2021 MotoGP: Bagnaia wins first MotoGP race after spectacular last-lap battle with Marquez

Bagnaia and Marquez were exchanging 1:48s lap after lap, with the rest languishing in the 1:49s and below. The duo had a 4.3s lead over Mir and Aleix Espargaro with nine laps to go, but this was now the territory of the race where tyre life was crucial.

By:September 12, 2021 7:24 PM

It was pretty much Ducati vs Honda for most of the Aragon GP, a war that ended in Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking his first-ever MotoGP win after a spectacular battle with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in the final laps. It was a flawless performance by the Italian rider throughout the race with eight-time world champion Marquez right on his tail. The two were joined by reigning world champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) on the podium in third place.

As the lights went out for the main event in Aragon, polesitter Bagnaia got away well and held P1 into Turn 1, with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) going in a bit deep up the inside. This allowed Marc Marquez to grab P2 from fourth on the grid, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was up to P4 with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) 5th. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) was down at Turn 5 on the opening lap, the 2020 podium finisher gingerly walked away, as the rest of the riders completed Lap 1.

Every rider was running the soft Michelin rear tyre, and tyre management was key. Nobody in the early stages was showing their cards, with 2.2s covering the top six. Quartararo was seventh and had the rapid starting Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) climbing all over him, and at the end of Lap 6, Lecuona was through. A couple of laps later, another KTM was ahead – Binder following Lecuona through, Quartararo was down to P9.

Bagnaia and Marquez were exchanging 1:48s lap after lap, with the rest languishing in the 1:49s and below. The duo had a 4.3s lead over Mir and Aleix Espargaro with nine laps to go, but this was now the territory of the race where tyre life was crucial. Who had conserved their soft rear tyre best? With six to go, no change. Still both riders were in the 1:48s, and they were again with five to go.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) had a quiet day and finished P13 ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and 15th place Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing). Cal Crutchlow (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) were P16 and P17 respectively, with Maverick Viñales taking P18 on his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini debut. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia) were the final finishers, with Jake Dixon (Petronas Yamaha SRT) crashing out on Lap 2.

Top 10:

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)

2. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) + 0.673

3. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 3.911

4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 9.269

5. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 11.928

6. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) + 13.757

7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 14.064

8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 16.575

9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 16.615

10. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 16.904

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