Ducati MotoGP rider Francesco Bagnaia defeated Fabio Quartararo in a sizzling duel at Jerez to end his poor start to the 2022 MotoGP season.
Bagnaia had finished no higher than fifth in the five preceding events, but rode a masterful race to defeat pre-weekend favourite Quartararo.
At the start, Bagnaia successfully fought off a marginally better getaway from the Yamaha man by beating him on the brakes at Turn 1, as the pair immediately began to prove pre-race expectations correct by mounting an early breakaway.
But while Quartararo did initially tucked in right behind Bagnaia and mounted a semi-challenge for the lead on the third lap, he then dropped half a second back from the Italian.
By the time the race reached its halfway point, Quartararo had over five seconds in hand over the chasing pack, led by Jack Miller, yet he was now trailing Bagnaia by eight tenths.
After several laps of trying to make a permanent dent in that gap, Quartararo finally closed to within four tenths of Bagnaia with two laps left to run but the Italian held firm to win by 0.285s.
Behind the pair, Miller spent most of the race fending off Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro for third, but on the 20th lap Marquez finally found a way through, throwing his Honda down the inside of Miller at the fast Sito Pons corner.
Espargaro then aggressively divebombed Miller into the Jorge Lorenzo corner, and then instantly picked up another position as Marquez folded the front right ahead, somehow keeping his Honda upright with his knee but then also letting Miller back through into Turn 1.
While Espargaro escaped into the distance virtually right away, Marquez did ultimately secure fourth by passing Miller on the final lap.
Joan Mir finished a quite race in sixth, having briefly threatened a podium challenge that never quite materialised. Behind the Suzuki, under-threat LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami bagged his best finish of the season in seventh, while Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini passed VR46 rookie Marco Bezzecchi on the final lap to claim ninth place.
Brad Binder was the lead KTM in 10th place, 20 seconds off the winner.
Espargaro’s Aprilia team-mate Maverick Vinales slipped to second-to-last after a dreadful start and could only recover to 14th, beating his Yamaha replacement Franco Morbidelli in a last-lap tussle.
It was a nightmare race for Suzuki’s Alex Rins, who had entered the weekend level with Quartararo at the top of the standings. Having made early progress to 12th place, he then lost positions by running wide at the final corner before then taking a lengthy trip through the gravel at Turn 12 – which effectively ended his chances at scoring.
Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin and Honda wildcard Stefan Bradl both crashed in near-tandem at the final corner on the opening lap, and while both got back on their bikes, Bradl then crashed again a few laps later to exit the race.
Also leaving the race due to crashes were Martin’s team-mate Johann Zarco and RNF Yamaha rookie Darryn Binder.
|Pos||Name||Team||Bike||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||25||25||41m0.554s||1m37.669s||0||25|
|2||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||25||0||+0.285s||1m37.678s||0||20|
|3||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||25||0||+10.977s||1m38.184s||0||16|
|4||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||25||0||+12.676s||1m38.059s||0||13|
|5||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||25||0||+12.957s||1m38.14s||0||11|
|6||Joan Mir||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||25||0||+13.934s||1m38.222s||0||10|
|7||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||25||0||+14.929s||1m38.472s||0||9|
|8||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||25||0||+18.436s||1m38.567s||0||8|
|9||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||25||0||+18.83s||1m38.553s||0||7|
|10||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||0||+20.056s||1m38.55s||0||6|
|11||Pol Espargaró||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||25||0||+20.856s||1m38.545s||0||5|
|12||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||0||+23.131s||1m38.609s||0||4|
|13||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||25||0||+25.306s||1m38.851s||0||3|
|14||Maverick Viñales||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||25||0||+27.358s||1m38s||0||2|
|15||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||25||0||+27.519s||1m38.643s||0||1|
|16||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||25||0||+29.278s||1m39.029s||0||0|
|17||Andrea Dovizioso||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||25||0||+35.204s||1m38.983s||0||0|
|18||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||25||0||+35.361s||1m39.142s||0||0|
|19||Alex Rins||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||25||0||+38.922s||1m38.556s||0||0|
|20||Remy Gardner||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||0||+43.378s||1m39.068s||0||0|
|21||Lorenzo Savadori||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||25||0||+44.299s||1m39.409s||0||0|
|22||Jorge Martin||Pramac Racing||Ducati||25||0||+1m07.681s||1m38.74s||0||0|
|Stefan Bradl||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||10||0||DNF||1m38.926s||0||0|
|Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||Ducati||9||0||DNF||1m38.429s||0||0|
|Darryn Binder||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||5||0||DNF||1m38.948s||0||0|