MotoGP: San Marino Grand Prix
The 14th Grand Prix of the 2021 season has concluded, this is how the teams did on the Adriatic coast.
The front row was made up of two Ducati's and one Yamaha. On pole was Francesco Bagnaia with teammate, Jack Miller, in second place. Third place was Fabio Quartararo. This was the same front row as at the previous race at Aragon.
Ducati Lenovo Team:
We will start with one of the two Italian manufacturers, the Bologna Bullets, Ducati! With their second 1-2 grid start in a row, could it be win number 3 in 2021 for Miller, or win number 2 in 2021 for Bagnaia?
It was a Ducati that won the race, and it was the Italian rider, Francesco Bagnaia! The VR46 Academy rider is still in with a shot to win the MotoGP World Championship, but it is a long shot! Pecco had an amazing first two laps as he pulled out a gap of 1.5 seconds, Bagnaia settled down into his rhythm and took control of the race. However, late on into the race it seemed like their was a rider that could challenge Bagania for the win, but Pecco held strong and was on another level and went on to win the race in a dominant style!
Jack Miller will be gravely disappointed in the end of the race today as he set off in second place which he held on to for a third of the race, but then he ran into rear tyre issues! Miller dropped back through the field, after he was put back to 3rd he found himself passed by a fellow Ducati rider for 4th, and then he found himself in front of Mir and Marquez! On the last lap Jack was holding firm in 4th place, which would have been a reasonable result, but into the final sector Mir pushed Jack and himself wide and Marquez jumped his way up to 4th. Miller crossed the line in 6th, but thanks to track limits Mir was demoted a place, so Miller is 5th overall!
Ducati also bought along test rider, Michelle Pirro, who qualified 14th. Pirro once again does what a test rider does best and he did many more laps of the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli to add on to the thousands of laps he had already done at Misano! Pirro finished the race in 11th place.
Pramac Racing Ducati:
Jorge Martin started 4th and Johann Zarco started 5th, could a podium be on the cards for the Pramac Team?
Jorge Martin would have been hoping to continue his good run of form in his rookie season, however it was just not meant to be! This is because Jorge crashed out as he was fighting for 3rd place, Martin then rejoined the race just to be hit with a long lap penalty for cutting turn 1 and turn 2, Jorge then took his long lap penalty wrong and decided to end his disaster of a race early as he retired from the race.
Johann Zarco started 5th and with his experience you would expect him to find himself battling for the podium. However, he had an awful start as he dropped down the order and out of the top 10! Zarco never really made an indent back into the top 10 as he ended up finishing in 12th place!
So Enea Bastianini started the race in 12th place and his teammate, Luca Marini, started down in 15th place. What are the two 2019 Ducati's capable of doing today?
Luca Marini rides his first MotoGP race at his home circuit and sadly it was not a great home debut! Luca was hit by a long lap penalty and did not manage to score points in the race as he finished down in 19th place overall!
However, on the other side of the garage in Enea Bastianini's box there will be celebrations for the rookie because he managed to claim his maiden podium in MotoGP! The young Italian has proved himself as a very good MotoGP rider as he takes a 2 year old Ducati MotoGP bike to the bottom step of the podium!
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP:
The Championship leader, Fabio Quartarao, qualified on the front row of the grid in third place as he will be looking to extend his Championship lead. Fabio's old teammate from Petronas Sepang Racing Team, Franco Morbidelli, returns from injury and joins Fabio in the Factory Yamaha Team for the rest of 2021, the 2022 season and the 2023 season. Franco qualified in 16th on his return to MotoGP after having an operation on his ACL.
Fabio Quartararo has been beaten by Bagnaia! In the early stages of the race it was noticeable that Pecco had the pace over Fabio, but late on in the race it then became apparent that Fabio had saved more of his tyre as he managed to push on and catch up onto the back of Bagnaia, but unluckily for Fabio he was unable to make a pass on Pecco. This meant that Quartararo's Championship lead has been cut down by five points, which is still a good damage limitation weekend from Fabio!
Franco clearly struggled on his return to MotoGP as he seemed to linger around the back end of the field all race, which was sort of expected since he is still technically recovering from his ACL operation. But he managed to bring the bike home in 18th place.
Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team:
Andrea Dovizioso made his MotoGP return this weekend as he has signed on to race for the Sepang Racing Team for the remainder of 2021 and the 2022 season, he qualified last in 24th. The home hero, Valentino Rossi, had a disaster of a Saturday as he qualified in 23rd!
Andrea Dovizioso started last and that is where he finished. Although it is good seeing Dovi back in MotoGP he must hate to see himself in last because he has never found himself so low in the race standings! Dovi crossed the line in 21st on the 2019 Yamaha M1.
Valentino Rossi rode his penultimate race at Misano today, and sadly he did not manage to get his 200th Premier Class podium today in front of his 25,000 adoring fans that were present at the track! After qualifying 23rd Rossi had his work cut out for the race, but even though it is still not a great result you can always count on Rossi to work his way forward as he managed to finish in 17th place, but he was in a battle for the points. He may be disappointed deep down but nobody seemed to care as the yellow smoke filled the air at Misano.
Valentino Rossi sporting a tribute helmet for his unborn baby daughter.
Repsol Honda Team:
Pol Epargaro out qualified his teammate Marc Marquez as they qualified in 6th and 7th. What could the Spanish duo do on Italian soil?
Marc Marquez capitalizes on Miller and Mir running it wide in the last sector, and he managed to jump himself up from 6th place to 4th place! This is a decent result for Marc as it means that he claimed some crucial Championship points as he looks to finish in the top 10 in the Championship. Marc is now sat 9th overall after having a decent return to MotoGP.
Pol Espargaro did not manage to climb up the order like his teammate did, in fact he slipped back down to 7th, the position his teammate started the race! 7th is actually a good result for Pol this season as it is his second best result after a 5th place at the British Grand Prix. There have been promising signs for Pol and Honda when the conditions are cooler, they just need to work on Pols relationship with the bike in the heat.
The LCR Honda duo Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Marquez managed to qualify 13th and 19th respectively. Both riders are having a poor 2021 season!
Alex Marquez started the race far down in 19th place, which is a rather poor qualifying for Alex. But in the race he managed to claw back a point as he crossed the line in 15th place. Alex is still finding it hard in the LCR Honda Team.
Takaaki Nakagami started the race in 13th place and managed to fight his way into 10th place. This is a rather poor result for Taka after we became accustomed to him fighting for podiums in 2020.
Team Honda HRC:
Stefan Bradl, the Honda test rider, made a wildcard appearance at Misano this weekend. He qualified in 18th place and made his way up to 14th place in the race. As he gained more data about the bike.
Team Suzuki Ecstar:
Alex Rins qualified in 9th with reigning World Champion, Joan Mir, in 11th place. Still the Suzuki's are struggling in qualifying!
Alex Rins started 9th and was up in 4th place as he was pulling in the podium positions! Could it have been the second podium of the season for Rins? No! Alex Rins did it again! This of course means Rins crashed out of the race! This season is a right off for Rins as he is down in 13th in the Championship!
Joan Mir qualified in 11th place and struggled in qualifying as per usual, but when the race starts Mir gets into the zone. Joan managed to cross the line in 5th place, but he was put back to 6th due to track limits! This may seem a decent result from Mir because of where he qualified, but if he wants to defend his title he must start qualifying better and winning races!
Aprilia Racing Team Gresini:
The second Italian manufacturer, Aprilia, come to one of their home races with high hopes of a podium. Aleix Espargaro managed to qualify in 8th place on the third row of the grid. Maverick Vinales qualified in 10th place, in only his second qualifying on the bike.
Aleix Espargaro qualified 8th for the race, and that is where he stayed! Aleix looked like he could go on a charge in the early stages as he reached the top 5, but he could not run the pace of the front guys. I still think 8th is a goof result for Aleix on the Aprilia that is still improving.
Maverick Vinales had his second race for Aprilia today. He started in a very good 10th place after he dominated Free Practice 1 and performed well in Free Practice 2! But when the lights went out, the same old Maverick Vinales stood up! He dropped like a stone! Vinales found himself down in 17th place after the opening laps! But he did score his first points for Aprilia as he finished 13th place in the race.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing:
The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing actually had a woeful qualifying. Brad Binder qualified down in 17th place with his teammate, Miguel Oliveira, in 21st place! Could they have a better race?
Brad Binder started down in 17th, but he did his usual and managed to fight his way up through the order in a Sunday man fashion. He came through 8 positions and he managed to finish the race in 9th place, which is a good result from where he started. If only Binder could qualify!
Miguel Oliveira, what is going on with the Portuguese man! After qualifying down in 21st place, he managed to run into some problems as he lost half of his left wing! Meaning he did the whole race with 1 and a half wing! Miguel went up one position to 20th.
Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing:
The Tech 3 Team will see their two new riders for 2022 test the machinery tomorrow in the two day test at Misano, but for this weekend they still had their usual lineup. Iker Lecuona qualified for the race in 20th place and Danilo Petrucci was down in 22nd place.
Danilo Petrucci finished the race outside of the points as he finished 16th place, a poor result for his home Grand Prix. Hopefully Petrucci's career in the Dakar will take off after he leaves MotoGP at the end of the year.
Iker Lecuona had his worst race in a while as he failed to finish the race after qualifying in 20th. The young Spaniard will not be in MotoGP next season as he has lost his ride with the team, but in his previous races he has deserved a MotoGP seat for next season on the 2nd RNF Yamaha bike.
Mir and Miller have swapped places because of the penalty.