The Italian gives Ducati their second consecutive win at Jerez, and his first of the season after a tough start to the year.
Francesco Bagnaia converts his pole position to a victory as he spent the race with Fabio Quartararo on his tail, crossing the finish line with a gap which was even smaller than that of his pole time. Quartararo’s best efforts were ultimately not enough as he lost out by 0.285s, however the two were in a league of their own as they quickly pulled away from the next batch, which at the end consisted of Aleix Espargaro, Jack Miller and Marc Marquez.
Aleix impressively took his third podium of the season, patiently waiting for the perfect opportunity to snatch the final podium spot from Marquez and Miller respectively. The three enjoyed a close race which turned into a battle towards the end, and the final call came within the last few laps when Aleix gained two spots in one turn with a move on Miller in the final corner, while Marquez simultaneously lost the front end but saved the crash, another to add to the Spaniard’s list of iconic saves. Aleix finished 10.9s behind the winner, with Marquez and Miller finishing 4th and 5th respectively. Finishing just a second behind them was Joan Mir, after their three-way battle took some time off one another and allowed Mir to catch up with them.
In a desperate need for results, Taka Nakagami finished a solid 7th. The Japanese rocketed off his grid and was up to fourth in the opening lap, briefly battling with Miller and Marquez before the latter made an aggressive lunge on him, dropping him down the order. However, he did not lose his momentum and only ended one second behind Mir.
Enea Bastianini finished 8th, a sigh of relief for the Italian after crashing out of the last grand prix. He finished just ahead of top rookie Marco Bezzecchi, who rode an impressive race after struggling to replicate his qualifying form multiple times this season. Qualifying in the top ten once again, he kept his composure this time and did not boggle his start, finishing a well-earned 9th. Rounding off the top ten is KTM’s top finisher Brad Binder, another poor weekend for the Austrian marque as they struggle to find competitive pace once again.
It was a weekend to forget for Pramac as Jorge Martin struggled to stay upright again, crashing for the fourth time in six races, however he managed to remount this time and finished 22nd and last, while his teammate Johann Zarco crashed out a few laps later. HRC test rider Stefan Bradl also crashed out in the same corner as Martin just seconds after him, and remounted before crashing again a couple of laps later. Darryn Binder recorded his first retirement of the season, crashing out of 17th. Alex Rins also fell for the first time this season after struggling outside the top ten, but remounted to finish 19th.
Rins’ fall ultimately meant that he lost his joint lead with Quartararo, and the Frenchman now extends his lead to 89 points. Aleix Espargaro trails by 7 points, in the hunt for his maiden grand prix world title, as well as Aprilia’s in the premier category. Enea Bastianini sits third in the standings with 69 points, joint with Rins who sits fourth, as they both trail Quartararo by 20 points. Bagnaia bounced back to the top five with his victory with 56 points to his name, while Mir holds the same amount and covers the top six.
The next race in Le Mans will motivate Quartararo to extend his championship lead even more, as he seeks to achieve his maiden home victory in grand prix racing. While he will definitely be on top form in front of his home crowd, he will be working extra hard for the triumph with most of his rivals on top form, in what is one of the most competitive seasons in MotoGP history.
Featured Images – motogp.com, Dorna Sports