MotoGP fans were gifted a thrilling battle that went down to the wire this weekend as MotoGP returned to Misano for the first of two visits in 2021. With changing weather over the weekend, the race looked to stay dry despite clouds gathering above the 2.63-mile circuit.
An intense qualifying session on Saturday saw Quartararo earn a front row start despite a crash, and a strong launch for the Frenchman saw him jump to second before having to settle into third at the end of the opening lap. In spite of pressure from behind in the shape of Jorge Martin, the Yamaha man was not planning to relinquish his third place and with the Spaniard crashing out on lap three, attention returned on his charge towards the leaders.
Just over a second behind Jack Miller, Quartararo picked up the pace as the Australian began to struggle. A mistake from the Ducati rider saw the championship leader within striking distance and by lap 14, he was through and into second place.
With clear track ahead, the number 20 YZR-M1 charged after leader Bagnaia. As the laps counted down Quartararo reeled the Italian in, reducing a three second lead to less than a second in the closing stages.
Just half a second separated the pair with four laps to go, but with both riders pushing at their absolute maximum, Quartararo was unable to find a way past and had to settle for second and 20 well-earned championship points.
After being pushed wide in the early stages, PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Valentino Rossi finished his penultimate home Grand Prix in 17th.
Returning to MotoGP action, Franco Morbidelli used the Grand Prix for valuable track time as he stepped up to the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team. The Italian rider finished the race in 18th place.
Making his long-anticipated return to MotoGP after announcing his partnership with PETRONAS Yamaha for the remainder of 2021 and 2022, Andrea Dovizioso got off to a strong start in his first race since the end of the 2020 season, but ultimately finished the Grand Prix 21st as he continues to familiarise himself with the YZR-M1.
Quartararo’s performance limited the damage race-winner Francesco Bagnaia could inflict on his championship lead with the Frenchman heading to the Circuit of The Americas with a 48-point lead over the Italian. Yamaha lie second in the constructor’s championship, 13 points behind the leaders, while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP continue to lead the team’s standings.
The Yamaha MotoGP teams will return to the Misano circuit on Tuesday and Wednesday for a two-day test before making the trip across the Atlantic as MotoGP returns to America and the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas across the weekend of 1st-3rd October.
Gran Premio di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Race Results
1. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team
2. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +0.364
3. Enea Bastianini – Avintia Esponsorama Racing +4.789
4. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team +10.245
5. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team +10.469
6. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +10.525
7. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team +13.324
8. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +15.698
9. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +16.129
10. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +18.519
11. Michele Pirro – Ducati Lenovo Team +20.373
12. Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing +21.066
13. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +21.258
14. Stefan Bradl – Team Honda HRC +28.142
15. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL +30.686
16. Danilo Petrucci – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing +32.654
17. Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT +33.853
18. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +36.272
19. Luca Marini – SKY VR46 Avintia +36.839
20. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +37.202
21. Andrea Dovizioso – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT +42.587
NC. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +10 laps
NC. Iker Lecuona – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing +13 laps
NC. Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing +17 laps
2021 MotoGP World Championship Classification
1. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 234 points
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 186 points
3. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 167 points
4. Johann Zarco – Pramac Racing 141 points
5. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 140 points
6. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 124 points
7. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 104 points
8. Maverick Viñales - Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 98 points
9. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 92 points
10. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 87 points
11. Jorge Martin – Pramac Racing 71 points
12. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 70 points
13. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 68 points
14. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 64 points
15. Enea Bastianini – Avintia Esponsorama Racing 61 points
16. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL 50 points
17. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 40 points
18. Iker Lecuona – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 39 points
19. Danilo Petrucci – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing 37 points
20. Luca Marini – SKY VR46 Avintia 28 points
21. Valentino Rossi – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 28 points
22. Stefan Bradl – Team Honda HRC 13 points
23. Michele Pirro – Pramac Racing 8 points
24. Dani Pedrosa – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 6 points
25. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 4 points
26. Tito Rabat – Pramac Racing 1 point
27. Cal Crutchlow – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 0 points
28. Garrett Gerloff – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 0 points
29. Jake Dixon – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 0 points
30. Andrea Dovizioso – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT 0 points