Bagnaia withstands Quartararo to win San Marino MotoGP

Francesco Bagnaia. Picture:

Francesco Bagnaia has withstood a charging Fabio Quartararo to win MotoGP’s San Marino Grand Prix.

Bagnaia led all 27 laps around the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli but that statistic hardly tells the story of what the Ducati Lenovo Team rider faced.

When Quartararo passed Jack Miller for second position almost exactly halfway into the contest, the gap was over 2.5s.

However, Bagnaia began to seriously struggle with his soft compound rear tyre while Quartararo was still going strong with the medium on the back of his Monster Energy Yamaha.

They were nose-to-tail at the start of the final lap but the Italian made a big push onto the back straight and survived, taking his second career MotoGP race win just a week after his first, and snipping Quartararo’s championship lead to 48 points.

Enea Bastianini scored his first premier class podium on a 2019-model Ducati, Marc Marquez finished fourth, and Miller was classified fifth after Joan Mir was penalised for a track limits breach on the final lap.

Back at the start, Bagnaia led the field to the first corner from pole position while Quartararo claimed second spot under brakes, before Miller (Ducati Lenovo) wrested that position from him through Turn 3.

Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) had a dive at both Quartararo and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) at the start of Lap 2 and while he could not make the move on the former of those stick, he successfully nabbed fourth position from latter.

Martin did make it a Ducati one-two-three exactly a lap later when he got underneath Quartararo at Turn 1, triggering a big stoush between them.

They chopped and changed positions multiple times, costing Quartararo time relative to Miller, but the battle quickly ended when the Pramac rookie went down at Turn 14 on the same lap.

Meanwhile, Bagnaia had been a full second to the good after Lap 1 and stretched his advantage to around 1.5s before Miller started to turn the tide.

The gap was back to approximately 1.2s when Miller ran well wide through Turn 13 on Lap 8, and Quartararo ran into the green paint just behind him.

That mishap caused the margin to roughly double and Miller was not recovering any of it anytime soon.

Quartararo, on the other hand, was closing up to #43, and the Frenchman nabbed second spot through Turn 6 on Lap 14.

Bagnaia was 2.8s up on #20 once they tripped the next sector, but Quartararo started to chip away at the last-start winner also.

By then, another Ducati was running in fourth, but that was the Avintia Esponsorama Racing entry of rookie Bastianini.

The Italian had cut a swathe from 12th on the grid, impressively overtaking Aleix Espargaro (Gresini Aprilia) for fifth into Curvone on Lap 5 and then passing Marc Marquez at Turn 8 on Lap 6.

At one point, he was 3.5s behind the then third-placed Quartararo, but closed to only two seconds away from Miller when he set a new fastest lap on Lap 16.

It was 1.5s when he did likewise on Lap 17, and around half a second when Bastianini reset the fastest lap for the third time in a row on Lap 18.

Miller received a track limits warning shortly before Bastianini came from deep to snatch third position from the Australian at Turn 13 on Lap 19.

Just up the road, Quartararo was eating into the advantage enjoyed by Bagnaia.

The championship leader was within two seconds on Lap 19, and the margin was 1.3s at the end of Lap 20, before Bagnaia moved it back to about 1.5s on Lap 21.

Nevertheless, the trend was in favour of the Yamaha man, who was less than 0.7s away from the lead with four laps to go and still closing.

He had caught the #63 Ducati by the end of the third-last lap, and the official margin with a lap to go was just 0.135s.

However, Bagnaia saw to it that Quartararo was not close enough to make a dive with a good run off Turn 10, and went on to win by 0.364s.

Bastianini took the chequered flag another four seconds further back, while the first position off the podium was decided in a three-way fight on the final lap.

A struggling Miller had been run down by Marc Marquez already but remained in the fight for fourth and those two, plus Mir, went into Turn 14 together on the final lap.

Marc Marquez emerged at the front of that battle with Mir second, but the Suzuki Ecstar rider touched the green paint exiting Turn 15 and thus incurred the automatic position drop penalty for doing so on the final lap.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) finished seventh, ahead of Aleix Espargaro, and Brad Binder from all the way back in 17th on the grid on his Red Bull KTM.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda) rounded out the top 10, ahead of Ducati Lenovo wildcard Michele Pirro and Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), the latter of whom had started fifth.

Maverick Viñales (Gresini Aprilia) took 13th, from Honda HRC wildcard Stefan Bradl and Castrol LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez.

Outside the points in 16th was Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM), ahead of Valentino Rossi (Petronas SRT Yamaha), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha), Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Esponsorama Ducati), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM), and Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas SRT Yamaha).

Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins was fifth when he crashed out at the start of Lap 18, Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM) was just inside the points when he went down at Turn 4 on Lap 15, and Martin remounted following his own spill but was ultimately a DNF also.

Despite forecasts of rain, and the grey clouds above, the race ran dry throughout.

Round 15 is the Grand Prix of the Americas, at the Circuit of The Americas, on October 1-3 (local time).

Race results: San Marino MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 41:48.305
2 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +0.364
3 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Avintia Esponsorama Ducati +4.789
4 93 Marc MARQUEZ ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +10.245
5 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +10.469
6 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +10.325
7 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +13.234
8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +15.698
9 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +16.129
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +18.519
11 51 Michele PIRRO ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +20.373
12 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati +21.066
13 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +21.258
14 6 Stefan BRADL GER Team Honda HRC Honda +28.142
15 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +30.686
16 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +32.654
17 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +33.853
18 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +36.272
19 10 Luca MARINI ITA SKY VR46 Avintia Ducati +36.839
20 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +37.202
21 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha +42.587
DNF 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 10 Laps
DNF 27 Iker LECUONA ESP Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 13 Laps
DNF 89 Jorge MARTIN ESP Pramac Racing Ducati 17 Laps

Race winner: 27 laps

Championship points

Pos Rider Nat Pts
2 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA 186
3 Joan MIR ESP 167
4 Johann ZARCO FRA 141
5 Jack MILLER AUS 140
6 Brad BINDER RSA 124
8 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 98
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR 87
11 Jorge MARTIN ESP 71
12 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 70
13 Alex RINS ESP 68
16 Alex MARQUEZ ESP 50
18 Iker LECUONA ESP 38
19 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 37
20 Luca MARINI ITA 28
21 Valentino ROSSI ITA 28
22 Stefan BRADL GER 13
23 Michele PIRRO ITA 8
25 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA 4
26 Tito RABAT ESP 1
28 Garrett GERLOFF USA

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