The Italian comes out on top ahead of the main title contenders, and enjoyed a brief battle with the impressive VR46 Team riders for the lead.
Francesco Bagnaia was the home hero in Mugello today, clawing his way to the front from 5th on the grid. It is a redemption for the Ducati rider after crashing out of the previous race, as he slowly finds his way back into the title contention. He won ahead of Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro, who also charged their way to the front after qualifying 6th and 7th respectively. This allowed Quartararo to slightly extend his title lead, while Espargaro took his fifth podium of the year, with this one being his fourth in succession.
Aside from the great performances of the podium finishers, it was a standout weekend for the VR46 Team as Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini both qualified in the front row, and ran in the front for a majority of the race, notably with Bezzecchi leading over half the race. Although he eventually lost out to the charging factory riders, it was still a very impressive ride for the rookie as he kept his composure and never crumbled under pressure or made any mistakes throughout the race. He lost 4th place to Johann Zarco on the final lap, but the respective 5th and 6th place finishes of Bezzecchi and Marini are big results for the VR46 squad, as they have typically fought outside the top 10 for most races.
Finishing just over a tenth behind Marini was Brad Binder, who gained a lot of pace towards the closing stages of the race and finished as the top KTM rider once again. Taka Nakagami finished as the top Honda in 8th, but was later subject to mild controversy as it turned out he had taken Alex Rins out of the race, which was not caught by TV cameras but by track surveillance instead. Miguel Oliveira finished 9th, a solid performance by the Portuguese after enduring another slump in the last few races. Covering the top ten is Marc Marquez, who announced he would undergo a 4th surgery on his right arm, putting the remainder of his 2022 season in doubt.
Surprise polesitter Fabio DiGiannantonio finished 11th, the Gresini rookie exceled under tricky conditions in qualifying and had a solid showing throughout the race, contending for the podium early in the race before eventually dropping down the order, taking his second points finish of the season. He pipped Maverick Vinales to the line by 0.001s in a drag to the finish line. Jorge Martin meanwhile had a clean race for once, finishing 13th ahead of Alex Marquez and Jack Miller. The latter dropped to the back at the start after being pushed to the grass, and fought his way back to claim the final point.
The first crasher of the race was Pol Espargaro, who has been terribly struggling to find his feeling on the Honda after his season-opening podium. The Spaniard suffered a high-speed fall on the 4th lap in the fast Arrabbiata curve, luckily walking away unscathed. Suzuki’s nightmares meanwhile have not ended as they had a double retirement for the second consecutive weekend, with Alex Rins being hit by Nakagami and Joan Mir crashing out earlier on the same lap. The last faller of the day was Enea Bastianini, crashing out in the 13th lap as he was chasing the final podium spot.
Fabio Quartararo extended his championship lead to eight points ahead of Aleix Espargaro, sitting atop the table with 122 points. Bastianini’s retirement means he stays 3rd with his points tally of 94 staying unchanged, while Bagnaia retook 4th place with 81 points, six points ahead of Johann Zarco who covers the top five.
The next round in Catalunya will be Espargaro’s home round, where he will be far more motivated to close his championship gap to Quartararo in front of his home crowd.
Stay Tuned for the next Grand Prix!