Marc Marquez takes his first back-to-back wins since 2019.
Honestly, struggling to write this one, what a race today! So so much happened it’s almost too much to be able to write here without taking up 2000 words! Firstly we saw Marc Marquez take his first MotoGP victory at an anti-clockwise track this year and his third win of the year, secondly we saw Pol Espargaro take his first Repsol Honda podium and their first 1-2 since 2017, thirdly the BEAST Enea Bastianini took a stunning podium and most importantly Fabio Quartararo has been crowned the 2021 MotoGP World Champion after a stunning season!
Right, let’s try this. It was a race destined for Italian victory on home soil and even a 1-2 for the Ducati squad with Francesco Bagnaia starting from pole position and Jack Miller in second place, the opening laps were exactly as you thought with the Bologna bullets taking up the reigns of the race lead with Bagnaia leading Miller, Marc Marquez following closely behind in third place. Further down the order Fabio Quartararo had struggled off the start from P15 and was circling the track in a less than desirable P17.
Miller was acting like the perfect wingman running in second place holding off any advancements from Marc Marquez that could affect Bagnaia’s chances of taking the championship, sadly for Miller he would fall foul to the treacherous Turn 15 which has claimed far too many riders this weekend, he would slide out of the race from second place opening the doors for Marc Marquez to up the pressure on race leader Bagnaia who knew he had to win the race if he wanted to keep his championship hopes alive. It wasn’t exactly going to be difficult for Bagnaia given that the circuit is his training ground, already leading the 2020 races here and winning just weeks ago on home soil. For 22 laps it remained Bagnaia vs Marquez.
Subsequent to the crash from Miller, fourth-placed Pol Espargaro was promoted to third handing him a rostrum finish, his first for Honda after making the move from KTM at the end of 2020. Espargaro has struggled throughout the year with grip on his tyre especially in hotter conditions, however as we saw at a cold Silverstone when the track temperature drops suddenly he can ride the bike and is much more competitive, proving this after consistently running in third putting in a decent gap to Portuguese hero Miguel Oliveira.
Further back down the field Fabio Quartararo was making up places lap by lap, he was aided of course by the crashes/DNF’s of Mir, Petrucci, Miller, Alex Marquez, Lecuona and Jorge Martin with Miguel Oliveira suffering a late crash also, however this doesn’t take anything away from his speed and skill after dispensing of most of the field including a huge mid-pack group to arrive in the top five with some serious speed. Whilst he was battling his own race he was pulling the Speedy Gonzales of Enea Bastianini up with him, the Italian rider brimming with confidence arriving within the top seven with Fabio with five laps to go.
Back at the front there was drama, Bagnaia knew Marquez was pushing and closing up and had the pace to be able to snatch the victory from the hands of the Italian at home soil. The gap closed from 0.6 to 0.2 and Pecco was in some serious trouble, tragically for Bagnaia he pushed too much and mirrored his teammate’s accident earlier in the race sliding out at the perilous turn 15 to hand Fabio Quartararo the championship and Marc Marquez the victory. The crash promoted Repsol Honda into an incredible 1-2 and the heroic Fabio Quartararo onto the podium to give him the incredible opportunity of winning the championship whilst standing on the podium, there was just one slight problem for the Frenchman, Enea Bastianini. Bastianini was on fire and there was nobody stopping him from scoring another podium finish today, he was aggressive making his way through on the World Championship winner with just three corners to go to hand him his second ever podium finish at Misano, a stunning ride by the Italian.
Fabio Quartararo didn’t care though, podium or no podium he is the world champion and absolutely nobody can ever take that away from him, this is only the start of his reign in MotoGP!
Finishing in fourth place was Johann Zarco, Zarco pulled out a stunning ride to take home fifth place after battling against Alex Rins, Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales, Luca Marini and Franco Morbidelli, it was an intense battle which we got to see in full view when Fabio Quartararo was trying to make his way through it with Morbidelli being demoted from P6 to P10 in the matter of four corners, eventually coming home in P14 after struggling with his injury. Zarco led Alex Rins then an Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro then Maverick Vinales, Vinales clearly getting to grips with the RS-GP, a really impressive ride from him.
Rounding out the top 10 were brothers Luca Marini and Valentino Rossi, Rossi coming from the back of the grid to take a super impressive P10 finish, not bad for The Doctor in his final home race! Another shout to Brad Binder who started from the back of the grid after a crash on the sighting lap to finish in P11.
Full results –
Featured image – HRC