These just in from Aragon
Dramatic MotorLand showdown sees Bastianini depose Bagnaia as Quartararo clashes with Marquez
Just 17 points now cover the top three in the title fight as Bastianini vs Bagnaia goes to the wire, Quartararo hits bad luck early and Aleix Espargaro completes the podium
Sunday, 18 September 2022
The Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragon may well prove a truly pivotal day in the 2022 season, with the headlines overflowing almost from lights out and the top three in the title fight now split by only 17 points. By the flag, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) had served some Misano-flavoured revenge on Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the two duelled it out on the final lap for the win, and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) was both back on the podium and back in serious Championship contention.
Before all that, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) hit some serious bad luck as he made contact with Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) after a slide for the number 93. The Championship leader crashed out, Marquez continued and then suffered a technical problem from the prior contact that saw Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) caught in the crossfire. From there, the pitboards went out for the other key Championship protagonists – Quartararo out – and the lay of the land after MotorLand is now a whole different story as the paddock heads to Japan.
Where do we start? Bagnaia headed the field into Turn 1 after a dream start off pole position but it was a nightmare for several riders behind him. From 13th on the grid, Marquez was already up to sixth when he then had a moment exiting Turn 3 and closed the throttle, leaving Quartararo with nowhere to go. The Frenchman rammed the back of the RC213V and was thrown off, sliding into the run off. Rider ok, but a 0 on the board. Next the Marquez-Nakagami contact that saw the Japanese rider slide off and a host of riders forced into avoiding action, a second shot of huge drama. Not long after, Marc Marquez would also pit.
After all that, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) had jumped from 10th on the grid to fifth and then somehow threaded his way past another three bikes to be running an incredible second midway through Lap 1, ahead of Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), Bastianini, and Aleix Espargaro. Miller then overtook the South African on Lap 3 at Turn 1 and Bastianini did likewise exactly a lap later, putting the KTM back to fourth, but he wasn’t done yet.
Bastianini wasn’t either and he continued his progress with a move on Miller for second on Lap 6 at Turn 15, before Binder executed an impressive overtake on the Australian through Turn 4 on Lap 7. In the blink of an eye, Miller was all the way back to fifth as Espargaro also got through, at Turn 7.
Bad news for one Ducati rider, then, but the Bologna marque’s future factory pairing was about to engage in combat over first position – just as they did two weeks earlier at Misano. Bastianini got the move done at Turn 1 on Lap 9 and it looked like the Gresini rider might be able to pull away, given the pace advantage he seemed to have over Pecco. Instead, he outbraked himself half a lap later at Turn 12 and went very deep, handing the lead back to Bagnaia and barely holding off Binder through the chicane.
From there, however, Bagnaia and Bastianini started to put the hammer down, their margin over Binder up to one full second on Lap 12, two seconds on Lap 18, and three seconds after just one more. The Bologna bullets were trading quick laps around Aragon, and there was still no certainty over who would prevail. Bastianini twice had looks at Turn 16 and thought better of it, but would there be one last attack?
There sure would be! Bastianini sprung a surprise move on his works counterpart on the final lap at the tight Turn 7 right-hander and he was through, cuing up some sweet revenge for home race defeat at Misano. Bagnaia did give chase and when he got a better run off the final corner, it was still in the balance, but the finish line was close enough to the exit of Turn 17 that Bastianini was just able to cling on by a margin of just 0.042 seconds. Another stunning duel, and in the last two races, that means the total of the gaps between those two at the chequered flag totals a mere 0.076 seconds.
As for the other podium position, that went to Espargaro but it was a late attack as Binder held station for much of the race. The Aprilia and Miller tailed Binder for much of the contest before Aprilia’s ‘Captain’ pulled off the block pass at the start of the penultimate lap, and that was decisive. Espargaro finished six seconds behind the top two but Binder was just 0.240 seconds behind him at the chequered flag, and Miller only another 0.585 seconds in arrears in fifth.
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) took sixth after a late battle with fellow Ducati rider Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), who got home in seventh ahead of Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team). Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) earned 11th, with the rest of the points finishers being Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) – who dusted himself off after a Warm Up crash – Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Cal Crutchlow (WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP™ team), and Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team). A total of 20 riders made the chequered flag with Marc Marquez, Quartararo, and Nakagami the only retirements. Nakagami escaped fairly unscathed from the drama but was declared unfit for Japan for a finger injury, so he’ll need to pass a medical ahead of his home race.
And so the paddock says goodbye to MotorLand as we head for Motegi for the first time since 2019. The dust will take some time to settle but it’s a quick turnaround for the paddock heading into the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, and there’s not too much time to catch your breath before actions gets back underway next weekend.
Three riders, 17 points, five races. As Aleix says: LET’S PLAY!
Binder so close to Aragon MotoGP™ podium result
MotoGP 2022 – Round 15 of 20, MotorLand Aragon – Race
Brad Binder raced to 4th position and his second-best finish of the current MotoGP season at MotorLand Aragon today. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider made a brilliant start and remained in podium contention for the entire duration of the fifteenth round of twenty and the penultimate European Grand Prix of the campaign.
Binder makes a fantastic start, defies right ankle pain and holds top three position for almost the whole MotoGP race
Miguel Oliveira weathers rear grip fade to classify just outside the top ten in 11th
16th and 20th for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing riders Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez respectively
MotoGP heads for a fast turnaround with the Motul Grand Prix of Japan taking place at Motegi next weekend
MotoGP moved from the San Marino Grand Prix and a subsequent two-day test at Misano straight to Spain and the sprawling, technical blend of 17 corners at MotorLand Aragon. The circuit first entertained MotoGP in 2010 and as well as being a long, diverse and undulating course the asphalt is also slick and aged. Tire consumption was high, adding an element of strategic endurance to the 23-lap race distance and not assisted by the decent late summer temperatures in eastern Spain.
Brad Binder began the Grand Prix race from the peak of the fourth row of the grid and seared into 2nd around the tight opening turns. From that point the South African, who was nursing a sore right ankle after his fall in FP3 on Saturday, was fast, competitive and error-free as he held 3rd position. With two laps remaining Binder succumbed to pressure from Aleix Espargaro and on the charge to the line missed his second rostrum by just 0.2 of a second.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira was scouring the fringe of the top ten in the opening stages of the race but rear end traction issues limited his potential and he rode proactively to bring the KTM RC16 to the line in 11th.
Remy Gardner was the highest Tech3 KTM Factory Racing rider in Aragon. The Australian rode to 16th and narrowly missed out on his fifth haul of points this year. Raul Fernandez was 20th as both riders had to use evasive action to avoid two accidents in the first seven corners.
For the first time since 2019, MotoGP will again thrill Japanese fans as Mobility Resort Motegi gets ready to stage the world championship. The race is set to run on September 25th.
Brad Binder: “All-in-all I’m happy to walk away with 4th today. I gave everything I had in the race and the bike was working the best it had been all weekend again, so hats-off to the team for a fantastic job. I think we had a pretty good weekend here. Unfortunately, the crash in FP3 set me back a bit with my ankle but I was able to put it aside today and fight my way forward. I had an amazing start and was in the top three the whole race, so it was a bit disappointing to lose the podium with two laps to go but it wasn’t to be today. We have a little bit of work to do to make that last step and fight for podiums again.”
Miguel Oliveira: “Not the result we wanted because we were fast and competitive all weekend but the wear on the rear tire was unexpected today. I was in trouble at the beginning of the race and cannot find any reason why. I already had a difficult start when another rider lunged at me in Turn 15 and I had to run off the track. So, it was a decent enough weekend but we could not capitalize with the result. We’ll have another go next weekend.”
Remy Gardner: “I am pretty happy with my race to be honest. I was lucky enough to brake in time and avoid Takaaki Nagakami who crashed in the middle of the track just in front of me, so I am happy that no one was hurt. I kept losing time in the final sector on the last straight which is unfortunate because I was strong on the first three. Pol Espargaro eventually passed me within the final laps so I missed the points, which is a shame. Positive weekend anyway and I look forward to heading to Japan.”
Raul Fernandez: “The incidents early in the race complicated today’s plan as I found myself at the back trying to avoid them, especially the crash from Takaaki Nakagami which was pretty scary to be honest. Luckily, we had the best riders of the world on track and they all knew how to manage this situation because it could have been bad. The incidents were a great shame because I felt good on the bike this morning and I was hoping for more. I want to apologise to my team because today I made many mistakes and lost time. If it had not happened, I could have been in the points. We keep positive and I look forward to heading to Asia.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “Many points to be happy with this weekend. We were competitive, near the top of the sessions and we went to Q2 with both riders on Saturday morning. We missed the podium by 0.2 of a second. We know we still need to fix a couple of small things and allow the riders to be even closer to the podium and to the win. We’ll keep going. Our visit to Aragon was decent and we showed that with a good start we can be right up there and close to the trophies.”
Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón MotoGP photos can be downloaded HERE
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragón
1. Enea Bastianini (ITA) Ducati 41:35.462
2. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Ducati +0.042
3. Aleix Espargaro (ESP), Aprilia +6.139
4. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +6.379
5. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +6.964
11. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +17.071
16. Remy Gardner (AUS), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +28.805
20. Raul Fernandez (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +36.160
NO POINTS FOR MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MOTOGP IN DRAMA-FILLED ARAGON RACE
Alcañiz (Spain), 18th September 2022
GRAND PRIX OF ARAGÓN
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Franco Morbidelli struggled to find a good pace in the Gran Premio de Aragón but kept at it. He finished the race in P17. The team collectively gasped as they watched Fabio Quartararo slide down the track in the first lap after running into the back of a rival coming out of Turn 3. The unavoidable incident did end the Yamaha man‘s race but thankfully left him with no severe injuries other than abrasions on his chest and some bruises.
LOCAL TIME: 14:00 GMT+2
AIR TEMPERATURE: 23°C
TRACK TEMPERATURE: 40°C
WEATHER: SUNNY / HUMIDITY 45%
MORE CIRCUIT INFO
+30.422 / 23 LAPS
The Gran Premio de Aragón was a weekend to forget for the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team. With Franco Morbidelli unable to climb higher up the order than 17th place and Fabio Quartararo involved in a high-speed collision and the first lap, the team look forward to better fortunes in Japan.
Morbidelli started the race from 20th place, but the opening lap was filled with chaos. The Italian was in last place after the first lap but kept his head down and his persistence paid off. With ten laps to go, he recovered two positions. He held 18th until the final stages of the race, when he gained one more place. He crossed the finish line in 17th, 30.422s from first.
Quartararo had a good start from P6 on the grid and slotted into seventh place after the first corner. But drama unfolded soon after in Turn 3. Marc Marquez had a wobble right in front of the number-20 Yamaha, and with no way to avoid his rival, El Diablo ran into the back of him and crashed at high speed. Despite the high impact in the middle of the pack, Quartararo was not clipped by any rider but did get struck by his own bike as it tumbled down the tarmac, leaving him with abrasions on his chest.
After today‘s race, Quartararo‘s lead in the championship standings is now 10 points, with a 211 points total, while Morbidelli remains in 19th with 26 points. After Round 15, Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP keep hold of third in the Team championship with 237 points, and Yamaha go to third with 213 points in the Constructor championship.
The team congratulates Ducati on winning the Constructor Title.
Quartararo and Morbidelli will be back in action next weekend for Round 16 of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, held at the Mobility Resort Motegi in Japan.
It was a weekend to forget, and we can‘t wait to leave it behind us. Fabio‘s crash was at high speed. Our main priority is always our riders‘ safety and wellbeing. While he‘s battered and bruised, we‘re relieved that he is relatively ok. It‘s a real shame that his race ended up in this way, knowing the potential we had. Franky never had a good feeling this weekend. In the race he did manage to recover some positions, but for sure we wanted a better result for him than 17th place. In Motegi, we will try again with a fresh slate. Having races back-to-back, like we do now, is the best way to retaliate quickly.
For sure, the two accidents on the first lap that I encountered along the way didn’t help. Starting 20th, those things can happen. Apart from that, my pace wasn’t good. It was good enough to recover some positions, but we strived for much more than this. We tried something in the race to make me a bit faster in fast corners, but actually I didn’t notice an improvement. I just focused on giving the maximum I could give. We will sit ourselves behind the PCs and try to find what I need to improve in fast corners, and then we’ll try again in Japan.
I have no serious injuries. I have abrasions on my chest, and other than that I‘m quite disappointed. I felt that we had the pace to fight for a great result, but unfortunately I crashed on the first lap. Some riders lost the rear, while others cut the line a little bit, and I just hit Marc from the back. It‘s a big shame. I‘ll try to sleep on my back the next few days, but I will for sure be racing in Japan!
ENEA TRIUMPHS IN ARAGON
Today’s win by Enea Bastianini at MotorLand Aragón can be considered as favour return after Misano and it is without a doubt the fourth, top-step trip of the season for him and Team Gresini Racing MotoGP, one that came at the end of a truly masterful performance by the Italian rider, who delivers the Constructors title to Ducati (also due to Quartararo’s DNF) and narrows the gap to the top of the standings down to 48 points.
Fabio Di Giannantonio’s unlucky weekend carried over into race day as after being held back by yellow flag situations in Q1, today he had to avoid Nakagami as the Japanese rider slid onto the asphalt after a coming together in the early moments of the race. Japan is around the corner, however, and with it a chance to make amends.
1st ENEA BASTIANINI #23
“Great victory and definitely not an easy one, because just like in Misano Pecco didn’t make any mistake. I made a move in the same moment: I was close, had margin and made it happen. I need to keep the momentum going in these last five GPS; I never raced in Japan with a MotoGP bike but I want to do well and try to always be on the podium.”
19th FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO #49
“If yesterday we weren’t lucky enough in Q1, what about today… the crash by another rider during the first lap basically eliminated us from the race. I had a good pace and I surely could have aimed at a good result otherwise. We will try again in Japan.”
Espargaro takes point as Marquez falls during dramatic Aragon GP
A dramatic and complicated Aragon GP saw Marc Marquez’s first race back cut short after a promising start while Pol Espargaro worked hard to overcome adversity and end in the points.
A lightning start from Marc Marquez saw the Repsol Honda Team rider jump from 13th on the grid to sixth within the opening corners. His race would sadly not go much further as a rear end slide at Turn 3 caused contact with Fabio Quartararo. This in turn left a piece of Quartararo’s bike lodged in the rear end of Marquez’s Honda which caused a subsequent mechanical issue and contact with LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami. As a result, Marquez pulled into the pits at the end of the first lap – ending his return race early.
Pol Espargaro walked away from a complicated weekend in Aragon with a single point for 15th place. Taking evasive action to avoid Nakagami on the first lap left the Repsol Honda Team rider playing catchup for the rest of the race. Working to set a steady and consistent pace, Espargaro battled inside the group and reclaimed 15th place with just a few laps to go. Now that the Aragon weekend behind him, Espargaro is aiming to rally at Honda’s home race in Motegi.
For the first time since 2019, the MotoGP World Championship is set to race at the Japanese Grand Prix. It is a welcome return to home turf for the Repsol Honda Team as the Honda RC213V gets ready to delight Honda’s home crowd. The MotoGP paddock will immediately head for Japan, the middle race in this triple-header as they power towards the end of the season.
“It was a really tough race today and we didn’t have the speed we needed to do something more. I haven’t felt comfortable on the bike all weekend and we had a lot of distance to try and recover today. The first lap was very complicated, there was carbon fibre everywhere and I had to stand up to avoid Taka. Tonight I go home and then tomorrow we get on the plane to Japan so we will switch our mind to Japan mode, I’m looking forward to looking seeing all the Japanese fan again.”
“I got a really good start to the race and found myself fighting for the top five, instincts took over when the lights went out. But then in Turn 3, I lost the rear a little bit so I closed the gas and the problem was then that Fabio was super close to me. This is normal, it’s racing to be close in the first laps and to try a move in the change of direction, we were just unlucky to have this contact with Fabio. Then everything started, in Turn 5 I felt something strange, and I didn’t really know what was going on fully. In Turn 7 Nakagami overtook me and went wide but when I went to engage the rear device, I felt like the rear was locking. Then everything happened at once as the bike was moving to the left with this locking and I found myself touching with Taka. After this I retired. I went to apologies to Taka and his team because his race was ended by the situation we had. My apologies to him and Fabio.”
Ducati clinches its third consecutive MotoGP Constructors’ World Title in Aragón. Bagnaia ends the GP in second place after a great duel with Bastianini. Fifth Jack Miller
Bastianini takes his fourth win of the season at the MotorLand Aragón with the Desmosedici GP of team Gresini Racing
Ducati secured the MotoGP Constructors’ World title for the third consecutive year today. It’s the fourth World Title for the Borgo Panigale-based manufacturer in the premier class, clinched five races ahead of the end of the Championship.
Among the riders who have contributed to this achievement, with six victories in 2022, is undoubtedly Pecco Bagnaia, who finished second in the Aragon GP. Starting from pole position, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider got off to a good start, immediately taking the lead. After an initial exchange of positions with Bastianini, Pecco remained in first place until the last lap, when the fellow Ducati rider overtook him to secure the victory by just 42 thousandths. Thanks to today’s second place and following Quartararo’s crash on the first lap, Bagnaia brings his gap from the French rider to just 10 points.
On the other hand, Jack Miller finished the race in fifth place. Starting with the second fastest time, the Australian rider had managed to put himself immediately behind his teammate after the start, but in the following laps, he was passed first by Bastianini and then by Brad Binder and Aleix Espargaro to eventually finish the race in fifth place. Jack now occupies fifth place in the overall standings, while the Ducati Lenovo Team leads the team classification, 37 points ahead of the second-placed team.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 2nd
“I’m thrilled with today’s result. Enea and I had a great race! I knew he would be very fast in the final laps, and when he passed me, I preferred not to make any move on him. I tried to win and waited for a safe opportunity to pass him, which in the end wasn’t there. I knew these 20 points were important, and I preferred not to risk it. Now we must stay focused and think about the next race in Japan next week.”
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 5th
“Aragon has never been a favourable track for me, so I’m quite satisfied with fifth place. After I got passed by Binder and Aleix Espargaro, I continued to have a pretty consistent pace, but it didn’t allow me to get close enough to try and pass them, and towards the end, I also started to suffer with the front. In any case, I am happy, and I can’t wait to get back on track next week at Motegi.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“We are happy to have gotten our third consecutive Constructors’ World Title, the fourth in Ducati’s history in MotoGP. It is a result that we expected, given the results obtained by our riders this year, including the six victories of Bagnaia and the four wins of Bastianini. I want to thank all our riders and all the Ducati Corse staff, whose commitment and dedication have allowed us to reach this goal again. Now we can focus exclusively on the riders’ title: we are 10 points from the top of the standings, and with five races remaining, the fight in the Championship is open more than ever”.
The Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be back on track in less than a week for the Japanese GP, scheduled for 23rd – 25th September at the Motegi circuit.
The Aragon Grand Prix proved to be a highly dramatic round, leaving a consistently quick Alex Rins wondering ‘what could’ve been’ despite solid 9th place finish.
The scorching Spanish circuit welcomed a bumper crowd while a powerful atmosphere was growing in the pre-race build-up – consisting of an opera singer, a brass band, and a minute’s silence for Queen Elizabeth II.
As Team Suzuki Ecstar’s sole representative after the withdrawal of Joan Mir, Alex Rins was determined to perform at a high level and reach a strong result in front of his home supporters. As the lights went out for the 23-lap race, Alex was ready to attack from 9th on the grid, but a shockingly big crash between Marc Marquez and Fabio Quartararo left Rins with no choice but to take evasive action. Thanks to his quick reactions and presence of mind, the Suzuki rider dodged a stricken Quartararo but ended up at the back of the pack. A further incident between Marquez and Nakagami left the field reeling, but Alex was able to keep his head down and dig deep, rising steadily through the ranks. By the tenth lap of the race he was up to 12th, and lapping with excellent pace. He kept this up throughout the race, and closed as many gaps as he could to reach 9th. He briefly managed 8th place on the final corners, but was retaken on the run to the flag and finished a respectable 9th.
Team Suzuki Ecstar will be back on track next weekend in Motegi, Japan.
Test Rider Takuya Tsuda, who was due to have a wildcard ride alongside Rins and Mir, will instead stand up as a replacement for Mir.
“My race sort of ended on the first lap, because after avoiding Fabio I was last. I tried to stay calm, close the gaps, and make some overtakes. In the end I’m disappointed because my rhythm was really good and I could’ve had a nice result, but at the same time I’m quite happy because I know I did my best to get back to ninth and I recovered many positions. I went to visit the crowd at the end of the race and they lifted my spirits too. Racing is unpredictable and today could have been much worse, so let’s keep a positive mindset heading to Motegi.”
Livio Suppo – Team Manager
“Alex did a very good job, we knew before the start of the race that he would have the pace to fight for the podium and he proved this to be true. Unfortunately, on the first lap the two accidents caused him to lose a lot of time and pushed him way back. After that he showed how well he could perform, but it was too difficult to reach higher than 9th. We’ll try to keep this form going into Motegi, and we hope for better luck there. We’ll miss Joan in Japan, but meanwhile we will welcome Takuya Tsuda into the squad as his replacement.”