Much of the attention after Sunday's race went to what happened at the front: Enea Bastianini beating fellow Ducati rider Pecco Bagnaia, Brad Binder firing from mid pack to the front in the first couple of corners, and of course, the massive crash caused by Fabio Quartararo hitting the back of Marc Marquez' Repsol Honda, and in the aftermath, Marquez and Takaaki Nakagami colliding, and Marquez being forced to pull out of the race with a piece of Quartararo's fairing stuck in his rear wheel.
But that meant that some of the things which went on behind were overlooked in the media overload. Aleix Espargaro's return to the podium puts him right back in the championship chase. Brad Binder showed his exceptional class to finish fourth, and nearly on the podium. And some of the riders who felt they had the pace to make up ground in the first couple of laps after qualifying badly.
First, a few words on team orders. At Misano, everyone on a Ducati told us that Ducati Corse CEO Gigi Dall'Igna had been round to have a word with them. The gist was that they were to feel free to try to take the win, if the win was there, even if it meant passing Pecco Bagnaia. But they were not to take excessive risks while doing so: beating Bagnaia was acceptable, but attempting a pass and taking Bagnaia out if they failed was not.
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The piece of context missing here is that Dall'Igna told his riders this when Bagnaia was 44 points behind Fabio Quartararo with seven races still to go, an average of 6.3 points per race behind. At that point, the onus is on Bagnaia to score points, rather than the other Ducati riders to get out of his way. After Misano, Bagnaia had cut that deficit to 30 points with six to go, the average now 6 points per race. He had inched closer, but had still left himself a lot of work to do.
Aragon changes that dynamic significantly. Bagnaia now trails Quartararo by just 10 points, an average of 2 points for each of the five races remaining. Bagnaia has the championship in his own hands: he is capable of winning the title without any external help at all. But interference could ruin all that, so surely Ducati should now start issuing team orders to the other Ducati riders, telling them not to pass Bagnaia?
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