Miller ends five-year MotoGP win wait, Quartararo wilts > Spanish MotoGP Results

Jack Miller takes a long-awaited second career MotoGP victory - five years after his first - in the Spanish MotoGP after issues slow long-time leader Fabio Quartararo

Jack Miller - Ducati Corse MotoGP

Jack Miller has clinched his second career MotoGP win and first in Ducati colours with victory in the Spanish MotoGP at Jerez after taking full advantage of a curious issue for long-time leader Fabio Quartararo that cannibalised his pace and dropped him out of contention

The Australian had always looked on course for his first podium of the year as he held down a lonely second position, some 1.5secs behind Quartararo for the majority of the race.

But in an unforeseen twist the Frenchman’s performance suddenly dipped with 11 laps remaining, allowing Miller to quickly latch onto the Yamaha’s tail before pouncing at the start of lap 16.

Thereafter Miller had few troubles beyond a late rally by Pecco Bagnaia, the Italian chasing home his team-mate to give the factory Ducati squad an unexpected 1-2 finish on a circuit it last won at in 2006 with Loris Capirossi. Quartararo, meanwhile, would end the race in 13th.

It is only the second win of Miller MotoGP career, some five years on from his then-shock win in the wet at Assen on a Marc VDS Honda.

Jack Miller - Ducati Corse MotoGP 2021

Lady luck shines on Jack Miller this time

Indeed, pre-race predictions had Quartararo - championship leader after winning in Qatar and Portimao - as the hot favourite from pole position, with rivals suggesting the only way he could be beaten was if he could be bottled up in the pack by the fast-starting Ducatis.

As it turns out, though they got their wish when Quartararo’s modest start dropped him to fourth, it took him only four laps to reclaim it off Miller and subsequently pull away. 

The scene for two of his three race wins in 2020, the race appeared to be following the formbook as Quartararo eked out a healthy lead over Miller.

That was until lap 15 when Quartararo suddenly dropped 0.8s in a single lap, albeit with no obvious signs of there being a problem with the Yamaha. However, with Miller sensing blood he went on the attack and just a few corners later he was through.

When Quartararo was subsequently relieved of second and third by Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli, his plummet down the order intensified as rivals scythed past him. He’d cross the line 13th, which in turn loses him the championship lead to Bagnaia.

Up front though Miller held on to clinch what many will feel is a long-awaited return to the top spot for a rider that came of age with numerous podiums on the Pramac Ducati in 2019 and 2020, even if some questioned whether his victory prolonged victory drought made him the right candidate to lead the factory outfit. 

However, while that pressure may have intensified after starting the year with a pair of ninth place finishes in Qatar, victory in Jerez - a circuit that hasn’t traditionally favoured Ducati - stands out as one of the most eye-catching wins in the manufacturer’s history.

Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda 2021 MotoGP

Ducati joy, mixed emotions for Marquez and Honda

Bagnaia rammed home the Ducati advantage with the firm’s first 1-2 result since Brno in 2018, in turn taking over the championship lead from Quartararo despite not yet winning a race.

On a strange day for Yamaha - who scored a 1-2-3 at Jerez in 2020 - Franco Morbidelli spared some blushes with a gritty third place finish, resisting a hard charging Takaaki Nakagami. The Japanese regained some confidence with a brilliant ride to fourth highlighted by an opportunistic double-pass on the outside of Turn 2 after Aleix Espargaro was distracted by the hobbled Quartararo ahead of him.

Gallingly for Espargaro, who ran as high as fourth at one stage, Nakagami’s pass also allowed Joan Mir through into fifth, leaving the Spaniard sixth for what remains Aprilia’s equal best ever finish in MotoGP but one that is perhaps lower than what was deserved. 

Vinales was barely a factor as he laboured to seventh - even if he fared better than Valentino Rossi in 17th -, ahead of Johann Zarco and a battered and bruised Marc Marquez, who put two high-speed crashes this weekend behind him to finish ninth, getting the better of team-mate Pol Espargaro in tenth.

However, there was less joy for his brother Alex Marquez, who suffered a third DNF in four races with a crash on lap one, while Brad Binder went down twice before retiring and Alex Rins slid off on lap three to dent his title aspirations. 

Rounding out the points, Miguel Oliveira concluded KTM’s woeful weekend in 11th, ahead of wild-card Stefan Bradl, the ailing Quartararo, plus Tech3 KTM duo Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona.

2021 Spanish MotoGP Race Results - Jerez

2021 Spanish MotoGP RACE RESULTS - Gran Premio Red Bull de España - Circuito do Jerez, Spain
PosRiderNat.MotoGP TeamMotoGP BikeTiming
1Jack MillerAUSDucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP2126 Laps
2Francesco BagnaiaITADucati Lenovo TeamDucati GP21+1.912
3Franco MorbidelliITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M1+2.516
4Takaaki NakagamiJPNLCR Honda IdemitsuHonda RC213V+3.206
5Joan MirESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR+4.256
6Aleix EspargaroESPAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP+5.164
7Maverick VinalesESPMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1+5.651
8Johann ZarcoFRAPramac RacingDucati GP21+7.161
9Marc MarquezESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+10.494
10Pol EspargaroESPRepsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+11.776
11Miguel OliveiraPORRed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+14.766
12Stefan BradlGERHonda HRCHonda RC213V+17.243
13Fabio QuartararoFRAMonster Energy Yamaha Yamaha YZF-M1+18.907
14Danilo PetrucciITATech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+20.095
15Iker LecuonaESPTech3 KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+20.277
16Luca MariniITASky VR46 EsponsoramaDucati GP19+20.922
17Valentino RossiITAPetronas Yamaha SRTYamaha YZF-M1+22.731
18Tito RabatESPPramac RacingDucati GP21+30.314
19Lorenzo SavadoriITAAprilia Racing Team GresiniAprilia RS-GP+37.912
20Alex RinsESPTeam Suzuki EcstarSuzuki GSX-RR+38.234
DNFEnea BastianiniITAAvintia EsponsoramaDucati GP19Crash
DNFBrad BinderRSARed Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16Crash
DNFAlex MarquezESPLCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213VCrash