More from a press release from Dorna:
Impermeable! Pecco takes the pressure off painting Misano red
The Ducati rider goes back to back, holding back a late attack from Quartararo this time around while Bastianini takes his first MotoGP ™ podium in style
Sunday, September 19, 2021
Francesco Bagnaia (63) stopped Fabio Quartararo (20) to win in Misano. Photo courtesy of Dorna.
A little over a week ago, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was patiently waiting for his first MotoGP ™ victory. He was runner-up overall and a constant podium threat, but that box was left unticked. Then came Aragon and a duel for the history books against Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), with the Ducati rider unmoved to claim his breathtaking first MotoGP ™ victory. So he had the momentum, but could he do it again on home turf?
After another all-time lap record for pole on Saturday, the omens were good and the Italian sped off immediately to give himself a good break at the top on race day. But lap after lap, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) brought the Jaws music and the Frenchman stuck to his exhaust on the last lap. Pecco remained resilient under pressure, however, and the Italian pulled the pen to cross his second win in a week – in a sense on home turf. Quartararo had to settle for second place, but scores a valuable 20 points, and the podium is completed by another incredible drive: rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) stormed from P12 to third place and made his first visit to the podium at the premiere class and at the place where he got his first Grand Prix victory in Moto3 ™.
When the lights went out, there was a nervous moment when the Ducati with the number 63 drove right at the limit, but not forward, and Bagnaia stayed calm afterwards to take the holeshot from pole. The Italian immediately accelerated when team-mate Jack Miller stayed second and the two breathed early. Quartararo dueled Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) for third place just behind, before the Spaniard crashed early in turn 14, which he was initially able to enter again.
Bagnaia, Miller and Quartararo stayed in the evenly distributed top 3, followed by Marc Marquez and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini). But Bastianini had something to say about it, the Italian rookie raced through to overtake first the Aprilia and then the Honda. And he managed to ask the first time, and finished fourth, but as the podium fight dragged on … for now.
As Bagnaia moved up front, Quartararo aimed at Miller, assisted a little when the Aussie overtook a little far at Turn 13 and Miller stayed on his rear wheel. It didn’t take long, however, for the Yamaha to break away and Bastianini to catch up with the number 43. The rookie won over two and a half seconds and finished third.
Quartararo Bagnaia was able to approach lap after lap, while Bastianini was able to pull away from Miller. Marc Marquez also had Aleix Espargaro and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) by his side in the battle for fifth place, but Miller stayed in fourth place for the time being.
As the laps got smaller, the gap between Bagnaia and Quartararo got bigger and there was tension on the horizon for the leader: At four to go, El Diablo came up to eight tenths and then to half a second, the game continued.
The Yamaha pushed and pushed on, won here and there and really slipped on the rear of the Ducati for the last few kilometers. It was just over a tenth as the two crossed the finish line to start the final lap, with Quartararo aiming for victory. But he couldn’t make the move early and Pecco was impeccable through Curvone, expanded the gap again and put the glove down with one last push. Could Quartararo take a lunge? Last but not least, Bagnaia was again under pressure and painted Misano red and took his second win within a week.
Behind this duel was beauty from the ‘Beast’. Bastianini kept his breathtaking pace until the end and finished in a comfortable third place. Comfortable is an understatement, however, because the rookie drove a really breathtaking race with the best lap record speed to get his first podium in the premier class, and that on his home turf.
The battle for fourth place was Miller vs. Marquez vs. Mir and it was a last breath thriller. The reigning champion attacked the number 93 first to get through on Miller, and the Suzuki then beat the Ducati at Turn 14. But both went too far and Marquez came in fourth. They stayed glued together, but out of the penultimate corner, Marquez just kept it in, but I touched the green. The eight-time world champion keeps fourth place and Mir crossed the finish line in fifth, but is classified in sixth as Miller regained that P5.
Behind Aleix Espargaro lost a bit of ground and also lost to his brother Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) after tougher final laps for the former, with 44th in seventh and 41st in eighth place. Ninth place was another Sunday attack by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) when the South African pulled through from P17 on the grid, just four tenths behind the Aprilia from the checkered flag.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) completed the top ten ahead of Michele Pirro, who drove for Ducati Wildcards in P11, and he had Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) close behind after the Frenchman also drove a long lap for turning 1 and abbreviated 2. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) scored a few points in P13 and just behind number 5, with HRC test drivers Stefan Bradl and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) completing these points.
Martin was eliminated in the end despite re-entry and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) crashed 10 before the finish.
That’s it for race day in Misano (for now)! Bagnaia still holds the cards en route to Austin, but Quartararo has the ace in the standings. It’s now five points closer, however, and COTA has proven to be a very different hunting ground than Misano in the past.
Francesco Bagnaia: “I knew I might struggle a bit with the soft rear end, but I tried to push like hell for the first two or three laps to close the gap, the pace was pretty constant in the last part . With the medium he was a little better in the last part, but we were amazing today, the team worked so perfectly and two wins in a row are incredible for me. I struggled to win my first race, I missed something and now two! “