#SanMarinoGP Misano, raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
The 2022 Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini will be remembered for an epic duel between Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™). The two Italians went head-to-head in the closing stages and were eventually split by just 0.034s on the line as Bagnaia becomes the first Ducati rider to win four races in a row, a phenomenal accolade and one that takes him to second in the Championship, 30 points back on Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) . Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) kept the Ducati duo honest for much of the race before losing touch in the latter stages, coming home third for another Aprilia podium.
From pole, Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) got away fantastically well and so did teammate Francesco Bagnaia as the Italian pounced straight up to third from P5 on the grid. Behind there was drama, however, with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) and Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing) crashing out of contention at Turn 1, riders ok.
It soon became an even more dramatic race of attrition, however, as a couple of early frontrunners then crashed on Lap 2 – including race leader Miller. The Australian slipped out at Turn 4 and a few corners later at Turn 10, Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was on the floor. Both riders were unhurt, and both remounted. New race leader Bastianini then had a hairy moment at Turn 14 as the hottest weather of the weekend was seemingly making life tricky for the premier class.
On Lap 3, Bagnaia led for the first time and quickly following him through on Bastianini was Viñales. Further back, the top two in the World Championship at the time – Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – were locked together in P5 and P6. They were 0.8s off the leading quartet that consisted of Bagnaia, Viñales, Bastianini and Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team).
After passing Aleix Espargaro, Quartararo set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 7 of 27 and immediately started hunting down the leaders, however. The Frenchman gapped the Aprilia by 0.7s but it was then the Noale factory rider who set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 9, with the top six – down to the number 41 – split by 2.2s. However, a poor lap from Espargaro on Lap 12 saw the Spaniard slip to three seconds off the lead and 1.6s away from Quartararo.
As we clocked through half-race distance, the top four remained locked together. Bagnaia led from Viñales, Bastianini and Marini, with Quartararo 0.7s away from the intense victory fight. Then, on Lap 16 of 27, Bastianini was wide at Turn 10 to allow Marini an easy pass up the inside. The Beast was straight back past though on the run into the rapid Turn 11 right-hander though, and in good time as Bagnaia and Viñales started to turn up the wick. Meanwhile, Quartararo was losing ground in P5 and Espargaro was now two seconds in arrears of the Yamaha rider.
After that mistake, Bastianini bounced back with a 1:31.895 to reel in Bagnaia and Viñales. Was that famous late race pace starting to surface? With eight to go, after a couple of scruffy corners from Viñales, Bastianini carved his way up to P2 at Turn 1. The gap to Pecco was 0.6s. Then it was 0.4s. Then it was 0.2s. By six laps to go, Bagnaia had been caught by Bastianini but the latter had received a track limits warning, adding to one each for Viñales and Quartararo. Viñales, on his part, was also starting to lose touch and it looked like it was Ducati vs Ducati, Italy vs Italy, 2023 factory Ducati rider vs 2023 factory Ducati rider for the win.
With four to go, the tension was mounting. With three to go it was still advantage Bagnaia, but Bastianini was marginally faster. Two to go, it was as you were. Bastianini swarming, Bagnaia holding strong. And it all came down to the last lap.
Searching for a passing manoeuvre, Bastianini was late on the brakes at Turn 4 and he was out of shape, narrowly avoiding contact and disaster between the two. Was that race over for the Beast? Not yet. He regrouped quickly and by the time Turn 10 came around, the gap was back to nothing. No pass came into Turn 14 and neither into the final corner as the crowd watched on tenterhooks, but Bastianini hooked his GP21 up on the exit and threatened to snatch victory at the chequered flag. As close as is almost visible, Bagnaia just held on to win by 0.034s – a stunningly close finish between two phenomenal riders.
Viñales eventually finished 4.2s away from victory after looking incredibly strong for much of the race, with Marini holding into P4 to equal his best MotoGP™ result – that’s back-to-back P4s for the Italian. Quartararo was unable to challenge for the podium places as a P8 in qualifying proved costly, with fifth the best he could do in Misano. El Diablo’s gap is cut to 30 points in the overall standings, however it’s now Pecco acting as his closest challenger after Aleix Espargaro finished P6 in Misano – 4.4s away from Quartararo.
Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was a lonely finisher in P7 as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) clawed his way up to P8, the South African leading Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) home in the top 10.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took P11 after a Long Lap for track limits, ahead of the retiring home hero, Andrea Dovizioso (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ Team). The Italian bows out of MotoGP™ with a P12 finish after a wonderful career, as everyone comes together to say #GrazieDovi – he will be sorely missed in the paddock. Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing), Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) rounded out the points, and Kazuki Watanabe (Team Suzuki Ecstar) qualified, finished and crossed the line third in order but a lap down, doing a solid job of getting out of the way of the leaders. A post-race time penalty for track limits – five offences accrued before he was lapped – saw him join Oliveria and Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) falling foul of the green.
And so Misano paints another glorious finish. Four wins in a row; the first Ducati rider to ever do that in MotoGP™. Bagnaia has closed the gap to 30 points to Quartararo with six races to go, as the top three in the Championship are covered by 32 points heading to Aragon – a track Pecco won at last season. Do NOT miss the next showdown at MotorLand in two weeks… Ducati even have a first match point in the fight for the Constructors’ crown.
Alonso Lopez is now a Grand Prix winner! The rookie took victory in the Moto2™ race at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, leading from lights to flag to take to the top step in style. After losing his Moto3™ ride and moving through the European Moto2™, it was an emotional first win and the first non-Kalex win since 2019. Just over a second behind, Aron Canet (Flexbox HP 40) came home second to get back on the podium and move into third overall, with Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking third and with it the points lead. The big drama saw Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) crash out, and with it the Italian cedes a place in the Championship top three…
Lopez launched well enough from third on the grid and while he went deep into Turn 1, he emerged with the lead, ahead of Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) and pole-sitter Vietti. Despite attacks from behind, that was where Vietti finished the standing lap, ahead of Canet, Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Fermin Aldeguer (+Ego Speed Up), and Fernandez.
Fernandez put a move on Aldeguer through the quick Turn 15 on Lap 2 and set about trying to catch the top five before Canet passed Vietti at his second attempt and was into third on Lap 6. He soon got ahead of Arenas too, but only briefly, and their battle allowed Lopez to skip several tenths of a second clear. It was soon a full second, as Vietti re-passed Canet at Tramonto on Lap 8 and then Canet returned the favour at Rio on Lap 9.
Suddenly though, it was over for Vietti as the Italian lost the front and crashed out of fourth position just a lap later at the Rio corner. That meant Fernandez’s overtake on Ogura at Rio on Lap 11 was for fourth and the live World Championship lead.
Up at the front though, Lopez was putting the hammer down and setting a new personal best as he moved his advantage over then second-placed Arenas to 1.2 seconds. Canet then forced his way past Arenas through Turn 5 on Lap 14, but the man up the road on the Boscoscuro chassis continued to extend his lead.
Despite one lap with a couple of small errors, by 20 laps down and five to go, Lopez’ margin over Canet was back to almost 1.6 seconds, with Arenas third from Fernandez and a distant Ogura next up. Fernandez took a couple of attempts on Arenas to get past, but get past he did soon after.
Meanwhile, Lopez remained unstoppable and gives the Boscoscuro chassis its first win since a certain Fabio Quartararo prevailed at Catalunya in 2018, breaking 46-race streak for Kalex. Behind Canet, Fernandez finished strongly in third and with it takes the lead as Ogura . Arenas got home just over a second further back in fourth, from Ogura, Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team), Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), and Jeremy Alcoba (Liqui Moly Intact GP) in 10th.
Of 31 starters, only 17 finished, with the rest of the points scorers in the top 15 being Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) from Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team), Barry Baltus (RW Racing GP), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), and Alessandro Zaccone (Gresini Racing Moto2™). Vietti pitted after his crash then, possibly in a bid to capitalise on all of the other falls, went back out but would eventually relent. Another notable DNF was Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team), who highsided at the second corner of the race, and teammate for the weekend Mattia Pasini crashed out too, as did Fermin Aldeguer (+Ego Speed Up).
Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) put in another stunner at Misano, the Italian taking his third win at the track and becoming the first Moto3™ rider to achieve the feat at one venue. Just beating Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) to the flag, Foggia and his fellow podium finishes made some big gains at the Gran Premio Gryfyn di San Marino a della Riviera di Rimini as former points leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) crashed out.
Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) took the early lead from pole, but it remained a freight train in the first couple of laps. There was early drama for Austria winner Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) as he got caught out on Lap 1, Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) was the next key faller, and then even more drama hit as former Championship leader Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) slid off. The number 11 gave teammate and closest challenger Guevara a huge chance to capitalise as the number 28 was already up into the lead, with Garcia rejoining but well down the order.
As the laps ticked down, four contenders emerged. Guevara was leading from Foggia, with Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Masia on the chase. Then there was a gap back to another group headed by former Misano winner Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) and Öncü, with ninth place marking the beginning of another freight train.
By eight laps to go, it was a sextet at the front with Foggia leading. Guevara was next with Masia and Holgado on his tail, and Suzuki and Öncü had cut the gap right down to battle it out for the podium. A lap later, the fuse was suddenly lit. Guevara attacked Foggia at la Quercia, and Masia slotted straight past both in s stylish two-for-one. Foggia hit back before Guevara followed him through, but it was now game on and Holgado and Suzuki started to get dropped from the group.
Guevara tried one move to take over and got shuffled back to fourth, with he and Öncü then hustling to find a way past on the penultimate lap. But they couldn’t and Foggia led Masia led Öncü led Guevara onto the final lap.
Öncü went for an absolute divebomb on Masia and seemed tempted to try and take Foggia too, but the Turk slotted back into second as his KTM bucked under him. Masia and Guevara pounced, and Foggia had just enough breathing space at the front after the shuffle. Could he hold on? He could. The Italian becomes the first Moto3™ rider to win three times at the same venue, and both he and Masia, who came home second, gain some big points in the standings.
Guevara, however, takes over at the top. Holding onto third means he takes the Championship lead from Garcia, now 11 points clear as we head onto a track at which he’s enjoyed some serious glory in the junior ranks…
Öncü will likely be frustrated with a fourth but rode through the pain barrier of his shoulder he hurt in training, and nearly pulled off the move of the race. Holgado was eventually fifth and just stayed ahead of Suzuki, ahead of another bigger group.
Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) was at the head of that in P7, ahead of Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team), John McPhee (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max), Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse), David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) and Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI). Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) had a lonelier ride to P14, with Elia Bartolini (QJMotor Avintia Racing Team) taking the final point on home turf.