Fabio Quartararo has survived a war of attrition in the Andalucía Grand Prix from Jerez, claiming his second successive MotoGP victory in an unrivalled fashion.
His victory ensures he keeps his vice-like grip on the championship and in doing so becomes the only Frenchman in premier class history to clinch back-to-back wins.
An exhausted Maverick Vinales would crack a hole in a seemingly impenetrable defence by Valentino Rossi two laps from home to snare second place in a Yamaha podium lockout – the first in six years for the storied manufacturer.
No more than only 13 riders would reach the chequered flag as the scorching track temperatures eliminated any structural composition of the tyres with several riders battling indecently fast degradation rates.
A bruising multi-bike incident at Turn 1 punctuated the opening lap triggered by Brad Binder collecting Miguel Oliveria, wounding the innocent Portuguese rider in the process.
Meanwhile, a fast-starting Rossi had charged from the second row, capitalising on a mistake by Yamaha stablemate Vinales who had made a failed attempt to steal the lead at the final corner as the field began their second tour.
Despite vividly faster than his teammate, Vinales unsuccessfully searched in vain to find a way past The Doctor all while Quartararo had established a three-second margin over the challenging pack within the opening five laps.
After a lacklustre qualifying performance, the Ducati camp had yet another disappointing race at Jerez. Both Jack Miller and Danilo Petrucci crashed out from a set top-five one lap apart of another, gifting a certain podium to series sophomore Francesco Bagnaia only for the Italian to retire on Lap 18 after billowing smoke began to pulse from the rear exhaust.
As Quartararo continued to dominate the race, his Petronas Yamaha SRT teammate Franco Morbidelli came to an abrupt halt at Turn 1 in yet another engine-related retirement for the Japanese manufacturer.
The most enthralling dual emerged between Yamaha teammates Rossi and Vinales in the battle for second.
Digging into the depths of his barrel of experience, a valiant defence by the seven-time champion kept Vinales at bay lap-after-lap before a small slip on the penultimate tour gave Vinales the break the Spaniard needed to snare second.
Rossi would then keep a hard-charging Takaaki Nakagami to claim his first rostrum finish in over a year.
Joan Mir was the led Suzuki in fifth ahead of the sole factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso who keeps his championship ambitions alive having capitalised on a myriad of incidents to charge from 14th on the grid to sixth.
A heroic man-of-the-match performance by Alex Rins, who was riding with a fractured shoulder following a qualifying crash in last weekend’s season-opener, had the Spaniard finish a courageous tenth
The Repsol Honda team were always going to be on the backfoot after the late withdrawal by star rider Marc Marquez with younger brother Alex the team’s sole representative, finishing eighth.
The MotoGP paddock now enters a one-week hiatus before returning to action for the Czech Grand Prix on August 9.