Miller hits the bell in Jerez, Quartararo runs out of strength

Like a badly baked bread. Like one of those cakes that grows and grows in the oven, which is succulent, so beautiful. And that falls apart when one opens the door, hungry. With that speed and drama, Fabio Quartararo, the favorite to victory, the winner of the pole, the race leader for 14 laps worked. He was without his third consecutive win. And he almost didn’t score points at the Spanish GP.

Without strength, diminished by a lacking power right arm, which succumbed to the power of a MotoGP as has happened to so many before him, without feeling on his Yamaha, the Frenchman yielded the first position to Jack Miller with ten laps still remaining for the end. In two more turns he was already fourth. His pace had dropped for more than a second. His fluidity was gone. He couldn’t stop where he played. Every curve was a martyrdom. It was easily appreciated by rivals. That they were slapping him at every turn.

The MotoGP leader until now was losing places so vehemently that even a bruised Marc Márquez overtook him around the outside of the curve to seal a ninth and final position after a weekend marked by a very hard crash at high speed on Saturday the morning. Quartararo, one of the proper names of this championship that still has no owner, finished 13th. Sunken.

Quartararo screamed and cried, an image of despair, as Jack Miller cried. But the Australian had very different motives. The pressure and doubts were shaken off with a wonderful triumph on a track, Jerez, where he had not won a Desmosedici since the 2006 Spanish Grand Prix, with Loris Capirossi. The circuit is narrow, with fast corners, more fluid than the red bullets need, it did not seem to bother a much more mature Miller today than that kid who unleashed laughter in the paddock. And also condescending looks. Especially after jumping from Moto3 to MotoGP without going through the intermediate category six years ago. It took time, but it wasn’t crazy. Not a mistake. Not in your case. “I have shown that I am not an idiot,” he said when he won the Dutch GP in 2016. He had not won since then.

Aggressive at the handlebars, determined in hand-to-hand actions, now freed, after surgery, from the compartment syndrome problems that held him back in the first two races in Qatar, Miller finally found victory on a sunny Sunday. Now it will be Quartararo who must decide if he also needs that same operation – it would be the second on the right arm, in his case – to solve the problem that prevented him from winning this Sunday: a compression of the nerves of the right forearm that reduces strength in the arm and makes it impossible to dominate a MotoGP.

Meanwhile, Miller was still on a roller coaster. “The last few weeks have not been the easiest of my life. I have not stopped working, because I know that if I work in the end the result will come ”. And it came. Although he missed his parents, so far in this pandemic year. And that’s why tears came to his eyes. “Mixture of joy and sadness”, confessed the Ducati. That he did everything right this Sunday, lap after lap behind Quartararo, waiting for his chance. And he finally managed to shine more than his teammate Pecco Bagnaia, second to the Italian, so convinced of his sometimes sweet, sometimes aggressive riding that he finished on the podium again and is the new MotoGP leader.

The celebration was complete then in the Ducati box. Exultant with that doublet, there were wild hugs in the Italian team, which decided a year ago to take a radical turn in its sports policy: to retire the all-powerful Andrea Dovizioso, not to renew Danilo Petrucci, and to bet on the youth of Bagnaia and Miller , 24 and 26 years old.

He also has 26 Franco Morbidelli, who lost the duel with Bagnaia for second place, but never jeopardized the podium. He finished 2020 as runner-up and his elegance on the Yamaha leaves no room for doubt. Especially knowing that he is the only one who drives a 2019 M1, old compared to those of Quartararo, Viñales or Rossi, his teammate on the Petronas team, 17th in Jerez. A bad result. As bad have been those of the three preceding races: 12th in Qatar, 16th in Doha, zero for a crash in Portugal. He is 42 years old and it does not seem that a performance like the one he is having is going to encourage him to continue competing next year. You must make the decision this summer.

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