#EmiliaRomagnaGP Misano, raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
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.
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.
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.