Red Bull Motorsports
The blazing sun in Aragón scorched 17-turn MotorLand Aragón circuit in eastern Spain, heating the track to a slippery 45°C, and fans were treated to an epic duel between Marc Márquez and Francesco Bagnaia that lasted all race.
After an intense, race-long game of high speed cat-and-mouse, Honda's Márquez had to call upon all of his talent and guile in his bid to win his second MotoGP™ Grand Prix of the year, but ended up second behind eventual winner Bagnaia, who artfully fended off the six-time premier class champion to win his first MotoGP™ race.
In a classic two-bike fight, Márquez, who's still recovering from the accident that ruled him out for most of the 2020 MotoGP™ season, tried everything to get around Bagnaia. He just couldn’t rattle the Italian rider however, who held on to the lead impressively.
At the start, pole-sitter Bagnaia made a perfect start on the factory Ducati, leading a fast-starting Márquez, who slid past Jack Miller early on the opening lap. The top three would hold that order throughout the early phase, as further back notable movers included the KTM's of Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona – both men cracking the top 10 in the early stages.
“It was a tough race for us, really difficult, I tried my absolute best at the beginning not to destroy my rear tire so that I would have something left for the end. Even though I nursed the left-hand side really well it gave me a very hard time on the last few laps. I need to say a huge thank you to the team because they worked so hard this weekend.
Aragón specialist Márquez continued to press Bagnaia, as Miller maintained a watching brief on the other works Ducati, setting an early fastest lap as the opening 10 laps saw the front-runners playing a waiting game, maintaining grip and taking care of the soft rear tyres in the scorching conditions.
With 15 laps left to run the leading duo of Bagnaia and Márquez consistently matched each other's lap times and managed to increase the gap to Miller, suggesting that everything was pointing towards a two-bike due for the Aragón Grand Prix victory.
Entering the final 10 laps, the status quo of Bagnaia leading Márquez remained, but the eight-time champion was visibly closer and piling the pressure on the Ducati rider. Márquez turned up the heat on the tight and twisty sections of the circuit, seemingly planning a move for the last couple of laps.
Márquez's move came with a block pass into turn five and the Honda rider briefly led before relinquishing the lead to Bagnaia. He tried again at turn 15, but was denied once more by the Ducati rider.
On the penultimate lap, Márquez tried again at turn five, only to have the door slammed shut by Bagnaia and entering the final lap there was nothing to separate the two riders.
Márquez tried again under braking at turn one, again at turn five and finally at turn 12, only to run wide and effectively give Bagnaia a free run to his maiden MotoGP™ victory and deny the six-time premier class champion a fifth consecutive triumph in Aragón.
Behind the front two, Joan Mir rounded out the podium in a distant third place, with Miller ending up fifth after a mid-race slip up, ahead of the impressive Enea Bastianini, the Italian rookie scoring his best result of the season in sixth.
KTM's duo of Binder and Lecuona continued to impress. Austrian Grand Prix winner Binder pulled off his now familiar trick of surging through the field and the South African went from 11th on the grid to end the race with a second seventh place in a row.
Tech3 KTM Factory Racing's Lecuona continued to impress, running well inside the top 10 until a late-race error relegated the Spanish teenager to 11th, one place behind Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami, who rounded out the top 10.
MotoGP™ of Aragón results
- Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) – Ducati
- Marc Márquez (ESP) – Honda
- Joan Mir (ESP) – Suzuki
- Aleix Espargaró (ESP) – Aprilia
- Jack Miller (AUS) – Ducati
- Enea Bastianini (ITA) – Ducati
- Brad Binder (SA) – KTM
- Fabio Quartararo (FRA) – Yamaha
- Jorge Martín (ESP) – Ducati
- Takaaki Nakagami (JPN) – Honda
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