Rins and Morbidelli might consider the power of the spoken word. But then again, this entire comment is nothing but story from a guy on a sofa cushion with an extremely limited viewpoint.

And it seems that Motogp missles are on the cusp of outgrowing not only the tracks, but also the limits of the pilots' physical capabilities to control them. Kinda like fighter jets where dogfights don't last long and the pilot that gets shot out of the sky is unconscious...

Love the unpredictability and the seeming predictability of life.

I don't think I've ever seen that happen before, where arm pump causes a leader to drop like a stone. I guess it must be mixture of excruciating pain and being unable to hang on to the handlebars well enough. Nice to see Jack get the win, even though it was a bit by default. Otherwise, not a particularly interesting race.

I know it's early days but it looks like MM's comeback might be the slow version, though I've little doubt he'll be back at the sharp end at some point in the season. And while I've always felt Vale has every right and reason to continue while he's able to compete with the leaders, what's happening this year is just sad to see.

I was riding on a track two weeks ago and there was a real tight left/right chicane.  It was painfully slow.  So much so, my left forarm all the way up to the shoulder felt like it was going to explode out of my leathers.  the corner was so slow, you're forced to hold the motorcyle up and steer with the left hand.  after about 10 laps, I wasn't sure I could do it anymore.  My hand coming out of that corner was locked up.   I've never had arm pump, and this wasn't thant, though something similar - my situation was more about not having the strength -  but I could only imagine that if your arm is blowing up like that, you can't control your hand.  Must be terrifying when battling it out with the likes of this GP field as well.  

The forearm muscle can get as stiff as a 2X4 to the point that even the fingers refuse to function. Tying shoelaces becomes an impossible task. Never had it riding motos, only rock climbing. I cannot imagine riding a moto with arm pump.

Crickey what happened to Fabio Q? Was it simply arm pump or was there more to it? Tyres looked well used.

That was a long 10 laps to the flag. A long five years between wins. Thankfully no shoey this time!

Congratulations CrasherJack! No longer JackAssen now he has won more than a single MotoGp race. Cool! Let your riding do the talking, not hip & shoulder bumps on the current champion, eh!

This victory should keep the Ducati bosses happy for a few weeks. We'll see.

Fantastic to see Franky Morbidelli back on the podium. Yamaha's "red headed step-son" on the A-spec old bike nobody else wanted. Well done FM21 with flowers on your helmet like a Hippie.

Brad & Alex? Races aren't won on the first or second laps, but can be thrown away. Too much excitement? Pushing to hard with a full tank? I may never know, hope BB33 & A. Marquez 73 learn from their crashes and don't do it again. Enea B. yes him to.

Aleix Espargaro closer than ever before, felicidades to you to fella. Great result. Aleix beats Mav, Marc, JZ, brother Pol, VR46 etc, etc. Just behind the reigning champion AE 41 beats both Marquez brothers!

The championship begins at Jerez and will continue to be very entertaining.

Did you folks watch the post race presser? It is...funny. Both senses of the word. Lots openly shared and explored. No proper company line answers. Lots of enjoyment. Some pointed words and edgy banter. I think my favorites are "VR46 trainees don't get armpump," and Jack/Pecco arguing their riding style differences. Good question as usual David Emmett "of On Track/Off Road" - had to get an event pass from Adam or something? 

Great job Mr Miller. And Ducati. The bike works. Gutted for Quartararo, stomach and heart sank with his stone like drop right after setting the track record fastest race lap. He has already HAD the arm pump surgery, and each time there is scar tissue. Can be tricky business. Pedrosa went for the advanced more invasive style, perhaps Quarty's Summer break plans are about to change? Re arm pump, think less pain and more loss if strength and feeling/numbness in that so critical right hand. The Yamaha may be the least wrangled bike on the grid too. A riding style change "and bubbly water?"

;)

Does this weekend break single dry Round crash records across all 3 classes? The Moto3 and Moto2 races certainly were heavily impacted. Perhaps we got lucky with only the small handful of fairly uneventful crashes in the main event today. Notables though, Honda vague front enders, Rins again. Rossi managed to keep just ahead of the two stragglers off the pace, one of which looked like a lapper. How odd it must be going from a Blue rider to a potential blue flag one at Jerez on a top spec Yamaha. Does anyone see this going upwards? 

Marc, TOUGH weekend. Ouch. Good to just hang in where he was keeping it upright. Good ride Taka! He was on my crash list. Not good Honda that the 2nd team has gone 2020 chassis. Time for soul searching (yes, the soul of a race bike may well be front end feel). 

Aleix Espargaro and the Aprilia, deserved shout out. They were doing the business. Again. In the fight. It is NO LONGER off the back of the other bikes. This is a big deal! Congrats over there.

Last, Franco Morbidelli - he looks great doesn't he? Good head on his shoulders, pushing hard too. My estimation of him had to get retooled. The odd 2nd old bike spec being a preferred one last year confused it some. He can be unassuming. Heck, even the black livery and leathers makes him relatively hard to witness. The shuffle of Valentino to his team clouded Morbidelli. It is clear though that he is a talent, on the rise, and a central consideration beginning silly season. Who is the #1 Aqua rider, likely #2 Yamaha rider. That Rossi may have just looked to for support this weekend, an interesting dynamic. Hmm. Silly season is starting to rise. Great ride Franky! 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=rXfmemePdBk

 

The headmaster was silent which paved the way for a lighter mood due to less structure. Miller's comment on selective memory was interesting. Also enjoyed Morbidelli's existentialist response to possibly looking forward to Le Mans with greater confidence. And Bagnai looked so casual. In my opinion, the post race pressers have become more enjoyable viewing pleasure in recent times. There's more camaraderie among the podium finishers without a dominant alpha pilot seemingly in control of the championship. The uncertainty ushers in a humbling equality. There's more respect for the fellow competitors and less of the selective memory Miller pointed to. It's too easy to forget our humble beginnings when success becomes almost predictable. I recall Nicky Hayden's words after Tomizawa died. Something like, "At the end of the day, we are all brothers and sisters here."

Fans make their heroes out to be superhuman, but the current stars keep reminding us that they are just as human as the fans. 

^ Right Peter? New era. No more king of the hill ego care, nor tight lipped robots.

This era has elbows, aero, AND social media openness. New school is in session. Enjoy!

I truly enjoyed watchin Ducati return to winning ways after the long, dry spell post Stoner. And it was simply wonderful watching and experiencing Suzuki's championship run last season. I always root for the underdog and when one individual or entity begins to dominate, my preferences change. There seems to be a tendency of the human ego to attach itself to self-importance when continued success occurs. Identification with that which is mortal can help keep this in check. Life is uncertain and can be short. I've heard it said that to the soul, an entire lifetime feels like fifteen minutes. Best to make it truly enjoyable.

Morbidelli's "shadow of frustration" comment was thought provoking.

(And maybe this comment would be more appropiate in a different forum, but I didn't find a private contact link in your motomatters account) ;)

My wife frequently comments on how tight knit the paddock is. She doesn't even watch racing, but watching Miller or even someone getting their first podium coming in and seeing all the teams cheering them on is just cool. It's so different from most other sports especially motorsport.

Haven't had that much fun watching a press conference since petrux got his 1st podium.

Loved it. Hope these guys stay on the podium so I can hear them talk this way again. Although...a Rossi podium would be a hoot, however unlikely.

The kid can ride, he's articulate, speaks english better than I do, and knows how to subtly jam a needle under the fingernails of his bosses in at least two languages.  Mr. Yamaha is going to have a bit of a fight on their hands to keep him happy and riding a tuning fork beyond 2021.

Boy was I wrong about Vinales.  I thought after his win in Qatar that the confluence of attitude and clever sports psychology meant he would now start to rise above the petty problems that had kept him mid-pack in the past.  I know that riding around problems instead of being hamstrung by them is easier said than done, but the mental clarity that he looked to have has now seemed to be as fogged up as ever.

Bags is the real deal.  Cannot wait to see him on the top step.

Good ride by Thriller.  Wife is still upset by the incident with Mir, so I had to internalize my cheers.

Q is letting people get in his ear.  This is where he gets to make his first career decision of consequence.  Operate immediately and race wounded for a bit, or put things off and let this arm-pump catch him out again and again until summer break? 

Marquez, M.  Fate has a way of leveling the playing field.  

Rossi, V.  Ago needs someone to hang out with on race day.