Franco Morbidelli becomes the fourth first-time winner in MotoGP this year


Franco Morbidelli scored his first career MotoGP victory Sunday, winning the San Marino Grand Prix after points leader Fabio Quartararo crashed out of the race.

On his Petronas Yamaha SRT, Morbidelli finished 2.217 seconds ahead of Francesco Bagnaia of Pramac Racing. Joan Mir finished third for Team Suzuki after passing Valentino Rossi on the last lap at the Misano World Circuit.

“The race went just fine,” Morbidelli said after becoming the fourth first-time winner in six MotoGP races this season. “I got a good start. … And then after some laps I saw I was even pulling away, even greater surprise. I just said to myself, just put your rhythm on track and try to do what you can.”

The victory came less than a month after Morbidelli emerged unhurt from a spectacular crash with Johann Zarco in Austria.

Morbidelli beat Maverick Vinales and Quartararo into the first turn as Rossi, the longtime mentor of Morbidelli, jumped from fourth to second on the start.

Quartararo fell a few spots on the start but had climbed to fourth when he crashed on Lap 8 in Turn 4 (just after passing Vinales at Turn 14 a lap earlier).

Seventh-place finisher Andrea Dovizioso of Ducati took over the championship lead by six points (76-70) over Quartararo.

Top 10 finishers: 1. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT); 2. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) + 2.217; 3. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 2.290; 4. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 2.643; 5. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 4.044; 6. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 5.383; 7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) + 10.358; 8. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 11.155; 9. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 10.839; 10. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 12.030