Bagnaia resists Quartararo pressure for second MotoGP win - The Race

Bagnaia resists Quartararo pressure for second MotoGP win

Sep 19 2021
By Valentin Khorounzhiy

Ducati MotoGP rider Francesco Bagnaia held off championship leader Fabio Quartararo in a thrilling late battle in the San Marino Grand Prix at Misano.

Bagnaia, who was a few laps away from a maiden win at Misano last year before crashing out, made it two wins in back-to-back weekends this year, following on from his first triumph at Aragon.

As the lights went out, Bagnaia maintained the lead from pole, but Quartararo briefly broke up the Ducati 1-2 by picking off Jack Miller at Turn 1 – only for Miller to retaliate aggressively at Turn 3, retaking second and effectively allowing team-mate Bagnaia to make an early break for it.

Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Misano MotoGP 2021

With Bagnaia a second up the road after the opening lap already, Quartararo then came under attack from a third Ducati, that of Pramac rookie Jorge Martin, who ran out wide while lunging down the inside of the Yamaha at Turn 1 on the opening lap and then made that same move stick a lap later.

Quartararo retaliated at the sharp Turn 4 right-hander but was then beaten on the back straight down to Turn 8, before responding again with a pass at the hairpin-like Turn 10. And as Martin tried to stick with him through the lap, he slid out of contention in a slow crash at Turn 14.

Now clear of Martin, Quartararo found himself two seconds off Bagnaia, but the Italian’s lead was effectively doubled when Miller ran wide at Turn 13 and Quartararo copied his mistake.

It took the Frenchman several laps to close in on Miller, but just past the halfway point of the 28-lap race he was finally in Miller’s wheeltracks, getting the move done with relative ease at the Turn 6 left-hander.

Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Fabio Quartararo Yamaha Misano MotoGP 2021

By then Bagnaia had escaped to the tune of nearly three seconds, but with Quartararo equipped with a medium rear compared to Bagnaia’s soft rear, he soon began to make significant inroads into the lead, arriving at the one-second mark with five laps left to run.

The gap was then down to just three tenths entering the penultimate lap, and just 0.135s at the start-finish line heading into the final tour.

But Bagnaia held firm on the final lap, hanging on to beat Quartararo by 0.364s.

It leaves Quartararo with a 48-point lead over Bagnaia in the championship with four races left to run in the season.

Enea Bastianini

A dazzling Enea Bastianini was the star of the race in third place, the Avintia rookie charging through from 12th on the grid on his year-old Ducati.

The reigning Moto2 champion’s swashbuckling ride culminated in a 19th lap pass on Miller at the fast Turn 13 right-hander to seal his maiden podium.

Joan Mir Suzuki Jack Miller Ducati Marc Marquez Honda Misano MotoGP 2021

Honda rider Marc Marquez and Suzuki’s defending champion Joan Mir both then overtook Miller on the final tour after Mir took the Ducati wide, although Mir was then demoted to sixth place behind Miller for a subsequent track limits infringement. He remains third in the standings but is now 67 points down on Quartararo.

Mir’s team-mate Alex Rins recorded the sixth non-score of his nightmare 2021 campaign, falling at Turn 1 when running fifth and trying desperately to live with Bastianini’s pace.

Marquez’s Honda team-mate Pol Espargaro was seventh, followed by the lead Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro, the lead KTM of Brad Binder and the LCR Honda of Takaaki Nakagami.

Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco, who had started fifth, served a long-lap penalty for cutting the track an generally struggled en route to 12th, behind Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro and ahead of Aprilia’s newcomer Maverick Vinales.

Maverick Vinales Aprilia Misano MotoGP 2021

Andrea Dovizioso was 21st and last in his first race for Petronas Yamaha, five seconds down on the rider ahead – that being KTM’s Miguel Oliveira.

Apart from Rins and Martin, who’d actually circulated for a few more laps and earned a couple of long-lap penalties before retiring, the only other rider to crash was Tech3 KTM’s Iker Lecuona, falling out of 15th on a tough day for the Mattighofen marque.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 27 27 41m48.305s 1m32.422s 0 25
2 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 27 0 +0.364s 1m32.336s 0 20
3 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati 27 0 +4.789s 1m32.242s 0 16
4 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda 27 0 +10.245s 1m32.545s 0 13
5 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 27 0 +10.469s 1m32.39s 0 11
6 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 27 0 +10.325s 1m32.508s 0 10
7 Pol Espargaró Repsol Honda Team Honda 27 0 +13.234s 1m32.739s 0 9
8 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 27 0 +15.698s 1m32.4s 0 8
9 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +16.129s 1m32.764s 0 7
10 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 27 0 +18.519s 1m32.856s 0 6
11 Michele Pirro Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 27 0 +20.373s 1m32.92s 0 5
12 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 27 0 +21.066s 1m32.71s 0 4
13 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 27 0 +21.258s 1m32.9s 0 3
14 Stefan Bradl Repsol Honda Team Honda 27 0 +28.142s 1m32.984s 0 2
15 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 27 0 +30.686s 1m33.209s 0 1
16 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +32.654s 1m33.277s 0 0
17 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 27 0 +33.853s 1m33.305s 0 0
18 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 27 0 +36.272s 1m33.5s 0 0
19 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati 27 0 +36.839s 1m33.22s 0 0
20 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +37.202s 1m33.377s 0 0
21 Andrea Dovizioso Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 27 0 +42.587s 1m33.493s 0 0
Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 17 0 DNF 1m32.466s 0 0
Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 14 0 DNF 1m33.023s 0 0
Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati 10 0 DNF 1m32.731s 0 0

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