Emilia Romagna MotoGP: Quartararo seals title after Bagnaia crash

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo is the 2021 MotoGP world champion after Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of the lead of Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, while Marc Marquez won the race.

Bagnaia needed to outscore Quartararo by three points to keep the championship alive, and looked well on course to do this as he led from pole for the first 22 tours while Quartararo worked his way up the field from 15th.

But a late crash for the Ducati rider ended all of his hopes, with fourth more than enough for Quartararo to become France’s first MotoGP world champion at just 22 years old.

Bagnaia got the dream start from pole to take the lead from his fast-starting Ducati teammate Jack Miller, though KTM’s Miguel Oliveira would briefly snatch second.

Miller carved back past up the inside at the Rio right-hander, while championship leader Quartararo lost places from 15th to 17th after the first few corners.

Marquez followed Miller through on Oliveira into the Quercia left-hander, with Miller now in a perfect position to act as Bagnaia’s tail gunner.

Both Ducatis opted to make a late change to the hard front tyre despite conditions being cold, and Miller would crash out at Turn 15 on lap four when he tucked the front fending off Marquez.

By this stage Quartararo had worked his way up to 12th, while Marquez – just as he did at Aragon last month – piled the pressure on Bagnaia at the front, the gap between the leaders constantly hovering around the 0.2s mark.

The top two had quickly gapped Pol Espargaro in third by over two seconds, while Quartararo’s charge continued up to ninth by lap nine.

Quartararo was lapping much quicker than the group of riders ahead of him, and on lap 19 of 27 -  after a brief battle with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro – the Yamaha rider was up to fifth.

That looked like it would be the best Quartararo could hope for, as Oliveira in fourth was over eight seconds up the road.

At the same time Bagnaia’s pace was proving to be too much for Marquez and was making his decisive break as a gap of almost a second opening up between them over the 23rd lap.

But Bagnaia’s imperious ride came to an end at Turn 15 in identical circumstances to teammate Miller, as he lost the front of his Ducati.

This gifted Marquez his third win of the season and the first Repsol Honda 1-2 in MotoGP since Aragon 2017 with Pol Espargaro second for his first podium as an HRC rider.

Avintia’s Enea Bastianini charged through from 16th on the grid on his two-year-old Ducati and snatched third from Quartararo on the final lap at the Caro hairpin to claim his second MotoGP podium.

But fourth was enough for Quartararo to become the first Yamaha rider to win the world championship since 2015.

Pramac’s Johann Zarco completed the top five from Suzuki’s Alex Rins, whose teammate Joan Mir crashed out early on after a tangle for Danilo Petrucci having already been hit with a double long lap penalty for jumping the start.

Aleix Espargaro faded to seventh in the end ahead of Aprilia teammate Maverick Vinales, while Avintia’s Luca Marini headed his brother Valentino Rossi, with the Petronas SRT rider taking a top 10 on his final MotoGP appearance in Italy.

Brad Binder recovered from a sighting lap crash on his KTM to finish 11th ahead of Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro, SRT’s Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli and LCR’s Takaaki Nakagami after an early crash.

Oliveira dropped out late on, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin, Tech 3’s Iker Lecuona and LCR’s Alex Marquez also failing to finish. 

Emilia Romagna MotoGP - Race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Spain Marc Marquez
2 44 Spain Pol Espargaro
Honda 4.859
3 23 Italy Enea Bastianini
Ducati 12.013
4 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 12.775
5 5 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 16.458
6 42 Spain Alex Rins
Suzuki 17.669
7 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 18.468
8 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Aprilia 18.607
9 10 Italy Luca Marini
Ducati 25.417
10 46 Italy Valentino Rossi
Yamaha 27.735
11 33 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 27.879
12 51 Italy Michele Pirro
Ducati 28.137
13 4 Italy Andrea Dovizioso
Yamaha 41.413
14 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 42.830
15 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 1'22.462
63 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
89 Spain Jorge Martin
27 Spain Iker Lecuona
73 Spain Alex Marquez
43 Australia Jack Miller
9 Italy Danilo Petrucci
36 Spain Joan Mir
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