MotoGP: Francesco Bagnaia holds off Jorge Martin to win the season finale

Francesco Bagnaia secured his fourth win in six races
Francesco Bagnaia secured his fourth win in six races

Francesco Bagnaia’s unbelievable end to the season continued at Valencia this afternoon as he held off Jorge Martin to take victory.

Bagnaia and Martin could not be separated for the majority of the race, however the former made his move at turn 14 on lap 15. The Italian quickly pulled the pin immediately, setting the fastest lap of the race, and a new race lap record, with a 1:31.042.

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Despite an initial threat of a response from Martin, no attack came and Bagnaia was able to secure his fourth victory in six races. Bagnaia ends the year 26 points behind champion Fabio Quartararo, but helped to seal the Teams Championship for the Ducati Lenovo Team.

Martin held off a late charge from Jack Miller, who struggled in the early stages of the race, to finish second and secure the Rookie of the Year accolade. The top three’s achievement created a bit of history for Ducati; there first-ever podium lockout in MotoGP.

Valentino Rossi finished his final-ever race in 10th. Rossi made a great start and moved up into ninth after momentarily battling Quartararo in the opening few corners. After losing out to Zarco, Rossi spent several laps in 10th before losing out to Bastianini on lap nine at turn one – eventually moving up one position following a crash up ahead.

At the end of the race, the entire grid came to a stop to celebrate with Rossi and share a hug or two with the nine-time champion in front of the VR46 fan club and those in the stands.

2020 champion Joan Mir finished fourth after been unable to stick with the Ducati riders down the straights, whilst 2021 champion Quartararo completed the top five for Yamaha. Johann Zarco was sixth, ahead of Brad Binder, Enea Bastianini and Aleix Espargaro.

Franco Morbidelli, the first signing of the VR46 Academy, followed his hero home in 11th spot, just ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Alex Marquez. Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona clinched the final points on offer today. It’s Lecuona’s final race in MotoGP, for now at least, before moving to Honda in WSB.

Maverick Vinales and Luca Marini were 16th and 17th respectively, whilst Danilo Petrucci completed the field on his final outing. Petrucci’s focus will now switch to the Dakar with KTM next year.

Takaaki Nakagami crashed out of the race at turn six whilst chasing down Rossi on lap five. It’s the LCR Honda rider’s third DNF of the season. Alex Rins suffered yet another crash whilst chasing Martin and Bagnaia in third. The Suzuki rider fell at turn six on lap 11 to record his fifth DNF of the year.