Marc Marquez has reclaimed the MotoGP championship lead with a win at Jerez as rookie pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo suffered a mechanical failure while running second.
Marquez led from the first corner to the last while the Petronas SRT Yamaha of Quartararo got stuck in third gear on Lap 14 after he and team-mate Franco Morbidelli had run with the current world champion early on.
Alex Rins backed up his maiden win at the Circuit of the Americas three weeks earlier with a second placing from ninth on the grid which has the Suzuki Ecstar rider one point behind Marquez in the standings.
The final podium position went to Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales while Jack Miller crashed with two laps remaining as he fought over 10th position with Aleix Espargaro.
Marquez got the jump on Quartararo and Morbidelli from third on the grid while Andrea Dovizioso briefly looked like stealing second when he went deep on the outside of Turn 1.
However, Morbidelli forced Dovizioso to pick up his Mission Winnow Ducati when he put his satellite Yamaha on the pre-race championship leader’s inside.
Dovizioso dropped to fifth as Quartararo took up third position, behind his team-mate, Viñales sat fourth, and Miller climbed from 15th to 11th in the first sector.
Morbidelli and Quartararo were sticking with the #93 Repsol Honda on the opening lap, during which Rins gained three positions to run sixth and Miller grabbed another spot.
Dovizioso went under Viñales at Turn 1 on Lap 3 but couldn’t make the move stick and instead found himself losing fifth position to Rins at Turn 9 on Lap 6.
Marquez moved his lead well beyond a second on Lap 10 and when Morbidelli missed the apex at Turn 6 next time around, Quartararo did not waste the opportunity to nip past him.
By then, Rins had caught the trio of Yamahas and picked off Viñales on the final corner of that lap.
Morbidelli didn’t have the pace to stay with Quartararo but the 20-year-old Frenchman slowed dramatically on the run to Turn 6 on Lap 14, just as Rins made the move on the other SRT entry.
Heartbreak for @FabioQ20! 💔
— MotoGP™ 🇪🇸 (@MotoGP) May 5, 2019
Rins wasted little time in establishing a margin between himself and Morbidelli but Marquez was not going to be caught by the time the chequered flag flew after 25 laps.
The Honda rider again reset the lap record on the new Jerez surface on Lap 15 and got as far as four seconds ahead before easing off to take victory by 1.654s.
Attention instead turned to the fight for the final step on the podium as Morbidelli faded fast.
Viñales passed #21 on Lap 16 before both factory Ducati riders, Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, went by on Lap 17.
Dovizioso, however, could not fashion a move on Viñales and that was the difference between holding on to a shared championship lead or leaving Spain three points behind Marquez.
Petrucci finished fifth while Valentino Rossi took sixth from a starting berth of 13th on the #46 Monster Energy Yamaha, and Morbidelli seventh.
Miller, who qualified 15th, had been seventh for a brief moment when he fired down the inside of Cal Crutchlow at the start of Lap 16, but found himself losing pace in the latter laps.
The Queenslander tried to cut back on Aleix Espargaro when the Gresini Aprilia went down his inside at Turn 13 on Lap 23 but lowsided the #43 Pramac Ducati.
It was in fact Team HRC test rider Stefan Bradl who rounded out the top 10 on the #6 Honda, behind Crutchlow (Castrol LCR Honda) in eighth and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) in ninth.
Aleix Espargaro finished 11th, Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda) 12th, and Pol Espargaro 13th on the first of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bikes.
Neither Pramac entry would take the chequered flag after Francesco Bagnaia also crashed out, as did Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir.
Quartararo, meanwhile, was crying in the SRT garage after trundling back to pit lane on the ailing Yamaha.
Andrea Iannone (Gresini Aprilia) was a non-starter due to soreness resulting from his crash in Free Practice 4.
Round 5 takes the field to Le Mans, France on May 17-19.
Race results: Spanish MotoGP
|1||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||41:08.685|
|2||42||Alex RINS||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+1.654|
|3||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+2.443|
|4||04||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||+2.804|
|5||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Mission Winnow Ducati||Ducati||+4.748|
|6||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+7.547|
|7||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||+8.228|
|8||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+10.052|
|9||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+10.274|
|10||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||Team HRC||Honda||+13.402|
|11||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+15.431|
|12||99||Jorge LORENZO||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+18.473|
|13||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+20.156|
|14||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+26.706|
|15||53||Tito RABAT||ESP||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+28.513|
|16||17||Karel ABRAHAM||CZE||Reale Avintia Racing||Ducati||+36.858|
|17||38||Bradley SMITH||GBR||Aprilia Factory Racing||Aprilia||+41.390|
|18||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+41.570|
|19||55||Hafizh SYAHRIN||MAS||Red Bull KTM Tech 3||KTM||+50.568|
|DNF||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Pramac Racing||Ducati||3 Laps|
|DNF||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||5 Laps|
|DNF||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||12 Laps|
|DNF||63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||19 Laps|
Race winner: 25 laps