MotoGP Aragon: Francesco Bagnaia holds off Marc Marquez to take maiden win
Francesco Bagnaia is a MotoGP race winner after managing to hold off a resurgent Marc Marquez at Aragon.
Bagnaia withstood immense pressure from Marquez for the majority of the race, with the duo breaking clear of the chasing pack almost immediately. Marquez moved from fourth to second on the opening lap, whilst Bagnaia held first position off the line.
The top two were the only riders inside the 1:48 lap-times, with Marquez making his first move heading down to turn five with three laps remaining. However, the Repsol Honda rider ran in too hot and lost the position immediately, with the same scenario being repeated at turn 15 and then again at those two corners on the penultimate lap.
Marquez made a move at the first corner on the final lap but could make it stick, before once again failing to complete the manoeuvre at turn five. Marquez's final attempt came at turn 12, however he could get the bike stopped in time for the apex and went off the circuit and onto the green.
Bagnaia crossed the line with an advantage of 0.673 to become a premier class winner at the 42nd attempt. Bagnaia has closed the gap to championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who struggled back in eighth spot this afternoon, to 53 points with five races remaining.
Reigning champion Joan Mir secured his fifth podium of the season in a relatively quiet third position. Aleix Espargaro was over five seconds further back in fourth, but will be pleased to follow-up Aprilia's maiden podium with another top five result. Espargaro is now seventh in the championship, 21 points behind Brad Binder.
Jack Miller completed the top five on the second factory Ducati machine. With 13 laps to go Miller ran wide at turn 16, allowing Espargaro and Mir to overtake him. Binder was seventh ahead of the aforementioned Quartararo, whilst Jorge Martin and Takaaki Nakagami completed the top 10.
Iker Lecouna fell outside of the top 10 in the closing stages but still secured a respectable 11th place finish ahead of Alex Rins, who had to come through from 20th on the grid. Pol Espargaro finished 13th, whilst Miguel Oliveira and Danio Petrucci took home the remaining points on offer today.
Maverick Vinales ended his first race with Aprilia in 18th, just behind Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco. Valentino Rossi and brother Luca Marini completed the race classification.
Alex Marquez's race came to an end on the opening lap when the LCR Honda rider fell at turn five. Meanwhile, Jake Dixon crashed out of the race on the second lap at turn nine.
MotoGP Aragon: Francesco Bagnaia breaks lap record to take pole
First published: 11 September 2021 by Josh Close
The factory Ducati rider smashed the previous record, a 1:46.635 set by Marc Marquez in 2015, with a session-best lap-time of 1:46.322. That time was 0.366s quicker than teammate Jack Miller, who launched himself up into second with his final flying lap of the session. Bagnaia's pole is Ducati's 50th in the premier class.
Championship leader Fabio Quartararo completed the front row, with Marc Marquez being shoved down to fourth in the closing seconds. Marquez is one of the favourites for the victory tomorrow, however he has crashed twice already this weekend.
Jorge Martin and Aleix Espargaro complete the second row, with the latter shooting up the timesheets with his final lap of the day on the Aprilia RS-GP. Reigning champion Joan Mir was visibly frustrated with his day, and the Suzuki rider will have his work cut out from seventh on the grid tomorrow afternoon.
Pol Espargaro qualified eighth ahead of the impressive Enea Bastianini, whilst Johann Zarco, who had to go through Q1, completed the top 10. Takaaki Nakagami and Brad Binder, who was also in Q1, were 11th and 12th respectively.
Iker Lecouna missed out on a spot in Q2 by 0.164s and will line-up 13th on the grid. The Tech3 KTM rider will be joined on the fifth row by Alex Marquez and Cal Crutchlow, whilst teammate Danilo Petrucci heads row six in 16th.
Luca Marini and Miguel Oliveira qualified 17th and 18th respectively, whilst Maverick Vinales will start his first race as an Aprilia rider in 19th spot. Alex Rins endured a nightmare afternoon in 20th, as did Valentino Rossi in 21st. Jake Dixon completed the grid on his Petronas Yamaha M1.
Tomorrow's MotoGP race is scheduled to begin at 13:00 (UK Time). Sam Lowes secured pole in the Moto2 class, whilst Darryn Binder clinched his second pole of the season in Moto3.
MotoGP Aragon: Jack Miller beats Aleix Espargaro to top spot on day one
First published: 10 September 2021 by Josh Close
The factory Ducati rider posted the quickest lap-time of the day with a 1:47.613 in FP2. This was enough to beat Aleix Espargaro by 0.273, whilst Cal Crutchlow was left in a celebratory mood after posting the third fastest lap-time on his Monster Energy Yamaha M1.
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Johann Zarco launched himself up into fourth on his final flying lap, whilst teammate Jorge Martin completed the top five. Francesco Bagnaia ensured that there were four Ducati riders inside the top six, despite a small crash at turn five in the early stages of FP2.
Championship leader Fabio Quartararo was seventh, overcoming an apparent bug problem this afternoon. It appeared on the world feed that the Frenchman was distracted by something inside his helmet.
Marc Marquez ended an eventful day in eighth. The Repsol Honda rider, who has five wins to his name at Aragon in the premier class, topped FP1 by an astonishing 0.981s. FP2 didn't quite go to plan. Marquez had to take a wider, dirtier, line heading into the final corner in order to avoid hitting the back of brother Alex's LCR Honda. Consequently, Marc lost the front and crashed, with the six-time premier class champion visibly frustrated with himself.
As things stand, Takaaki Nakagami and Enea Bastianini hold the final two automatic Q2 qualification spots, with Pol Espargaro a mere 0.080s outside in 11th. Alex Rins and Brad Binder were 12th and 13th respectively, with Alex Marquez and Danilo Petrucci completing the top 15.
Luca Marini and Iker Lecouna were next up on the timesheets, ahead of Miguel Oliveira and Valentino Rossi, who went down at turn five with 13 minutes to go in FP1. The top 19 were covered by less than a second.
Maverick Vinales ended his first official day as an Aprilia rider in 20th, only 0.106s behind Rossi. The Spaniard was 1.142s off the pace set by Miller this afternoon, and finished ahead of reigning champion Joan Mir. Jake Dixon completes the classification, 2.374s off the pace.
Tomorrow’s FP3 session (September 11) is due to begin at 08:55 (UK time). FP4 is scheduled for 12:30, followed by Q1 and Q2 at 13:10 and 13:35.