Fabio Quartararo (20) won Sunday's Catalan GP. (Michelin photo)

Quartararo Cruises In Catalan GP

BARCELONA — Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo cruised to a nearly perfect victory in Sunday’s Monster Energy Catalan Grand Prix at the Circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya.

The Frenchman put to bed the nightmare of 2021 by easing to his second premier class victory at the venue, cashing in on his closest championship rival’s despair to extend his point lead.

Prima Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco completed the podium after profiting from a mind-blowing blunder by poleman Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) after the Spaniard celebrated a lap too early and threw away a secure second-place finish.

The Grand Prix of Catalunya had barely got underway when drama of the highest order struck at the first corner. Espargaro and Quartararo got away cleanly from the front row of the grid, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) aiming to settle in to third spot.

Behind him, LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami was trying to edge past his sparring partner from one week ago, Alex Rins, before the Japanese rider’s front-end folded and he wiped out the Team Suzuki Ecstar man.

Nakagami’s head collided with the rear wheel of Bagnaia, which sent the Italian tumbling into the gravel trap as well. From the delight of Mugello to the despair of Catalunya, Bagnaia’s title bid had taken a huge dent.

Quartararo avoided the chaos to hit the front and quickly began stretching out a lead. He finished 6.473 seconds ahead of Martin.

Joan Mir was fourth for Suzuki, with Espargaro coming home fifth for Aprilia.

Quartararo holds a 22-point lead over Espargaro.