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Moto GP - Motorsport: Spanish GP preview

28 April 2022 05:44:32 EST
Alex Rins will be on home soil at Jerez this weekend

World champion Fabio Quartararo leapt into the MotoGP title race lead after a dream result in Portugal, but the Frenchman faces a fight to hold on to top spot in this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

The Frenchman had been only fifth in the standings heading to Portimao, but his win, coupled with a crash for erstwhile championship leader Enea Bastianini, saw Quartararo jump to the head of affairs.

The Jerez circuit, near Seville, hosts the first of four races in Spain this season and  Bastianini, 51.00 to be world champion this season, will hope to rebound and claim maximum points in what has been an unpredictable season so far.

Ducati power could be key at Jerez

Quartararo fought for the victory at Jerez last year, but his tyres had used up all their grip with ten laps to go.

The Yamaha rider, who had started from pole position, dramatically dropped to 13th by the finish as Jack Miller and Pecco Bagnaia claimed a 1-2 finish for the Ducati factory team.

There's no Ducati rider in the top three of the riders' standings at present, but they lead the constructors championship by 36 points and their straight-line speed advantage has been clear to see this season.

Bastianini won in Qatar and Texas on his Gresini-run Ducati. Both of those tracks are notable for their long home straights and, after last year's Jerez result for the Italian manufacturer, Bastianini will be eyeing a third win of the season to propel himself back into the championship lead.

Congested standings after topsy-turvy start

There have been four different winners in the first five races of the season and no rider has managed more than two podium appearances.

Alex Rins is tied on points with Quartararo at the top of the standings purely through his consistency, as the Suzuki has not yet looked capable of seriously challenging for a victory.

Granted, Rins has a second place this season, but only after he mugged Miller on the final lap in Texas while Bastianini won as he liked out front.

In Portugal, Rins finished fourth despite starting 23rd on the grid and the Barcelona-born racer could easily make the Jerez podium, though it's hard to see him winning.

His Suzuki team-mate Joan Mir, the 2020 world champion, has had a similarly consistent season with two sixth and two fourth-place finishes. He looked set to finish around the same position in Portugal before being the blameless victim of a reckless move by Miller.

Outside of his wins, Bastianini has been anything but consistent, with a tenth-place finish his best other result.

The Italian was running outside the top ten in Portugal when crashing on lap ten, though he could easily bounce back in this most unpredictable of seasons.

Marquez on the comeback trail again

Six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez is arguably the greatest rider in the sport's history, but his recent seasons have been blighted by injury and he doesn't have the greatest record at Jerez, despite winning there three times.

Marquez missed a full year of competition after crashing at the track at the start of the 2020 season and, although he won in Texas and Misano at the end of last season, the Spaniard suffered another huge crash in Indonesia earlier this year, leaving him with double vision and forcing him to miss the Argentinian GP.

Marquez finished sixth in Texas on his first race back despite fluffing the start and dropping to the back of the field, and he filled the same position at the end in Portugal after a battle with brother Alex.

The Honda rider is 38 points off the championship lead with 16 races to go, but is rated 501.00 to bounce back and claim a seventh premier-class title.

Quartararo is 1.50 to retain his championship with Ducati's Bagnaia priced at 3.75. The Ducati rider has had a quiet year so far, but finished second last year after winning four of the final six events.

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