Bagnaia beats Marquez in Aragon MotoGP thriller

Francesco Bagnaia. Picture: MotoGP.com

Francesco Bagnaia is now a MotoGP race winner after holding off Marc Marquez in a thrilling end to the Aragon Grand Prix.

Marquez threw everything at the Italian, sending his Repsol Honda down the inside of the #63 Ducati Lenovo Team entry seven times in the final three laps.

However, on none of those occasions could he make the move stick, leaving Bagnaia first to greet the chequered flag after 23 absorbing laps.

Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir finished a distant third, ahead of Gresini Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro, and Jack Miller on the second Ducati Lenovo Team bike.

Fabio Quartararo continues to lead the championship, but by a reduced, 53-point margin after he struggled to eighth on his Monster Energy Yamaha.

Both of the factory Ducati riders made good starts but when pole-sitter Bagnaia went down the inside of Miller at Turn 1, the latter was held wide and Marquez nabbed second spot.

Bagnaia and Marquez quickly skipped around 0.6s clear of Miller and while the Australian pared some of that back in the opening stages, he soon began to drift back from the #93 Honda.

The gap between second and third went past a second on Lap 9, as Marquez continued to tail Bagnaia, and was more than two seconds on Lap 11.

By then, Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) and Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), who had run in fourth and fifth respectively since early on Lap 1, were looming as threats to Miller.

However, #43 made his own mistake that lap at Turn 16, running well wide and gifting a position to each of them, before Mir prised third spot from Espargaro through Turn 4 on Lap 12.

By then, Bagnaia and Marquez were more than three seconds up the road, and Mir could not stem the tide either.

He was more than four seconds behind the two-way battle for the lead after just two laps more, and also could not shake the Aprilia of Espargaro.

With around half a dozen laps remaining, it became apparent that Marquez was going to have a crack at Bagnaia.

He turned that pressure into a dive at Turn 5 on Lap 21, but ran wide on exit and dropped back behind #63.

It was the same story at the Turn 15 left-hander which feeds onto the back straight later that lap, and again at both Turns 5 and 15 on Lap 22.

Marquez then went for a last-lap lunge at Turn 1, another at Turn 5, and one more still at Turn 12, when he ventured beyond track limits and the fight was finally over.

The gap behind third-placed Mir below out in the latter stages although it was still Aleix Espargaro fourth and Miller fifth at the very end.

Enea Bastiani (Avintia Esponsorama Ducati) got the best result of his rookie season to date by finishing sixth, ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) and Quartararo.

The latter had identified the Turn 16/Turn 17 sweeper at the end of the back straight as a weakness after qualifying third, and so it was that he often came under attack there.

Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) faded to ninth after spending considerable time in sixth position, while Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) claimed 10th.

Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM) had been in the battle for sixth until he ran well wide at the Reverse Corkscrew on Lap 17 and eventually got home in 11th.

Next was Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), from Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), and Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM).

There were two retirements, both being as a result of early crashes, for Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda) and Jake Dixon (Petronas SRT Yamaha).

Round 14 of MotoGP is the San Marino Grand prix, at Misano, next weekend (September 17-19).

Race results: Aragon MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 41:44.422
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.673
3 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +3.911
4 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +9.269
5 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +11.928
6 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati +13.757
7 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +14.064
8 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +16.575
9 89 Jorge MARTIN ESP Pramac Racing Ducati +16.615
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +16.904
11 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +17.124
12 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +17.710
13 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +19.680
14 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +22.703
15 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +25.723
16 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +26.413
17 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati +26.620
18 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +27.128
19 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +32.517
20 10 Luca MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati +39.073
DNF 96 Jake DIXON GBR Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 22 Laps
DNF 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda 0 Lap

Race winner: 23 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA 214
2 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA 161
3 Joan MIR ESP 157
4 Johann ZARCO FRA 137
5 Jack MILLER AUS 129
6 Brad BINDER RSA 117
7 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP 96
8 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 95
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR 87
10 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 79
11 Jorge MARTIN ESP 71
12 Alex RINS ESP 68
13 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 64
14 Pol ESPARGARO ESP 55
15 Alex MARQUEZ ESP 49
16 Enea BASTIANINI ITA 45
17 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA 40
18 Iker LECUONA ESP 38
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 37
20 Luca MARINI ITA 28
21 Valentino ROSSI ITA 28
22 Stefan BRADL GER 11
23 Dani PEDROSA ESP 6
24 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA 4
25 Michele PIRRO ITA 3
26 Tito RABAT ESP 1
27 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR
28 Garrett GERLOFF USA
29 Jake DIXON GBR

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