The Italian once again saves his tyres for a late attack for the lead as he passed long time leader Jack Miller with few laps to go.
Enea Bastianini takes another stunning victory, adding his name to the record books of COTA winners in the MotoGP category. Like his Qatar triumph, he rode a calm, mature and calculative race which saw him maintaining his gap to the leader and saving his tyres for an opportunity to charge for the lead in the later stages. While he passed Miller for the lead, 2019 winner Alex Rins snatched the runner up spot on the final lap of the race, and Miller was able to hold the final podium spot at the end.
The race began with five Ducatis locking out the first five grid slots, Jorge Martin being the poleman. They all launched off well while Marc Marquez, who started 9th, had a nightmare of a start as his bike seemed to experience clutch issues right off the launch, and he found himself last before reaching the first turn. Jack Miller immediately took the lead and battled it out with Martin for several laps, before he maintained the lead as Martin began struggling to find a way past the Australian.
The five Ducatis controlled the pace for a while, and Johann Zarco looked like an early threat as he started setting fastest laps and found himself in 4th closing into the lead. However, he struggled to find his way past Bastianini and began losing consistency and made some mistakes as he began riding defensively instead. Alex Rins soon became the fastest man on track, as he went from 8th to picking each rider out in front of him patiently each lap, and soon found himself behind Bastianini in 4th. While he also struggled to pass the Italian, Jorge Martin quickly started dropping pace and lost positions every few laps. Meanwhile, Marquez reminded everyone why he is the King of COTA as he found his way back in the top six, after a tough recovery coming all the way from last.
Bastianini impresses once again on older machinery, crossing the finish line with a 2-second gap. Rins improves his consistent form with a strong 2nd as he still seeks his first win in two years, as well as for Suzuki as the Japanese squad had a disappointing 2021 with no victories. Miller completes the podium with his 3rd place finish, taking his first one of the season and becoming the 10th different podium finisher this season after four rounds.
Joan Mir also continues his consistent form with Suzuki taking a solid 4th, still in the hunt for his first podium of the season. Pecco Bagnaia brings his Ducati home in 5th, another solid finish for the Italian as he slowly finds his way back to his strong 2021 form. Marc Marquez takes an incredible 6th on his return after a hard-fought race, with his late pace proving that he may have been battling for the lead if he did not experience the technical issues at the race start. Fabio Quartararo did his best with a 7th place finish, as the Ducati and Suzuki speeds were too much to overcome. The Pramac pair of Martin and Zarco finished 8th and 9th respectively, a disappointing end to what looked like a promising race at the start. Maverick Vinales rounded off the top 10, bringing his Aprilia home just ahead of teammate Aleix Espargaro.
Brad Binder finished as the top KTM in 12th, a difficult weekend for the Austrian manufacturer as none of their riders were able to find pace or even make the Q2 session. Behind him was Pol Espargaro, another weekend to forget as he suffered from food poisoning early in the weekend, and likely started feeling the effects again mid-race in a sudden loss of pace. Taka Nakagami was the last Honda finisher in 14th, and Andrea Dovizioso took the final point.
Franco Morbidelli struggled all weekend and seemed to find no significant improvements, as he could only manage 16th in the race, ahead of Luca Marini and Miguel Oliveira in 17th and 18th respectively. The last finishers unsurprisingly were the rookies, with the Tech3 KTM pair of Fernandez and Gardner covered the top 20, while Fabio DiGiannantonio finished 21st, and Darryn Binder finished 22nd and last. Marco Bezzecchi and Alex Marquez both crashed out early in the race 3 laps within each other, both recording their second respective DNFs of the season.
Batianini’s victory puts him back into the championship lead with 61 points, while Rins’ strong consistent form puts him as a threat to the championship where he sits 5 points behind the Italian. Aleix Espargaro nis still in the hunt, currently sitting 3rd with 50 points on his tally, four points ahead of Joan Mir. Fabio Quartararo’s 44 points put him on 5th overall, and Brad Binder covers the top six just two points behind the Frenchman. As the championship order swings once again, we look forward onto the first European race of the season in Jerez, where Quartararo likely has a chance to cut back his points deficit as it has typically been a strong Yamaha track.
Written by: Liam van de Seijp.