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Can Bagnaia get back to winning ways?

This weekend is important for two reasons, firstly it is the last time that Rossi will race in his home Grand Prix, which I am sure will be emotional for many people. However, it is also the first chance for Quartararo to wrap up the title, so can he get it done?

Not if Bagnaia has anything to do with it, and once again he is looking right on the pace at this track. The wet conditions today undoubtedly helped him, although even in the dry I think he has a great shot at the win. He has nothing to lose, and really has to win, which could be his biggest strength this weekend. If the rain stays around, Miller will surely be right at the front, as he continues to excel when everything gets slippery. Zarco and Martin were thereabouts in practice, although it could all change if it dries up, the same could be said for Marini, but watch out for Bastianini here, after what he did a month ago!

If the form guide is similar to when we were here in September, Fabio has the pace to win, the question is will he risk as much as he did then? I have a feeling he won’t, although we have seen him go all out before this year. If it is wet though, it will really throw a curveball into the mix, as none of the riders are happy with that bike in the wet. Morbidelli could do well in the dry too, but I would still expect him to be a way off his teammate.

The Suzuki riders will probably want it to be dry too, as Mir had pretty good race pace here earlier in the year. I would expect qualifying to be their weakness yet again, which will probably limit how well they can do on Sunday. Getting a bike in Q2, and then reaching a top 5 would probably be a pleasing result for them, as they try to survive 2021, and focus their efforts on next year.

It looks as though KTM will have everything crossed for rain tomorrow and Sunday, as they got 3 bikes in the top 9 today, and you would think that Binder could have been up there too if he had a smoother session. That bike is known for being easy to ride, so it could pay dividends here. Olivera has finally admitted that his injury is holding him back, which was clear to see to be honest, just by looking at his results since then. Bearing that in mind, if it is dry, Binder will probably be flying the flag for the team again.

Normally, you would think that Marquez would want it to rain, as he does so well in tricky conditions, yet given where he was today, and that he finished 4th in the dry here a month ago, that may not be the case. I don’t think he will be terrible in the wet, it would just bring other bikes nearer to him I believe. Pol had another crash, as he is still not comfortable on the bike, although he did a lot better than Nakagami, who looked lost, finishing the day in 23rd.

Aprilia are actually fielding 3 bikes this weekend, I am guessing to get more data, and keep Savadori race fit. He made the most of it, along with Aleix, as they both were well inside the top 10. Their lack of power evaporates away in the wet, so they will surely be praying for more of it tomorrow! After a disastrous weekend at COTA, for Aleix to just finish in the top 10, would be a great weekend for him. Vinales was well behind his teammates, but after recent events in his personal life, you cannot blame him for taking it easy in tough conditions like these. He may be the only person in the team wanting it to dry up.

In an ideal world, we would get a battle to the last lap between Bagnaia and Quartararo, like we almost saw a month ago, yet I doubt Fabio would take those risks, as this title is almost certainly his. If it is wet, watch out for riders trying to get something out of 2021, before it is over!


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