2021 MotoGP Misano | Five things to take away from MisanoGP
Round 14 of the MotoGP World Championship took place at Misano, Italy on September 19 and Francesco Bagnaia came in victorious in his and Ducati’s home GP. This home turf win was much needed for Ducati since they hadn’t won at Misano since 2018. Bagnaia had to work hard for the victory as Fabio Quartararo was on his tail during the final three laps. There were more positive news coming for the Italian team as Ducati Academy rider Enea Bastianini finished third on a two-year-old Ducati bike. The Avintia rider started from P12 on the grid and within a few laps, he found the pace which was at par with Bagnaia and Quartararo in front. Marc Marquez finished fourth after a consistent ride. Marquez was left back hanging at P6 for most of the race but managed to conserve his tyre life and pounce on Joan Mir and Jack Miller on the final lap of the race. This also marked Valentino Rossi’s last MotoGP race in Misano and even though he ended the race in P17, the Rossi army didn’t hold back to give the doctor a final send-off!
Now, with that covered, let us look at the top five things to take away from the 2021 MotoGP Misano.
1. Francesco Bagnaia’s second MotoGP win in seven days
Francesco Bagnaia got a sweet second victory in MotoGP after he kept a fast Quartararo behind and got Ducati their much-awaited victory on home soil. Bagnaia started from pole on a Hard front tyre and a Soft rear tyre. This allowed Bagania to get a great holeshot off the line and quickly built a gap on the rest of the field. Bagnaia didn’t put a foot wrong throughout but was slowly getting reeled in by Quartararo during the later stages. Quartararo was on the Medium rear tyre which allowed him to keep better tyre life than Bagnaia. But due to the difficult overtaking nature of the track and an ice-cold defensive ride, Pecco Bagnaia was able to make Misano his second MotoGP win after winning the Aragon GP on September 12. He currently stands P2 in the championship with 186 points, 48 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo.
2. Enea Bastianini’s surprise victory
Enea Bastianini pretty much shook the entire paddock when he finished the race in third while riding on a two-year-old Ducati run by Avintia Esponsorama Racing. The young 2020 Moto2 world champion showed signs of good pace from early in the weekend. In Q1, Bastianini topped the timesheet by beating Marc Marquez by 0.153 seconds and moved to Q2. Unfortunately in Q2, he found it difficult to replicate the hot lap of Q1 and only qualified P12 in the session. The race however, had a different story to tell. Bastianini got a good start off the line, and quickly got himself inside the top 6. The biggest talking point was that Bastianini rode the old Ducati that had turning problems and was sluggish in fast direction changes. But despite those problems, Bastianini was able to dash out fastest laps of the race and comfortably took the checkered flag in P3. Ducati has a lot of talent in their rider lineup and it will be interesting to see where he would fit in the Ducati family if he keeps this momentum up.
3. A competitive Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez is on a roll after his podium finish at Aragon. The eight-time world champion is still on the road to recovery this season after his crash at Jerez in 2020. Moreover, the high number of right turns made the track quite a challenge for Marquez as the Jerez crash had inflicted heavy injuries to Marquez’s right shoulder and arm. But there were no signs of Marquez taking a back foot during the race. After qualifying P7 on the grid, Marquez found himself trailing behind Miller for the second position in the opening stages. But as the race progressed, Marquez started to drop pace and fell to P6 after being overtaken by Bastianini and Joan Mir. In the final lap of the race, Marquez had better tyres than both Mir and Miller and ended up overtaking them to take P4. This race proved the point that Marquez is improving with every weekend moving forward and even if he is not a contender for the championship this year, he will be the threat he was two years back in 2022.
4. Fabio Quartararo’s damage control
Misano is a track that doesn’t suit the setup of the Yamaha YZR-M1 motorcycle a lot. Fabio Quartararo was trying to get the best out of his machine in order not to lose the gap he has to Bagnaia in the championship. However, the French rider topped the timesheet in FP4 and showed that he was not going to complete this race without putting up a fight. Things didn’t get better for Quartararo in Q2. Even though he managed to bag P3 for the start, he was sandwiched between four Bologna bullets; Bagnaia and Jack Miller ahead with Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco right behind.
Nonetheless, Quartararo had a decent start from holeshot and managed to make his way to P2 with 14 laps remaining. In the final four laps, Quartararo managed to reel in Bagnaia who by this time, was six seconds ahead from the rest of the pack. But due to the lack of overtaking opportunities available on the circuit and a defensive ride from Bagnaia, Fabio had to settle for a second-place finish. Even though this weekend was not supposed to be in the favour of the Yamaha team, a podium finish still keeps them ahead with a healthy gap over title rival Francesco Bagnaia.
5. A disappointed Mir
Joan Mir has a difficult reality to face in the 2021 season. The defending world champion has not won a race this season and is finding it difficult to fight for the title this year. According to Mir, he has evolved as a rider from the 2020 season, but due to the lack of development of the Suzuki GSX-RR in 2021, he is having a tough time fighting for race wins and podium finishes. Moreover, he admits that his inability to fight for the championship has left him ‘angry’. In the end, he adds that he and Suzuki need to treat the remaining races as a testbed for the developments on the 2022 bike in an attempt to rekindle their 2020 momentum in the year ahead. Mir finished the race in P6 after starting from P11.
The race in Misano was a boon for Ducati as an Italian victory with an Italian rider helps their momentum a lot with four races remaining in the calendar. Bagnaia has clicked into the right rhythm with the 2021 Ducati bike and needs to capitalise on every opportunity ahead. In the rider’s championship, Quartararo leads with 234 points, followed by Francesco Bagnaia with 186 points and Joan Mir with 167 points. Quartararo has made quite a lead in the championship and only Bagnaia has the opportunity to deny the Frenchman his first MotoGP world championship title. In the constructor’s championship, Ducati leads with 275 points, followed by Yamaha with 262 points and Suzuki trailing behind with 184 points. The next race on the MotoGP calendar is at the Circuit of the Americas on October 3. Stay tuned to evo India for all the latest updates from the world of motorsports.