After his pain in Spain, Quartararo comes home seeking points

·3-min read
Fabio Quartararo started fast but was slowed by an arm problem in Spain

Fabio Quartararo starts his home Grand Prix at Le Mans this weekend trying to reassert his grip on the MotoGP title race after problems last time out that forced him to undergo surgery.

The Frenchman started the Spanish MotoGP top of the standings, surged into an early lead on his Yamaha and seemed set for his third win in four races this season. But muscle problems left him with no strength in his right forearm.

He finished in 13th place and in tears.

Jack Miller won, while his Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia came in second to take the overall championship lead.

After the race, Quartararo had an operation for "chronic exertional compartment syndrome", known as "arm pump".

His first task on the Bugatti circuit, devoid of spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic, will be to show he is ready to go back on the attack.

"For the moment everything is fine," he said. "I'm not trying very hard at the moment. It's taking its course and I hope to be up to speed this weekend."

Yamaha seem to have overcome the problems they had with the bike set up at the end of last season which cost Quartararo the title while riding for their satellite Yamaha-SRT team.

The main threat is likely to come from Ducati at the French Grand Prix.

Bagnaia leads Quartararo by two points in the championship and the Italian machines are on a roll after Miller's victory in Spain.

The other French rider in MotoGP, Johann Zarco, on a satellite Ducati-Primac which is the same as the factory models, hopes to take advantage of the forecast rain to score his first MotoGP win.

"In the rain we might have an advantage with the Ducatis," said Zarco, who is fifth in the championship.

The weather also helped Ducati last year at Le Mans when Italian Danilo Petrucci, now with KTM-Tech3, won on a Ducati, taking advantage of a rain shower just before the start.

- 'Step by step' -

The weather is not the only unknown heading into the weekend.

There is the disappointing form of Suzuki only a few months after rider Joan Mir captured the 2020 world title.

There is also the slow comeback of Marc Marquez, who has been back on his Honda for two races after a year's absence after fracturing his right arm. He has struggled to regain the pace that won him six world titles finishing seventh and ninth in his two starts.

"The goal for this weekend is to have less complications and continue working to improve," the Spaniard said.

"Step by step we are getting stronger and our goal is to continue the progress we have been making. The weather in Le Mans can always make things a little bit tricky but we will handle whatever happens."

Meanwhile, his eternal rival, seven-time premier class winner Valentino Rossi, now with Yamaha-SRT, is a shadow of his former self.

He has not had a single top ten finish since the start of this season, which at 42 could be his last.

In Moto2, the first four races have seen three different winners.

Australian Remy Gardner, son of 1987 500cc world champion Wayne, leads the championship.

In Moto3, 16 year-old Pedro Acosta will be seeking his fourth straight win this season as he makes his debut in the championship.