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Quartararo closes in on world title with British MotoGP win

By AFP - Aug 29,2021 - Last updated at Aug 29,2021

SILVERSTONE, United Kingdom — Fabio Quartararo closed in on his first MotoGP world championship by romping to his fifth victory of the season at the British Grand Prix to stretch his lead in the championship standings to 65 points.

The Frenchman on a Yamaha showed no ill effects from a fall in practice on Friday that left him struggling to walk.

Quartararo started in third and briefly slipped to fourth after a sluggish start, but then quickly moved through the field to hit the front by lap five.

He then eased away from the chasing pack to win by 2.6 seconds from Alex Rins of Suzuki with Aleix Espargaro securing Aprilia’s first MotoGP podium in third.

“During the race I was feeling really comfortable,” said Quartararo. 

“I overtake step by step and it was nice. Then my pace was really strong, I didn’t expect to pull away. I was enjoying it at a good pace but not going 100 per cent.”

The 22-year-old now enjoys a commanding lead as the chasing pack in the world championship struggled.

Ninth place was enough to edge Suzuki’s reigning world champion Joan Mir into second in the standings with Johann Zarco of Ducati Pramac moving into third by finishing 11th.

Francesco Bagnaia of the Ducati factory team dropped to fourth in the world championship after finishing 14th.

“It’s a long way to go,” insisted Quartararo. “I’m not thinking about it at all right now and that is how you increase your lead.

“Right now I’m over the moon and feel so good on the bike.”

There was a much tighter battle behind Quartararo for a place on the podium as Rins and Espargaro came under late pressure from Jack Miller of Ducati.

The Australian passed Espargaro on the final lap, but the Spaniard recovered to regain his position and was in tears on his bike at the end after ending Aprilia’s wait for a podium in the modern-era of MotoGP and his first since 2014.

“It’s like a dream,” said Espargaro. “Finally to be here is fantastic. We’ve been very competitive, very close to the podium all season and to finally be here is fantastic for everyone at Aprilia and myself.”

Earlier, Romano Fenati led a full Italian podium to win the Moto3 race and keep his world championship hopes alive.

Fenati is still third in the championship standings, but his first win of the season cut Spaniard Pedro Acosta’s lead to 69 points with his first race win of the season.

Niccolo Antonelli was second with Dennis Foggia in third.

Acosta was down in 11th with compatriot Sergio Garcia, who sits second in the world championship standings, finishing 16th.

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