FILE PHOTO: MotoGP – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Qualifying – Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, Misano, Italy – October 23, 2021 Fabio Quartararo of Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP during qualifying REUTERS / Jennifer Lorenzini
: Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo became the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP World Championship after finishing fourth at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday when his closest title contender, Francesco Bagnaia from Ducati, crashed.
Pole-sitter Bagnaia led the home race from Ducati on when he crashed five laps to go and Hondas Marc Marquez brought the race win and the world title to Quartararo, who has an impregnable lead in the overall standings with two races to go.
« I still can’t believe it » said 22-year-old Quartararo when he burst into tears in the pit lane.
« It’s unbelievable, right now I’m living my dream. It feels good to have my family with me and we’ll enjoy tonight and until the end of the season. «
Quartararo’s victory ended nearly a decade of Spanish dominance after Marquez (six championships), Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo (2012 and 2015) and Suzuki’s Joan Mir (2020) the had won the last nine titles.
The Australian Casey Stoner was the last non-Spaniard to win a title when he dominated the 2011 season with Honda. Lorenzo, the last Yamaha rider to take the title, was also at Misano to congratulate Quartararo.
Honda’s Pol Espargaro finished second and Quartararo appeared to be on the podium as well but was taken by Enea on the final lap Bastianini, who advanced from 16th to third on his Avintia Esponsorama.
That didn’t detract from Quartararo’s celebration, however, as the Frenchman was able to soak up the admiration of the crowd who lit blue torches to celebrate his victory, while dancing on the track with the French flag around his shoulders.
Ducati’s Jack Miller pushed his teammate Bagnaia on the first laps, but the Australian made a mistake at Turn 15, slipped off the track and conceded the second Place.
Miller’s fall allowed Marquez to advance to second place after working his way through the field from seventh on the grid and the Spaniard increased the pressure on Bagnaia, be before he took the lead.
Quartararo had a bad start from 15th on the grid before bowing his head and rolling in the main group.
It was Marquez’s third win of the season and his first clockwise since the Grand Prix of Japan in 2019, but the six-time champion said it was Quartararo’s day.
« Today is not my day, today is Fabio. I want to congratulate him, he deserves it. He had an incredible season, « said Marquez.
The Grand Prix was also the last race of seven-time premier class champion Valentino Rossi on home soil when the 42-year-old Italian left in tenth at the end of the season.
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