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It’s the showdown that had been building all weekend: Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia vs Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™’s Fabio Quartararo. The duel that captivated the Championship fight in 2021, and the duel that we were waiting to spark again in 2022. After a weekend of speed from both at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, Jerez was the place as the pair were in a class of their own to pull out ten seconds on the rest. In the end, Bagnaia held on for an emotional first win of the year, with Quartararo forced to settle for second but taking an outright points lead in the World Championship, only 0.285 off the win.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) broke clear of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Jack Miller (Ducato Lenovo Team) in the final laps to take third, and in doing so brings to an end Aprilia’s MotoGP™ concessions after six years.
As the lights went out, the roars went up as the thousands of trackside fans celebrated their return to the grandstands after three years away. It was the poleman Bagnaia who launched himself into the lead too, with Quartararo settling into second behind. Ducati Lenovo Team’s Jack Miller was third on the opening lap, ahead of LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami, and Aleix Espargaro and Marc Marquez were literally elbow-to-elbow off the line – with the Aprilia diving under the eight-time World Champion into the opening corner only to run wide and allow the Honda back through into fifth.
Marquez was aggressive later on the opening lap as he fired up the inside of Nakagami to claim fourth, and Aleix Espargaro also squeezed through. Seconds later Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin then crashed out for the fourth time in six races and, on his 200th Grand Prix appearance, HRC’s Stefan Bradl also hit the deck at the final corner.
Meanwhile at the front, only a handful of laps had been completed but the leading duo were already flexing their pace, edging further and further clear of Miller. By Lap 5 it was 1.5 seconds and thr gap just continued to grow. The Australian instead had to focus on hanging onto the final podium place, with both Marquez and Espargaro applying increasing amounts of pressure on the factory Ducati rider.
Darryn Binder (WithU RNF Yamaha) then crashed out at Turn 2, before a big moment in the World Championship fight: after a sluggish start, Alex Rins’ day got worse when the Team Suzuki Ecstar rider straight-lined his GSX-RR through the Turn 11 gravel trap after a big moment on the front end, and then Pramac Racing’s difficult day continued when Johann Zarco crashed out at Turn 5.
By half distance, Bagnaia had eked out an eight-tenth advantage and the Italian would maintain that gap up until the final three laps of the race. But then, a frisson of Jaws music: Quartararo sliced the lead in half and was starting to close in. Could Quartararo steal Jerez victory away from Bagnaia late on? The pair were pushing to the absolute limit, by then a mind-boggling 11 seconds clear of the rest.
They started the final lap with Bagnaia holding an advantage of just half a second. It would require something special from the reigning World Champion on the final lap, but as they came through the fourth and final sector Quartararo was closing and closing, just a quarter of a second away. But Bagnaia stood firm, withstanding the almighty pressure to take a vital victory in Jerez; a first for the Italian since the season-closing race in Valencia last year and a second for the Bologna factory in Andalucia in as many years. Quartararo’s third podium visit of the season saw him stretch out his Championship leader from nothing to eight points, however, with those 20 for second place proving very valuable.
Much like the duel for victory, the scrap for third took its time to come to life but when it did, it was a thriller. There were five laps left when Marquez made an inch-perfect move up the inside of Miller at Turn 5, and Espargaro behind knew he had to respond or risk seeing the Respol Honda clear off into the distance. And the Aprilia rider had an answer on the same lap as he braked hard and late into the final corner, heading through.
Marquez, meanwhile, was wide into the final corner and the front-end of his RC213V folded. But it wasn’t a crash, it was a number 93 classic: in true Marc Marquez style, he picked it up off of his elbow and continued on. Espargaro and Miller both swooped through to demote the eight-time World Champion to fifth though, and from there the Aprilia checked out, quickly pulling half a second out of Miller. But Marquez wasn’t done, risking it all on the final lap to take fourth thanks to a dive up the inside of Miller at Turn 8 in spectacular style.
Ahead of them, though, Espargaro was coming across the line to take a pivotal podium for the Noale factory. Not only does the Spaniard sit second in the standings, the rider eight points adrift of Quartararo, but Aprilia officially lost their MotoGP™ concession status after six long years. Behind Marquez and Miller in fourth and fifth was Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir in P6, the 2020 Champion coming into late contention but not quite able to find a move on the those ahead.
Nakagami eventually came across the line in seventh, four seconds clear of Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) in a slightly muted eighth. The erstwhile Championship leader picked off rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing), but the latter matched his best MotoGP™ result despite that in ninth. The final place inside the top ten went the way of Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder.
Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) completed the points.
And so we head for Le Mans with a little chance to recharge, and Quartararo out in front in the Championship. He doesn’t arrive from the top step, however, so can the Frenchman fight back on home turf? We’ll find out in two weeks – join us for the SHARK Grand Prix de France!
Pecco Bagnaia and Ducati take win at the Spanish GP in Jerez de la Frontera. Fifth Jack Miller
For the second year in a row, Ducati takes victory at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, stage today of the Spanish GP, the sixth round of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship. After Jack Miller’s victory last year, this time, it was Francesco Bagnaia (second in 2021) who took the Desmosedici GP to the top step of the podium, proving to be the absolute dominator of the Andalusian weekend.
The Ducati Lenovo Team rider took a record-breaking pole position yesterday, and in today’s GP, he imposed himself again, taking the lead at the first corner. Bagnaia was then able to maintain an incredible pace, managing the advantage over Fabio Quartararo until the finish line. It was Bagnaia’s fifth victory in MotoGP and his first in the premier class this year. Thanks to today’s result, the Italian rider moves up to fifth in the overall standings, which sees him 33 points behind leader Quartararo.
Jack Miller also had a good performance as he crossed the line fifth. After starting from 4th on the grid, the Australian rider immediately moved into third place, but towards the end of the race, he was overtaken first by Márquez and then by Aleix Espargaro. Miller then started a fierce duel with Márquez for fourth place, in which the Spaniard got the better of him. After the Spanish GP, Jack is eleventh in the Championship, 47 points behind the leader, while Ducati still leads the constructors’ standings by 42 points.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“I am moved. The first victory last year at Aragon was certainly very important, but today’s was even more beautiful and much more difficult. We come from a tough period in which, for various reasons, we have never been able to show our real potential, but here I knew that we were in the right conditions to do well. We have been working hard since Qatar, and finally, today, we arrived ready for the race. I pushed really hard and lapped consistently throughout the 25 laps. I’m proud of the work that has been done, not only with my team, which I thank but also at home with the Academy and my family!”
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 5th
“Knowing you have Marc Marquez behind you for 22 laps is definitely not an easy situation to handle, but despite the pressure, I feel I rode well today! I was with Pecco and Quartararo during the first four laps, but then I couldn’t maintain the same pace. I gave it my all and tried to focus only on my race. Right from the start, I was having some issues keeping the right line at Turn 5 and in the end, Marc passed me there. After Aleix passed both of us, Marc and I had a good battle on the last lap. I’m quite happy: we fought for the podium and obtained a positive result, and with today’s experience, we can only improve in the future. Congratulations to Pecco! He really did a great race”.
Luigi Dall’Igna (General Manager of Ducati Corse)
“Pecco did an incredible race, and this victory definitely has several meanings. After yesterday’s amazing qualifying, it was important to do well again today. I’m sure he could have done well in Portugal too, but it was great to see him on form and fight for the win again. We are delighted because today, we were finally able to show the true potential of our bike. Jack also had a good race, and until five laps from the end, he was fighting for the podium. Congratulations again to Pecco, and thanks to all the Ducati Corse staff for their work!”
Tomorrow, the MotoGP riders will remain at Jerez de la Frontera for a day of post-race collective testing, while the French GP will take place from 13th-15th May at Circuit Bugatti in Le Mans.
MotoGP gathered in the familiar climes of Jerez for the first Grand Prix on Spanish asphalt this season and the Gran Premio Red Bull de España witnessed fightbacks by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira.
KTM’s MotoGP wing faced some adversity early in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España. Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Raul Fernandez faced a late fitness test on his right wrist and was not cleared to compete. Miguel Oliveira’s qualification plight on Saturday did not go to plan despite some very promising race-pace in FP4 and the Portuguese had to start the sixth round of the season at a warm and sun-kissed Jerez circuit from 21st on the grid. Brad Binder and Remy Gardner filled 15th and 18th positions; 18th representing a highest qualification berth yet for the rookie and current Moto2 World Champion.
With Jerez busy with fans and back to its bustling and noisy best, the 25-lap MotoGP race got underway in the highest temperatures yet across the second consecutive weekend of action on the Iberian Peninsula. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders were optimistic about their speed across the race duration and both Oliveira and Binder went about regaining ground as soon as the red grid lights disappeared. They sliced their way up to the fringes of the top ten but the duo was plagued by a rear tire glitch that inhibited their maximum performance. Binder, who was looking for a positive turnaround after his unlucky fall and DNF in Portugal seven days previously, managed to reach 10th and Oliveira ride to 12th – a decent recovery of almost ten places.
Gardner steered a damaged KTM RC16 to 20th in a long and demanding race. The Australian was clipped by another rider in the second turn and lost his left aerodynamic structure, creating stability and downforce problems for the remaining 24 laps.
Before MotoGP encounters the contrasting corners and demands of Le Mans the first mid-season IRTA test will mean more laps and speed at Jerez. The full day of work on Monday allows the team and riders to further refine their race machinery for 2022 and then the SHARK Grand Prix de France welcomes the championship on May 14-15.
Brad Binder: “A really difficult weekend for all of us. This is a track I really love but we weren’t able to have the race we wanted. I had a big vibration come from the rear wheel so I did my best to get as many points as possible but this problem made it hard to fight with the guys. It upset the bike on corner entry and made it hard to stop. I’m frustrated because we expected more but today wasn’t the day.”
Miguel Oliveira: “We cannot say we are happy with the result but coming from the back of the grid it was what we could achieve. I had rear tire vibration and have to work out how that happened. We scored some points, so that’s something and we have a working day ahead of us tomorrow to try and improve the bike further.”
Remy Gardner: “Today I lost my left front wing on the first lap, so I struggled the entire race to ride. It had a big effect and I was wheeling all the time. I was unable to go full gas on the straights so I did not have much fun today. You realize how much downforce these wings create when you are riding with only one because you get dragged by one side of the bike and it is really tough to control. I knew we would struggle a bit today, but I am sure that we could have done a much better race with two wings. Anyway, I hope that tomorrow we will be able to test a few new things to make some improvements on the bike.”
Francesco Guidotti, Red Bull KTM Team Manager: “A strange weekend. Things went well on Friday but we missed Q2 and from that point things were more difficult from the back half of the grid. It is possible to recover some position but not enough to be where we want to be at the end of the race. We also have to investigate the rear tire vibration. We had one top ten and we want more; we are not here for that. Tomorrow we have some interesting things ahead. I feel that we are not too far away.”
Thanks to a strong second place by Fabio Quartararo at the Gran Premio de España, the Frenchman expands his lead to 7 points after six rounds in the 2022 MotoGP World Championship. Franco Morbidelli‘s late charge in today‘s 25-lap race saw him finish in 15th position, earning him an extra championship point.
LOCAL TIME: 14:00 GMT+2
AIR TEMPERATURE: 27°C
TRACK TEMPERATURE: 44°C
WEATHER: SUNNY / HUMIDITY 35%
MORE CIRCUIT INFO
+0.285 / 25 LAPS
+27.519 / 25 LAPS
Pictures for editorial use only. Copyright © 2022 Yamaha Motor Racing Srl
The Gran Premio de España had the fans on the edge of their seats as 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo chased 2021 Vice Champion Francesco Bagnaia. The Yamaha man tried to put the pressure on, but in the end settled for second place. Franco Morbidelli didn‘t let tyre pressure issues hold him back from putting up a fight, especially at the end of the race. He secured 15th place.
Quartararo had a good launch from P2 on the grid and held his position. He knew that Bagnaia was trying to build a lead early on, and the Yamaha man would do everything in his power not to let that happen. The two were starting to break away from the pack.
The number-20 rider managed to keep the pressure on, staying closely behind. The front men were the only riders able to dip under the 1‘38s mark, clocking 1‘37.6s times on lap 5. El Diablo was on the limit every lap and was trying to make a move on the last lap. He was dangerously close, but in the end came just short of being able to put in an overtaking manoeuvre. He took the chequered flag in second place, 0.285s from first, but with an increased lead in the championship of 7 points.
Morbidelli initially had a good start from P16 and picked up a position but crossed the line in 16th place. Having settled there, the Italian was keen to gear up for a fight for the championship points. However, tyre pressure problems held him back.
Nevertheless, the number-21 rider continued to push. With Alex Rins going wide and Johann Zarco crashing out, he maintained his position for the majority of the race. He kept his head down but saved his tyres for the final stages. With five laps to go, he was setting various personal best sectors and followed it up with an overtake on Luca Marini to take 15th place. A brilliant last lap saw him almost take 14th place from Maverick Viñales, but in the end he crossed the finish line in 15th, 27.519s from first.
Today‘s results keep Quartararo in the lead in the championship standings with an 89 points total, while Morbidelli is now in sixteenth with 18 points. After Round 6, Yamaha and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team move up to second place with 89 points in the Constructor championship and continue to hold third position with 86 points in the Team championship.
The team will be back in action at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto tomorrow for the one-day official IRTA test.
The aim today was to score as many points as possible today. This was a track we thought we had a good chance to do a good race, though we did already figure it would be a difficult one to win. We got the job done. These 20 points for Fabio are important. He did try to win, and came close, but there came a point in the race that he understood he had to give the situation some consideration. I think he can be happy with this second place, and especially with the pace he showed today. Franky finally found something this morning that he likes and feels comfortable with on the bike. The feeling he had this morning was good. I would like to say that I think that because of this new setting his season will really start in two weeks‘ time in Le Mans. It‘s a shame that it came too late for this weekend. Starting from the sixth row was difficult. It made the tyre pressure go up, making it very difficult to ride, but he managed. He did what he could, knowing he could have done a completely different race. This is a positive sign, so we are looking forward to Le Mans with increased confidence, and we also have tomorrow‘s test to get some extra work done.
It was a really tough race. I tried to overtake Pecco on the first lap because I knew that staying behind him was going to be difficult for my front tyre. I tried everything, but he was really fast. I think the pace that we managed today was just insane. My front tyre was superhot, super high pressure. I couldn‘t brake harder, but I could maintain that pace with him. I think the gap to the guys behind us was quite big, so both of us were really fast today. Congratulations to him. It wasn‘t a real battle, because we didn‘t overtake, but it was still an intense race. We enjoyed it a lot.
When you start from far behind, and it’s difficult to overtake like it is for us, the front pressure goes sky-high and you can’t ride anymore. Basically, I couldn’t push all race long. I could only push when I overtook Luca, three laps before the end. Actually, the lap times weren’t so bad towards the end. But starting from far behind things are like this. We will work to refine everything and make another step in tomorrow’s test, and then we will see in Le Mans.
Fighting fourth from Marquez ignites the Spanish GP crowd
It might not have been the podium he was aiming for, but Marc Marquez showed he’s ready to fight with a spirited ride to fourth as Pol Espargaro collected 11th place.
Crowds at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España were back to their best as the flocked to the hills of the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto from dawn. Pushing 60,000, the home fans were wanting a show and the 25-lap MotoGP race certainly didn’t disappoint.
Initially launching off the line well, Marc Marquez found Aleix Espargaro in his path and had to alter his trajectory through the opening corner but quickly passed the Aprilia rider. A three-way game of chess would quickly emerge between Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Miller as the trio tested each other for the majority of the race with a podium finish in view. The powder keg would ignite in the closing laps, Marquez attacking Miller and moving into third place with just five laps to go and with Miller so strong on the brakes, Marquez knew that attacking through the fast Turn 5 would be his best option as their chess game escalated.
From there it was a brawl as Marquez, Miller and Espargaro battled – an incredible save from the #93 at the final corner allowing Espargaro to just break away. A fired-up Marquez refused to let the moment hold him back as he fought until the very end with Miller, pushing his Honda RC213V to the limit and sending the crowd into a frenzy as he left long black lines around the track as Marquez looked to get past Miller again. 13 points in his pocket, Marquez moves up two positions into ninth overall in the championship and sits 45 points behind defending World Champion Fabio Quartararo.
Pol Espargaro once again executed a great start to the race and made up a handful of positions from 13th on the grid in the opening corners. Running wide at Turn 5 on the opening lap left Espargaro with some work to do and he became entangled in a race-long battle with Brad Binder and Oliveira. Taking 11th place, the #44 had hoped to achieve more after showing promising pace during the weekend but the rising temperatures of Sunday left Espargaro unable to conjure his speed.
The Repsol Honda Team will now remain in Jerez for the first in-season test of the year, a brief but important Monday test at the 4.4-kilometre-long track. The objective for both Marquez and Espargaro is to find the speed and feeling they had during the winter tests and return to consistently battling at the front of the field.
“Today I gave my maximum and achieved the maximum. I saved my energy through the whole weekend to be ready for Sunday because I’m still not in the condition to do a whole weekend at 100%. It’s the Spanish GP, I had to give it everything on race day. At one point in the race, I thought maybe the podium was possible, the key point was overtaking Miller and stopping Aleix because he was faster than us. This is what I tried to do but then at the last corner I lost the front and the rear but fortunately the Spanish crowd were there to pick me up and save the crash! We don’t give up; we keep pushing and now we prepare for an important Monday test.”
“The grip was really low today with the temperature and in conditions like this I suffer a lot more, more than my teammate and more than other riders. In the first lap I almost high sided at Turn 5 and I lost some positions, but to recover in MotoGP is really difficult. Fortunately, we have a test tomorrow and we need to get to work to return to what we found during winter. We have to work from the moment we are in and find solutions to the problems we are having. Patience is key here, the good times will come but we need to keep our heads down and work.”
TAKA FINISHES AS TOP INDEPENDENT IN SPANISH GP
1 May 2021 | Spanish GP Race
Takaaki Nakagami claimed another impressive result at the Circuito de Jerez as he took 7th position in the Spanish Grand Prix to end as the leading independent rider. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU secured his best finish of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship as he followed up his strong qualifying performance with a fine ride in Sunday’s race in Andalusia.
Taka laid down a marker as he was fastest in the morning warm-up session by three tenths and then made a superb start to the race, moving up from seventh into fourth after the first corner. He lost ground after being passed by Honda colleague Marc Marquez, but then settled into a good rhythm and took the chequered flag in seventh, just behind 2020 world champion Joan Mir.
Takaaki Nakagami – 7th
“I’m happy to finally be back in parc ferme, it’s so important for the team and myself. We’ve made a step forward, even though I was looking for a slightly better result, maybe top four or top five, but we finished P7. I’m happy, I gave my best from the beginning and it was a really tough race. I’m looking forward to testing tomorrow and it will be important to improve the bike.”
ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ STAGES STRONG FIGHTBACK AT JEREZ
01 May 2022 | Spanish GP Race
Álex Márquez fought back well on race day to claim a solid points finish in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez. Starting from the eighth row, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider battled hard throughout his first home race of the 2022 MotoGP season and eventually claimed a respectable 13th position.
The Spaniard looked impressive in the warm-up session as he went 11th fastest and got away to a good start as he made up six places on the opening lap of the race. He’d moved into the points positions by lap five and then showed good consistency to consolidate 13th spot, finishing just ahead of compatriot Maverick Viñales.
Álex Márquez – 13th
“It was a difficult race coming right from the back, but we made a good start on the outside of the track. Later on, I tried to recover positions and gave 100 percent and towards the finish I did better and better. I’m happy with the step we made today, we made a mistake yesterday with the set-up and we need to focus on that. But it was a positive weekend and now we have an important test, so we’ll focus and try to keep going like we did today in the race.”
Crashes end Bradl’s Spanish GP race early
A promising race in Jerez was cut short for HRC wildcard Stefan Bradl due to two falls in the race.
Making his 200th Grand Prix start, Stefan Bradl was hopeful of celebrating with another point-scoring finish but two crashes would force him to bow out of the race early. A crash at Turn 13 on lap one left the German in a compromised position from the off, but he continued to soldier on and collect data and more race experience on the 2022 Honda RC213V. Some laps later, a second fall at Turn 1 would see the HRC Test Rider forced to retire. He was unharmed in both falls.
Stefan Bradl 6
Rider – MotoGP
“It’s a shame to be unable to finish the race because our pace, even after the first fall, was not too bad. Conditions were much warmer today and maybe this contributed to our situation a bit. We’ve worked well throughout the whole weekend and done some interesting work. Now we focus on the Monday test and seeing how we can best help HRC.”