Ducati drama in Misano – Quartararo new MotoGP champion
Sometimes we have to smile when we listen to MotoGP commentators, regardless of whether they are from England or wherever they come from. Before the sixteenth Grand Prix of the 2021 season, almost without exception, all of them spoke of the pressure that was on Fabio Quartararo’s shoulders. For example, Alex Hofmann and Stefan Bradl, as former top riders, saw little chance of securing the title early. With 13th position on the grid, the fast Frenchman had the worst position before the start since he was in the premier class. But apparently almost all the supposed experts had already forgotten that the Monster Energy Yamaha rider just missed victory in the first race of Misano a good month before the second event of the year. In addition, there are countless examples of drivers who started from far behind and took or even won a podium. One of them is Marc Marquez on the Honda which, according to many journalists, is supposedly so bad. And it was precisely he who became the key figure in the most important race in the life of Francesco Bagnaia to date.
Pecco breaks under the pressure of the 6-time MotoGP world champion
Anyone who has Marc Marquez behind them in a race usually knows what the hour has struck. Instead of being shielded from the rear by team-mate Jack Miller, the Ducati rider from Turin literally felt the breath of the eight-time motorcycle world champion on his neck. Because the world championship leader made up space after space behind, the burden grew on Pecco’s shoulders. Fabio Quartararo was already in fifth position after only being in 14th place after lap one. The fast man from Nice was 52 points ahead of the Italian in the World Cup when the Italian broke under the pressure of the situation and ended his race rudely in the gravel trap at turn 15. Chased by Marc Marquez he had to put everything on one card, and so he crashed like his stable colleague from Australia at the beginning and lost the last small chance for the title. The supposed experts were horrified, even though what was actually expected happened. Neither Jack Miller nor Bagnaia had been able to prove in MotoGP that they have the consistency that is needed to win the title in the premier class.
The dethroned world champion and the other losers
In addition to Joan Mir, who remained mostly colourless this year, and the two Ducati factory riders, the KTM drivers in particular were among the losers on the third-to-last lap of the 2021 season. Danilo Petrucci was the first of the oranges to end the race prematurely. However, the likeable northern Italian was absolutely innocent of his crash and was a victim of the outgoing world champion Mir’s lack of vehicle control. As the next member of the group, Iker Lecuona said goodbye to the third-to-last Grand Prix of the year. The young Spaniard had emphasized before the race that he had to try to stay cool and drive a controlled run. The last of the KTM crash pilots was Miguel Oliveira with five laps to go. With Brad Binder only in eleventh place, the Austrians even missed the top ten. This against the background that Pit Beirer, as head of racing, spoke of a small step before the start of the season that would be missing for KTM to fight for the title in MotoGP. You can see where the oranges and their pilots really stand in the tables under the photo below.
Stand in the MotoGP World Championship with two laps to go
With his third win of the season after triumphs at the Sachsenring and in Austin, Marc Marquez improved to sixth place in the world championship. With 8th place, Maverick Viñales got his first top ten result for Aprilia and together with Aleix Espargaró ensured the first double result of two pilots in the top ten of the Noale brand. After Miller’s fourth fall of the season, Johann Zarco, as the second-best Ducati rider, pushed past the Australian again to fourth. Miguel Oliveira, in tenth place, can already feel the breath of Alex Rins, Pol Espargaró and Enea Bastianini on his neck.
The combined calendar of MotoGP and WorldSBK
Unless otherwise stated, this applies to all images (© MotoGP).