MotoGP: Mayhem in Mandalika as Bagnaia Reclaims Championship Lead

A chaotic race in Indonesia has seen Pecco Bagnaia reclaim the championship lead that he lost after yesterday’s sprint race. Jorge Martin, his nearest rival, made a painful error which saw him crash out of the lead. With just 5 races left, this season is far from over!

It was both a costly error from Jorge Martin and a calculated ride from Pecco Bagnaia that has firmly placed today’s Indonesian GP in the history books. Having lost the championship lead for a day, Bagnaia was able to quickly reverse this as he sailed to a phenomenal victory. He made his way from 13th on the grid to win what might be the greatest race of his career.

Meanwhile, it was an undoubtedly difficult day for Martin. Having enjoyed all the momentum and accolades over the last few races, he crashed out of the lead at a crucial point in the season. The costly error came despite him sitting comfortably at the front of the field for the first 20 laps.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Bagnaia was joined on the podium by Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo who both enjoyed strong weekends but were frustrated to not finish higher after a close final few laps.

There was chaos up and down the field for most of the race, as we start our first of two triple-header weekends to round out the 2023 season.

AS IT HAPPENED

As the lights went out, Jorge Martin flew off the line and leapt from 6th to 1st before entering the first corner. It was a slower start for both Aprilia riders, as well as Luca Marini, who all slipped back down the field. This allowed both Brad Binder and Fabio Quartararo to make up some places on the first lap. However, Maverick Vinales was able to recover and slot in to 2nd.

There was chaos up and down the field across the opening laps of the race. This started with Aleix Espargaro going wide at turn 1. This let Pecco Bagnaia through but as Espargaro returned to the racing line, he nearly collected Marc Marquez.

Enea Bastianini also went wide, causing him to go off the track. He failed to rejoin in the correct way and was later given a long lap penalty as a result.

On lap 3, Binder gets out of shape at turn 10 and clatters in to the side of Marini, knocking him in to the gravel. Binder was just carrying too much speed in to the corner and wasn’t able to make it round. Like Bastianini, he also received a long lap penalty for this later on in the race.

On the same lap, Pol Espgargaro crashes at turn 15 and Franco Morbidelli heads in to the pits to retire.

Pecco Bagnaia and Aleix Espargaro then find themselves breezing past Quartararo to take 3rd and 4th respectively. Meanwhile the leading pair of Martin and Vinales were now 1.8 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

As Binder takes his long lap penalty on lap 6, he drops from 5th to 10th. Espargaro, in 4th, is all over the back of Bagnaia, in 3rd, and forcing the Italian to ride defensively.

On lap 8, Marc Marquez is quickly overtaken by Jack Miller, Marco Bezzecchi and Brad Binder, shuffling him back from 7th to 10th. A few corners later, he then crashes at turn 13. It has been a difficult weekend for the Spaniard who is undoubtedly counting down to his move to Gresini for 2024.

 

This then sparks a 4-way battle for 6th place, with Miguel Oliveira, Miller, Bezzecchi, and Binder in 6th to 9th respectively. Miller is the first to make a move on the final corner of lap 9, followed by Bezzecchi on the first corner of lap 10.

On the following lap, Binder attempts to then make a move on Oliveira but bumps in to the side of him, knocks off his wings, and then sends them both wide. They are both able to rejoin but lose places at a crucial point in the race. Binder will receive his second long lap penalty of the race for this harsh move.

On lap 12, Augusto Fernandez crashes, followed by Joan Mir on the following lap.

Moments later, our race leader then crashes at turn 11. The bike slides out from under him and he is left looking down at his Prima Pramac machine in utter disbelief.

Image Credit: MotoGP

This promotes Vinales to 1st, with a 1.2 second gap to Bagnaia in 2nd. Quartararo, after recently making a move on Espargaro, is now promoted to 3rd.

On lap 16, Johann Zarco also crashes, again at turn 11. This leaves just 14 riders out on the track.

Meanwhile, at the front, Quartararo is closing in on Bagnaia who, in turn, is closing in on Vinales. We thought the chaos had calmed down but these three had other ideas.

At this point in the race, it is clear to see who opted for soft tires and who played it safe with the hard tires. Those on softs begin dropping back down the field as their tires struggle with the heat and soaring temperatures.

After closing the gap significantly over 4 laps, it was on lap 20 when Bagnaia was finally able to take control at the front of the race. He breezed past Vinales to take 1st place away from him.

For the final 7 laps of the race, the leading trio kept the pressure on each other. So much so that, by the final lap, there was barely a hair’s width between them. However, neither Vinales or Quartararo could make a move and they were forced to settle for 2nd and 3rd respectively.

FULL RESULTS
1st Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
2nd Maverick Vinales Aprilia
3rd Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
4th Fabio Gi Giannantonio Gresini
5th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
6th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
7th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
8th Enea Bastianini Ducati
9th Alex Rins LCR Honda
10th Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
11th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
12th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
13th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
14th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha

DNF = Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac), Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac), Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Tech 3), Joan Mir (Repsol Honda), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Luca Marini (Mooney VR46), Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Tech3).

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Espargaro Takes the Double In Catalunya

After last year’s counting error that saw Aleix Espargaro celebrate too early and lose the victory, it was redemption day for the Aprilia rider as he finally claimed victory at his home race. Espargaro was riding high from victory in Saturday’s sprint race and pulled off nearly the exact same move to take the lead of the race with only 3 laps remaining.

Despite leading the first 20 laps of the race, Maverick Vinales came home in 2nd. However, it wasn’t a difficult result as he celebrated giving Aprilia their first ever 1-2 finish.

Jorge Martin rounded out the podium finishers, coming home in 3rd, after a positive day for the Pramac team.

The day was not without drama – an early red flag was waved after multiple riders crashed at turn 1. The domino-effect incident saw Enea Bastianini, Johann Zarco, Alex Marquez, Marco Bezzecchi and Fabio Di Giannantonio all in the gravel before completing a single corner.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Moments later, our reigning champion and current championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia faced a huge highside which left him stranded in the middle of the track. Brad Binder, unable to avoid him, scarily ran over the Italian’s legs and left him writhing around in pain.

Both Bagnaia and Bastianini were taken to hospital and post-race statements followed. Bagnaia has luckily escaped with very minor injuries and Bastianini suffered a fracture to his ankle and hand.

AS IT HAPPENED

As the lights went out at the start of the race, it was a good start for Pecco Bagnaia who was able remain at the front of the pack after starting on pole. However, it was a poor start for Aleix Espargaro who was quickly lost in the field and going backwards.

Enea Bastianini enjoyed a positive start but, as he made his way up the inside of turn 1, he crashed in to the side of Johann Zarco and caused a domino effect. Zarco then crashed in to Alex Marquez, who crashed in to Marco Bezzecchi, who crashed in to Fabio Di Giannantonio.

Whilst those riders were in the gravel at the outside of turn 1, Bagnaia faced an enormous highside and landed in the middle of the track. Brad Binder was unable to avoid the stranded champion and, in a scary moment, ran over Bagnaia’s legs.

The red flag was quickly waved and the amazing medical team were instantly on the scene. Bagnaia spent some time receiving treatment on the track, before being taken to the medical centre and then the local hospital. Bastianini was also injured and took a trip to the hospital for further checks.

Now, with just 23 laps to race, the riders made their way back on to the grid. Luckily, all other riders were able to make it back to the garages under their own steam which allowed them to rejoin the race when it restarted 20 minutes later. Only Bagnaia and Bastianini were missing.

As the lights went out for the second time, Espargaro had a much better start this time away and managed to lead the pack through a clean, drama-free first corner. It was also a positive start for Jorge Martin, who leapt from 5th to 3rd, and Jack Miller, who leapt from 12th to 5th.

However, but turn 2, his Aprilia teammate snatched away the lead and Vinales took over at the front of the pack. Martin’s positive race start continued as he made his way past Espargaro and in to 2nd.

Before lap 1 ended, Pol Espargaro was forced to retire with mechanical failure.

Meanwhile, his brother was trying to make moves to regain 2nd place from Martin. He was right on the tail of the Pramac rider but wasn’t able to make anything stick. That was until lap 3 when he pulled up the inside of Martin at turn 10. By turn 12, he had made his way past and was in 2nd place, chasing down his teammate in the lead. It wouldn’t be an easy task as Vinales set the fastest lap in response.

On lap 4, Miguel Oliveira made his way past Martin for 3rd, making in an Aprilia 1-2-3!

On the same lap, Binder was forced to retire with technical problems. It was suspected that he had laid down a lot of oil prior to the red flag so it seemed to be a persistent issue for his KTM.

Riders up and down the grid were now settling in to their race and Vinales was slowly pulling our a lead ahead of the chasing pack. By lap 5, he was 0.3 seconds ahead for Espargaro, who was in turn a further 0.5 seconds ahead of Oliveira.

There was action further down the grid with Augusto Fernandez battling with Marc Marquez for 10th place, and Alex Marquez battling with Jack Miller for 6th.

On lap 10, Oliveira lost out on a podium place to Martin, but was able to stay close on his tail. He clearly wasn’t giving up easily, having worked so hard in the early stages.

On the same lap, we had our third rieder retire with mechanical problems – this time is was Raul Fernandez who was limping to the pits after just enjoying a battle with Marc Marquez for 11th.

At the halfway point, with 12 laps completed, Vinales now had a 1.2 second lead over Espargaro, who then had a 2 second gap over Martin. It was at this point that Espargaro seemed to wake up and was suddenly chasing down his teammate at a rapid pace.

Image Credit: MotoGP

By lap 15, thanks to lapping faster than his teammate, Espargaro had now cut the gap down to 0.5 seconds. On lap 18, with just 6 laps to go, Espargaro was finally on his tail.

Espargaro waited patiently and, on lap 20, he came up alongside Vinales on the start-finish straight. The Aprilia pair almost came together at turn 1 and Vinales went wide. That instantly gave Espargaro the space he needed to check out at the front of the field. With only 3 laps left, there was nothing Vinales could do to close the gap.

It ended up being a comfortable victory for Espargaro who was already on a high from winning Saturday’s sprint race!

FULL RESULTS
1st Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
2nd Maverick Vinales Aprilia
3rd Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
4th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
5th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
6th Alex Marquez Gresini
7th Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
8th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
9th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
10th Rabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
11th Luca Marini Mooney VR46
12th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
13th Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
14th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
15th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
16th Iker Lecuona LCR Honda
17th Joan Mir Repsol Honda

DNF: Raul Fernadez (CryptoDATA RNF), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Tech3), Enea Bastianini (Ducati), Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati)

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
1st Pecco Bagnaia 260 points
2nd Jorge Martin 210 points
3rd Marco Bezzecchi 189 points
4th Brad Binder 166 points
5th Aleix Espargaro 154 points

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Home Hero Aleix Espargaro Wins Catalunya Sprint Race

Aleix Espargaro has taken his first sprint race win of the season in a fantastic and aggressive race from the Catalan rider. He took the lead of his home sprint race on lap 7 and quickly pulled out a comfortable lead, eventually crossing the line with a 2+ second lead over his nearest rival. He celebrated with a wheelie that lasted for the entire start-finish straight, soaking up the cheers from his adoring home crowd.

Despite starting on pole, Pecco Bagnaia was clearly thrilled with his silver medal – his 9th podium in 11 sprint races, showing he clearly relishes this new weekend structure! It was a hard-fought 2nd place – he put up a good defence against Espargaro, with some characteristic late-breaking, and then faced a challenge from Maverick Vinales.

Image Credit: MotoGP on Twitter

Despite coming achingly close to 2nd place, and getting up alongside Bagnaia a few times in the final laps, Vinales was forced to settle for 3rd place. He clearly tried everything in his wheelhouse but didn’t quite have enough to pass the championship leader.

Further back, it was a positive race for Marc Marquez who has struggled a lot this weekend. He started the race in 12th but was quickly up to 8th after a flying start off the line – it seemed the light rain and slippery conditions suited Marquez and he was able to capitalise on this in the early stages. He enjoyed a close battle in the latter stages of the race for 10th place, fighting with Alex Marquez, Luca Marini and Fabio Di Giannantonio.

It was a tricky day for Jack Miller, Joan Mir and both Yamaha riders, Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo. None of these riders were able to make waves in the field. Morbidelli and Miller crossed the line in 15th and 16th, a whopping 16s away from the race winner, with Quartararo coming home in 18th and Mir in 21st and last.

AS IT HAPPENED

Much like qualifying, the weather threatened to add significant chaos to the race – the rain began to fall during the warm up lap which forced the teams to rush to prepare the spare bikes with wet weather tires. However, it wasn’t quite wet enough for the riders to opt for these bikes and everyone lined up on the grid with their slick tires on.

As the lights went out, Pecco Bagnaia leapt in to a comfortable lead, with Maverick Vinales slotting in behind, in 2nd. Jorge Martin took 3rd after enjoying a flying start from 5th.

It was a great start also for Marco Bezzecchi, climbing from 10th to 5th, and Marc Marquez, leaping from 12th to 8th.

Despite a very strong qualifying session, Miguel Oliveira quickly undid all that hard work as he dropped back from 3rd to 7th in the early stages.

As the riders came to the end of the first lap, Aleix Espargaro came past his teammate to take 2nd away from Vinales. Bagnaia was quickly pulling out a comfortable lead and soon had a 0.5s gap over the chasing pack.

On lap 4, Pol Espargaro crashed after going wide at turn 5 – he made the sensible decision to lay the bike down before hitting the barrier and was able to walk away from the incident.

On the following lap, his brother Aleix was now close enough to Bagnaia to pull up alongside him. However, in classic Bagnaia fashion, he was so late on the breaks that Espargaro wasn’t able to get out of 2nd place.

At the halfway point in the race, we had Bagnaia leading, from Espargaro in 2nd, Vinales in 3rd, Brad Binder in 4th and Oliveira in 5th. There was then a 1.3s gap back to the next group, made up of Martin, Bezzecchi, Marc Marquez, Enea Bastianini and Johann Zarco in 6th to 10th respectively.

At the first corner of lap 7, Espargaro finally made his way past Bagnaia, much to the joy of his home crowd. Before the lap ended, he had already pulled out a 0.49s gap over the championship leader and looked to be quickly checking out at the front.

The race settled down for the final laps, with the only action coming from Vinales who was quickly catching up to Bagnaia. He spent the final two laps of the race right on Bagnaia’s tail but sadly wasn’t able to get past him like his teammate could. This battle eventually gave Espargaro a 2+ second lead as he crossed the line to take his first sprint race victory.

FULL RESULTS
1st Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
2nd Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
3rd Maverick Vinales Aprilia
4th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
5th Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
6th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
7th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
8th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
9th Enea Bastianini Ducati
10th Alex Marquez Gresini
11th Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
12th Luca Marini Mooney VR46
13th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
14th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
15th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
16th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
17th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
18th Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
19th Iker Lecuona LCR Honda
20th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
21st Joan Mir Repsol Honda

DNFs: Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Tech3)

Image Credit: MotoGP on Twitter

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Bagnaia on pole for the Catalan GP

Our championship leader has smashed the lap record at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on his way to taking pole position before this weekend’s racing. It was a session with mixed conditions and some mixed results for riders up and down the grid.

Pecco Bagnaia has taken his 6th pole position of the season at the Catalan GP today. He smashed the previous lap record, laying down a storming time of 1:38.639.

He will be joined on the front row by Aleix Espargaro, in 2nd, and Miguel Oliveira, in 3rd. Many had tipped Espargaro for pole this weekend, but he lost time in the latter sectors and crossed the line just 0.104s behind pole position. Oliveira, who has also looked really fast this weekend, was a frustrating 0.005s away from Espargaro in 2nd.

It was a tricky day for Marc Marquez who, despite being promoted from Q1, had to settle for 12th overall. It was thanks to a tow from Jack Miller that Marquez made it through to Q2 – however, providing that two seemed to hold back Miller who was unable to make it through to the second qualifying session, despite showing good pace this weekend so far.

It was arguably a tougher day for the Yamaha team with Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo having to settle for 16th and 17th respectively. They have been well off the pace all weekend and struggling at the back of the grid.

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

In the 15 minutes between FP2 and Qualifying 1, the weather changed quickly and the track went from bright sunshine to rain. The sessions therefore started with a damp track which meant riders were instantly out to set a banker lap.

We had some big names in this first session, including Jack Miller, Pol Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira who have looked fast all weekend so far. It also included Luca Marini and both Yamaha riders who have struggled throughout this weekend.

With 3 minutes of the session done, we had half the track enjoying bright sunshine and the other half under rainfall. These mixed conditions meant the early laps were quite slow – Marini was the first to lay down a lap time but was way off the expected pace. Quartararo, on the other hand, seemed to revel in these mixed conditions and set the first relative lap time of 1:39.878. On his next lap, he was quickly improving and beat his previous time by 0.2s.

As Quartararo began his third flying lap, he went wide at turn 1. Whilst trying to keep the bike upright, we got stuck in the gravel and ended up falling in an embarrassing fashion. He was able to rejoin the field but wasn’t on the same pace as the rest of the field.

Halfway through the session and, as everyone made their way back in to the pits, we had Oliveira and Franco Morbidelli in the top two spots and provisionally going through to Qualifying 2.

As everyone came back out of to the grid for their final flying laps, Marquez was gifted a nice tow around the track by Miller. As they crossed the line, the pair were 1st and 2nd respectively.

However, with 2 minutes left on the clock, Oliveira bested them both to claim the top spot with a 1:38.789. As the seconds tick down, no one is able to improve on their current lap times – Marini was clearly struggling with the lack of grip, Espargaro bailed out of his final lap and Marquez went back to the pits before the session ended.

With no one else able to improve, it was Oliveira and Marquez who progress to Q2.

Qualifying 2

It was a quieter session this time as the weather settled down and the Spanish sunshine began to shine again.

Marc Marquez was the first to cross the line and laid down a lap time of 1:40.665. As everyone else began finishing their first flying laps, he was quickly shuffled down to 8th and Aleix Espargaro was on provisional pole.

The grid then shuffled around again as everyone completed their second flying laps. This time, Brad Binder took provisional pole before being beaten by Vinales. Espargaro was now in 3rd and Pecco Bagnaia in 4th.

We then had the typical lull in the middle of the session as everyone made their way back to the pits for a breather and fresh tires. There were 6 minutes on the clock when everyone came back out on to the grid.

We now had Espargaro, Bagnaia and Martin flying round the grid and, with 3 minutes remaining, Espargaro set the fastest lap of the day so far – a 1:38.752.

He was soon bested by championship leader, Bagnaia, who smashed the current lap record with a 1:38.639. As the minutes ticked down, no one was able to get close to this time. Espargaro was shuffled down to 2nd and Oliveira slotted in to 3rd. That was how the session ended with no one able to make waves.

FULL GRID
1st Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
2nd Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
3rd Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
4th Maverick Vinales Aprilia
5th Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
6th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
7th Alex Marquez Gresini
8th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
9th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
10th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
11th Enea Bastianini Ducati
12th Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
13th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
14th Pol Espargaro GASGAS Tech3
15th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
16th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
17th Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
18th Luca Marini Mooney VR46
19th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
20th Joan Mir Repsol Honda
21st Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
22nd Iker Lecuona LCR Honda

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Espargaro Wins Stunning British Grand Prix

There were times when it felt like we were watching a Moto3 race today at Silverstone – there was drama up and down the grid and 5 riders all in contention for the win when we reached the final lap.

Aleix Espargaro has won the British grand prix at Silverstone in stunning fashion. Despite starting the race in 12th, he quietly made his way up the field, capitalised on others crashing, and then found himself in the leading group of four. There was plenty of tussling and battling but he kept his eyes on race leader Pecco Bagnaia to then make a move on the final lap of the race.

Bagnaia ended the day in 2nd, despite looking pretty untouchable and dominant for much of the race.

In the early stages, the reigning champion had been battling with title rival, Marco Bezzecchi. However, the VR46 rider made a crucial error when chasing down Bagnaia and crashed out at turn 15 of lap 6.

The final podium position was taken by Brad Binder, who mastered the tricky weather conditions and used them to his advantage. As others tiptoed round the circuit, making cautious moves, he threw his KTM machine around on his way up to 3rd.

Binder enjoyed a lot of battles with Miguel Oliveira, who is back this weekend after taking some time out due to an injury. He was very close to the final podium spot as well as Maverick Vinales. The pair eventually came home 4th and 5th respectively.

As is becoming so normal now on race day, Jack Miller flew off the start line and was an early leader. However, he began to drop back a little bit and then, on lap 3, Vinales made an aggressive move up the inside as the pair were fighting for 4th. This move pushed Miller out wide and dropped him back to 14th. He eventually finished the day in 8th.

Rain started to fall on lap 13 of 20. Four riders opted to change bike and run the wet tires, including Fabio Di Giannantonio and Franco Morbidelli. However, the gamble didn’t pay off and they all finished at the back of the grid.

Joining them at the back as the checkered flag fell was Fabio Quartararo. But his day wasn’t as bad as it seemed. The Frenchman started the race from last on the grid and worked hard to get himself up to 8th. Whilst fighting with Luca Marini for 7th, the pair collided and he went down at turn 4. He lost much of the carbon fibre off the front of the bike but was able to keep going. He came in to the pits to change his bike and then ended the day 15th. A disappointing result for the Yamaha rider, but he did show glimpses of the old Fabio today.

There were further DNFs for Alex Marquez who retired with a technical failure on lap 5. It looked as though his gear linkage was broken as he limped his way back to the garage.

His brother, Marc Marquez, also failed to meet the checkered flag. He was battling with Enea Bastianini at Maggotts and Becketts when the two collided and both went down – it seems they were just making moves that were too risky when the track was greasy and wet.

Full Results
1st Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
2nd Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
3rd Brad Binder KTM
4th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
5th Maverick Vinales Aprilia
6th Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
7th Luca Marini Mooney VR46
8th Jack Miller KTM
9th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
10th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
11th Augusto Fernandez GASGASG Tech3
12th Pol Espargaro GASGASG Tech3
13th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
14th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
15th Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
16th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
17th Icer Lecuona LCR Honda

DNFs = Joan Mir (Repsol Honda), Alex Marquez (Gresini), Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Enea Bastianini (Ducati)

Championship Standings
1st Pecco Bagnaia 214 Points
2nd Jorge Martin 173 Points
3rd Marco Bezzecchi 167 Points
4th Brad Binder 131 Points
5th Johann Zarco 122 Point

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Alex Marquez takes Magnificent Maiden Win at Silverstone Sprint Race

In typical British fashion, all we could talk about for most of today’s sprint race was the weather. It was unpredictable and difficult to master. But one man came out on top – and for the first time in his premier class career!

It was Alex Marquez who came out on top for today’s sprint race at the British GP. He started the race in 3rd, took the lead on lap 2, and never looked back. He faced a late charge from Marco Bezzecchi, who came home in 2nd, but he lead easily and took the checkered flag in dominant fashion.

The final podium spot was taken by Maverick Vinales, who was thrilled to squeeze a podium out of his Aprilia machine which, typically, doesn’t like these damp conditions.

Early race leaders, Jorge Martin and Jack Miller eventually came home in 6th and 7th respectively.

Further down the pack, it was a difficult day for reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia – he came home in 14th and scored no points, meaning his championship lead over Bezzecchi has been cut to 27 points.

It was an even tougher day for Marc Marquez, coming home in 18th and seemingly facing yet more issues on his Honda, and Fabio Quartararo who made no waves in the race at all – the Frenchman started the race last, in 22nd, and was only able to make up one place across the entire sprint race. A day to forget for both former champions.

The sprint races format, which is new for 2023 in this new era of MotoGP, has now given us 5 different winners across 9 different race weekends. The forecast for tomorrow’s main race is looking dry – can Alex Marquez replicate his win under those normal conditions?

As it happened

After a saturated free practice and qualifying session earlier in the day, the track was beginning to dry as the riders took to the grid for today’s sprint race. That left a lot of questions around tire selection and mid-race bike changes. As it turned out, every rider opted for medium wet tires and this seemed to be the ideal option as the rain would start falling before the race ended.

As the lights went out, Jack Miller and his KTM machine took an unsurprising early lead. He flew off the line and quickly got past polesitter Marco Bezzecchi. Bezzecchi put up an early fight but it was the Aussie who was clearly out in the lead by the end of the first few corners.

Further back down the pack, Pecco Bagnaia had a wobble and fell back from his starting position of 4th and in to a pack of squabbling riders. He was now back down in 12th after losing 8 places. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez and Enea Bastianini clashed in the opening few corners, causing a large gap to form right in the middle of the pack.

Miller wasn’t able to keep hold of the lead for long – after getting past Augusto Fernandez to take 3rd, Jorge Martin flew up the inside of both Bezzecchi in 2nd and Miller in 1st to steal the lead of the race at Stowe corner. It didn’t last for long though and the Prima Pramac rider soon lost out to Bezzecchi and Miller again.

It was on lap 2 that Alex Marquez took the lead. He first shoved his way up the inside of Bezzecchi and then, a few corners later, flew past Miller and into the lead. By the end of lap 3, Marquez had a 0.5 second lead over the rest of the pack.

On lap 4, Maverick iInales and Aleix Espargaro make their way past Martin, who has now been shuffled back to 6th. On the following lap, Vinales was now battling with Miller for the final podium position.

At the halfway point, with his brother leading the pack by 0.8 seconds, Marc Marquez was still struggling down in 14th and he could be seen looking over his shoulder, suggesting there might have been an issue with his bike.

The grid then began to settle in to the race and everything seemed to calm down. Aleix Espargaro took 4th away from Miller, and shortly after we had Martin closing in on the Aussie too. Further back down the grid and Fabio Giannantonio took 12th away from Bagnaia, before Bastianini followed suit.

On lap 8, we had spots of rain appearing at various points on the circuit and, on lap 9, Bezzecchi was squeezing everything out of his Mooney VR46 machine as he went on the hunt for Marquez and the race win. By the start of the final lap, the gap has dropped from just over a second down to 0.8 seconds. Then, in the first sector of the final lap, Bezzecchi took another 0.3 seconds off this gap. Sadly, in the end, Bezzecchi just ran out of road and came home 0.366s behind maiden premier class winner Alex Marquez.

Full Results
1st Alex Marquez Gresini
2nd Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
3rd Maverick Vinales Aprilia
4th Johan Zarco Prima Pramac
5th Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
6th Jorge Martin Prima Parmac
7th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
8th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
9th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
10th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
11th Luca Marini Mooney VR46
12th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
13th Enea Bastianini Ducati
14th Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
15th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
16th Pol Espargaro GASGAS Tech3
17th Joan Mir Repsol Honda
18th Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
19th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
20th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
21st Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
22nd Icer Lecuona LCR Honda
Championship Standings
1st Pecco Bagnaia 194 points
2nd Marco Bezzecchi 167 points
3rd Jorge Martin 163 points
4th Johann Zarco 115 points
5th Brad Binder 115 points

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP on Twitter

MotoGP: Bagnaia Takes Dominant Win as Podium Changes After Flag for DutchGP

In the last race before the 5-week summer break, the iconic Assen TT circuit has given us another brilliant race with difficult conditions and a close field to overcome.

Pecco Bagnaia has mastered the tricky, hot track conditions at the DutchGP to take a truly dominant victory. He led almost every lap of the race on his way to extending his championship lead.

After his brilliant pole positions and sprint race win, Marco Bezzecchi was thrilled with another podium today as he came home in 2nd place. He dropped back to 3rd at the race start, giving himself the challenge of fighting with Brad Binder for 2nd.

It was Binder who crossed the line in 3rd but, after a dramatic post-flag penalty for exceeding track limits, he was demoted to 4th. Replays showed that the South African touched the green part of the kerb with a fraction of his front tire – however, this was enough to set off the sensors and land him a penalty. He will feel very hard done by after facing the same fate in yesterday’s sprint race – It was the same kerb at the same part of the race that saw him miss out on a podium.

This meant that Aleix Espargraro was promoted to the 3rd place after a really positive race for the Aprilia rider. This is his first podium of the year – a surprise to many after his very strong showing at pre-season testing. He will be hoping to carry this momentum through the summer break and on to Silverstone in 5 weeks time. It was an impressive run for Espgararo who was nursing an injured bike after contact with Luca Marini’s rear tire at the start of the race.

Image Credit: MotoGP

It was a much more difficult day for Jack Miller, celebrating his 200th race, and Johann Zarco, celebrating his 250th race. Miller was the first rider to go down on lap 2, followed by Zarco, who was taken out by Fabio Quartararo on lap 3.

In the end, we only had 14 riders complete the full 26 lap race thanks to a number of riders falling victim to the 50-degree track temperatures and the numerous issues this caused.

As It Happened

As the riders made their way on to the grid, we were able to see their tire choices and how the riders were aiming to tackle the undoubtedly hot and greasy track conditions – tires were always going to prove crucial today. All riders, except two, were on the hard front tires. Half the grid then opted for a soft rear tire, the other half opting for a medium rear. Most notably were Brad Binder and Jack Miller who had opted for that soft rear – it looked as though they were aimed for a strong start to the race with that choice.

The lights went out and, as anticipated, there was quickly a lot of action up and down the grid. Polesitter, Marco Bezzecchi was swallowed by the chasing pack and quickly dropped down to 3rd. Binder, in typical Binder fashion, had a flying start. He saw a small gap on the inside of turn 1 and made a very late move, throwing his bike up and into the lead.

Further back, Jack Miller was sitting in 8th and hunting down Maverick Vinales in 7th. He then made a move on the start-finish straight at the start of lap 2. However, as Vinales tried to retake the position, Miller lost the bike under him slid out into the gravel at turn 1. Thanks to this clear air, Vinales was able to then take fastest lap.

It wasn’t long before the next incident and on lap 3, Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco went down at turn 7- the fastest part of the track. The replays showed that the front of Quartararo’s bike folded underneath him and he collected Zarco as he went down. It was clearly a huge impact for both riders, who looked battered and bruised. Quartararo was then helped out of the gravel as he limped away.

It was on the same lap that Pecco Bagnaia stole the lead away from Binder.

One more lap later, it was Vinales’ turn to go down. He was making moves up the field but sadly went down at turn 8. That’s four riders going down across 3 laps!

All these incidents helped to promote Jorge Martin, Miguel Oliveira and Alex Marquez who were running in 6th, 7th and 8th respectively. There was now a huge battle for 5th place, with 6 riders all in the fight. On lap 6, Luca Marini, who had been leading this pack, fell back from 5th to 10th in the space on one corner. This meant that Aleix Espargaro, running in a comfortable 4th, was gifted a 2.5s gap over this fighting group.

On lap 7, Enea Bastianini crashed out at turn 5 whilst running in 8th – he tried to get the bike back up and running again but it was a lost cause as the flames started to appear at the back of the Ducati machine.

At the midpoint of the race, we still had Bagnaia leading the field, with Binder hot on his tail in 2nd. Binder was able to gain a huge amount on the leader in every breaking zone, but wasn’t able to convert this into a move for the lead.

Everything across the field seemed to calm down as we drew ever closer to the chequered flag. The biggest drama came when Oliveira, running in 10th, made a mistake at turn 15. He then retired a lap later, suggesting it was a mechanical issue. A few laps later, we then had Iker Lecuona drop to the back of the field before also retiring with a mechanical issue. Lecuona is here this weekend to stand in for the injured Joan Mir.

With the laps ticking down now, Bezzecchi decided now was the time to make a move and lay down his intentions to win. On lap 17 of 26, he made a move on Binder, who tried hard to counter this. This battle then gave a 1.2s lead for Bagnaia.

Bezzecchi, now in 2nd and with some clean air in front of him, was gaining between 0.3s and 0.4s per lap on Bagnaia and looked like he might be making a late move for the victory.

After losing 2nd place, Binder was now in 3rd and falling back in to the clutches of Espargaro who was desperately seeking his first podium of the year.

There were gaps forming between most riders on the grid now and it appeared that the hot track conditions were hampering everyone from making late moves.

This meant that nothing changed on the track and Bagnaia took the chequered flag, ahead of Bezzcchi and Binder. Espargaro came home in 4th, but would soon be promoted to 3rd after Binder’s last lap penalty for track limits.

Jorge Martin, despite a difficult weekend where he seemed to be quite off the pace, came home in 5th. He was just ahead of Alex Marquez in 6th, Luca Marini in 7th and Takaaki Nakagami in 8th. Rounding out the top 10 were Franco Morbidelli in 9th and Augusto Fernandez in 10th.

Full Results
1 Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo
2 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
3 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
4 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
5 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
6 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing
7 Luca Marini Mooney VR46
8 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
9 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha
10 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
11 Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia
12 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
13 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda
14 Jonas Folger GASGAS Tech3
Championship Standings
1 Pecco Bagnaia 194 points
2 Jorge Martin 159 points
3 Marco Bezzecchi 158 points
4 Brad Binder 114 points
5 Johann Zarco 109 points

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Bagnaia Cruises to Victory in Portugal

Our reigning MotoGP Champion, Pecco Bagnaia, has enjoyed a dream start to his 2023 season after taking a clean sweep in the first weekend of action. The Ducati rider has won Saturday’s Sprint Race before going on to dominate in Sunday’s Feature Race. He was joined on the podium by Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi.

After making history by winning MotoGP’s first ever Sprint Race on Saturday, Pecco Bagnaia has carried on his winning streak on Sunday, with victory at the Portuguese GP Feature Race. He took the lead on Lap 2 and, despite a good challenge from Maverick Vinales, he never looked back and took the chequered flag with a comfortable 0.68 second lead.

Our pole sitter, Marc Marquez, crashed out of the race on Lap 3. He made a huge mistake in the braking zone into Turn 3 and clipped the back of Jorge Martin, who was running in 3rd. As he went down, he clattered into the back of home hero Miguel Oliveira, running in 2nd, and brought him into the gravel with him. His injuries saw Oliveira stretched off track and taken to the medical centre – we are still waiting for an update on his condition. Martin was lucky to stay upright and rejoined the track in 16th, before crashing out of the race at Turn 2, on Lap 20 of 25.

Taking advantage of this drama was Maverick Vinales who carefully made his way through the incident and found himself up to 2nd, after starting 7th. He was quickly on the back of Bagnaia but didn’t quite have the pace to steal the lead from him. He ended the day in 2nd.

Marco Bezzecchi rounded out the podium spots with a well-earned 3rd place. He took 3rd from Jack Miller on Lap 6 but failed to close the gap on the leading pair. For much of the race, the battle for fourth was where the majority of the action was taking place, and Miller was a key part of this. He battled with Alex Marquez, Brad Binder, Aleix Espargaro and Johann Zarco for much of the race. However, on the final lap, Zarco bested all of them as he leap-frogged from 7th up to 4th with a late move. Alex Marquez, Binder and Miller were forced to settle with 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Fabio Quartararo had a difficult day starting in 10th, losing 5 places at the start and then fighting his way back up to end the race in 8th. He took that spot on the penultimate lap as Espargaro made a mistake that opened the door for the Frenchman.

With 6 riders failing to finish the race, all 14 finishers crossed the line to secure some points. Those non-finishers included Luca Marini who suffered his fourth crash of the weekend – a disappointing start to his season after such a consistent year in 2022 – as well as Fabio Di Giannantonio, who retired with mechanical issues on Lap 11, and Raul Fernandez, who crashed on the penultimate lap of the race.

After a perfect weekend, Bagnaia is sitting pretty at the top of the championship standings. Just behind him is Vinales, lagging behind by 12 points, and Bezzecchi, a further 9 points behind.

We only have to wait 7 days for the drama to continue, as the grid will be in action on the 1st and 2nd of April in Argentina.

Full Results:
1st Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo
2nd Maverick Viñales Aprilia
3rd Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
4th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
5th Alex Marquez Gresini
6th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
7th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
8th Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha
9th Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
10th Alex Rins LCR Honda
11th Joan Mir Repsol Honda
12th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
13th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
14th Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha
Championship Standings:
1st Pecco Bagnaia 37 points
2nd Maverick Vinales 25 points
3rd Marco Bezzecchi 16 point
4th Johann Zarco 15 points
5th Jack Miller 15 points

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Ducati Dominate in Decider!

The last weekend of the 2022 Moto GP season is finally here and the World Championship has yet to be decided. Who will be victorious?

The Decider. Courtesy of: BT Sport Twitter page.

Qualifying:

The sun was shining on Saturday for the qualifying sessions. The last time this type of qualifying would be seen (next year sprint races will be taking over from what fans are used to).

Getting another pole for 2022 was Jorge Martin (Ducati), putting in a fantastic time: 1:29.265, with Marc Marquez (Honda) coming 2nd and completing the front row with Jack Miller (Ducati).

The two championship contenders ended up in 4th (Fabio Quartararo – Yamaha) and 8th (Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati).

To win the title: Fabio needs to win and Bagnaia to finish out of the points to become champion. Bagnaia needs to claim 2 points to be crowned. Both were possible:

Race:

In-front of a sold-out crowd at Valencia the decider was on. With only 27 laps to race, to end the longest ever season in Moto GP history, who would win the race and the championship?

It was a surprise start for Suzuki as Alex Rins got a great start, over-taking everyone to go into first place, leading Martin and Miller into turn one. Bagnaia also got a decent start and managed to make his way into 6th place behind Fabio in 5th.

But it was Marquez in 4th who made the first overtake in the race, passing Miller for 3rd. Fabio took the opportunity to also pass Miller, pushing him back to 5th. Miller managed to pass Quartararo back on the start-finish straight to start lap 2. Seconds later Bagnaia also passed the Frenchman, but they touched, taking one of Bagnaia’s side wings off in the process. Would this hamper Pecco further into the race?

It didn’t seem to matter straight away as Pecco and Fabio fought for 5th place, constantly going backwards and forwards, but it was Bagnaia who won the mini battle. While Brad Binder (KTM) watched on behind.

Racing hard. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

While all that action was happening behind him – Marquez took fastest lap.

Lap 4 – Quartararo re-took his position from Bagnaia, knowing he had to catch up to the leading group. If he was to have a chance at the victory/ championship he had to move forwards.

Next lap saw Pol Esparagro end his last race for Honda early on and seconds later Darryn Binder (Yamaha) also ended his last race in Moto GP.

Lap 6 Miller made a move on Marquez to take 3rd place, while Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) retired.

Brad Binder was all over the back of Bagnaia and on turn 2, lap 9 he managed to safely pass the Ducati after 5 laps of attempting the move. The next rider in his sights was Quartararo. He knew he had the speed to pass and get to the front pack, but he was also very well aware of the two riders he was between. He was one rider eyes were watching.

Next lap on turn 8, yellow flags waved for an ill Marc Marquez, who crashed out of 4th place. The weekend went from bad to worse for the Spaniard.

Gapping started to appear between the riders. The front 3 were 1.339 seconds ahead of Quartararo, who was 1.361 seconds ahead of Bagnaia. Mir who had closed his gap between himself and Pecco suddenly made a move on the Ducati to take 6th place. While Binder put in the fastest lap.

With 14 laps to finish the season Rins continued to lead Martin and Miller.

Unfortunately for Johann Zarco (Ducati) lap 17 saw him crash out and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) retired.

It appeared that Bagnaia was having slight issues with his Ducati following on from the winglet that came off during the battle with Quartararo earlier in the race, as yet another rider passed him to push him back to 8th. Luca Marini (Ducati) was then directly behind him. Would he also pass?

With just 10 laps to go Binder managed to get-through on Quartararo to take 4th position. Could he claim a podium finish?

Riding to the limit. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

It didn’t take long before Marini did indeed pass his fellow-Italian and friend to take 8th place. Bagnaia then had his new teammate behind him. Would he act as a wingman or would he be out for himself?

Having closed the gap at the front – Binder managed to pass Miller to take 3rd but seconds later Miller crashed out of the race on turn 11. While behind them Bastianini did in-fact over-take Bagnaia.

With 3 laps to go: Rins continued to lead the Valencian Grand Prix ahead of Martin, Binder and Quartararo. But Binder had pace and soon passed Martin to take 2nd. Could he fight for the win?

Last lap: There were no changes and Rins took the chequered flag to take victory for the last time for Suzuki. Creating a bitter-sweet moment for the team.

Suzuki will be missed. Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page.

A new World Champion was also crowned as he crossed the line in 9th place – making Bagnaia the 4th different champion in 4 years. It was the biggest comeback in Moto GP history, coming back from a 91 point deficit to take the crown.

Last podium for 2022. Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page.

Top 10 Riders:

1st

A. Rins

2nd

B. Binder

3rd

J. Martin

4th

F. Quartararo

5th

M. Oliveira

6th

J. Mir

7th

L. Marini

8th

E. Bastianini

9th

F. Bagnaia

10th

F. Morbidelli

Top 4 Championship finishers:

1st (World Champion)

F. Bagnaia

265 points

2nd

F. Quartararo

248 points

3rd

E. Bastianini

219 points

4th

A. Espargaro

212 points

First to congratulate Bagnaia on his win was Fabio Quartararo, showing full respect between the two contenders. Second to congratulate Bagnaia was his future teammate Bastianini.

Nothing but respect. Courtesy of: BT Sport Live.

Dreams certainly can come true and this season was proof to never give up. Francesco Bagnaia has become the first Ducati champion in 15 years. The first Italian Ducati champion and the first Italian to win the championship since 2009. He is indeed ‘Perfect Pecco’.

New Moto GP Champion. Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page.

(21+42=63 for the Perfect Combination).

 

As the curtain falls on yet another memorable Moto GP season, everyone can now focus on what will happen next year.

 

 

Featured image: Courtesy of: Moto GP Twitter page.

The fairytale continues for Ducati

Qualifying:

Clouds loomed large overhead on Saturday, but the sunshine prevailed.

Down on the track Marc Marquez (Honda) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) managed to make their way through to Q2. Marquez kept his performance up and claimed 3rd place for Sunday, while Bagnaia unfortunately fell and could only manage 9th on the grid, ahead of Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia). Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) managed 11th place, after also crashing.

Making up the rest of the front row was Enea Bastianini (Ducati) who took 2nd and pole went to Jorge Martin (Ducati), who did a phenomenal lap to not only take pole (his 4th this year and 2nd in a row) but also a new lap record – 1:57.790.

Race:

The weather remained the same through to Sunday and the pressure was mounting. With 20 laps till the end, the drama continued:

Martin started well and kept hold of his lead, but it was Bagnaia who made a fantastic start going straight to 2nd by the first corner. He wasn’t the only one though – Fabio also managed to make up 6 places, but Espargaro fell back to 11th.

Leading on the first lap was Martin from Bagnaia, Bastianini and Marquez.

Leading the group. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

The championship hunt was on!

Lap 2 of 20 and Bastianini looked like he was ready to line a pass up on Bagnaia but would he? Ducati had already confirmed there were to be no team orders, but he would still need to be careful with his decisions.

Martin soon took fastest lap and continued to lead, Bagnaia, Bastianini and Marquez. The leading group had started to break away from Quartararo in 5th.

While some Ducati’s were soaring unfortunately Luca Marini (Ducati) had to retire from the race early on – the first time this season he hadn’t managed to finish a race.

With 17 laps to go: Bastianini still looked menacing behind Bagania for second. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) took his long-lap penalty (which was enforced following on from qualifying sessions and rejoined the race in 10th) and Fabio managed to pass Marquez for 4th – keeping his championship hopes alive.

Marquez in 5th looked like he was in trouble from the two Suzuki’s following closely behind him. On lap 7 Joan Mir managed to pass, forcing Marquez back to 6th. Behind them Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) had also passed Alex Rins (Suzuki) for 7th.

Yellow flags were suddenly waving and a Pramac Ducati was in the gravel – Martin had crashed out of first place on turn 5. All of a sudden, the championship leader was in the lead, with his 2023 teammate following closely behind. Fabio was also up to 3rd. The battle continued.

Next lap Marquez passed Mir back, but Bezzecchi had better pace and managed to pass both riders to go to 4th. Could Bezzecchi help Bagnaia by passing Quartararo?

With 13 laps to go, Bagnaia led Bastianini, Quartararo and Bezzecchi.

Pecco led The Beast. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Gapping had started to appear between the top 4 riders – Bagnaia and Bastianini were 3.156 seconds ahead of Fabio who was 1.156 seconds ahead of Bezzecchi. But Bezzecchi was eating away at his gap to Fabio. Could he fight for a podium spot?

Half-way through the race, Bastianini couldn’t hold back any further and on turn 4 he managed to make a move on fellow Italian Bagnaia to take the lead. Ducati had said no team orders, were they going to commit to this rule? Audiences were on the edge of their seats wondering what would happen next.

With 7 laps to go Bagnaia re-passed Bastianini on the start-finish straight and managed to hold onto first place into turn 1 (lap 16). Every championship point counted, with only one round left.

The lead for the two Italians at the front had decreased to Fabio in 3rd to 1.620 seconds, could he catch up and fight for the win? Bezzecchi behind him seemed to have had tyre issues, after fighting hard early on in the race as the gap between himself and Fabio had increased to 1.523 seconds.

With only 3 laps to go Mir crashed out of his race on turn 1, leaving his teammate to battle Marquez.

The pressure from Bastianini remained constant throughout the entire race even down to the final lap.

Close racing. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Last lap – would Bastianini make a last lap move on the championship leader? He certainly tried too. On turn 9 he made an attempt to pass but went slightly wide leaving Bagnaia free to take his 7th victory this season.

Top 10 Finishers:

1st

F. Bagnaia

2nd

E. Bastianini

3rd

F. Quartararo

4th

M. Bezzecchi

5th

A. Rins

6th

J. Miller

7th

M. Marquez

8th

B. Binder

9th

J. Zarco

10th

F. Morbidelli

Congratulations to Ducati for winning the team championship. 

It’s a team game. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Top 4 Championship:

1st

F. Bagnaia

258 points

2nd

F. Quartararo

235 points

3rd

E. Bastianini

211 points

4th

A. Espargaro

211 points

It is now down to the wire – who will be crowned World Champion in the next round?

In the words of Fabio – “…even if the chance is super small, we bring it to Valencia”. We will see you there!

Then there were two. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

 

 

(Featured image – “Victory tastes sweet”. Courtesy of: Moto GP website).

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