Quartararo wins 2nd consecutive MotoGP race in Spain

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Moto2 rider Thomas Luthi of Switzerland, right, rides during the Andalucia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Angel Nieto racetrack in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, Sunday July 26, 2020. (AP Photo/David Clares)

JEREZ DE LA FRONTERA, Spain (AP) — Fabio Quartararo won from pole position at the Andalucia Grand Prix on Sunday for his second consecutive win since the MotoGP season started following the pandemic break.

The young Frenchman cruised to victory a week after earning his maiden MotoGP race in Jerez de la Frontera. The 21-year-old Yamaha rider opened a 10-point lead over Maverick Viñales in the championship standings.

“That one was tough,” Quartararo said. “What an amazing feeling. It feels so good to (win) back-to-back races.”

Paris Saint-Germain soccer star Kylian Mbappé sent Quartararo a tweet saying “One can say you have good taste,” referring to a picture of Quartararo standing by his bike with his arms folded in the same way the French player celebrates his goals.

Viñales finished second again after getting past Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi with two laps to go at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto. Takaaki Nakagami was fourth with Honda for his best career finish in MotoGP.

It was the first time since 2014 that Yamaha had three riders on the podium.

It was Rossi’s first podium since a race in the United States in April 2019. He now has 199 podium-finishes in MotoGP.

“I’m very happy,” the 41-year-old Rossi said. “It feels almost like a win.”

Most riders struggled with the extreme heat in southern Spain.

“I could not breathe most of the laps, I was destroyed,” Viñales said.

Six-time defending champion Marc Márquez did not race after breaking his right arm in last weekend’s Spanish GP. He participated in the practice sessions and qualifying but ended up opting out of the race.

Francesco Bagnaia relinquished second place with a mechanical failure with six laps to go.

The Andalucia GP was the second of 13 races in a reduced calendar that was originally scheduled to start in March. Seven races have been scheduled to be run in Spain.

The next race will be Aug. 9 in the Czech Republic.

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