Fabio Quartararo captures MotoGP victory in another tight finish at Losail circuit in Qatar

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Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo scored his first MotoGP victory Sunday with the Monster Energy factory team, winning the Tissot Grand Prix of Doha in Qatar.

The Frenchman charged from a midpack start, outdistancing two Ducati riders from Pramac Racing. New points leader Johann Zarco finished second, and rookie Jorge Martin started on the pole position and led 18 laps before yielding the lead to Quartaro and finishing third.

The second race of the 2021 season featured the closest finish among the top 15 in MotoGP history as 8.928 seconds separated Quartararo from 15th-place finisher Miguel Oliveira at the Losail International Circuit in Doha, Qatar. That shattered the previous mark of 15.093 seconds separating the top 15 that was set at the same track in 2019.

The 2021 season opener at Qatar was the fifth-closest top 15 finish in history (16.422-second gap).

Quartararo scored three victories last year, including the first two events of the delayed start to the 2020 season when he became the first winning Frechman in more than 20 years in MotoGP’s premier division.

“I have not won many races, so for sure this is the most special one coming from ninth,” Quartararo said. “I was feeling so good in overtake spots like Turn 10, Turn 15, and I felt like I could win the race at that moment. Last week, I ride a little bit like a rookie because I’ve not played with mapping and tires. It feels good to win in the second race and have two French guys 1-2. So happy for this win.”

Zarco leads the championship by four points through two races over Yamaha teammates Quartararo and Maverick Vinales (who won the season opener and finished fifth Sunday).

A replay of the race will air at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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Monster Energy Yamaha rider Fabio Quartararo rides besides teammate Maverick Vinales drive during the Moto GP Grand Prix of Doha at the Losail International Circuit (KARIM JAAFAR/AFP via Getty Images).