2021 Emilia-Romagna MotoGP Race Result: There Was Calm Before The Storm But What A Storm It Was

Given the rollercoaster of emotion in the first two races of the day, the premier class should have brought some sense to the insanity but that’s not how they roll, is it? At the end of a fairly dramatic 27-lap wait, a world champion was crowned, overshadowing Marc Marquez’s third victory of the season and a somewhat unexpected but long-awaited Honda one-two. The Spaniard’s fast start and his rivals’ mistakes combined to helped Marquez snatch victory, with Pol Espargaro joining his celebrations five seconds later and then stepping on the podium for the first time in Repsol Honda colours. It wasn’t the rider Ducati expected to see on the podium, but Enea Bastianini’s excellent comeback from 16th on the grid ended with a last lap attack on the champion elect to rob him of the final podium spot. That being said, the podium was the last thing on Fabio Quartararo’s mind as he took the chequered flag to become France’s first MotoGP world champion and somewhat steal Valentino Rossi’s thunder in his final tango on home soil.

The story of the race started with slightly different actors, poleman Pecco Bagnaia making a great launch to lead into turn 1 ahead of an equally fast-starting Miguel Oliveira from the second row, but Jack Miller was quick to reclaim wingmanship. Having started seventh on the grid, Marquez was also ahead of Oliveira after the first few turns, while Quartararo recovered a few positions from his fifth row start on the first lap, defending 13th from Johann Zarco and Joan Mir early on.

Bagnaia followed up his rocket start with a strong push at the front, only Miller and Marquez able to keep up with the Italian, while Pol Espargaro led the pursuit a second and a half down, in a group including Oliveira, Franco Morbidelli and Aleix Espargaro. Meanwhile, front row starter Luca Marini dropped to 8th, fending off a big group with Iker Lecuona, Jorge Martin, Alex Rins, Quartararo and Zarco. A long way down the road, Mir crashed out at turn 2 and took birthday boy Danilo Petrucci with him, before the former world champion even got a chance to serve a double long lap penalty for a jump start.

The surprises started on lap four, when Miller crashed out of second position at turn 15, leaving Bagnaia without a wingman and with Marquez half a second behind. It also left Ducati with some question marks, as their two factory boys were the only ones on the hard front tyre. Given the rapid pace of the leading duo, Pol Espargaro had dropped over two seconds behind, while Quartararo joined the top 10 by lap 7, dropping Zarco and eyeing up Rins and Martin. The trio were almost 9 seconds off the victory battle but kept each other entertained over the next few laps.

In a flashback to Aragon, Marquez bided his time and/or pushed to stay with Bagnaia at the front of the race, while teammate Espargaro had a one second gap over Oliveira. Aleix Espargaro was almost five seconds behind and under attack from Morbidelli and Marini, with Rins and Quartararo closing the gap too, while Martin crashed out at turn 1 on lap 13. Although 9th on the timing screens at that stage, Quartararo had a realistic chance at fifth place with half a race remaining, him and Rins animating that battle for the next few laps.

Although Bagnaia continued on a red hot pace at the front, including a fastest lap, Marquez was unshakeable heading into the final 10 laps. While the Italian was busy solving a problem like Marquez, his championship rival had quickly climbed into fifth and shook off the elder Espargaro, but the next man up the road was Oliveira, over 8 seconds ahead.

The Marquez problem started seeming less complicated with 6 laps remaining, when his gap to Bagnaia extended to almost one second over the course of one lap. Just when the Spaniard looked like waving the white flag, Bagnaia was suddenly in the gravel at turn 15 with 4 laps remaining, with Oliveira immediately following his example with a crash out of fourth place, the two incidents promoting Quartararo to the provisional podium and crowning him a champion.

Despite the tears of both joy and sorrow in pitlane, there was still a race to be won and Marquez was left in prime position, 8 seconds ahead of teammate Espargaro, bringing Repsol Honda their first one-two finish since their Pedrosa days. Another 9 seconds behind, Quartararo was still unsure of whether he would get to celebrate on the podium because Enea Bastianini’s under-the-radar but almost trademark charge through the field placed him only three tenths off third place at the start of the final lap. The pair lighted up the timing screens on that last lap and the Italian made a brave move at turn 14 to push the champion off the podium. Fourth place didn’t make Quartararo’s celebrations any less sweet, fifth place finisher Zarco the first to congratulate his compatriot. Rins secured sixth ahead of the Aprilia duo of Aleix Espargaro and a fairly impressive Maverick Viñales, while Marini finished just ahead of his brother, Valentino Rossi bidding a fond farewell to his loving home crowd with a fine top 10 placement.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 93 Marc Marquez Honda 41'52.830
2 44 Pol Espargaro Honda +4.859
3 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati +12.013
4 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha +12.775
5 5 Johann Zarco Ducati +16.458
6 42 Alex Rins Suzuki +17.669
7 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia +18.468
8 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia +18.607
9 10 Luca Marini Ducati +25.417
10 46 Valentino Rossi Yamaha +27.735
11 33 Brad Binder KTM +27.879
12 51 Michele Pirro Ducati +28.137
13 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha +41.413
14 21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha +42.830
15 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda +1'22.462
Not Classified
  63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 5 Laps
  88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 5 Laps
  89 Jorge Martin Ducati 15 Laps
  27 Iker Lecuona KTM 17 Laps
  73 Alex Marquez Honda 18 Laps
  43 Jack Miller Ducati 24 Laps
  9 Danilo Petrucci KTM 25 Laps
  36 Joan Mir Suzuki 25 Laps
Round Number: 
16
2021
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Comments

Great to see France join the pantheon of top class motorcycle champions and a hiatus from Spanish dominance. They are now tied with Rhodesia wink

I didn't know who to root for today.  I wound up rooting for every last one of them.  Congratulations to Fabio.  Respect to Rossi.  

a great insight by Simon Crafar on MotoGP.com as to what may have been a factor in Pecco's crash: lower temperature as the race went on.

Kudos to Fabio Quartararo for riding fast and smart to take his first World Championship.

As soon as they got off the start line, I got the notion that Jack Miller backed off to play wingman to FB63.

Question i would ask is had Bagnaia not fallen off - would Marquez have over taken him ? He couldn't do it at Aragon and was that because of Bagnaia's skill/bike or Marc's shoulder ? I think Bagnaia is going to be a thorn in Marc's side next year. 

Marc said after the race that he had backed off just before Pecco fell. He conceded that he didn't have pace to match the Ducati. Pecco will be strong next year without a doubt. If Marc is fully healthy on a new bike he'll still be half a second faster than anyone, imo. If healthy...

Agree you're right but hope you're wrong! Admire and respect the Marc but never want to watch another 93 snooze fest again!

Hoping for three or four fighting for the championship to the end in 2022.

Well, from what people are saying, perhaps there is. Of course, Pol was only just down the road when Marc won the last race. And the tyres gave up on the main challengers apart from the Champ. So perhaps that says more about the bike than the riders. And is it a consideration that in the previous races where Marc has gone well, he's had nothing to lose, the championship gone, completely out of reach? Why would any rider with a reasonable shot at the championship race a man with nothing to lose, unless of course like Pecco late in the season they absolutely had to do so for their own championship chances. And when they did, who won? Could they have been advised by their teams so far as possible to ignore Marc and leave him to his own devices? Who knows, let's just say that I urge all participants in the 2022 MotoGP challenge to follow the lead of my good friend 'Shrink, ignore the effects of time and injury, assume Honda can build a winning bike straight out of the box and put Marc firmly in at number I ;) 

Marquez' victory was the 250th by an "alien", out of 344 since the return of the four strokes.

FQ20 now equal 8th in victories, with Sete Gibernau on 8 wins, with only Maverick (9) and Dovi (15) ahead of him, as non-aliens.