(video) Quartararo eyes hattrick with Marquez out of Czech MotoGP

CZECH REPUBLIC: Fabio Quartararo (pix) will be eyeing a third straight MotoGP win at Brno on Sunday as reigning champion Marc Marquez is demoted to watching from the sidelines after undergoing surgery for the second time on his broken arm.

Quartararo, the 21-year-old French Yamaha rider who tops the MotoGP rankings with 50 points from two races, has never reached the podium at Brno.

But his back-to-back wins at Jerez in July make him the man to watch on the 5.4km circuit in the Czech Republic’s second city.

“Brno is a track that I really like. We know from last year that we can be fast there and that we have the performance, even if it is not the best place for our bike,” said Quartararo.

“There are a lot of great corners that make up the circuit but the last corner is one of the best. You have to go in with a lot of corner speed but also prepare to take the perfect line for the straight.”

He added: “It’s great to be going there after taking two wins and we’re looking at fighting for the podium this weekend. Our expectations are high and I can’t wait!”

Quartararo leads the rankings 10 points ahead of Yamaha factory team rider Maverick Vinales of Spain.

Italy’s Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, the Brno winner from 2018 and last year’s runner-up, is third.

Marquez, who took the 2019 honours at Brno before earning his sixth world championship title, broke his right arm in a heavy crash in the season opener at Jerez.

He underwent surgery and appeared to be ready for the second Jerez race a week later, but eventually pulled out after struggling to keep pace in qualifying.

The 27-year-old Spaniard had another operation on Monday and his Repsol Honda team said Tuesday he would be replaced by German test rider Stefan Bradl at Brno.

“After undergoing a second operation on his injured right arm, Marc Marquez and HRC have decided that the world champion will not ride in the Czech Republic in order for him to recover more,” the team said in a statement.

Weather forecasters predict a hot, sunny weekend for Brno.

The race will again be held without spectators because of the coronavirus pandemic which has wreaked havoc on this year’s MotoGP calendar, with only 13 confirmed events for the season and all those outside Europe cancelled.

Following this weekend’s stop in the Czech Republic, MotoGP will move on to neighbouring Austria for two races on August 16 and 23. – AFP