MotoGP: Emotions run high as Quartararo crowned World Champion 2021
The Emilia Romagna GP was memorable as it not just marked a new world champion, but it was also the last race for The Doctor in Italy as the latter is
While the 2021 season still has a couple of more races to go, the celebrations began quite early in the Monster Energy Yamaha pit garage, as their star rider Fabio Quartararo finished the race in P4, sealing the championship title as factory Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia crashed out with just four laps to go. He led the race from the start and didn’t put a foot down despite Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez breathing down his neck. But, the tyre choice (hard compound) and the changing weather proved to be disastrous for the Ducati camp as both their riders crashed out because of the hard front tyre gave away.
Before we dive into the drama and the amazing scenes that unfolded in the race, let’s look at the results – in P3, Enea Bastianini, the satellite Ducati rider snatched a famous podium finish from Fabio Quartararo right in the last lap in turn 14 and denied him a chance of celebrating his world championship victory on the third step. This is his second podium in MotoGP class. Bastianini also bagged the Rookie of the Year 2021 with his splendid performance! Pol Esparagaro took his Honda for a P2 finish and ahead of him, Marc Marquez took his second consecutive victory stood on the top step. This was Espargaro's first podium with Repsol Honda.
A Honda 1-2 finish
Overall, it was a good day in the office for the Repsol Honda team as they finished 1-2 right in Italy, the backyard of Ducati and Valentino Rossi. Marquez didn’t have to overtake the Ducati men to get ahead as he saw both the bikes crash out right in front of him in turn 15, giving him a clear advantage. Speaking of Valentino Rossi, this was The Doctor’s final race in Italy as he retires after the 2021 season and he finished in P10.
...and a fitting farewell to the 9-time world champ
It was a great show as the spectators in the stands all sported neon colors as a tribute to him and neon smoke too, was rising from the stands. It did not matter who won the race and who did not, as the spectators cheered for Vale and it was clear that people turned up to see him race for one last time on his home soil. His brother Luca Marini sported full neon leathers and the bike too sported a neon livery with 'Grazie Vale' written on it - a very emotional gesture. It was a rather special and memorable farewell to Rossi, the 9-time World Champion in front of his home crowd, all cheering for him and waving the number 46 flag. Rossi also threw his race helmet into the stands and by the time he came to parc ferme, his gloves were also gone – probably as a souvenir to one of the lucky fans.
Heartbreak for Ducati
Amidst all the cheer for Yamaha and Honda, it was disheartening to see the Ducati camp. Though their star rider Francesco Bagnaia took pole position for the fourth consecutive time and led the race from the start, he crashed out with just four laps to go and it was heartbreaking to see him crash like that, especially when he didn’t put a foot wrong until that point. I, for one, was expecting a famous Marqez-Bagnaia clash, if you too saw the race, when Marquez tried to overtake Bagnaia six times and failed to make an impact as he didn’t have an answer to the latter, in the Aragon GP last month. But that was not the case. After winning back to back races in Aragon and Misano, Bagnaia looked indestructible here, but the only chink in the otherwise shining armour of Ducati in this race would be the tyre selection. Both Miller and Bagnaia crashed in similar ways, their bikes’ front end giving up in the crucial moments. It was sad to see Bagnaia crash out like that after he smashed some records in the circuit – fastest lap, best race lap and posting a new all time lap record of 1:31.065. Bagnaia’s crash changed the Championship Title course dramatically, as his crash meant that Fabio Quartararo became the MotoGP World Champion 2021, with still two races to go. Fabio also made history as the first ever Frenchman to be crowned as a MotoGP World Champion!
The shocking crash of Bagnaia in the final stages of the race changed everything
One has to hand it over to the World Champion, as he started from 15th on the grid and finished in P4, putting a terrific show for the spectators. Many of the riders crashed in the race and only 15 of them finished. It was a thrilling 27-lap race and it was nice to see all the riders congratulating the newly crowned World Champion, as he was in tears. Jorge Lorenzo, the five-time World Champion was seen congratulating Quartararo in the post-race presentations. Jorge Lorenzo won it for Yamaha back in 2015 and they had to wait six years this moment. Fellow Frenchman Johann Zarco, the Pramac Racing rider, too congratulated Quartararo. Celebrations ensued in the Honda camp, Yamaha camp and it was celebration time even for all the Rossi fans as well! Even the hashtag changed to #ElD1ABLO, as an emotional Quartararo was lost for words in the post race presentation. So all in all, a thrilling, dramatic, and an emotionally charged race which will be remembered for quite some time!