MotoGP: Jack Miller claims Spanish GP win as Fabio Quartararo suffers mid-race agony

Early-season pacesetter Fabio Quartararo endured a nightmare at Jerez as Jack Miller claimed victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Quartararo took the early lead in the 25-lap race, but suffered major performance issues in the second half of the grand prix that saw him tumble down the order.

Australian Miller had raced clear in pursuit of early pacesetter Quartararo in the early laps.

Then, after the Frenchman appeared to have problems with his braking, Miller bridged the 1.5-second gap and eventually passed him into turn one to take over the lead of the race with 10 laps to go.

Quartararo’s ailing works Yamaha was then passed by another Ducati as Francesco Bagnaia swept into second, then set off in pursuit of Miller at the head of the field.

The Frenchman then dropped down the field as the chasing pack overhauled the pre-race championship leader.

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An emotional Miller crouched by his bike and wept as he tried to compose himself before his post-race interview in parc ferme as he reflected on his long-awaited win.

“I just tried to do what I could. I’d done a lot of laps all weekend by myself and I knew I had reasonable pace,” he said. 

“I didn’t expect (Quartararo) to come back to me. He did, and I knew I had a bit of a gap behind me, so I knew if I could get past Fabio, I could see he was struggling. 

“Get past him and just keep my head down, not make any mistakes and just try and punch out the laps. Those last seven or eight laps were the longest I’ve ever had in my career!

“It’s just undescribable what I’m feeling right now. It’s just a flood of emotions. Happy, sad, everything.

“I wish my parents were here to share it with me. But they’re back home and I know they’ll be celebrating.

“I just want to thank everyone for their support and try and do it again soon.”

Elsewhere on track, it was another tough weekend for the two biggest names in the paddock.

Marc Marquez, still making his gradual recovery from a broken arm sustained at the same circuit last year, struggled to keep pace with the front-runners and eventually finished ninth, 10 seconds adrift of Miller.

The Spaniard suffered a huge practice crash before qualifying, and could only qualify in 14th place. And while he battled hard against the likes of Johann Zarco and teammate Pol Espargaro, Marquez was unable to run at the sharp end of the field.

It was also another nightmare for seven-time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi on his Petronas Yamaha.

While his teammate Franco Morbidelli looked in strong form en route to a third-place finish, Rossi was mired at the back of the field.

The results meant that Bagnaia is now the new leader in the riders’ championship, ahead of Morbidelli.

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