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

El Diablo dominant in Spain

Qualifying:

Sunny conditions in Spain made for a good qualifying session seeing Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) claim pole with 1:38.742. Narrowly missing out on taking the pole for himself – Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) took second and Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), finished the front row.

Marc Marquez (Honda) was not present over the weekend due to having further surgery on his shoulder so Honda’s test-rider Stefan Bradl stepped in.

Sitting on pole. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Race:

All eyes were on the Spanish home-riders (which there were 8 on the grid on Sunday). The brilliant weather conditions remained for Sunday and the crowds were ready.

Aleix got a great start and instantly pulled ahead. But into turn one, Fabio took the lead. More action continued on the turn though as three bikes hurled into the gravel behind. It soon became clear that Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) had gone into the first corner too quick and couldn’t stop in time, taking himself and Alex Rins (Suzuki) out along with him. But, Rins was not the only rider, as Nakagami fell his helmet knocked against Bagnaia’s rear tyre, causing him to also crash seconds later.

The crash. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

It was an unexpected start to the race. However, perhaps a more expected start was how quickly Fabio started to eke away from both Aleix and Jorge Martin (Ducati), who were in second and third.

Another great start came in the form of the now, sole-running Suzuki – Joan Mir, who had made up an impressive 11 places. Starting 17th on the grid and by the end of lap one had made it up to 6th.

The closest they would be to Fabio this race. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Lap 3 saw Martin pass A. Espargaro for 2nd while Quartararo put in the fastest lap.

Bagnaia managed to re-join the race, but only briefly, having to concede and retire to the pits.

With 21 laps to go, Quartararo got another fastest lap and was 1.627 seconds ahead of Martin. Fabio was pushing hard to get a substantial lead.

On lap 6 Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) ended his race early, crashing out on turn 10.

Another rider who had made his way through the pack was Enea Bastianini (Ducati), who was in 7th place and hoping his luck would fair better than the last race (when he crashed out of 6th place). But, bad luck continued to hamper ‘The Beast’ as he crashed out for the second time in a row, this time on lap 8 of 24, turn 5.

Back at the front, the lead had increased further to: 2.534 seconds.

The next lap saw last weeks pole-man Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) tumble into the gravel from 11th place.

With 15 laps to go Aleix passed Martin on the home-straight to re-take 2nd place, knowing he had to get the gap down between himself and Fabio. But the Ducati riders – Martin and Johann Zarco had other ideas and managed to keep him with them. But, in doing so helped in extending Quartararo’s lead, which was 3.862 seconds with 11 laps till the chequered flag.

Martin wasn’t going to have any of it. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

‘The Martinator’ re-took 2nd on lap 16, wanting to catch Fabio himself, who had managed to add yet another second to his lead. Martin however, had the same problem Aleix had, he couldn’t gap the two riders behind him. Meaning all three riders remained in their group 3.420 seconds ahead of Joan Mir (Suzuki), who had managed to pass Luca Marini (VR46) to take 5th position.

4 laps remaining and Espargaro passed Martin again to claim 2nd once more. Both Spanish men wanted to impress at home. But, it would seem no-one was going to be able to catch Quartararo, who was nearly 6 seconds ahead of the group. (Not even chest protector issues would stop him this year).

 

6 seconds ahead for victory. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Fabio crossed the finish line with one lap to go, time to really concentrate to bring back the victory. Bizarrely though as Aleix crossed the line moments after he started to shake his head and slow down, seemingly the unthinkable had happened – perhaps he had an electrical fault on the last lap? But, then his hands went up waving to the crowd. He had mistaken his last lap as the last lap of the race. Only to suddenly realise there was still one more lap, rejoining behind Marini in 6th. There were no words to describe the disappointment he must have felt, handing over a solid podium finish. He did manage to pass Marini for 5th place but, it was Quartararo who crossed the finish line to take the win whilst celebrating by ‘checking his watch’. Martin finished 2nd and team-mate Zarco claimed 3rd.

Top Ten race finishers:

1st

F. Quartararo

2nd

J. Martin

3rd

J. Zarco

4th

J. Mir

5th

A. Espargaro

6th

L. Marini

7th

M. Vinales

8th

B. Binder

9th

M. Oliveira

10th

A. Marquez

Top Four championship standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

147 points

2nd

A. Espargaro

125 points

3rd

E. Bastianini

94 points

4th

J. Zarco

91 points

After two DNF’s in a row, it was nice to see Mir claim 4th position. There is now only 22 points seperating the top two riders, even with Aleix’s unfortunate mistake, the championship is still very close.

What will happen in round 10?

 

 

 

Featured image. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

A twist in the tale at Catalunya

Qualifying:

It is a home track for many of the riders but it was a Frenchman that claimed pole.

During Q1 Marc Marquez (Honda) decided to follow and gain a tow from Jack Miller (Ducati). Unfortunately, given his best efforts, this didn’t help Marquez and he couldn’t manage better than 13th  place.

Marquez follows Miller. Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Miller on the other-hand made it all the way through and finished on the front row. Even a crash didn’t interfere with his result.

Viewers may have noticed that Alex Rins (Suzuki) wasn’t out on track, this was due to a cycling accident that occurred off-track where he went into a Dorna vehicle and hurt his wrist. He would also not participate in the race.

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) would start from pole (his fifth pole in a row this year). Miller second and Zarco third – finishing the front row.

Race:

The Catalan circuit always produces some entertaining races and this one was no exception. But there was a twist in the script book, which saw it  be thrown completely out of the window.

Prior to the race, Jorge Martin (Ducati) had an accident and was made to start from the pit-lane, from 15th slot on the grid.

Once the lights turned green it was all go – Miller and Miguel Oliveira (KTM) managed to get past Quartararo on the straight. Knowing they had to make a break for it and disrupt Fabio’s rhythm.

All riders were so close together, quickly creating battles between: Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) and Brad Binder (KTM). Miller and Quartararo. Joan Mir (Suzuki) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).

Mir got a fantastic start and went from tenth to fourth by turn seven, lap one.

All within the first three laps Quartararo and Miller tussled for second place but Quartararo came out worse and made a mistake causing the other riders to take full advantage, pushing him down to fifth. Mir passed Espargaro. Oliveira got fastest lap. Zarco passed Quartararo. Bagnaia then took fastest lap. Quartararo re-took fourth position back from Zarco and Binder went into the rear of Vinales – both riders remained on the track and un-hurt and finally fastest lap went back to Oliveira.

Quartararo soon gained his composure back and started to hunt down the riders in front. He passed A. Espargaro and Mir was next on the radar. On the same lap, Pol Espargaro (Honda) crashed out of the race, turn 5, lap 5.

Courtesy of: Moto GP website

All the riders knew they had to conserve their tyres as much as possible but it was hard to think this was in the fore-front of their minds as all top 6 racers (bar Oliveira) were constantly battling for positions. By lap 7, Quartararo re-gained second place, managed to get fastest lap in the process and was soon hot-on-the-heels of the KTM.

Meanwhile, Danilo Petrucci (KTM) crashed turn 9.

Riding well was Marc Marquez, with 17 laps left in 7th position chasing A. Espargaro and Zarco down. But then disaster struck and he crashed out (for the third time in a row) on the infamous turn 10. With Pol, his team-mate already out, neither factory Honda riders gained any points at their home race.

It went from bad to worse for Honda, with Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) receiving a long lap penalty for taking a shortcut through turns one and two. Alex Marquez (Honda) would take the best finish result for the manufacturer in 11th.

With 15 laps to the chequered flag Oliveira still led Quartararo, Mir, Miller and Zarco.

The next local boy to have a DNF was A. Espargaro, same turn as Marquez a few laps earlier.

Meanwhile at the front of the pack positions were being swapped again. Quartararo passed Oliveira on turn 5, half-way through the race. But the Portuguese rider had other plans and soon re-took the lead. Zarco passed Miller for fourth and Miller and Mir had a mini battle which saw Miller win.

Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Turn 10 soon took out yet another rider, this time it was the nine-time world champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) who took to the dirt, with 8 laps until the end.

Iker Lecuona (KTM) then tumbled, turn 13, lap 18.

Six laps until the race finish gapping had started to appear between the racers. Oliveira and Quartararo were out on their own in 1st and 2nd. Zarco, Miller, Mir and Vinales were in another group fighting for the last podium position.

The number 88 (Oliveira) started to pull away from 20 (Quartararo) and Zarco was soon on his rear. Lap 22 Zarco passed his fellow Frenchman on the start-finish straight. Moments later Fabio lost the front of his bike a-little and he went off track but rejoined in-front of Miller. Slotting into third.

Then a very unusual thing happened, Quartararo’s leathers were suddenly open and he had pulled out his chest protector. Both things had become a safety issue but the race officials did not bring out a black flag for the rider. Instead he was allowed to carry on racing. The rules clearly state that “…equipment must be worn, correctly fastened, at all times during on-track activity”. This has caused controversy already. When asked at the end of the race Fabio was hesitant to give an explanation and said that enquiries were already being held on the matter and that the incident wasn’t his fault.

Courtesy of: Moto GP

However, on the last lap he received a three-second penalty for a different rule-break – a shortcut on turns one and two, just like Nakagami earlier on in the race. Meaning that his position in third was given to Miller.

Oliveira went on to win his third ever race in Moto GP, from Zarco and Miller.

Oliveira consistently putting in the laps. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

As there were only 15 riders to finish the race, everyone got at least one point towards their championship positions.

Championship results:

First

Quartararo

121 points

Second

Zarco

101 points

Third

Bagnaia

88 points

Fourth

Miller

87 points

Race results:

First

Oliveira

Second

Zarco

Third

Miller

Fourth

Quartararo

Fifth

Mir

Sixth

Vinales

Seventh

Bagnaia

Eighth

Binder

Ninth

Morbidelli

Tenth

Bastianini

Sachsenring (Germany) is next on the calendar – Sunday 20th June – Marc Marquez has never been beaten there. Will we see a miraculous win from the Spaniard or will there be a new King of the track?

 

 

Wishing all the best to Alex Rins and Suzi Perry in their recovery.

 

 

(Featured image: Celebrating with the fans – Courtesy of Moto GP)

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