The previous race in Portugal saw French Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo claim a second successive victory to open up a 15-point lead at the top of the Riders’ Championship standings, with Italian Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia second and Quartararo’s teammate Maverick Vinales in third place a further five points back.
“I’m so happy because I didn’t expect to make that pace because we did more 1m 39s than 1m 40s, and actually the pace was so strong. We felt a lot with our bike the fuel going down, and in the middle of the race, that pace was amazing,” said Quartararo, who won last year’s Spanish GP and believes that Yamaha will be able to transition their package from track to track and remain strong through the whole of the Championship.
“Yamaha made a big step compared to last year. But for me mentally I feel stronger,” added the 21-year-old. “Last year after Aragon we more or less lost the opportunity to fight until the end with Joan [Mir] for the championship. I was even more frustrated that we lost that moment. But I’ve learned a lot. When the bike was not going so great I was always thinking negatively, but I totally changed this, and now I’m always thinking positively which I think is great.”
The previous race also saw the return of Honda’s Marc Marquez from a lengthy and complicated arm injury, with the Spaniard coming home in seventh place despite suffering from fatigue and exhaustion, as he finished his first MotoGP race in November 2019.
“I’m a person that likes to keep emotions inside, but when I arrived in the box with all my mechanics I couldn’t control the emotions,” said the eight-time world champion. “It’s been a very long time since I dreamt of today, to finish a MotoGP race. It’s the biggest step in my rehabilitation, my recovery. To again feel what it’s like to be a MotoGP rider was my dream.”
Further down the grid, South Africa’s Brad Binder continues to impress with his recovery rides from deep on the grid. He has finished eighth and fifth in the last two races, despite starting way back on both occasions due to difficulties in qualifying.
“Well, Jerez, I’ve got some unfinished business there,” said the KTM rider. “Last year I was quite strong and I felt quite good, and the first race I ran off the track and the second race, I ended up crashing. So, I’d say I really like to have a strong race in Jerez and try and keep our momentum building.”
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MotoGP, Grand Prix of Spain broadcast details, 1-2 May 2021
All times CAT
Saturday 1 May
14:05: Qualifying – LIVE on SuperSport Action and SuperSport Maximo 1
Sunday 2 May
13:55: Race – LIVE on SuperSport Grandstand, SuperSport Motorsport and SuperSport Maximo 1