Fabio Quartararo extended his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings with victory at Mugello.
But any joy at securing his third win of the season was overcome by the sadness shared by the whole paddock following the news of young racer Jason Dupasquier’s death earlier in the day.
Quartararo continued his quest to capture the MotoGP world title with an imperious performance at Mugello to cement his position at the head of the championship with a dominant victory on an emotional weekend in Tuscany.
The 22-year-old Frenchman took the lead early and stretched clear to earn a routine victory, ahead of KTM’s Miguel Oliveira, with defending world champion Joan Mir in third.
The race was run in sad circumstances following the news that Swiss teenager and Moto3 racer Jason Dupasquier had died from his injuries sustained in a crash in Saturday’s second qualifying session at the circuit.
Dupasquier had crashed and been struck by another rider before being airlifted to hospital in Florence, where he later died from his injuries.
The MotoGP riders observed a one-minute silence ahead of their race as the entire grid paid their respects to the 19-year-old.
Following the race, Quartararo signalled to the heavens on his warm-down lap before returning to parc ferme to share his emotions after a draining Grand Prix.
“Strange day. Honestly, a lot of emotions before I started the race,” said a still-emotional Quartararo after his victory.
“I get emotions really fast in every condition, so to start the race doing that one minute of silence was really difficult and every time I crossed Turn 9 I was thinking about Jason.
“Yes, this one is for him.
“It’s not a great feeling. You achieve a win, but we lose one of our friends, so it’s not easy.”
Quartararo’s sentiments were echoed by second-place finisher Oliveira, with the Portuguese racer putting into words just how tough the sport can be.
“I would have liked to have done this podium in different circumstances,” he said.
“Of course, we can be happy, but not completely happy. Our thoughts are definitely with Jason’s family right now.
“I just wish this sport could not be so cruel, but it’s what we love to do, it’s our passion and I wish all the best to his family.”
Third-place finisher Mir was equally emotional as he dedicated his performance to the memory of the young Swiss racer.
“This podium is for Jason,” he said.
“It was really difficult today to put the helmet on due to this.
“But this is for him and his family.”
Quartararo’s victory was his third win of the 2021 season and extended his lead at the top of the MotoGP standings to 26 points over Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia, who crashed out while leading in the early stages of the race.