MotoGP: Perfection from Pecco In Spielberg!

Feature Image Credit: Joel Cooper Photography LTD

Pecco Bagnaia obliterated the field today and showed everyone why he’s the current reigning world champion. Total domination from the Ducati number 1 in the Austrian mountain’s. A fantastic performance and 50th Grand Prix podium for Pecco. Pecco was simply too strong for KTMs Brad Binder finishing 2nd and Marco Bezzecchi, to the delight of team boss Valentino Rossi, finishing in 3rd place.  

AS IT HAPPENED

Ducati have clearly made improvements to the launch control, as Pecco got off to a fantastic start leading after turn 1. KTM’s home race rider Binder in 2nd, teammate Jack Miller and VR46s Luca Marini side by side, 3rd and 4th as they came out of turn 1, heading to the chicane at turn 2.

 

Jorge Martin up 4 places to 8th on the first lap, still with a long lap penalty to serve for the antics at turn 1 in the sprint race yesterday afternoon. Maverick Viñales down to 11th place from the front row of the grid, another disastrous start for the factory Aprilia rider.

Across the line to start lap 2 and Pecco leads from Binder in 2nd and almost a second gap to Miller in 3rd place. Binder eager to get by Pecco here as the KTM rider can’t sit too long on the wheel of Pecco, as front tyre temperatures will go through the roof fairly quickly.

Onto lap 3 now with Binder setting the fastest lap of the race , the KTM stand cheering on Binder doing all he can to keep up and possibly get by Pecco to take the lead. Coming to the end of lap 3 and Miller is beginning to fade as Miller is falling into the clutches of Alex Marquez and the the VR46 riders Bezzecchi and Marini close behind.

Pecco responds to Binder posting the fastest lap of the race on lap 3, and as we head into lap 4, Jorge Martin serves his long lap penalty to come back out just ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli in 13th place.

Lap 5 and getting the drive from turn 8 and down into turn 9, Marquez made it look easy as he went by Miller. Things going from bad to worse for the Australian, as VR46 Ducati’s Bezzecchi and Marini go by as Miller goes from 3rd to 6th.

Miguel Oliveira’s woes continue as we see Oliveira return to the pits retiring from the race, the performance of the bike matching the special livery for today’s Grand Prix. Hopefully Oliveira can catch some good fortune next time out in Barcelona.

As the laps tick by its clear Pecco is in control at the front, although trying all he can it doesn’t look like Binder has an answer for bike #1 today. The dream win for KTM at their home Grand Prix is slipping away from them.

Jack Miller under further pressure now as Viñales who started on the front row is desperate to get passed and up to 6th place. Viñales getting frustrated running wide at turn 4 giving Miller some breathing room as Viñales shakes his head coming out of the corner.

Bezzecchi now the fastest rider on track battling with Marquez for the final podium position. Viñales eventually getting through on Miller with Pecco holding station at the front.

Lap 12 now and quickly coming up to half race distance. Aleix Espargaro goes by Miller as he continues to go the wrong way. Enea Bastianini now hot on the heels of the Australian, gets by and Martin quickly follows. Surely something is wrong with the Australians KTM this afternoon. Losing 3 places on lap 12.

Martin eager to make up the time lost in the long lap penalty goes up the inside of Bastianini as Bastianini gets it wrong at the chicane. A slow exit gifting the place to Martin as Martin goes by into turn 3. Jorge Martin now up to 8th place and a great recovery from the Prima Pramac Ducati rider.

At the half way point now, and a great midfield battle is developing as Bastianini is dicing with Zarco getting by into 10th place. At the front of the race its business as usual. Pecco is controlling the race with over as second of a gap to Binder in 2nd.

Bike number #72 fighting with bike number #73 for the final podium position now on lap 16. Bezzecchi runs up the inside of Marquez but too deep into turn 1 and unable to get by into third place. On equal machinery can Marquez hang onto 3rd for what would be a great podium for the Gresini Racing team.

 

Midway through lap 19 now. Pecco with a 2.558 seconds gap to Binder in 2nd. Binder to Marquez in 3rd with a gap of 2.923 seconds. Unless the front two riders have taken too much out of their tyres, it looks like the front two positions are settled already here in Austria. A masterclass from the world champ and a great ride so far from Binder,  who celebrates his contract extension this weekend at the home Grand Prix for the KTM team.

Bezzecchi ever determined to get by Marquez has another failed attempt at dive bombing into turn 1 and has a look at turn 8 later in the lap but not quite close enough to attack. Bezzecchi right up behind Marquez as they cross the start finish straight now with 7 laps to go. Bezzecchi trying to get by in the first few corners running too deep again, brings his teammate Marini into the mix now. The battle for 3rd heating up in the final phase of the race.

Bezzecchi now with better traction out of turn 8 and down into turn 9 goes by Marquez and up into 3rd. Marini now onto the back wheel of Marquez with 6 laps to go as they come across the straight finish line.

5 laps to go now and Pecco is 5 seconds clear of Binder in 2nd and Binder almost 3 seconds clear of Bezzecchi in 3rd. Bezzecchi already pulling a gap to Marquez after battling with Marquez for so long in this race. Marini keen to get by Marquez in the closing stages. The front two of the race seemingly cruising to the finish.

In the midfield, Martin up to 7th place and a great recovery after the long lap penalty starting in 12th place. Fabio Quartararo also in 9th. A much better race weekend for Yamaha with Morbidelli also in 11th after the torrid time in Silverstone.

As Valentino Rossi cheers on his VR46 riders Bezzecchi 3rd and Marini now up into 4th, Pecco is way ahead with 3 laps to go here in the Styria mountainside. A picturesque setting with a performance to match, as nobody can keep up with Pecco here today in Austria.

Onto the last lap now and factory Ducati superstar and bike #1 is comfortably clear of Binder in the KTM and cruising to victory. Bezzecchi set to take the final podium position here in Spielberg.

A 62 point lead now in the championship for Pecco as we have a brief rest before racing again in Catalunya at the beginning of September. What a performance from the Bologna Bullet as he marches on towards his 2nd world title in MotoGP.

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: Magnificent Martin Dominates Sprint Race in Le Mans

Le Mans has given us another action-packed sprint race, with breathtaking battles from start to finish. Our winner, Jorge Martin was simply peerless today, whilst Pecco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez, who is back to his old ways after 3 races away, jostled for the majority of the race.

Jorge Martin was in a league of his own on his way to win the sprint race at the French GP in Le Mans. Having started the race in 5th, he enjoyed a brilliant start and was up to 2nd before the exit of turn 1. It was then lap 4 when he finally took the lead and he never looked back, quickly building a gap between himself and his nearest competitors. As the chequered flag fell, he wheelied across the line to take a dominant victory.

Brad Binder took a well-deserved 2nd place today, taking advantage of a race-long battle between Marc Marquez and Pecco Bagnaia. As the pair were fighting, he snuck up the inside to claim second place and, much like our race winner, was able to quickly put clear air behind him. However, that gap ahead was always just slightly too big and he couldn’t find a way to take the fight to Martin.

Championship leader and today’s pole sitter, Bagnaia, came home in 3rd after that race-long battle with Marquez. The pair were jostling for most of the race, closely on each other’s tail and making aggressive moves to try and best each other. It looked as though it might end in disaster multiple times but, eventually, it was the Italian who eventually came out on top.

After 7 breathtaking laps of fighting and overtaking, it was on lap 10 of 13 that he finally made his way past Marquez and made sure to quickly shut the door to avoid any counter-attacks. The nail-biting fight was then quickly over as Bagnaia pulled ahead of Marquez to put clean air between the pair.

Marquez, who is back on the grid after missing the previous 3 races, eventually ended the day in 5th. It seemed that he may have started to fatigue at the same time as Bagnaia’s tyres came into their sweet spot – a bad combination but he will have plenty of positives to take away from his performance today, ahead of tomorrow’s main race.

It looked like this potential fatiguing then made Marquez a bit of a sitting duck for Luca Marini, who was able to make his way up to 4th on lap 11. Marini has enjoyed a fantastic day, progressing from Q1 to then secure 3rd in Q2. He lost a few places at the start of the spring race but more than made up for this with his performance towards the end of the race.

It was a tougher day for Jack Miller and home hero Fabio Quatararo, who both failed to meet the chequered flag.

Miller enjoyed a brilliant start, flying off the line to steal 3rd from Marini early on. The Aussie, who has previously enjoyed a lot of success in sprint races, couldn’t emulate that success today as he went down in the middle of Museum Corner on the second lap. He was visibly frustrated to make an error that ended his race so prematurely.

Then, on lap 10, Quartararo went down at the same corner. The bike just folded underneath him as he helplessly slid into the gravel. The home crowd were clearly disappointed as a stunned silence fell over the grandstands. Today has been a difficult day for the Frenchman – a day that has gone from bad to worse after his inability to progress out of Q1.

The final points-scoring positions were filled by Johann Zarco, Marco Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales in 6th to 9th respectively. Vinales had a terrible qualifying session where a bike issue hampered his second run whilst he was sat in provisional pole – it is certainly a day of “what if’s” for the Spaniard.

The main race will take place at 2pm local time on Sunday. If the sprint race is anything to go by, it should be a race filled with action and drama!

Full Results
1st Jorge Martin Prima Prama
2nd Brad Binder Red Bull KTM +1.840s
3rd Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo +2.632s
4th Luca Marini Monney VR46 +3.418s
5th Marc Marquez Repsol Honda +3.541s
6th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac +4.483s
7th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 +5.224s
8th Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +6.359s
9th Maverick Vinales Aprilia +8.336s
10th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda +9.439s
11th Alex Rins LCR Honda +12.388s
12th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini +14.125s
13th Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha +15.121
14th Joan Mir Repsol Honda +15.383
15th Alex Marquez Gresini +15.591
16th Danilo Petrucci Ducati Lenovo +19.415
17th Lorenzo Savadori CryptoDATA RNF +26.992
DNF Fabio Quatararo Monster Energy Yamaha
DNF Jonas Folger GASGAS Tech3
DNF Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
DNF Jack Miller Red Bull KTM

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).

The drama continues in Thailand

Qualifying:

Moto GP was finally back in Thailand!

But it wasn’t the only return this weekend. Danilo Petrucci also returned to the paddock, taking Joan Mir’s spot at Suzuki, who was still unable to ride.

Glorious sunny conditions graced the track, which had a nice surprise in store for everyone – 2022 rookie – Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) flew into pole position, ahead of Jorge Martin (Ducati) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), who took last spot on the front row.

Race:

The weather was turned on its head for Sunday. Big black clouds loomed large overhead and with them came torrential rain, which managed to hamper the start of the race, delaying it so far that audiences weren’t sure it was even going to go ahead.

Some riders protested against the start of the race while others wanted to go racing. The crowd at the circuit however were determined to not let the weather get them down and they remained in fantastically high spirits.

The race was later declared a wet race and with that, a decision to remove one lap from the race, taking it from 26 laps to 25 in total.

The green lights eventually went out and the race began:

Martin immediately went wide into turn one as did Bezzecchi, but he managed to remain in the lead ahead of Bagnaia and Jack Miller (Ducati).

Start of the race. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Championship leader – Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) made a mistake also early on, on the first lap taking him from 11th to 17th place. The championship points changing right before our eyes.

There was heavy spray coming from all the riders, making visibility poor, but one rider who was not perturbed by this was Alex Marquez (Honda), who had the best start, claiming 10 places and was up to 10th position. What could he achieve further into the race?

Lap 2 saw Bezzecchi be told he needed to give a position back due to exceeding track limits (when he went wide) on the 1st lap. Meanwhile, behind him, Miller made a move on his teammate to take him into 2nd. He was in prime spot to take the lead when Bezzecchi would eventually have to let him pass.

Alex Marquez wasn’t finished making up places and soon passed Enea Bastianini (Ducati) to take 9th spot on lap 3. On the same lap – Bezzecchi moved out of the racing-line to let Miller pass. Miller then led Bezzecchi, Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira (KTM). In 6th place, Luca Marini crashed out, but he did manage to later re-join the race.

Sensing he needed to start to break away and gain a lead, Miller soon took fastest lap but it was quickly surpassed by Oliveira. Miguel also managed to pass Bezzecchi to claim another spot and Bagnaia followed, taking his opportunity too.

Miller led Oliveira, Bagnaia and Bezzecchi by lap 6 of 25.

Oliveira threw down the gauntlet for fastest lap, putting in an impressive lap time of 1:39.920. Could he fight for the victory?

Hunting Miller. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Meanwhile a mini battle for 7th place had started with A. Marquez passing Zarco, only for Zarco to pass straight back.

While that battle raged on, Miller and Oliveira started to create a gap at the front. A. Espargaro (Aprilia) on the other hand was having a bad weekend and was given a long-lap penalty for dangerous riding earlier on in the race. Would this result change the championship standings?

Still on the move – Alex Marquez managed to pass a further 2 riders, placing him behind his brother in 5th place. On the same lap Bagnaia picked up the fastest lap gauntlet and with it threw down a lap time of: 1:39.566. This was a great achievement by Bagnaia as he struggled last weekend in the wet conditions during qualifying. He later claimed that his teammate gave him a ‘pep-talk’ before this weekend’s race, which helped him this round.

The black clouds still gathered above but with them came the thunder. Would there be any further drama during the race?

Dark clouds above. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

14 laps until the end, Miller still led Oliveira and Bagnaia, with championship leader – Quartararo remaining in 18th place (out of the points). Could Fabio find something extra and manage to gain any valuable points?

2 laps later Oliveira set up a pass on Miller and took the lead. Miller tried to fight back but went wide. He decided to wait until the start-finish straight to use the full power of the Ducati to pass him back but, it came to no avail. Oliveira remained in 1st place.

It was then the turn of Frenchman Johann Zarco to take fastest lap, in 5th place. Not only did he manage it twice in a row but with 7 laps to go he managed to claim it a 3rd time (1:39.185). Could he fight for a podium position?

Only 5 laps until the chequered flag and M. Marquez made a move on Bagnaia for 3rd but couldn’t make it stick. In making the move, Marquez helped bring Zarco into the mix, who was looking menacing behind the number 93.

It only took until the next lap for Zarco to pass Marquez to claim 4th position. The podium was now in his sights.

Nothing in Thailand was going to dampen the drama unfolding on track, not even further black clouds and louder claps of thunder.

With 2 laps to go the KTM still led the 3 Ducati’s with Marquez’s Honda in 5th spot.

Last lap-

Bastianini managed to find some late race pace and managed to get up to 6th, behind Marquez, but he couldn’t quite make any move on him.

Oliveira passed the finish line to take the win, with Miller taking 2nd and Bagnaia bagging 3rd. The championship leader remained out of the points. A completely different story from round 16.

The championship still remains open for grabs.

Top Ten Finishers:

1st

M. Oliveira

2nd

J. Miller

3rd

F. Bagnaia

4th

J. Zarco

5th

M. Marquez

6th

E. Bastianini

7th

M. Vinales

8th

A. Marquez

9th

J. Martin

10th

B. Binder

Top Four Championship Standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

219 points

2nd

F. Bagnaia

217 points

3rd

A. Espargaro

199 points

4th

E. Bastianini

180 points

Such exciting racing and close positions in the championship – there is now only 2 points between Fabio and Pecco! So, be sure not to miss the Australian round in 2 weeks’ time!

 

 

(Featured image – Jump for Joy. Courtesy of: Moto GP website). 

Both heartbreak and elation at Motegi.

Qualifying:

Heavy rain poured down in Japan for the start of the qualifying but by Q2 it had stopped, the track however was still drenched. The riders went out cautiously.

A surprise, but not a complete surprise, came from one rider – Marc Marquez. He showed he was still very much a champion and put his Honda back on pole position (his first pole since Motegi in 2019). Behind him Johann Zarco (Ducati) took second place and Brad Binder (KTM) took the last slot on front row.

Rainy conditions wouldn’t stop Marc Marquez. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) qualified 9th. 12th was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) and in 6th was Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) – the top championship contenders.

Race:

Clear skies graced the track on Sunday but that didn’t mean drama wasn’t just round the corner.

Aleix Espargaro had issues with his Aprilia from the start of the sighting lap, before the race had even begun, forcing him to return to pit lane, where he then literally dropped his bike to take his number 2 bike out. He managed to get out of the pit lane in time to join onto the back of the race.

Back on the grid – Marquez got a great start from pole, but Binder had an even better one and was soon leading, from Marquez and Martin. Martin, however, was quick to take 2nd and by turn 3 had also managed to pass Binder to take the lead.

There was another man on a mission though in the form of Jack Miller (Ducati). He had managed to pass both Miguel Oliveria (KTM) and Marquez, in one swift move, to take 3rd place.

Every championship point rang in their ears: – Quartararo was down in 8th place, behind him in 11th was Bagnaia and Espargaro had made it to 22nd. What could any of them do?

Meanwhile Miller had passed next year’s teammate (Binder) to take another spot (2nd) on lap 3 of 24. While fastest lap went to Oliveira.

Up to second. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

With 22 laps to go Miller fought Martin for the lead – he won and with it took fastest lap. Miller seemed to be untouchable.

In 8th place, Quartararo was under pressure by Luca Marini (Ducati) with 21 laps to go but so was Bagnaia from Bastianini. Enea managed to pass Pecco but Pecco took the position straight back. Meanwhile Marini had also passed Quartararo and managed to make it stick. There was only Pol Espargaro (Honda) between the top two of the championship.

Under pressure by Marini. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Zarco who had had a great qualifying session had fallen backwards throughout the race and perhaps had an issue with his bike. It was a gift for Quartararo who took 8th spot and Bagnaia promoted himself to 10th. Bastianini was still all over the Ducati rider though, waiting to attack.

With 17 laps to go gapping was being created – Miller’s gap between himself and Martin had grown to 1.046 seconds and Martin’s gap to Oliveira also had grown to 1.115 seconds. Bastianini managed to pass Bagnaia to take 10th place from him. There certainly were no team orders from Ducati. Bagnaia then had to worry about Marco Bezzecchi (another Ducati) who was already very close behind.

Passing Bagnaia. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Bastianini soon had pulled away and had already closed the gap between himself and P. Espargaro, managing to pass him on lap 11 of 24. It turned out Bagnaia had nothing to worry about with Bezzecchi as Bagnaia also passed Pol, after Pol made a slight mistake. Now up to 10th place, directly behind Bastianini once more.

Halfway through the race and Takuya Tsuda (who had stepped in for Mir at Suzuki) suddenly had his bike on fire beneath him, causing yellow flags to be waved at sector 2 (turn 5) and ultimately ending his home race.

In 7th place Marini was looking menacing behind Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) and soon had passed him to claim 6th spot and on the same lap (lap 14) Darryn Binder ended his race early sliding off into the gravel. He managed to re-join the race but retired a few laps later.

Back in front, Miller couldn’t put a foot wrong, with his metronomic lap times and a gap of 4.369 seconds ahead of Martin, the chequered flag was in reaching distance. Could he win his first race this year?

5 laps to go and Miller remained in command of the Japanese race, while his teammate also managed to dig deep and find some form, beginning to shrink the gap between himself and his future teammate. Into turn 12 he managed to pass Bastianini to take 9th, now he had Quartararo in his sights.

Martin, who had remained in 2nd place for quite some time, was under pressure from Binder. With only 3 laps until the end, who would take 2nd?

Behind them Honda rider Marquez had managed to pass Oliveira to take 4th with 2 laps left. Could he fight for the podium?

Last lap:

Miller continued to lead.

Behind him though, binder passed Martin to take 2nd –

Second-in-the-championship-man Bagnaia suddenly crashed out of 9th, applauding himself for his mistake, while he walked away.

Marini passed Oliveira but couldn’t quite make it stick, crossing the line.

But nothing could stop Jack today – the Thriller was back!

Top Ten Finishers:

1st

J. Miller

2nd

B. Binder

3rd

J. Martin

4th

M. Marquez

5th

M. Oliveira

6th

L. Marini

7th

M. Vinales

8th

F. Quartararo

9th

E. Bastianini

10th

M. Bezzecchi

This is Bagnaia’s 5th DNF this season and his teammate’s first Moto GP victory this year, it was both heartbreak and elation for Ducati.

Top 4 Championship Standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

219 points

2nd

F. Bagnaia

201 points

3rd

A. Espargaro

194 points

4th

E. Bastianini

170 points

None of the top championship riders could quite capitalize on today’s race, so the championship is still up for grabs with only 4 more races, who will be crowned World Champion?

 

 

(Featured image: Courtesy of Moto GP website). 

Aragon = All-out Action!

Qualifying:

Big news of the weekend is that Marc Marquez (Honda) is finally back, after his surgery which was a complete success this time around. He had some work to do to try and get through to Q2 but, yellow flags hampered him and he narrowly missed out going through to Q2, meaning he would start 13th on Sunday.

It was also a warm welcome back to British racer Cal Crutchlow, who will be racing for the rest of the season in Andrea Dovisiozo’s place at Yamaha.

Good news for Ducati though as it was a lock-out on the front-row for them. Francesco Bagnaia took pole with an all-time lap record – 1:46.69, from current teammate Jack Miller and next year’s teammate Enea Bastianini.

Pole! Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Race:

Sunshine was beaming and the anticipation was bubbling along nicely.

It was all action from lights out – Bagnaia remained in the lead from Miller and Bastianini. While Marquez had made an impressive start and was up into 6th place by turn 2, when suddenly championship leader Fabio Quartararo rode into the rear wheel of Marquez, propelling him from his Yamaha and flying him across the track, lucky not to get caught up in other riders behind him, he recovered on the side of the track. (A medical update later revealed that he had numerous burns to his chest – we wish him a speedy recovery). With this one sudden moment, the championship was flung wide-open!

Fabio’s crash. Courtesy of: Moto GP footage

A few moments later Marquez was checking his Honda as there was some of Fabio’s Yamaha lodged in the rear of it when Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) nudged him, sending Nakagami also into the line of on-coming bikes and then into the gravel. Quick reactions from the riders behind meant no further collisions were caused. (Medical updates later confirmed Nakagami is doing well but has visited the medical centre, we wish him a speedy recovery also).

Nakagami incident. Courtesy of: Moto GP BT Sport footage

The action wasn’t over yet though as Marquez’s bike started to smoke from the rear, the Yamaha parts that had gotten lodged in the bike must have damaged his rear wheel. He was forced to retire from his first race back in 2022.

Back at the front, Bastianini went backwards to 4th place, but he had also taken fastest lap.

Bagnaia led Miller, Brad Binder (KTM) and Bastianini onto lap 3 of 23. Bastianini wasn’t hanging around though and soon re-took 3rd from Binder. He knew he couldn’t let the factory Ducati’s get away.

Bagnaia leads the way. Courtesy of: Moto GP wesbite

The race pace settled down after the excitement of the opening laps as Bagnaia created a lead of 0.457 seconds ahead of his teammate with 18 laps to go.

Bastianini had plans to thwart Bagnaia’s lead though and soon had passed Miller to take 2nd. The gap between himself and his future teammate was 0.700 seconds, knowing he had to hunt him down – he got to work.

Miller’s race meanwhile, was going from bad to worse as Binder also passed him as did Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) moments after, putting him back to 5th place.

With 16 laps to go Bagnaia was still in control, leading Bastianini, Binder and Espargaro.

The gap between the two front Italians had decreased further to 0.412 seconds. Would Bastianini dare challenge Bagnaia for the lead? Ducati had announced prior to the race that their riders are “free to race” so what would he decide?

By lap 9 the gap between the pair had closed dramatically and Bastianini did indeed pass the Duke to take the lead. It was a short-loved lead though as he soon went wide, meaning Bagnaia could re-take the lead with ease. He then made a small mistake on the next corner, nearly letting Binder also take a place from him, fortunately he remained in second, but all his hard work had come undone. The gap between him and the leader was back to 0.786 seconds. He wasn’t going to be perturbed though.

Bastianini was on a mission, not letting the number 63 get away he started to claw the gap back. Meanwhile, behind him Binder was being hunted down by Espargaro.

By lap 16 of 23, gapping was appearing between the leading four riders: Bagania’s lead was 0.745 seconds ahead of Bastianini, who’s gap between him and Binder was 1.579 seconds, who’s gap between Binder and Espargaro was 0.405 seconds.

In 14th place – British Yamaha test-rider Cal Crutchlow was remaining in the points, currently higher than any place Dovi had managed to collect this year.

Cal Crutchlow. Courtesy of: Moto GP website

Back at the front the action was becoming tense. With only 6 laps until the chequered flag the gap between Bagnaia and “The Beast” had dropped and Bastianini was very close to the rear of Pecco.

With 4 laps till the end: Crutchlow passed Vinales to take 13th, Espargaro closed the gap between himself and Binder (to 0.193 seconds) and Bastianini started getting tempted to pass his future teammate.

Would he actually do it? Could he actually do it? There weren’t many laps left to make a decision.

The gap between the two Ducati’s was 0.193 seconds as Bastianini seemed to be testing a corner to pass Bagnaia on. Deciding against it, audiences had to hold their breath.

Espargaro though, decided enough is enough sitting behind Binder and passed him to take the last podium position.

The next lap Bastianini did another tempting move but again decided against it. Was he going to try a pass on Bagnaia?

Last lap:

Baganaia led Bastianini onto turn 1 –

turn 2 –

turn 3 –

turn 4 –

turn 5 and turn 6 but, turn 7 saw a surprise move from Bastianini which saw him re-take the lead at Aragon. Bagnaia had little response to it. The last corner/ the short start-finish straight was his last chance, but it was not to be.

Bastianini claimed his 4th victory for 2022, with Bagnaia extremely close behind.

Top ten finishers:

1st

E. Bastianini

2nd

F. Bagnaia

3rd

A. Espargaro

4th

B. Binder

5th

J. Miller

6th

J. Martin

7th

L. Marini

8th

J. Zarco

9th

A. Rins

10th

M. Bezzecchi

Surprising turn of events for round 15 sees the championship blow wide-open:

Top four championship standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

211 points

2nd

F. Bagnaia

201 points

3rd

A. Espargaro

194 points

4th

E. Bastianini

163 points

Now only 10 points between Fabio and Pecco and 17 points between Aleix and first place.

With a 1, 2 in the bag for this round, Ducati had more to celebrate as they became the 2022 Constructors World Champions! 

Courtesy of: Ducati Course Twitter page

What could possibly happen next time in Motegi, Japan? Be sure to join in with the action on Sunday 25th September.

 

(Featured image. Courtesy of: Enea Bastianini Twitter page)

 

 

Thank you for your service. May you rest in peace. Courtesy of: Google Images.

All in a days work for Pecco!

Qualifying:

Rainy, damp conditions greeted the riders for their qualifying sessions on Saturday.

But, it was Ducati-man Jack Miller who took full advantage and secured pole, followed by Enea Bastianini and Marco Bezzecchi, making an all Ducati front-row. Second and third place were local-boys, hoping to shine bright at home.

The top two riders in the championship – Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) both qualified on the 3rd row.

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) received a 3 place grid penalty which resulted in him starting in 5th, following on from slowing down on the racing line, after he assumed the chequered flag had been waved to end the session.

Race:

A wonderful tribute to the late Fausto Gresini would be done during the race, in the form of the Gresini Racing bikes having their livery changed to remember the 1987 125cc World Championship winning Garell bike that Gresini used. Whatever their outcome for the race, this was a wonderful surprise.

The livery! Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

The rain/ damp conditions had passed ready for Sunday with partly cloudy weather, the track temperature though had risen significantly to 43 degrees, come race time. Would this prove to be an issue?

It was finally lights out for the Moto GP race: Miller got a great start, as did Bagnaia. Miller led Bastianini and Bagnaia into the first corner. But behind it was  disaster for; Johann Zarco (Ducati), Michele Pirro (Ducati) and Pol Espargaro (Honda), who all toppled out together. Hopefully, none were injured in the collision.

Crashing out. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

After the news this week, that Bastianini had been confirmed he was to be Bagnaia’s teammate next year, there didn’t seem to be any future team orders between the pair. Bastianini soon passed Bagnaia to take 2nd place. But on the second lap Miller unexpectedly fell from first (turn 4), leaving ‘The Beast’ to lead the race.

Bastianini led Marini (VR46) and Bagnaia (Marini had also managed to pass Bagnaia to take 2nd). While one VR46 rider fortunes were in his favour, teammate Bezzecchi’s fortunes were not – crashing out also on lap 2.

The new race leader also almost toppled from first moments later, but managed to recover.

The excitement was far from over though. Lap 3 saw Bagnaia and Vinales both pass Marini, pushing him back to 4th, another yellow flag waved but this time for both Frankie Morbidelli (Yamaha) and Fabio DiGiannantonio (Ducati), Bagnaia passed Bastianini for the lead and ‘Top Gun’ passed ‘The Beast’ for 2nd.

Bagnaia led Vinales, Bastianini and Marini with Quartararo and Espargaro close behind.

Bagnaia took fastest lap (lap 5) but had mounting pressure in the form of Vinales, who was looking menacing behind.

In 5th place on lap 7, Espargaro made a small error, which Quartararo needed no invitation and passed him to gain another place. Meanwhile in 3rd Bastianini was pushing hard and took fastest lap (1:32.560 seconds).

Now in 5th spot, could Quartararo close the gap on the front 4 riders, their gap had increased to 0.826 seconds, with 21 laps still to go? He knew he had to try. Next lap he took fastest lap. Could he be in for a shout of a podium finish?

Fastest lap soon went to Bagnaia, but was beaten seconds later by 6th place rider Espargaro. Fighting for the championship, alongside Fabio, could Aleix catch him to reduce the points between them? He certainly kept the momentum going – with 16 laps till the end, he secured another fastest lap.

Track limits warnings were coming thick and fast: Vinales was the first to receive one, then Martin then Quartararo. But, Vinales didn’t seem perturbed by his warning and soon took 2 fastest laps in a row, all the while, eyeing up a pass on Bagnaia.

With 12 laps to go, Bastianini went slightly wide, letting Marini take 3rd, but Bastianini wasn’t having any of it and re-took the position straight back. The gap between number 23 and 12 was 0.615 seconds. Could Bastianini manage to catch up and if so fight for the win?

Setting fastest lap with only 10 laps to go he had managed to claw the gap down between himself and Maverick to 0.471 seconds. With Vinales still trying to get the perfect spot to pass Bagnaia for the lead. But, he had waited too long to make his move and 2 laps later Bastianini attacked and took 2nd place on turn one. Bagnaia now led Bastianini, Vinales and Marini.

Following closely. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

The next track-limits warning went to Bastianini with 6 laps till the end.

But, more drama was about to unfold going onto the last lap:

Bastianini was all over the back of Bagnaia. Would he make a last lap lunge? Surely not – this would be his teammate next year and a championship contender this year. None of this was on his mind though as he went to make a move but had to abort it, in fear of crashing into Bagnaia, which in turn created a small gap between the pair. The gap was severely shrunk down on the start-finish line though making it a picture-finish. Bagnaia had the edge and claimed the victory (with only 0.034 seconds between them) and in the process made history: Being the first-time Ducati have won 4 races in a row!

Super close end. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

A great ride from Vinales saw him finish on the last spot of the podium.

Top 10 race finishers:

1st

F. Bagnaia

2nd

E. Bastianini

3rd

M. Vinales

4th

L. Marini

5th

F. Quartararo

6th

A. Espargaro

7th

A. Rins

8th

B. Binder

9th

J. Martin

10th

A. Marquez

Top 4 Championship Standings:

1st

F. Quartararo

211 points

2nd

F. Bagnaia

181 points

3rd

A. Espargaro

178 points

4th

E. Bastianini

138 points

As seen above, there are some changes to the championship table.

The race was brilliant and had everyone on the edge of their seats. BUT, we can’t end there.

For the last 21 years there has been a consistent rider, one who we have had the pleasure to watch come through the ranks: winning the 125 championship, coming close to winning the 250 championship and coming runner-up many times in the Moto GP class.

Ever a gentleman off track but with the heart of a lion on track, he gave us many exciting battles and has raced against many big names in the sport. He won his first-ever race at Misano and decided to end his Moto GP career his way, at the very same track. He has won many fans over the years and the paddock will not be the same without him.

Thank you for the memories Andrea Dovizioso and Ciao! We wish you all the best wherever your future takes you.

Feel the love Dovi. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

 

 

Featured image: Courtesy of: Moto GP website. 

Ducati Dominance continues!

Austrian GP news: 

The big news of the weekend was that the Austrian track had been changed. Turn 2 had now been split into two sections, a “flip-flop chicane”, now being re-named turns 2a and 2b. It caught some riders out over the weekend but, in the end would hopefully create some interesting overtaking opportunities.

Qualifying:

Cloudy conditions greeted the riders on Saturday, but they remained undeterred.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) looked to be confident, taking an early provisional pole in Q2. Jack Miller (Ducati) was also on fine form and soon took the pole spot. The championship leader, Fabio Quartararo on the other hand seemed to be struggling getting to grips with his Yamaha.

The Ducati’s though were dominant at the Red Bull Ring as Enea Bastianini took his first Moto GP pole, with a flying lap time: 1:28.772, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) and Miller – an all Ducati front-row.

Happy with his pole – Bastianini celebrates. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Race:

The weather remained cloudy for Race Day, leaving many fans to wonder if it would indeed rain as the bikes lined up on the grid, ready for lights out:

Undulating track and foreboding clouds at Austria. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Bagnaia got a great start, leading Bastianini and Miller into the first corner and through the new chicane for the first time.

However, turn 4 saw Joan Mir (Suzuki) take an early tumble from the race. Seen holding his ankle in the gravel, (it was later confirmed that he had had medical checks and that he had broken his ankle. We wish him a speedy recovery).

Mir crashes lap 4. Courtesy of: Moto GP official Twitter page.

On lap 4, Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) had managed to pass Quartararo for 5th place and the four front Ducati’s started to gain a lead ahead, with Jorge Martin in 4th taking the first fastest lap of the race, (1:30.364). Another pass came from Miller to take 2nd place from Bastianini, but ‘The Beast’ was having none of it and passed him right back.

By lap 5, A. Espargaro had taken fastest lap (1:29.979), while his teammate had been given a track limits warning and if that wasn’t bad enough, Maverick also got passed by 2 riders on the same lap (lap6), forcing him back to 8th place.

Back at the front, the four Ducati’s suddenly got broken up by the Yamaha of ‘El Diablo’, taking 4th spot from Bastianini. Seconds later, Bastianini appeared to have a technical fault and pulled out of the race. On the same lap it was Remy Gardener’s (KTM) turn to bow-out early as he crashed out – turn 4.

Bagnaia then led Miller, Martin and Quartararo onto lap 7.

With 22 laps to go Miller passed his teammate to briefly take the lead, but Bagnaia out-braked him, re-claiming his lead.

Fastest lap was soon taken by Martin – lap 9. Could he get close enough to the factory Dukes, with only a 1.023 second gap between them, to fight for the win? Further down the field Takaaki Nakagami (Honda) took to the gravel, finishing his race early.

Martin indeed managed to eat into the leading gap and soon got it down to 0.311 seconds. By lap 12 he was right on the back of Miller. Which Ducati would be dominant?

With 16 laps until the end, another track warning got issued, this time to Quartararo. Behind him Luca Marini (VR46) took 6th place from A. Espargaro and behind them Darryn Binder crashed out.

The next lap, Martin clipped the gravel forcing him to take evasive action and he took to the run-off section of the track, Fabio passed to take 4th place, but Martin also needed to make sure he wouldn’t incur a penalty so also gave back a second, but quick-thinking meant he also managed to keep his new position – 5th.

Two laps later and bad luck continued to keep hold of Vinales who got passed not just by Johann Zarco (Ducati) but also Suzuki-man Alex Rins.

10 laps to go – The front 3 riders had all managed to create gaps between each-other. Bagnaia still led Miller by 0.896 seconds. Quartararo continued to hunt down Miller with 0.515 seconds between them. A few places behind them Espargaro put up a great fight from the Italian – Marini, but in the end Marini passed him again on lap 21, this attempt the pass stuck.

Things were heating up, with only 4 laps until the finish line, a surprise move came from the Yamaha in 3rd – Quartararo passed Miller on the new turn 2b, to take 2nd place, leaving Miller in the clutches of Martin, who quickly seized the opportunity and passed Miller to take 3rd spot. Miller fought back though to re-take 3rd. Meanwhile, another yellow flag waved, this time for Yamaha rider Frankie Morbidelli, who crashed out turn 2.

Due to the on-going battles behind him, Bagnaia managed to extend his lead further to 1.554 seconds from the Championship leader.

Then it was Martin’s turn to receive a track-limits warning 2 laps later, as a result of his tussle with Miller.

Last lap – the clouds above still seemed dull and grey but the rain had stayed away.

Rain stayed away. Courtesy of: Moto GP website.

Turn one saw Martin try to overtake Miller once more, but this time resulted in him seeing the gravel instead. He managed to get back into the race and still finished in the top 10. This error meant that Miller could now finish comfortably on the podium.

Podium hopes fall from beneath him. Courtesy of: Moto GP official Twitter page.

Bagnaia managed to remain in complete control of the entire race and passed the finish line to take his 3rd consecutive race win in a row ahead of Quartararo and Miller. Behind them in 4th was an elated Marini.

Celebrates with team. Courtesy of: Bagnaia’s official Twitter page.

Top 10 race finishers:

1st

F. Bagnaia

2nd

F. Quartararo

3rd

J. Miller

4th

L. Marini

5th

J. Zarco

6th

A. Espargaro

7th

B. Binder

8th

A. Rins

9th

M. Bezzechi

10th

J. Martin

Top four championship:

1st

F. Quartararo

200 points

2nd

A. Espargaro

168 points

3rd

F. Bagnaia

156 points

4th

J. Zarco

125 points

The racing was super exciting and had fans on the edge of their seats through-out.

Can Ducati continue their streak into the next round at Misano on 4th September? Or would Someone else step onto the top spot? 

 

 

Featured image – Courtesy of: Moto GP official Twitter page 

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