Francesco Bagnaia won the Spanish Grand Prix, taking the lead over series leader Fabio Quartararo for the first time in 2022.
Despite a somewhat slower start than the Yamaha, Bagnaia held on to the lead through the first few turns – though Quartararo put pressure on the Italian during the first few laps.
As the race approached the thirds-distance, the incumbent premier class world champion began to fade, with Bagnaia opening up an eight-tenth-of-a-second advantage as he continued to look after the rubber on his Ducati.
Quartararo tried to mount a charge in the final laps, closing to within a half-second of the Desmosedici, but he was never close enough to seriously challenge Baganaia and was forced to settle for second as the 2021 MotoGP vice champion took the chequered flag 0.285s clear after leading every lap to claim his first victory of the season.
A furious battle for the last rostrum was beginning behind the leading duo – to the tune of about nine seconds – with the sister factory Ducati of Jack Miller maintaining the position for the majority of the race under constant attack from Honda’s Marc Marquez and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
Marquez trailed Miller the entire race, remaining glued to the Aussie’s back wheel until he finally dived past the outside at Turn 6 with only a few laps to go.
Marquez lost the front of his RC213-V and ran wide, dropping to fifth but lucky not to crash out. Espargaro quickly followed through to fourth as he moved past Miller at the final bend, a pass that would ultimately gift him third as Marquez lost the front of his RC213-V and ran wide, dropping back to fifth but lucky not to crash out.
The Aprilia rider went on to draw away over the final few circuits to secure his second consecutive podium result – and third of the season – while Marquez edged Miller out on the penultimate lap to take fourth.
Joan Mir of Suzuki managed to catch the tussling group ahead in the last laps, but was unable to mount an attack and had to settle for sixth place ahead of Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda.
Late in the race, Enea Bastianini overcame VR46 rookie Marco Bezzecchi for eighth place, while KTM’s Brad Binder completed the top 10 ahead of Pol Espargaro’s other factory Honda.
After slipping to 21st on the opening lap, Maverick Vinales returned to take the last point of 15th, while Alex Rins lost his joint series lead after hitting the gravel midway through the race, finishing a disappointing 19th.
Jorge Martin’s dreadful season continued as he crashed again en route to 22nd, while teammate Johann Zarco sealed Pramac’s dreadful Spanish Sunday by crashing from eighth just before mid-distance at Turn 5.
Quartararo now has a seven-point advantage over Aleix as they head to his home race in Le Mans, France, in two weeks, with Rins dropping to fourth but level on points with third-placed Bastianini.
SPANISH MOTOGP, JEREZ – RACE RESULTS
|1||Francesco Bagnaia||ITA||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||41m 0.554s|
|2||Fabio Quartararo||FRA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+0.285s|
|3||Aleix Espargaro||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+10.977s|
|4||Marc Marquez||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+12.676s|
|5||Jack Miller||AUS||Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||+12.957s|
|6||Joan Mir||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+13.934s|
|7||Takaaki Nakagami||JPN||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+14.929s|
|8||Enea Bastianini||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)||+18.436s|
|9||Marco Bezzecchi||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)*||+18.830s|
|10||Brad Binder||RSA||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+20.056s|
|11||Pol Espargaro||SPA||Repsol Honda (RC213V)||+20.856s|
|12||Miguel Oliveira||POR||Red Bull KTM (RC16)||+23.131s|
|13||Alex Marquez||SPA||LCR Honda (RC213V)||+25.306s|
|14||Maverick Viñales||SPA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+27.358s|
|15||Franco Morbidelli||ITA||Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1)||+27.519s|
|16||Luca Marini||ITA||Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||+29.278s|
|17||Andrea Dovizioso||ITA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)||+35.204s|
|18||Fabio Di Giannantonio||ITA||Gresini Ducati (GP21)*||+35.361s|
|19||Alex Rins||SPA||Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||+38.922s|
|20||Remy Gardner||AUS||KTM Tech3 (RC16)*||+43.378s|
|21||Lorenzo Savadori||ITA||Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||+44.299s|
|22||Jorge Martin||SPA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||+67.681s|
|Stefan Bradl||GER||Team HRC (RC213V)||DNF|
|Johann Zarco||FRA||Pramac Ducati (GP22)||DNF|
|Darryn Binder||RSA||WithU Yamaha RNF (YZR-M1)*||DNF|