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Miller clinches Spanish MotoGP as Bagnaia takes championship lead

Miller clinches Spanish MotoGP as Bagnaia takes championship lead

JEREZ FRONTERA: Australian Jack Miller rode to only his second MotoGP victory in Jerez on Sunday as Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia finished second to take the overall championship lead.

Australia’s Miller used his Ducati’s power to pip pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo off the start line, with the Frenchman slipping to fourth behind Petronas Yamaha SRT’s Franco Morbidelli and Bagnaia on the opening lap.

Quartararo, who won both the races in Jerez last season, recovered over the next two laps to regain the lead and began to stretch his advantage to up to two seconds at the top.

However, the Yamaha rider was struck with a bike issue that saw his pace drop significantly, allowing Miller to regain the lead with less than 10 laps remaining.

As Miller continued to build his advantage to over 1.5 seconds, Quartararo plummeted down the order as he was overhauled by his championship rivals.

Miller held off Bagnaia to take the chequered flag for the first time since winning the 2016 Dutch Grand Prix, while Morbidelli rounded out the podium.

Bagnaia now leads the world championship with 66 points, two clear of Quartararo, who finished in 13th place.

Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR) was fourth and Spanish world champion Joan Mir (Suzuki) was fifth. Spaniard Marc Marquez, who after crashing his Honda in practice on Saturday, crashed again in the warm-up on Sunday, finished a creditable ninth in his second Grand Prix after nine months out with injury.

The championship will resume in two weeks time at the French Grand Prix in Le Mans.

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2021

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