MotoGP Misano: Fabio Quartararo crowned 2021 champion following Francesco Bagnaia crash
Fabio Quartararo secured the 2021 MotoGP title at Misano on Sunday after main championship rival Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the lead.
It was looking like the title fight would go to Portimao for the majority of the race. Despite Quartararo storming through the field from 15th to fourth, it wasn't going to be enough to clinch the crown as Bagnaia was leading.
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With five laps to go everything changed. Bagnaia's race came to a premature and dramatic end when he crashed at turn 15, the same corner which had ended Ducati teammate Jack Miller's race earlier in the afternoon. The Italian had given it his all, once again withstanding immense pressure from Marc Marquez like he did at Aragon, but his dream was over for another year.
Miguel Oliveira also retired with five laps remaining, elevating Quartararo to third. However, the Frenchman was denied a podium by a resurgent Enea Bastianini on the final lap - not like it mattered too much for the Yamaha rider.
Quartararo becomes the first-ever French MotoGP world champion, whilst it's Yamaha's first rider's crown since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015. Yamaha are on course for the treble following Quartararo’s MotoGP triumph and Tarran Mackenzie’s title win in BSB. Toprak Razgatlioglu holds a 30-point lead for Yamaha in WSB with one round remaining.
Away from the championship fight, Marquez inherited the lead following the two crashes for Miller and Bagnaia and secured his first win at a right-handed circuit since his return from injury. It's Marquez's third victory of the season.
Pol Espargaro completed a Repsol Honda one-two in second spot, claiming his first podium as a HRC rider. Remarkably, it's Repsol Honda's first one-two since Aragon 2017; when Marquez pipped Dani Pedrosa to victory.
Bastianini finished third after fighting his way through the field from 16th on the grid. It's a remarkable achievement for the rookie, who suffered three crashes on Saturday afternoon. It's his second podium of the season.
Johann Zarco completed the top five ahead of Alex Rins and Aleix Espargaro, whilst great pace in the closing stages allowed Maverick Vinales to move up into eighth. That's his best result so far as an Aprilia rider.
Luca Marini finished ninth for SKY Racing Team VR46. Marini used a special, extremely bright, "Grazie Vale" livery for the race, which was brother Valentino Rossi's final appearance at Misano. Rossi crossed the line in tenth before taking the time to say goodbye to his fans. One lucky fan was given an historic piece of racing memorabilia when Rossi threw his helmet into the crowd.
Brad Binder finished 11th after a long race. The South African crashed on the sighting lap and was forced to start from the pits. He then received a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits, but was able to recover to secure a respectable result.
Michele Pirro, Andrea Dovizioso, Franco Morbidelli and Takaaki Nakagami, despite a crash, clinched the final points on offer at Misano.
Joan Mir crashed out early on and took Danilo Petrucci out with him. The 2020 champion was down in 18th when the incident occurred, and was able to take a double long lap penalty for jumping the start. Elsewhere, Alex Marquez suffered a technical problem, whilst Jorge Martin also crashed out of the race.
There are two races remaining in 2021. The paddock heads to Portimao on November 5-7, before heading to Valencia for the season finale on November 12-14.