Morbidelli clinches first MotoGP win in San Marino GP

By Juan Antonio Lladós

Sports Desk, Sep 13 (efe-epa).- Italian racer Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha YZR M 1) bagged his first-ever MotoGP win on Sunday finishing ahead of his fellow countryman Francesco “Pecco” Bagnaia (Ducati Desmosedici GP20) and Spaniard Joan Mir (Suzuki GSX RR) at the San Marino and Rimini’s coast Grand Prix.

Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha YZR M 1), who arrived at the Misano World Circuit as this year’s championship leader, suffered an early crash that cost him his position in the table. Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Desmosedici GP20), despite only finishing seventh, moves to top spot.

The first hiccup came before the race even began when Cal Crutchlow (Honda RC 213 V) had to withdraw from the race after his right arm, which has been operated on for compartment syndrome, flared up. He will now concentrate on recovering in time for the Catlan GP in two weeks.

Maverick Viñales (Yamaha YZR M 1) had a bad start to the race and was quickly overtaken by Italians Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha YZR M 1) as well as Australian Jack Miller (Ducati Desmosedici GP20) with Quartararo coming up behind them.

With barely a lap covered, Morbidelli, with Rossi glued to him, managed to open up a tiny gap over Miller, who became a kind of bridgehead between the leaders and the pack behind, fronted by Viñales with Quartararo, the two Suzuki riders Alex Rins and Joan Mir in tow.

Morbidelli and Rossi tried to stretch the gap but Miller was able to keep it within reach. Quartararo hit the ground on the fourth curve of the eighth lap and wasn’t able to claw his way back up the pack.

Morbidelli continued to lead the race with Rossi, Miller and Viñales in his wake. Viñales was unable to hold off Alex Rins and then Bagnaia, who also overtook.

Rins found a good mid-race pace and overtook Miller on the 15th turn of lap 15 to put the pressure on Rossi. Bagnaia also pushed past the Australian.

Behind this trio, Joan Mir led the group and tried to keep the leaders in touching distance. Rins dropped back into Miller’s slipstream within a few laps.

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