Here's a leader: Fabio Quartararo wins again and is already the favorite for the title

Here's a leader: Fabio Quartararo wins again and is already the favorite for the title

After several erratic races, the Frenchman regains the grace of the start of the World Cup and prevails in Montmeló

Here's a leader: Fabio Quartararo wins again and is already the favorite for the title

Marc Márquez never names an opponent just because. Although he is injured and no longer aspires to this World Championship, if the current MotoGP champion talks about another rider, he is competing, let no one doubt it, be it for the title of next year, the next, or the next. It may seek to pressure you, perhaps intimidate you, perhaps force you to doubt. You may just want to remember your ascendant. But if Márquez names an opponent, he has a reason and last Thursday he named Fabio Quartararo explicitly.

“I expected much more from Quartararo, because he won the first two races driving at a high level and now I don't know what is happening to him,” reflected Márquez and his words were placed directly on the Frenchman's back, so poorly prepared at 21, in his second season in MotoGP. The Honda leader increased the tension on a Quartararo in a bad streak and he responded this Sunday in Montmeló with a genius: there were no indecisions or failures, quite the opposite.

After winning the first two races of the championship and disappearing among many mistakes of his own and the occasional breakdown of his Yamaha, the Frenchman won again and regained the World Championship lead by a wide margin. “I have suffered a lot in the last month, it has not been easy for me on a mental level and I want to thank my family for their help to come back here,” he acknowledged after a race in which his victory was certain. A bad start put him behind Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi , but in the first ten laps he got rid of both – Rossi would end up falling – and opened a gap with the rest.

For a few minutes it seemed that Morbidelli would be able to discuss the victory, but finally it ended up being overtaken by the two Suzuki, by Joan Mir and Álex Rins , and even ran out of podium. “I'm very happy,” concluded Quartararo, who now has an eight-point lead over Mir, 18 over Maverick Viñales and 24 over Andrea Dovizioso and is already the top favorite for the title.

At the end of the day, its evolution this year is the only understandable when compared to Viñales or Dovizioso. In the first two races at Jerez he felt comfortable and won, but then, as he admitted, he was hit by expectations, that fearsome nickname of 'the new Márquez', and he missed more than necessary. In Austria, he saved a miracle crash, in Misano he fell directly and in the next race, also in Misano, he did not comply with a sanction and was left without a podium. Now, it seems, has matured what is necessary and heaven is open to him.

The rest do not know what to expect. While Mir continues to surprise with his third consecutive podium, Viñales again suffered a lot with the grip of the tires and finished ninth and Dovizioso hardly even ran. His lousy qualifying session forced him to start in seventeenth position and, at the expense of any trouble ahead, a crash by Johann Zarco sent him to the asphalt. With six races to go, it is already possible to conjure up why Márquez named Quartararo this week: perhaps he recognizes him as the next champion, that is, his direct rival in the coming seasons.

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