Bagnaia victorious in Valencia, Rossi bids farewell in 10th
For the fourth time in 2021, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) took victory as the Italian led home a historic Ducati 1-2-3 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, with Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) claiming podiums. The race will forever be remembered as Valentino Rossi’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) last dance, and The Doctor delivered a P10 in his farewell MotoGP™ appearance in front of a packed Circuit Ricardo Tormo crowd.
Ducati dominate as Pecco wins again
Polesitter Martin grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1 as fourth place Mir got a great start to get the better of Bagnaia, with Miller second. Rossi made a good start and was up a place into P9, World Champion Fabio Quartararo was P6. Miller then dived up the inside of Martin at Turn 1 on Lap 2 to take the lead, but it was short-lived. Martin and Mir cut through on Lap 2, Miller down to third, then it was fourth, then fifth – the Australian going backwards after briefly leading.
The race then settled as the front runners held station, but Martin, Bagnaia and Rins were now 0.7s ahead of Mir. After a few laps of following the World Champion, Miller was back through on Quartararo and up to P5, as Rins set the fastest lap of the race. However, at Turn 6 on Lap 11 of 27, Rins was down. The Spaniard tucked the front of his GSX-RR, handing teammate Mir third. Rossi was now 10th, 0.6s down on Enea Bastianini who, as things stood, was losing out on the Rookie of the Year crown with Martin leading.
Bagnaia was swarming all over the back of Martin and with 12 laps to go, at Turn 14, Pecco pounded. Martin was not letting Pecco pull clear. On two consecutive laps, Martin was quicker than Bagnaia, and a second or so behind, Miller grabbed P3 off Mir at Turn 2.
Two laps to go in 2021. Pecco was 0.8s clear of Martin, now, baring trouble for Pecco, it was a battle for second. Miller was closer than ever to Martin, but the rookie was holding firm. Unable to make a move, Miller couldn’t quite make it a factory Ducati 1-2 as Bagnaia crossed the line to win for a fourth time in 2021, with Martin clinching the Rookie of the Year crown with a P2 – his fourth podium of the season. Miller, in third, helps Ducati make history with their first 1-2-3 in MotoGP™ with his fifth rostrum. In addition, Bagnaia’s P1 and Miller’s P3 helps Ducati take the Teams’ Championship, adding to their Constructors’ crown.
The Doctor’s last dance ends with a fantastic P10
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) struggled in the latter stages and slipped to P9, finishing one place ahead of The Doctor. Valentino Rossi took P10, where he started, to bow out in style. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the Italian’s glistening Grand Prix career, as one of the world’s biggest sporting icons bids a fond farewell to the sport he loves – and the sport that loves him. Grazie Vale, from millions of fans around the globe.
And that, as they say, is a wrap. The curtain comes down on 2021, as we say ciao to the icon that is Valentino Rossi. The number 46 will be missed immensely on and off track in 2022 and beyond, but MotoGP™ couldn’t be in a better place. The next generation is here, Rossi’s legacy will live on with his VR46 Academy and new MotoGP™ team, as Yamaha and Quartararo aim to defend their title against a whole host of unbelievable bikes and riders. What a year.
1. Francesco Baganai (Ducati Lenovo Team)
2.Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.489
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 0.823
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 5.214
5. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) + 5.439
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 6.993
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 8.437
8. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) + 10.933
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) + 12.651
10. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 13.468
Raul Fernandez wins in Valencia, Gardner crowned Champion
In a tense, red-flagged race at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was crowned the 2021 Moto2™ World Champion after finishing P10 on Sunday afternoon. Teammate and title rival Raul Fernandez won for an incredible eighth time to finish just four points down in the overall standings, as Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) claim podiums.
Raul Fernandez wins the battle, Gardner wins the warm
The Moto2™ title-decider got underway but a crash that involved Marco Bezzecchi, Xavi Vierge and Lorenzo Baldassarri brought out the red flags, with an oil spillage occurring between Turns 2 and 3. All riders were ok, a brief pause in proceedings happened with a clean up operation underway, before the race got back underway.
On track, Augusto Fernandez led Raul Fernandez into Turn 1, with the latter taking the lead at Turn 6 on Lap 2. Gardner, meanwhile, made a steady start and was ninth. Raul Fernandez wasn’t having it all his own way though. Di Giannantonio came through on the Spaniard to lead on Lap 4, with Gardner slipping backwards. Jorge Navarro, Sam Lowes and Tom Lüthi all passed Gardner and suddenly, the Australian was P11 – and had former teammate Tetsuta Nagashima swarming all over the back of him. Still, though, as things stood – Raul Fernandez P2, Gardner P11 – the title was heading to Gardner.
With six laps to go, Gardner found a way past Lüthi at Turn 4 into P10. The top three – Diggia, Raul Fernandez and Augusto Fernandez – were split by nothing, with Celestino Vietti 1.2s back on the podium scrap in P4. Then, with four to go, Raul Fernandez pounced on Diggia at Turn 2.. Gardner, in turn, was two seconds behind Marcel Schrötter in ninth, and 0.6s ahead of Nagashima in 11th. Two laps to go. Raul Fernandez P1, Gardner P10. Diggia and Augusto Fernandez were still in touch with the race leader, while Gardner was keeping Nagashima at bay.
Last lap. 0.3s was the advantage Raul Fernandez held over Diggia and Augusto Fernandez. The biggest lap of Gardner’s life was coming up, Raul Fernandez was holding up his end of the bargain, so was Gardner. Raul Fernandez crossed the line to take a wonderful, mesmorising eighth victory of the season, but taking the chequered flag in P10 was the 2021 Moto2™ World Champion – Remy Gardner!
The final point scorers in 2021
Diggia and Augusto Fernandez rode superbly to finish just behind Raul Fernandez in P2 and P3. Stefano Manzi, Marcos Ramirez and WorldSBK-bound Hafizh Syahrin claimed the final points.
A simply outstanding title race between Gardner and Raul Fernandez ends with the Australian coming out on top. A truly staggering season by both, as we get ready to watch them both move to MotoGP™ with Tech3 KTM Factory Racing in 2022.
1. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) +0.517
3. Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) +0.786
4. Celestino Vietti (SKY Racing Team VR46) +2.393
5. Aron Canet (Liqui Moly Intact GP) +4.978
6. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) +5.091
7. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) +5.415
8. Jorge Navarro (Termozeta Speed Up) +5.808
9. Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) +7.941
10. Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) +9.112
Artigas takes maiden win, Acosta and Foggia clash
Leopard Racing’s Xavier Artigas claimed a magnificent maiden Grand Prix victory from P17 on the grid in the Moto3™ race at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana by 0.043s over Sergio Garcia (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team), as Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) came from P23 in qualifying to pick up a podium. On the final lap, World Champion Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and second in the Championhsip Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) clashed at Turn 2, with Acosta crashing out – rider ok.
Drama at the season finale, another rookie takes victory
Polesitter Acosta launched away well and grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, as early drama unfolded for three riders at Turn 4. Lorenzo Fellon highsided, then Darryn Binder did too as the Frenchman and South African crashed in separate incidents. Ryusei Yamanaka also crashed at Turn 4 trying to avoid Binder, but thankfully, all the riders involved were unscathed.
The top 12 then broke clear, as Deniz Öncü took the lead for the first time, before Masia took the baton. Öncü, on Lap 15 of 23, while in P2, was then handed a Long Lap Penalty for exceeding track limits. With six laps to go, Tatsuki Suzuki slipped out of the race at Turn 1 from the lead group, with Masia now leading again. Not for long though, this was changing all the time. And with four laps to go, it was Acosta P1 and Foggia P2. With two to go, it was roles reversed.
On the final lap of 2021, Foggia led over the line. Acosta slammed it up the inside of Foggia and Turn 1, before Foggia attempted to return the favour at Turn 2. Late on the brakes, the Italian was deep and up the inside of Acosta. Contact was made though, and Acosta went down – unhurt – as the top two in the title came to blows on the final lap of the season. This left Garcia in the lead of the race, and the Valencia specialist held P1 until the last corner, where Artigas carved his way up the inside, made it stick to claim his first Moto3™ victory. Garcia crossed the line in P2, with Masia P3.
The final top 15 of 2021
Sala? took home P4 for his best result since P2 in France, Öncü rescued a P5 after his Long Lap, with Foggia ended up P6 after his altercation with Acosta but dropped to P13 after receiving a three-second penalty for the incident. That saw Stefano Nepa finish P6 with Guevara, Carlos Tatay and Niccolo Antonelli and Ayumu Sasaki inside the top 10, with John McPhee, Romano Fenati, Foggia, Adrian Fernandez – after two Long Laps – and Jeremy Alcoba acting as the final lightweight class point scorers in 2021.
A disappointing end to a wonderful season for Acosta, but the Spaniard will reflect on 2021 as the season he announced himself to the Grand Prix world. Acosta now gets set for his Moto2™ adventure with Red Bull KTM Ajo, as the curtain comes down on a rollercoaster Moto3™ campaign.
1. Xavier Artigas (Leopard Racing)
2. Sergio Garcia (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) + 0.043
3. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.232
4. Filip Sala? (CarXpert PrüstelGP) + 0.443
5. Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 0.540
6. Stefan Nepa (BOE Owlride) + 1.156
7. Izan Guevara (Valresa GASGAS Aspar Team) + 1.209
8. Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) + 2.109
9. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia VR46 Academy) + 2.185
10. . Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) + 2.322