Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is the 2021 MotoGP™ World Champion. After Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) crashed out of the race lead in the closing stages of the Gran Premio Nolan del Made in Italy e dell’Emilia-Romagna, the title was decided as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) emerges victorious, with Pol Espargaro securing his maiden podium with Honda. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) passed Quartararo on the last lap to bag his second podium of the season, but the day – and year – belongs to the Frenchman.
From pole position, Bagnaia got a decent getaway but it was teammate Jack Miller who got the best launch from the front row. Pecco grabbed the holeshot though as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) carved his way into P2 from the second row. Miller grabbed P2 from Oliveira at Turn 4 though, with Marc Marquez then getting the better of Oliveira down into Turn 8. Quartararo didn’t make a rapid start, but more importantly, he stayed trouble-free.
The top three of Pecco, Miller and Marc Marquez soon found themselves 1.3s clear of Pol Espargaro, who had also dispatched Oliveira, before drama unfolded for one of the Ducatis. Miller, at Turn 15, was down and out of the race from P2 on Lap 4, Bagnaia’s wingman was no longer able to help the Italian. Now, Pecco had Marc Marquez swarming all over his rear wheel. Meanwhile, Quartararo was up into P10, scrapping with Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing).
By Lap 9, Quartararo was up to ninth. Martin, on Lap 13, crashed at Turn 1 as Quartararo become embroiled in a five-rider battle – fifth to ninth split by less than a second. Quartararo, keeping calm, picked his way past teammate Franco Morbidelli and Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) to climb to P7 on Lap 15 of 27, with 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 (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) next on El Diablo’s radar. And sure enough, with nine to go, Quartararo was ahead of the Aprilia RS-GP and now in P5. Baring 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.
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. Pecco was looking incredibly strong, starting to pull clear of Marc Marquez, before Lap 23 of the Emilia-Romagna GP became the title-deciding lap of 2021. Turn 15, where Miller crashed earlier in the race, saw Bagnaia crash unhurt. 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, left Marc Marquez P1, Pol Espargaro P2 and Quartararo, the new World Champion a sensational P3 from P15 on the grid. Enea Bastianini wasn’t going to allow Quartararo to have an easy cruise home to the podium though, the Italian was hungry for a second P3 of the season. The chequered flag came out and Marc Marquez won his second race in a row, his third of the season, with Pol Espargaro coming home second to hand Repsol Honda a fantastic 1-2. Bastianini, with a move at Turn 14, got the better of Quartararo on the last lap to cement another wonderful rostrum to take the lead in the Rookie of the Year fight, but just behind, introducing the 2021 MotoGP™ World Champion: Fabio Quartararo! Jubilation ensued for the Frenchman and Yamaha – what a phenomenal season for all involved.
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, Marini secured a second top 10 of the season in P9 sporting a special Grazie Vale colour scheme, and 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. 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 pitlane and ended up finishing P11. Michele Pirro (Ducati Lenovo Team), Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) – despite a crash – were the final points scorers at Misano.
There we have it. The 2021 MotoGP™ World Champion is crowned, congratulations to Fabio Quartararo and Yamaha on an incredible season, as we now look forward to the final two races of the season.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)
2. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 4.859
3. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) + 12.013
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 12.775
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 16.458
6. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 17.669
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 18.468
8. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 18.607
9. Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) + 25.417
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 27.735.
GP NOLAN DEL MADE IN ITALY E DELL’EMILIA-ROMAGNA
Misano Adriatico, Sunday, October 24, 2021
|1||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||163.4||41’52.830|
|2||20||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||163.1||+4.859|
|3||16||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Avintia Esponsorama||Ducati||162.6||+12.013|
|4||13||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||162.6||+12.775|
|5||11||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||162.4||+16.458|
|6||10||42||Alex RINS||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||162.3||+17.669|
|7||9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||162.2||+18.468|
|8||8||12||Maverick VIÑALES||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||162.2||+18.607|
|9||7||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||SKY VR46 Avintia||Ducati||161.8||+25.417|
|10||6||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||161.6||+27.735|
|11||5||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||161.6||+27.879|
|12||4||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||161.6||+28.137|
|13||3||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Petronas Yamaha SRT||Yamaha||160.8||+41.413|
|14||2||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||160.7||+42.830|
|15||1||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||158.2||+1’22.462|
|63||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||163.9||5 Laps|
|88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||163.0||5 Laps|
|89||Jorge MARTIN||SPA||Pramac Racing||Ducati||161.6||15 Laps|
|27||Iker LECUONA||SPA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||160.6||17 Laps|
|73||Alex MARQUEZ||SPA||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||160.8||18 Laps|
|43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||160.5||24 Laps|
|9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||154.0||25 Laps|
|36||Joan MIR||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||153.9||25 Laps|
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of motogp.com