These just in:
Che spettacolo! For the fourth time in 2021, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) took victory as the Italian led home a historic Ducati 1-2-3 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, Pecco once again perfectly-poised as this time he saw the flag just ahead of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) for a Bologna lockout. The race will forever be remembered as Valentino Rossi’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) last dance too, and The Doctor delivered a P10 in his farewell MotoGP™ appearance in front of a packed Circuit Ricardo Tormo crowd. Pecco also dedicated the win to his mentor.
Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) saw the chequered flag in P17 as the Italian premier class race winner also says goodbye to Grand Prix racing in an emotional Sunday in Valencia, and teammate Iker Lecuona heads for WorldSBK after scoring a final point of the year.
Rewinding to lights out and polesitter Martin grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1 as fourth place Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) got a great start to get the better of Bagnaia, with Miller slotting into second. Rossi made a good start and was up a place into P9, whereas World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was P6. Up ahead, Miller then dived up the inside of Martin at Turn 1 on Lap 2 to take the lead, but it was short-lived. Martin and Mir cut through on Lap 2, and Miller down to third, then it was fourth, then fifth – the Australian was going backwards after briefly leading.
The Suzukis were charging though – hard. Mir was harassing Martin, before Pecco then used the GP21’s superior grunt to take P2 off the 2020 Champion. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then snuck past Mir at Turn 6 on Lap 3, as the top four – Martin, Bagnaia, Rins and Mir – started to create a gap to now fifth-placed Quartararo. Miller was down to P6, seemingly struggling in the early stages.
The race then settled as the front runners held station, but Martin, Bagnaia and Rins were now 0.7s ahead of Mir. After a few laps of following the World Champion, Miller was back through on Quartararo and up to P5, as Rins set the fastest lap of the race. However, at Turn 6 on Lap 11 of 27, Rins then went down. The Spaniard tucked the front of his GSX-RR, handing teammate Mir third.
Rossi, meanwhile, was now 10th, 0.6s down on Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) who, as things stood, was losing out on the Rookie of the Year crown with Martin leading…
Bagnaia was swarming all over the back of the race-leading rookie though and with 12 laps to go, at Turn 14, Pecco pounced. Now, with some clear air, what could the Italian do? The fastest lap, a 1:31.042, came next and the hammer was well and truly down. His mentor Rossi was still 10th with 11 laps to go, but VR46 Academy’s first World Champion and fellow Yamaha star Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was right behind him…
Up front though, Martin was not letting Pecco pull clear. On two consecutive laps, the rookie was quicker than Bagnaia, and a second or so behind, Miller grabbed P3 off Mir at Turn 2. It was a Ducati 1-2-3 with eight laps to go, and history was on the cards for the Bologna factory. Miller wasn’t done yet either, the Australian 1.3s back when he passed Mir, but by five laps to go, he was just 0.7s off Martin.
With two laps of the season to go, Pecco was 0.8s clear of Martin and it seemed the battle would be for second. Miller was closer than ever to Martin, but the rookie was holding firm. Unable to make a move, Miller couldn’t quite make it a factory Ducati 1-2 as Bagnaia crossed the line to win for a fourth time in 2021, although Martin clinched the Rookie of the Year crown with a P2 – his fourth podium of the season. Miller, in third, helps Ducati make history with their first 1-2-3 in MotoGP™ with his fifth rostrum. In addition, Bagnaia’s P1 and Miller’s P3 helps Ducati take the Teams’ Championship, adding to their Constructors’ crown.
Mir held onto P4 by just 0.2s in the end as Quartararo homed in, but El Diablo takes P5 to cap off a title-winning season. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) was P6, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was P7, with Bastianini’s P8 was not quite good enough for the Rookie of the Year title – nine points split the Italian and Martin in the end. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) struggled in the latter stages and slipped to P9, finishing one place ahead of The Doctor.
Valentino Rossi took P10, where he started, to bow out in style. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the Italian’s glistening Grand Prix career, as one of the world’s biggest sporting icons bids a fond farewell to the sport he loves – and the sport that loves him. Grazie Vale, from millions of fans around the globe!
Morbidelli crossed the line less than a second away from Rossi as the Italian now aims to get fully fit for 2022, Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT) had a good final weekend of the season to finish in P12, and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and WorldSBK-bound Lecuona take home the final points of 2021.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) joined Rins in suffering a DNF in Valencia, the Japanese rider was perfectly ok after his Turn 6 crash.
And that, as they say, is a wrap. The curtain comes down on 2021, as we say ciao to the icon that is Valentino Rossi. The number 46 will be missed immensely on and off track in 2022 and beyond, but MotoGP™ couldn’t be in a better place. The next generation is here, Rossi’s legacy will live on with his VR46 Academy and new MotoGP™ team, and Yamaha and Quartararo will be aiming to defend their title against a whole host of unbelievable bikes and riders. What a year! And #GrazieVale!
Top seven and a strong finish to 2021 MotoGP™ for Binder and KTM
2021 KTM MotoGP, Round 18 of 18, Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana (ESP) – Race
KTM ended their fifth year in MotoGP competition with 7th position in the eighteenth and final round of the world championship in Valencia and with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder securing 6th place in the standings.
– Binder pushes the limit to bank 7th place in Valencia sunshine
– Lecuona & Oliveira score points in Spain as Petrucci signs off MotoGP career
– KTM close the book on 2021 with two wins and four podium appearances
Warm sunshine and cloudless skies graced the last MotoGP race of the year. The Circuito Ricardo Tormo welcomed over 70,000 spectators for the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana and the second event in the space of a week.
Binder was the most advanced KTM rider on the grid having qualified in 7th position and headed the third row. The South African planted himself into the mid-top ten where he managed to stay ahead of Enea Bastianini and tried to close the gap to Johann Zarco. By the flag he was only 1.5 seconds from 6th for his thirteenth top ten finish of the year.
Teammate Miguel Oliveira faced some adversity thanks to his grid position of 20th but the Portuguese rode around a lack of feeling with the front tire to make it to 14th and two points. He was just ahead of Tech3 KTM Factory Racing’s Iker Lecuona in 15th while Danilo Petrucci finished an emotional last MotoGP outing in 18th.
2021 action and work ends with a final two-day test at the Circuit de Jerez-Angel Nieto this coming Thursday and Friday where the two KTM teams will evaluate ideas and components for their 2022 set-up on the RC16s.
Brad Binder: “I’m happy with where we finished in the championship and the race was a lot harder than I expected. I thought I’d be stronger and, unfortunately, I was missing a little in a few places and the gap was too much to make-up in some corners. It was a tough race but I tried my absolute best from lap one to the end. I have to leave here happy because I left it all on the table. It has been my most consistent year and a level-up. I have to thank the team. Even though we had some tough times they never stopped working. 6th in the championship is good and now five to go.”
Miguel Oliveira: “I knew it was going to be difficult today but we made it into the points. My pace wasn’t fantastic and I struggled a bit with the front tire. Overall, it wasn’t our best race and we have to take motivation into the winter test that starts next week and keep working for the future.”
Iker Lecuona: “Finally, I could finish the race, finish with one point, so I reached my goal. I struggled a lot but we finished close to the top guys. I just want to say thanks to the team for these two years! I cried a lot, I enjoyed a lot, I learned, I improved, so I want to say thanks to the team and for sure to my family, friends, the spectators, who came here to push me and to see my last race. So, thanks to everybody! It’s not the last goodbye. To be continued.”
Danilo Petrucci: “A huge thank you to everybody, everybody in KTM, everybody in Tech3 and generally everyone, who has been working with me. We tried our best. In this race, I just tried to enjoy until the last moment. I’m really thankful for everything. Now it’s time to rest a bit.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “The final race in Valencia is usually a difficult and an emotional one. In our case Danilo and Iker leave the MotoGP class and we had a great time with them and were able to count on some valuable development information from both and their styles. Danilo is a great guy and Iker also, who came into our team almost as an experiment and made much progress. We wish both of them all the best. Today Brad made a great race in a competitive field and took 7th and then 6th in the championship and we’re proud of that because this was our first year without concessions and he did it through a long and tricky season. We didn’t achieve our goals with Miguel – we both were not happy with that result today – and this means we need to analyze why. We all know his skills and his talent to ride this bike and he showed it several times. We are 100% convinced we will find the road back with him. Thanks to all the hard work from the company and all the people involved in this project. We will have a short rest and then push hard in the winter for 2022.”
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana photos can be downloaded HERE
Results MotoGP Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana 2021
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Ducati 41:15.481
2. Jorge Martin (ESP) Ducati +0.489
3. Jack Miller (AUS) Ducati +0.823
4. Joan Mir (ESP) Suzuki +5.214
5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha +5.439
7. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +8.437
14. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +18.221
15. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +19.233
18. Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +32.169
It was the end of an era today at the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Valentino Rossi ending the final MotoGP race of his career tenth. Team-mate Andrea Dovizioso made it a double points finish for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team in their final race, crossing the finish line 12th.
Rossi had a good start to his final MotoGP race, claiming two places in the opening corner to go eighth. Dropping back to tenth on lap 4, the Italian demonstrated good speed and pace throughout the season finale. Although he wasn’t able to close the gap to those in front, ‘Vale’ successfully defended his position and crossed the finish line for the final time tenth – bringing his amazing 26 years of Grand Prix racing to its conclusion.
Team-mate Dovizioso, who started 13th, also gained two places in the opening corners. The Italian had some early on-track battles, which pushed him down to 14th on the fifth lap. Mounting a recovery, he made it through to 12th before the midpoint of the race. With a gap to the riders ahead, ‘Dovi’ worked hard to reduce the deficit but ultimately wasn’t quite able to close up to those in front and crossed the line 12th.
The ValenciaGP signals the end of PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team’s three years in the MotoGP championship, where they achieved 12 pole positions, 16 podium finishes and 6 wins. The Malaysian squad were also Independent Team Champions in 2019 and 2020.
Today was an emotional day for the team, especially as it was Rossi’s last dance after a glorious 26 years. We are truly honoured that he has ended his career with us and it will go down in the history books that the last team he rode for was PETRONAS Yamaha SRT. At the same time it is the team’s final race as well and it was good that Andrea could finish inside the points in 12th as well. It has been a great three years, with great highs and lows. We have made tremendous achievements in that time though.
In Moto2 it was a great result for Xavi and Jake finished just outside of the points. Although we would have liked both riders to have been fighting towards the front, we are still happy overall. We wish them both the best of luck with their new ventures.
Unfortunately in Moto3 John wasn’t able to break into the top-ten today, but he did well to make his way from 15th to 11th. It was a shame that Darryn was not able to finish the race today and it’s not the way that he or the team wanted to finish this year. Again, we wish them both the best of luck for the future.
We end these three years in MotoGP today and it has been a very interesting journey, from starting the team to achieving what we did. We’ve been second in the World Championship and had many race wins, podiums and pole positions. It has been a privilege to work with Valentino and Andrea this year and we have to be very proud of what we have done. We were able to build up a structure this big and this professional, with the support of PETRONAS and the other partners that believed in this project from the beginning.
I want to thank everybody who was involved in this project from the bottom of my heart, from the crew to sponsors and partners – just everybody. I’m sad that it’s finishing, but I only have good things to say about these years. This is how it is sometimes, so just thank you again.
I didn’t expect that it could be a weekend like this. I was very worried for this weekend because I didn’t know how I felt and there was a lot of pressure with many things to do. It was fantastic, I received a lot of positive energy from all the people in the paddock and I had a lot of great surprises: from seeing all my bikes on Thursday, to all the VR46 Academy riders with my helmets today. I’m also happy because I was able to be strong in both Qualifying yesterday and in the race today, finishing in the top-ten. I enjoyed it a lot and it was the best way to finish. I am in the top ten best riders in the world and it means everything, because this result will never change. I also enjoyed the celebrations after the race. It was a long career and I want to say thanks to everybody.
ALEIX IN THE TOP TEN YET AGAIN, FINISHING OUT A GOOD SEASON WITH 120 POINTS (MORE THAN DOUBLE COMPARED WITH 2020) AND EIGHTH PLACE OVERALL
UPHILL RACE FOR MAVERICK WHO DIDN’T FIND HIS PACE UNTIL THE FINALE. HOWEVER, THE EXPERIENCE GAINED ON THE RS-GP IN 2021 IS A FOUNDATION TO BUILD ON FOR NEXT SEASON
On a weekend that will be remembered as Valentino Rossi’s last one in MotoGP, Aprilia Racing also pays tribute to a great champion, happy and proud to have played a part in his story. Rossi took his first and unforgettable world titles astride the RS 125 and RS 250, paving the way for an inimitable career. Two pearls in Aprilia’s extensive trophy case.
For the brand from Noale, this was also the race that marked the end of collaboration with Team Gresini. These have been seven years of growth, culminating in the results of this great season. Goals, milestones, difficulties, joy and a lot of hard work done together characterised these seasons. Now that we are parting ways, all of us at Aprilia Racing extend our thanks and most heartfelt thoughts, in memory of Fausto, to the entire team that has accompanied us to this point.
In the race, after a good start and first half battling for fifth and sixth place, Aleix had to reckon with a drop in tyre grip, but he defended ninth position to the end. This umpteenth top-ten finish means that Espargaró ends the championship season in eighth place. The 120 points earned, an impressive 78 more than last season, are a clear testament to his growth and that of the RS-GP in a season that peaked with the first podium, taken in Silverstone.
Until the final part of the race, Viñales was unable to find the good pace he had demonstrated that he was able to maintain yesterday. It proved to be too late to move up any positions, despite closing the gap with the riders ahead of him, but the Valencia weekend also added to his experience on the RS-GP. This knowledge will now serve as the foundation on which to build his 2022 season, starting with the upcoming tests where Aprilia Racing will be busy on the Jerez track this Thursday and Friday.
“At the beginning, when the tyre had grip, I felt good and made up quite a few positions. However, doing that took its toll on the tyres and they paid the price in the finale. “The RS-GP gets harder to ride with low trip, so in the end I had to settle for a result which still gives me a good season finish. This is my best season with Aprilia. We finished ahead of riders who are extremely worthy adversaries and we know that we can do even better. This is our mindset as we prepare for 2022.”
“The race today was in line with what we have demonstrated during this final part of the season. I’m able to be fast with Aprilia, doing good lap times, but I’m lacking the right feeling to be consistent throughout an entire weekend. We still achieved our goal, which was to get ready for 2022, identifying the areas we need to work on. We have an extremely clear idea as to what they are and that is what I’m most pleased about, because during the winter, the engineers will be able to use this data and the experience accumulated to make the new RS-GP more suited to my needs.”
TOUGH FINALE FOR TAKA AT VALENCIA
14 November 2021 | Valencia GP
Takaaki Nakagami was unable to finish the 2021 MotoGP World Championship on a high as he slid out in the early stages on the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider had shown good speed all weekend at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, but couldn’t translate that promise into a positive result in the final round of the year.
Having topped FP4 on Saturday, Taka again underlined his pace by going second fastest in Sunday’s warm-up session. In the race itself, he lost places in the drag to the first corner, but fought back strongly to sit 11th at the end of the opening lap. However, as he pushed to pass Valentino Rossi on lap five, he lost the front end of his Honda at turn six.
Takaaki Nakagami – NC
“Unfortunately, I had a crash during the race. I’m really sorry to all my team and sponsors, it’s been a tough season. Here in Valencia we had a good weekend, I crashed in the race, but I’m happy about our speed. Next weekend we have the Jerez test for 2022 and we’re really looking forward to developing Honda’s bike for next season. Also, I want to say congratulations to Valentino (Rossi) for his career and the best of luck for the future.”
ÁLEX MÁRQUEZ IN THE POINTS AT VALENCIA
14 November 2021 | Valencia GP Race
Álex Márquez signed off the 2021 MotoGP World Championship with a solid points finish in the Valencia Grand Prix. After a tough qualifying session had left him on the seventh row of the grid, the LCR Honda CASTROL rider fought back well to eventually claim 13th position in the final premier class race of the season.
Looking to make a fast start from 19th on the grid, the Spaniard got away well and was able to recover a couple of places on the opening lap. He had moved up into the points positions by lap four and then rode consistently to ensure he saw the chequered flag for the final time in 2021.
Álex Márquez – 13th
“Starting from P19 was difficult but overall I think we did a good job today. I’m happy with the race, it’s difficult to get past and overtake here and I felt the front tyre was too soft for us today. It was unfortunate because I felt like we had the pace to be P8 today, but we need to be happy and learn for the future. I want to thank my team for all the effort they have given this year, it’s not always been easy, but in the end we got some good results and we need to keep going like this.”
Ducati triumphs at Valencia with its first historic podium lockout in MotoGP. Pecco Bagnaia wins the Valencia GP ahead of Jorge Martin and Jack Miller
The Ducati Lenovo Team clinches the 2021 MotoGP Teams’ World Title
At the Gran Premio de la Comunitat Valenciana, the final Grand Prix of the 2021 MotoGP season held this afternoon at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste (Spain), Ducati secured a podium lockout, as with Pecco Bagnaia’s win, the second place of Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing Team) and the third place of Jack Miller, three were the Desmosedici GP bikes that rolled into parc fermé in today’s race. For the Borgo Panigale manufacturer, which was crowned 2021 MotoGP Constructors’ World Champion just seven days ago in Portimão, this is another historic achievement that has never been reached before in the premier class.
Pecco Bagnaia scored another sensational win today, the fourth this season and the second consecutive after last week’s win in Portugal. As he was starting from second on the grid, the Italian rider was able to keep the same position after the start, behind Jorge Martin, who started from pole position. With 12 laps to go, Bagnaia made his decisive move on the fellow Ducati rider, taking the lead, where he remained until the chequered flag.
Behind Jorge Martin, in third, was Bagnaia’s teammate Jack Miller. As he departed from the third spot of the grid, the Australian rider dropped back into sixth place in the early stages of the race, but as soon as he found his rhythm, he could close the gap on his rivals and get back into the podium fight. Third, with nine laps to go, Miller got closer and closer to Martin but could not overtake him, eventually finishing the race in third place, confirming his fourth position in the Championship.
With both riders on the podium, the Ducati Lenovo Team secured the 2021 MotoGP Teams’ World Title. For the Italian team, this is the second title since the first one taken in 2007.
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“I’m thrilled with the victory today. To win wearing Valentino Rossi’s helmet was incredible and the best way to celebrate his last race. Today’s success was incredible, and now we know we are ready to fight for the riders’ title next year. During this season, we have improved the bike’s setup race after race, and at the end of 2021, the Desmosedici GP has become very strong, as well as its riders. We have a very good base for next year, and I hope to start as we finish. We have gained a lot of experience, and we have grown a lot! The team is unbelievable, and the atmosphere inside the garage is amazing! I’m really happy, and I thank Ducati for all this”.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd
“I’m delighted, even though I would have liked to have achieved something more today. Unfortunately, I lost some time at the start and had to recover to get back in the fight for the podium. It was a good race, and I had a lot of fun. Valencia is a track I really like, and it’s nice to finish the season like this. It’s the first time three Ducatis have finished on the podium, and it’s great to be part of this important achievement. I’m sure our bike will be even better next year, so I’m looking forward to the 2022 season and trying to fight for the riders’ title. This year we finish fourth, and it is my best result ever in the MotoGP Championship, so I hope to do even better next year.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Today’s result is really an important milestone for us, and this is a historic day for Ducati. To have three of our bikes on the podium is a dream, especially because it was a race with very close gaps. Pecco, Jorge and Jack did an incredible job and to get the team title like this is great. I’m really happy, and I thank all the people at Ducati Corse for their commitment and dedication this season. Getting this far has required a huge effort from everyone! We will continue to work hard to bring the riders’ title back to Borgo Panigale next season”.
With the 2021 season over, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders will only have a few days off as on 18th and 19th November, they will already be back on track at the Circuit de Jerez – Angel Nieto to face the first two days of winter testing in preparation for the 2022 season.