More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Drama at Misano: Marquez leads Repsol Honda 1-2, Pecco crashes and Quartararo secures the crown
The number 93 wins, Pol Espargaro takes his first podium with Honda, Pecco crashes from the lead and Bastianini pips Quartararo to third with a last lap lunge
Sunday, 24 October 2021
Where do we start? First, the race winner. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was back on top in the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna, backing up his stunner at COTA with victory at a clockwise circuit for the first time this season. He was followed home by teammate Pol Espargaro in the first Repsol Honda 1-2 since 2017 and the number 44’s first podium with Honda, with Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) putting in another beast of a ride to complete the rostrum on home turf – after a last lap lunge on a newly-crowned World Champion, no less.
Meanwhile, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) escaped in the lead as he went all-in, searing around Misano in his bid to stop Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) taking the crown. But it was a push too far and Pecco slid out, rider ok but title hopes over as Quartararo’s 52 point advantage guaranteed him the crown – backed up by a fourth place in the race too.
Bagnaia didn’t get the best start but retained the holeshot as teammate Jack Miller declined to engage in any friendly fire from second, with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) therefore briefly passing the Australian but Miller hitting back soon after to tag back onto the tail of his teammate. For Quartararo, the start wasn’t the best either as the Frenchman went from 15th to 17th, but he was soon back up three places to one ahead of where he started.
After only a couple of laps, there was a breakaway trio of Pecco, Miller and Marc Marquez, and some drama elsewhere: former reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) jumped the start and was given the requisite Double Long Lap, but then the number 36 was out anyway, coming together with Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing). No further action was taken, although it was investigated.
The Bagnaia-Miller-Marquez train had almost a couple of seconds in hand by then, but Miller was starting to come under some serious pressure from Marquez. And then, even more drama – Miller crashed out. Rider ok but leaving his teammate in the lead and Marquez on the charge behind him – with Pol Espargaro in third with company from Oliveira, Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
By 20 to go, Bagnaia and Marquez were nearly three seconds clear, Pol Espargaro vs Oliveira was the fight for third and Quartararo was still down in 10th, behind Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar). Soon after though the Suzuki and the Yamaha managed to pass the Pramac machine, the tension still hanging in the air as Pecco led Marquez and Quartararo made his moves.
On Lap 13, Martin crashed at Turn 1 and Quartararo was then embroiled in a five-rider battle – with fifth to ninth split by less than a second. But the Frenchman, keeping calm, picked his way past teammate Franco Morbidelli and then front-row starter Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) to climb to P7 on Lap 15, although Pecco continuing to hold the relentless Marc Marquez at bay.
With 10 to go, Quartararo sliced his way past Rins for P6, with Aleix Espargaro then next on El Diablo’s radar. And sure enough, with nine to go, Quartararo was ahead of the Aprilia RS-GP and now in fifth. Barring a disaster from Oliveira, that was as good as it was going to get for Quartararo, with the KTM star eight seconds up the road. Or so we thought….
Meanwhile, 17 seconds ahead of Quartararo, Bagnaia was holding up his end of the bargain. All Pecco could do on home soil was win, but he had an eight-time World Champion hanging onto his coattails. Looking incredibly strong, the Italian was starting to pull clear though… before Lap 23 of the Emilia-Romagna GP became the title-deciding lap of 2021. At Turn 15, where Miller crashed earlier in the race, Bagnaia suddenly slid out. Giving it all he had but just dancing over the limit with pace Marquez would later describe as ‘unreal’, it was over. Straight back up on his feet, Pecco knew. Ducati knew. Yamaha knew. Quartararo knew: a new MotoGP™ World Champion was about to be crowned.
Pecco’s crash, closely followed by an Oliveira crash right after, left Marc Marquez P1, Pol Espargaro P2 and Quartararo, the new World Champion, holding a sensational third place from P15 on the grid. But Bastianini had other ideas, the Beast on an electric charge in the latter stages. He wasn’t going to allow Quartararo to have an easy cruise home to the podium, and he was homing in.
Up ahead, the chequered flag came out and Marc Marquez won his second race in a row, his third of the season, and first on a clockwise track in 2021… much more difficult turf. Pol Espargaro came home second to hand Repsol Honda a fantastic 1-2, their first since 2017, and returned to the rostrum for the first time in 2021 and first time with the Japanese marque.
Meanwhile Bastianini, with a move at Turn 14, got the better of Quartararo on the last lap, cementing another stunning rostrum to take the lead in the Rookie of the Year fight. And then came the the 2021 MotoGP™ World Champion: Fabio Quartararo. Jubilation erupted for the Frenchman and Yamaha after a phenomenal season.
Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) crossed the line in fifth to beat sixth place Rins by 1.2s, with Aleix Espargaro taking P7. P8 went the way of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) who claims his best result in Aprilia colours, and Marini secured his goal with a second top 10 of the season in P9 in his special Grazie Vale colour scheme.
Speaking of, Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) crossed the line in 10th in his final MotoGP™ race on Italian soil: a fitting send-off to the nine-time World Champion in front of his adoring fans after a tougher start to the race, and now two races remain in Portugal and Valencia to enjoy The Doctor doing what he loves best – racing motorcycles.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had an eventful day. The South African crashed on the sighting lap, started from the back of the grid and ended up finishing P11 after another impressive charge. Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team), Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – the latter despite a crash – were the final points scorers at Misano.
And so the sun sets on the premier class Championship fight and a dramatic day in Emilia-Romagna. An emotional one too, as Quartararo won, Rossi bid farewell to his home crowd and Bagnaia was forced to cede. But the Ducati man came out in pitlane to congratulate Quartararo, as did Miller, and will surely be a force to be reckoned with in next year’s battle too…
Now we head back to Portugal for the Algarve GP, and the title fight may be over but the racing will remain as exciting as ever. Join us next time out for the penultimate race weekend of the season and felicitations, Fabio!!!!
Marc Marquez: “For me this is the most important win of the year. Winning at a right-handed circuit, with the corners where I struggled a lot this year, I’m still struggling a bit but it’s progress and evolution, something special. It’s something that will give me a lot of confidence for these last two races but especially in winter time, to be calmer and more patient. With time everything is going a good way and that’s the most important. Today the pace was unreal, Pecco was riding super fast. When I saw the 32 low, 32 low, I mean.. I don’t know how I was able to stay there! But on the lap where I gave up, because I saw he was so fast on that lap, he crashed. I was putting pressure on him but Pecco was the fastest rider on the track today. And aside from that, today is not my day, it’s Fabio’s day and I want to congratulate him. He deserves it, he did an incredible season and job, so congrats to him and the Yamaha team… we’ll try and make it difficult next year for him!”
Lowes wins, Raul Fernandez crashes out as drama hits for Moto2™ at Misano
The Brit leads an Elf Marc VDS 1-2, Raul Fernandez crashes out the lead and Gardner capitalises despite taking seventh on a nevertheless tougher Sunday
Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS) got his elbows out and put his foot down at the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna, getting back on the top step in style at Misano. Teammate Augusto Fernandez made it an Elf Marc VDS Racing Team 1-2 despite a Long Lap penalty from qualifying, with the Spaniard just pipping compatriot Aron Canet after some late technical gremlins made life harder for the Aspar Team rider. Still, he completed the podium for another impressive race at Misano.
One moment stole the headlines, however, as Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) suffered a huge crash out of the lead – rider ok – and on a day when teammate and Championship leader Remy Gardner was suffering some of his own dramas, a way back off the podium fight. But the Australian stayed calm, dug in, overcame a Long Lap given for some contact with Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and crossed the line in seventh – doubling his advantage to 18 points ahead of the Algarve GP.
Polesitter Lowes grabbed the holeshot, with Canet making a good start to earn P2 ahead of Augusto Fernandez, with Raul Fernandez and Gardner P7 and P12 respectively at the end of the first lap. But by Lap 3, Raul Fernandez had made his way up to P4, with Gardner still scrapping away in the lower ends of the top 10.
A late lunge from Canet on then-race leader Jorge Navarro (+EGO Speed Up) at the tight Turn 14 right-hander allowed Lowes to retake the lead, while also gifting Raul Fernandez P3. The latter was then up to second on Lap 6, and with Gardner P8, as things stood Raul Fernandez was set to take the Championship lead…
Gardner then dived up the inside of Chantra at Turn 14 on his mission to make a comeback, but contact was made and the Thai rider crashed, adding a Long Lap Penalty to Gardner’s Sunday mountain to climb. Meanwhile, Raul Fernandez was swarming Lowes’ rear wheel for the lead…
By Lap 11, Lowes, Raul Fernandez and Canet were 1.3s clear of now fourth-placed Navarro, and then Augusto Fernandez passed Gardner too, the Australian back down to P8. Raul Fernandez then took the lead and the news of the Long Lap came for the Aussie in quick succession, with things seemingly going from bad to worse.
The everything changed. Heading down into Turn 8, Raul Fernandez was suddenly cartwheeling through the gravel, bike obliterated and out of the race, but rider ok. Another huge and unforeseen twist that left Gardner, despite the tougher race of it, suddenly holding a lot more cards. Still, he lost another position to Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), and the race was on to try and maximise the open goal…
Back up at the front, it was now Lowes vs Canet for victory. The Brit ran wide at Turn 8 to allow the Spaniard through into the lead, and another moment for the number 22 then allowed Canet to get up to an advantage of over half a second with five to go. A lap late though and Lowes was back in P1, elbows out to make his way through but clean aggression returning him to the lead.
Augusto Fernandez was also up to third after his Long Lap Penalty, the Spaniard passing a brightly coloured Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) as the rookie impressed on home turf, but just unable to stay with the podium fight.
As was Gardner, but the Australian did gain a position back as Bezzecchi slid out late on, putting the Championship leader back into seventh – enough to double his advantage, which seemed an unlikely feat until his teammate’s crash.
Up front though, the Lowes show rolled on and the Brit crossed the line over a second clear for an impressive return to the top step. Augusto Fernandez produced a stunning comeback ride to pick off Canet on the run to the line – handing MarcVDS their first 1-2 since 2017. Canet was disappointed with P3 as technical gremlins halted his final push, but it’s a fourth podium of the season for the Spaniard.
Rookie Vietti rode brilliantly on home soil to bag his best result of the season, and fifth place went the way of Navarro. Manzi had a quiet but impressive ride to P6 at his home track, and the Italian finished nine seconds up the road from Championship leader Gardner. It was a tough afternoon at the office for Gardner, but after Raul Fernandez’ crash, the Aussie extends his lead in the title race to 18 points with just two races to go.
Sporting a special Gresini livery, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) claimed P8 ahead of rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and 10th place Marcos Ramirez (American Racing). Reigning Moto3™ World Champion Albert Arenas (Aspar Team Moto2) was 0.6s away from a top 10 result in P11, Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) takes home a P12 as Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) rescues some points after his Long Lap Penalty. Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) picked up P14 and P15 at Misano.
That’s a wrap on Emilia-Romagna, and next up it’s a return to the Algarve and Gardner, after a rollercoaster day in Italy, has his first shot at the crown. But it’s an incredibly good venue for a few on the grid and one thing is for sure – no one will go down without a fight, whether in the battle for victory or the Championship! Come back for more in a fortnight!
Sam Lowes: “It was a complicated weekend for everybody to have the perfect setting and honestly I think the longest run I’ve ever done with the soft front is maybe 8 laps. I decided to use it cause of the conditions this weekend, the second half of the race was really difficult because it was sort of unknown for me with this tyre and I started to struggle. So I’m very happy to keep digging and keep with the pace. Normally I find a good advantage with the hard front but these conditions this weekend have been so difficult with grip with the left corners, so I felt definitely in the first half of the race I could take an advantage and then it was a bit of a struggle at the end but I dug in, I rode well and kept my pace to the end, tried manage the tyres the best I could.
“I’m really happy with the ride, I feel like all year I’ve been close to where I need to be and just missing a few results here and there. It’s all about building up these last few races. Well done to the team! Augusto also rode really well, he took a gamble with the hard front and well done to him, with a Long Lap he’s come back to second, Really good for the team, really good for me. At Portimão after crashing at Turn 1 at the start of the year I get a second chance so I can’t wait for that!”
Fantastic Foggia! Italian takes vital home victory to push the title fight to Portimão
The veteran wins from P14 on the grid, but Acosta impresses to get back on the podium for the first time since the Styrian GP
The heat was on for Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) in the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia Romagna, with the Italian starting 14th on the grid as he aimed to stop key rival Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking the title from fifth. But the Italian seared through after a tougher start to home in on the front group and then take the lead, thereafter pitching it to perfection to hold off an impressive race from Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo). The fight for third went down to the wire, but Acosta did some damage limitation as he got back on the podium for the first time since the Styrian GP, keeping a healthy 21 points of advantage heading to the Algarve. In addition, the 2-3 wrapped up the Teams’ title for Red Bull KTM Ajo.
Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) took the holeshot from pole, the veteran getting the perfect launch as Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) shot up into second and Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) dispatched teammate Riccardo Rossi. Filip Salač (CarXpert PrüstelGP) lost out a little to drop from the top three, but by the end of the lap the bigger surprise was Foggia losing a few positions too. However, there were plenty of laps left to run.
As the race settled a little, Antonelli had Masia for company, with Salač back into third ahead of Nepa, Acosta and Guevara. Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing) , Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completed the first breakaway group, with Foggia in the second group around a second and a half off the front freight train.
But Foggia was on a charge. What had been 1.7 seconds back to the second group was soon eight tenths, and only Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) was able to go with him. By 15 to go the number 7 had arrived on the scene, immediately slicing past Salač and setting his sights on Artigas, his teammate. He got through on him too, but with 12 to go Acosta hit the lead. Could this be the break?
Ultimately not, and after a strange moment that saw Antonelli swamped between turns 7 and 8, Foggia was suddenly right in the mix at the front. By 9 to go, the Italian was in the race lead and Acosta back in fifth, with a gap to the front four as well. The front four became three with 6 to go as Guevara crashed, but the trio of Foggia, Masia and Binder had breathing space and experience on their side as Acosta duelled Nepa for fourth behind.
With three to go, the fight for the win was a duel. Foggia led, with Masia absolutely glued to the back of his teammate’s Championship rival. The gap back to Binder had shot out to 1.8 seconds, but the South African also had the same in hand over Nepa, who was back ahead of Acosta.
On the last lap, Foggia remained in the driving seat but Masia was stalking. The Red Bull KTM Ajo machine was as close as ever, but just behind them it was even closer. Binder had seriously faded, and both Acosta and Nepa sliced past the South African to add another twist to the standings. For Foggia though, nerves of steel prevailed. The Italian stayed pitch perfect on the final lap to take another win: just this season his second at Misano, third on home turf and fifth overall, keeping the Championship fight alive.
As Foggia crossed the line and Masia too, the fight to join them on the podium was still hot. But Acosta stayed cool and ahead of both Nepa and Binder, doing some impressive damage limitation despite not quite securing the crown. The gap is now 21 points ahead of the Algarve GP…
Binder took fourth and a solid result as only he and Foggia repped Honda in the top eight, with Nepa taking fifth and his best Grand Prix result so far. Antonelli took sixth and some solid points but couldn’t come back from his earlier moment, with compatriot Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) just behind him. Fenati taking P7 doesn’t sound like the normal heights of the Italian’s season, but considering a tough Saturday and a mountain to climb, the veteran clawed back an incredible distance on race day.
Sasaki took good points in eight, ahead of a good P9 for rookie Artigas. Salač completed the top ten, ahead of Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP) in some space. Next up was Guevara despite the earlier crash for the Austin winner, the rookie taking P12, with Adrian Fernandez (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) and Andi Izdihar (Honda Team Asia) completing the points.
And so it rolls on. Next up we return to the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve, where last time Foggia vs Acosta was already staging a show. Now the two will be fighting over the title, and it’s 21 points in the Spaniard’s favour – but the Italian far from throwing in the towel. Tune in for that in just under two weeks!
Dennis Foggia: “It was a difficult weekend because all sessions in the wet… and in the wet I’m not good! I don’t like it. So this morning in Warm Up I was so relaxed because I knew the race would be in the dry. I started from 14th, and I said ok, ‘it’s time to attack’ because Pedro was in front, and I knew with my team I had good potential. Six podiums in a row is fantastic, my second win here and third in Italy, it’s fantastic. I don’t know about the Championship now given the points because Pedro got a podium, but I’m just happy and I want to thank my team because the bike was perfect. See you in Portimão! ”
More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
FABIO QUARTARARO CROWNED MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION IN MISANO
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 24th October 2021
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Yamaha Motor Racing Srl, and the entire Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP staff warmly congratulate Fabio Quartararo on securing his first MotoGP World Championship Title at today‘s Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider Fabio Quartararo put in a superb performance today at the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna, taking fourth place to secure the 2021 MotoGP World Championship Title in his first year with the Factory Yamaha Team.
Quartararo showed he meant business early on in the season. From an opening Factory debut fifth place he went on to take a brilliant win at the second round in Qatar (Doha GP). He showed it wasn‘t a fluke at the next round, the Portuguese GP. Though the Frenchman had to cope with sudden Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS or ’arm pump‘) at the Spanish GP and a subsequent surgery, he didn‘t let it hold him back. He went on to score eight more podiums (French GP, Italian GP, German GP, Dutch GP, Styrian GP, British GP, San Marino GP, and the Americas GP), including three wins (Italian GP, Dutch GP, and British GP).
Quartararo‘s impressive 2021 results earned Yamaha its 755th premier class podium finish in Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd.‘s 60th anniversary year of World Championship Road Racing participation, adding to the Japanese constructor‘s extensive list of MotoGP milestones.
Quartararo brought Yamaha‘s premier class rider titles tally to 18 so far, of which three were secured by Lorenzo (2010, 2012, and 2015), four by Valentino Rossi (2004, 2005, 2008 and 2009) in the MotoGP class, three by Wayne Rainey (1990, 1991, 1992), three by Eddie Lawson (1984, 1986, 1988), three by Kenny Roberts (1978, 1979, 1980), and one by Giacomo Agostini (1975) in the 500cc class.
Quartararo‘s achievements combined with his teammates‘ efforts have also helped keep both the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team and Yamaha in contention in this year‘s Team and Constructor Championships with two rounds remaining. Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli (his former teammate in 2019 and 2020 with PETRONAS Yamaha SRT) reunited at the 2021 San Marino GP in the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP garage and are keen to fight down to the wire for the Team and Constructor Titles until the last MotoGP round in Valencia.
PRESIDENT & CEO, YAMAHA MOTOR CO., LTD.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Fabio whole-heartedly. We already knew he was an exceptional talent who understands how to get the best out of the YZR-M1 and shares Yamaha‘s ability to think and dream big – and now he has made his dream come true through hard work, passion, and exciting yet clean racing.
“We are thrilled that we have achieved this shared goal together. Grand Prix racing makes up a large part of Yamaha‘s heritage. Yamaha Motor Company was born from ’racing DNA‘, and this racing DNA is also present in our consumer products. Yamaha had a clear objective for this year: we strived to be back at the pinnacle of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing. With Fabio we‘ve secured five Grands Prix victories and ten podiums, and after a six-year period we have won the MotoGP World Championship again – a superb achievement. Moreover, to do it in such a competitive field is an achievement we can be proud of.
“On behalf of Yamaha, I would like to sincerely thank all our sponsors and partners, without whom none of this would have been possible. They have cheered on Yamaha through these last two difficult pandemic-affected MotoGP seasons, and this championship victory is therefore also very much theirs.
“The last two years have further underlined what a source of joy MotoGP and motorsports are in general to a vast audience. To many people the GPs were highlights during an otherwise dark period. I would therefore also like to take a moment to thank the fans around the world for their unwavering support, and also the Yamaha staff who this year again made significant sacrifices to adhere to Covid regulations – which meant often being away from home for weeks on end – and who unfailingly worked with 100% dedication towards the goal of becoming World Champion.
“Since its founding, Yamaha has always been striving to bring every Yamaha rider the feeling of ‘Kando’; a Japanese word for the simultaneous feelings of deep satisfaction and intense excitement that we experience when we encounter something of exceptional value. This championship win is truly one of those moments: it‘s a milestone that will bring joy to many, as Fabio‘s fan base, like Yamaha‘s, is growing.
MANAGING DIRECTOR, YAMAHA MOTOR RACING
“I‘m extremely happy to congratulate Fabio on securing the Championship Title already in Misano. We asked Fabio to join the Factory team in 2021 because we knew full-well the extent of his talent. However, he managed not only to meet our expectations but even exceeded them.
“Fabio had obviously always dreamt of becoming a Factory rider and was very excited about what the future would hold, but the change of garage required some adjustment. He had to get used to a new team whilst simultaneously handle the added media pressure of being a Factory Team rider. Fabio had no trouble gelling with the team and finding speed on the Factory YZR-M1, and soon he secured his first two wins in Doha and Portimao. Right then we knew this year could be something special, but disaster struck in Jerez. Fabio had to cope with arm pump problems and a surgery quite early on in the season, a crucial time for a serious championship contender. This could have been a severe mental blow, but yet again this didn‘t faze him. He underwent it heroically and managed to show up at the very next GP ready to fight for the podium again.
“His mental fortitude really impressed us, and it resulted in him finishing no lower than eighth on ’bad‘ race weekends, except for when he had arm pump in Jerez, and even then he took 13th. He didn’t finish outside the points once so far this season.
“These statistics speak for themselves. They show that Fabio doesn’t leave a stone unturned yet manages to not let the pressure of a possible championship title get to him. He fights and beats the opposition fairly, purely on talent and race craft. And last but not least, he walks the tight line between relentless dedication to winning and improving while also having fun on the bike, a quality that our team has witnessed before with Yamaha‘s most successful premier class rider Valentino Rossi.
“This Rider Title is special because it has been achieved through great synergy between Fabio, the team, and Yamaha. I would like to thank and congratulate the members of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team working directly with Fabio as well as the engineers of Yamaha‘s Motorsports Development Division in Japan and Yamaha Motor Racing‘s European based staff. All of Fabio‘s great achievements are a testament to their hard work. The big question that now remains is whether we can also win the Team and Constructor titles… With just two rounds to go we will surely give it our 100% for a thrilling climax to another incredibly competitive MotoGP season.
“I still can’t believe it! I can’t even talk… It feels amazing. Maybe later I can talk a bit more. Right now, I’m living the dream! It feels good to also have my family with me, and we will enjoy this a lot tonight and until the end of the season.
“Of course this was not the way I wanted Pecco’s weekend to end, but I’m happy he’s okay. Now we are the World Champion. I have no words and I have no more liquid left in my body to cry. It feels so good, but I can’t even describe what I’m feeling right now. To be on the podium with a big part of my family and my family from the circuit – I have no words.
“MotoGP has been going on for quite a long time. To be the first Frenchman to win it is amazing. I’m also happy for Yamaha. Since 2015 they didn’t win a title, and today we won it again. It’s an amazing feeling!
More, from another press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
FABIO QUARTARARO‘S ROAD TO MOTOGP SUCCESS
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 24th October 2021
From tipped ’title threat‘ when he debuted in the Moto3 class in 2015, to 2021 MotoGP World Champion in his first year with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team: Fabio Quartararo is a remarkable talent with an inspiring success story.
In his very first year with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team, Fabio Quartararo showed incredible speed, maturity, and heroic perseverance to secure the MotoGP World Championship Title with two rounds to spare. We invite you to have a look back with us on El Diablo‘s journey to the top of Grand Prix racing.
Quartararo was already a much-tipped name at the start of his Grand Prix racing career. He entered the Moto3 class in 2015 aged just 15, as the previous rule against participating in the Moto3™ World Championship until the age of 16 had been repealed that year. Being the 2013 and 2014 FIM CEV Moto3 Champion, the Frenchman was considered a title threat from the very beginning. Like many had predicted, he impressed from the start and already stood on the podium in just his second race, at the Circuit of The Americas. He repeated this feat in Assen after claiming pole at both Jerez and Le Mans. Unfortunately, a late-season ankle injury halted his progress, but he still finished the season in tenth place in the overall standings. It was the first sign of a booming career, though it wasn‘t always an easy ride.
He took thirteenth place in 2016 with the Leopard Racing team in the Moto3 class and repeated this ranking in 2017 with Paginas Amarillas HP40 in Moto2, again without any podiums. However, his impressive pace throughout his intermediate class debut allowed him to move to the Speed Up Racing team for his sophomore season.
It was in 2018 that he made big strides in the Moto2 championship and beyond. He took his first intermediate class pole and GP win at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. He followed it up with a second place at the TT Circuit Assen and ultimately took a top 10 finish in the final standings. In August 2018, it was also announced that Quartararo would join Franco Morbidelli at the newly created Yamaha satellite team, Petronas Yamaha SRT, in 2019. A big challenge – but the Frenchman was ready for it.
What followed in 2019 was nothing short of remarkable. El Diablo was keen to show those who doubted him what he was really capable of. He silenced the nay-sayers by taking an incredible seven podiums and six pole positions. He also wrapped up the season as Rookie of the Year, winner of the Independent Riders‘ Championship, and fifth in the overall World Championship.
Still missing his elusive debut win in the premier class, that became his key target for 2020. Despite the calendar changes due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, he didn‘t have to wait long. Quartararo dominated in Jerez in July, opening his campaign with a double win. In Catalunya he scored his third win, but he struggled to carry the same performance through to the end of the season. However, over a total of 14 GPs he secured nine front-row starts, four of which were pole positions. It was clear the French prodigy had the speed, so now he would be aiming for consistency to secure his first championship win.
In 2021, Quartararo fulfilled two of his dreams in one season: following into the footsteps of his idol Valentino Rossi by joining the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team and becoming a MotoGP World Champion – and he made it almost look easy.
Quartararo had already established himself as an incredible talent, so naturally the expectations of the fans and media were high. Whilst the team tried to avoid putting any pressure on him, the young Frenchman couldn‘t help but feel a little nervous at the first round. He still took fifth place, a very respectable Factory Team debut result. The team was satisfied, but Quartararo was not. He knew he could do better, and he was determined to show it the very next week at the second race in Doha. Though it was one of only two races this year where he didn‘t start from the first row, he did secure his first win with the Factory Team.
The number-20 rider showed that his first top result wasn‘t a fluke by winning the next round in Portimão, and he could have won the next race in Jerez too for a hattrick if it wasn‘t for a sudden Chronic Exertional Compartment Syndrome (CECS or ’arm pump‘) problem mid-race while in the lead. However, his perseverance showed as he still completed the race in 13th place (his lowest result of the entire season). Thankfully this issue was quickly resolved through surgery, and a mere week later he was celebrating a third place, having overcome the wet conditions in Le Mans.
With one week off between the French and the Italian GP, Quartararo was ready to go all out in Mugello. He had a great weekend and scored a brilliant victory, which the team considered telling. Though a home race, the Mugello track is not typically known as one of the best tracks for the Factory Team. That El Diablo was able to extract the best from the YZR-M1 even at this notoriously technically challenging circuit was very promising for the remainder of the season.
Quartararo was again a podium contender in a somewhat chaotic Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. He had held firm in third place, but ultimately ended up sixth after receiving two 3-second penalties (one for taking a shortcut after running wide and another for unzipping his leathers mid-race). But the Frenchman took it in his stride and rode to a third place in Sachsenring two weeks later, even when again this circuit‘s lay-out is not the most suited for the Yamaha‘s smooth lines and high corner speed. The TT Circuit Assen on the other hand is, and he took a victory there one week later to close the first half of the season in the best way possible. Then teammate Maverick Viñales made it an even more memorable day for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. He secured second place, thus achieving a 1-2 for the Factory Team – its first since the 2017 Argentina GP – and making it Yamaha’s 750th and 751st podium finish in the premier class.
After a four-week summer break, the Frenchman started the second half of the season refreshed, which was much needed for the eventful Grand Prix of Styria. The first race got red flagged on lap 3, but Quartararo kept his head cool and rode his M1 to a podium finish. This stellar third place tasted even sweeter as he extended his championship lead to 40 points – at yet another demanding track for Yamaha – and became a championship winning favourite. He was keen to repeat the performance again the week after at the Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich. He was on route for a podium place, but rain in the last three laps spoiled his plans. Having swapped to his rain bike late, he fell back to P14 and had to balance wanting to score as many points as possible with not taking too much risk and hurting his championship chances. He ultimately made a quick dash to salvage a brave seventh place and extended his lead in the championship by seven points.
A fortnight later, Quartararo’s star shone bright again. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team could celebrate a significant victory at the Monster Energy British Grand Prix. Being fully in control, nobody could match the Frenchman’s level aboard the YZR-M1. He took the chequered flag with a convincing 2.663s margin to second and left the Silverstone circuit with a 65-point lead in the championship.
The Factory Team headed into the next round, the Grand Prix de Aragon, on a high, but Round 13 proved ’unlucky‘ for the Frenchman. He had a difficult outing at the MotorLand Aragón and had to put up a strong fight. Thanks to defensive and courageous riding, he secured eighth place and collected eight crucial championship points. Keen to make a strong comeback at the Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, Quartararo was on a mission – and he delivered. The Yamaha man charged until the very end of the 27-lap race to ultimately take second place and 20 crucial championship points.
The Misano podium was a boost for the championship leader heading into the Grand Prix of The Americas, but it was also the start of a change in mindset. Whereas before Quartararo had always ’lived in the moment‘ and raced for wins and podiums in every race, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP man now decided to opt for a more championship standings orientated strategy at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). He delivered a mature ride, balancing on a fine line between defending second place and chasing the race leader. He extended his margin in the standings to 52 points in the process, giving him his first match point for the second race in Misano.
The pressure was on during the Emilia-Romagna GP. He had to start the race from 15th place on the grid with his title rival starting from pole position. But Quartararo is the type of rider to never give up. He rode a superb race, cutting through the pack. With Bagnaia ultimately crashing out of the race in the latter stages, Quartararo was certain of a championship win. Still, he wouldn‘t be El Diablo if he didn’t get into a last minute scrap to keep the fans on the edge of their seat. He ultimately finished in fourth place after a brilliant and champion-worthy ride.
Winning the 2021 MotoGP World Championship in his debut year with the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team is a dream come true for Quartararo. He achieved his life-time goal, yet it is only just the start of his already incredibly successful partnership with the Factory Team that already brought 5 GP wins, 10 podiums, 14 front-row starts, 5 pole positions, 5 fastest laps, and 1 World Championship Title up until now.
All in all, the time-old strategy of ’speed and consistency‘ was the key to success. However, what let Quartararo truly step into the footsteps of his idol Rossi was a ’secret ingredient‘. This season he was able to keep relentless focus, show calm determination, and consistently delivered point-scoring performances even on his ’bad days‘ by having genuine fun on the bike. The joy he feels in the heat of qualifying and race battles is infectious and earned him a large and quickly growing fan base, who are surely overjoyed with Quartararo‘s 2021 MotoGP World Championship Title victory.
More, from another press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:
QUARTARARO RIDES TO CHAMPIONSHIP GLORY AT EMILIA-ROMAGNA GP
Misano Adriatico (Italy), 24th October 2021
GRAND PRIX OF MADE IN ITALY AND EMILIA-ROMAGNA
Fabio Quartararo secured fourth place at the Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna to secure the 2021 MotoGP World Championship with a 65-point advantage and two rounds remaining. Franco Morbidelli impressed with his pace in the first half of the race, but due to his injury he wasn‘t able to defend a fifth position. He ended the race in 14th place.
LOCAL TIME: 14:00 GMT+2
AIR TEMPERATURE: 18°C
TRACK TEMPERATURE: 23°C
WEATHER: SUNNY / HUMIDITY 55%
MORE CIRCUIT INFO
4th FABIO QUARTARARO +12.775 / 27 LAPS
14th FRANCO MORBIDELLI +42.830 / 27 LAPS
Fabio Quartararo held his nerve at today‘s Gran Premio del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna and rode from P15 to a brilliant fourth place. By relentlessly keeping the pressure on his rivals, he earned the 2021 MotoGP World Championship Crown. Franco Morbidelli‘s true potential as a top-level rider shone through in the first half of the 27-lap race. However, fatigue meant he had the slow down in the latter stages. He finished in 14th place.
Quartararo had a cautious start from P15 on the grid and slalomed through the opening corners in 17th place, but he soon commenced his charge to the front. After six laps, he found himself inside the top 10.
El Diablo kept pushing, knowing every point could be crucial in his championship challenge. Stalking Alex Rins, they together overtook Jorge Martin and continued to ride to the front. On lap 13, the pair joined the group battling for fifth place. Two laps later Quartararo found a way through on his teammate and Luca Marini. And with ten laps to go, he also overtook Rins in Turn 4 for sixth place.
The Frenchman‘s race pace in the latter stages was as good as it had been in the San Marino GP in September. He was rapidly closing in on Aleix Espargaro and had the fans on the edge of their seats during his duel with the Aprilia rider, but he managed to keep it short and quickly opened a gap.
Quartararo was now in fifth place, and the title challenge seemed to be moved forward to Portimao, but the sting was in the tail of the Emilia-Romagna GP. With Francesco Bagnaia and Miguel Oliveira crashing out in the final five laps, Quartararo was suddenly in third place. He was keen to secure his championship title with a podium finish, but when Enea Bastianini loomed up behind him, the Yamaha man decided to make do with a fourth-place finish, 12.775s from first.
Morbidelli had a good start from sixth on the grid and defended his position tooth and nail in the opening lap. With Jack Miller crashing out on lap 4, he moved into the top 5. When a gap started to form between him and the rider in front of him, he shifted his attention to keeping a steady pace going despite his knee injury.
The Italian was put under pressure by Aleix Espargaro with 17 laps to go. The Yamaha man made his M1 as wide as possible but had to let his rival through a lap later. Fatigue in the leg made it hard for Morbidelli to defend his position. He gradually fell back to 14th place, finishing 42.830s from the front.
Thanks to today’s results, Quartararo won the World Championship Title with 267 points in total and a 65-point lead with two rounds to go. Morbidelli scored his first points after his return from injury and now has 42 points but stays in 17th place. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP return to the top in the team standings with 364 points, and Yamaha remains second in the constructor championship with 295 points.
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Algarve International Circuit again in two weeks‘ time for the Grande Prémio do Algarve, held from 5-7 November.
First of all, I want to congratulate Fabio on achieving his dream of becoming a MotoGP World Champion. The way he handled a very tense situation today once again underlines that he is a worthy champion, and it shows how much he has grown. He doesn’t crack under pressure and instead turns a difficult race starting from P15 into a brilliant fourth place finish and a title win.
I do also want to take this moment to congratulate Bagnaia on his strong title challenge this year. We have nothing but respect for him. We are happy that he is unhurt. We didn’t want to win the championship in this manner, but it doesn’t take away from Fabio and the team’s amazing work.
I want to congratulate and thank the team members and Yamaha engineers for their dedication. Riding a race in the dry with little to no dry track time in the sessions before is hard to do at any time, let alone when the Championship Title is at stake. But the whole team pulled together. They contributed so much to this title win, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them.
Lastly, I want to say ’Well done‘ to Franky. He rode such a strong first half of the race, which is not at all easy to do when you’re still recovering from such a serious leg injury. We knew keeping up the pace for 27 laps would be very hard for him, but to see his potential as a rider at the top level of motorsports in the first half of the race was really nice to see. We know that it’s only a matter of time before he is fully healed and able to fight for the full race length again. He will soon be back at the front where he belongs.
The next races will be ’easier‘ for us, because we will have less pressure, but we still want to be there at the front to see if we can also win the Team and Constructor Titles. We will try to wrap up this season in the best way possible.
To be honest, I still can’t believe what I achieved today… This feels so good! It wasn’t an easy race. On the first laps I saw Miller crash, but I thought it was Marc. Then I looked at the TV, and I saw that Marc was fighting with Pecco. Then I saw another red bike crashing. At that moment I wasn’t happy. I was just thinking ’Okay, Pecco crashed‘ and I‘m glad he is okay. To try to finish on the podium was a little bit the target, but our front tyre was in a bad shape by then, and I couldn’t make it in the end. But I don’t care. I became a World Champion today. I could have finished last, and the result would have been the same. I have no words. I just want to enjoy this moment with the team.
I’m happy with the overall performance we had this weekend. We improved a lot. I improved the feeling with the bike and for sure my condition was better, and I was able to be faster until midway through the race. Unfortunately, I’m not fit enough to maintain the pace of this level of racing yet. I needed to slow down and cruise around in the second half of the race. But we made some good steps, so I’m happy. I want to say ’Congratulations‘ to the team and to Fabio. They did a wonderful and amazing job this year. Fabio was really on point this season and really fast. He was really the best, so he deserves this championship, and he and the team deserve this kind of result.