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Francesco Bagnaia won Sunday's MotoGP finale at Valencia. (Michelin photo)

Bagnaia Claims Spanish MotoGP Finale

VALENCIA, Spain — For the fourth time this season, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) claimed victory as the Italian led home a historic Ducati 1-2-3 at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana on Sunday.

Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) rounded out the podium.

However, the race will forever be remembered as Valentino Rossi’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) last dance. The multi-time world champion completed his MotoGP career with a 10th-place finish before saying an emotional goodbye to the sport that made him a household name around the world.

Polesitter Martin grabbed the holeshot as fourth place Jochen 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 ninth, World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was sixth.

Miller then dived up the inside of Martin at turn one on lap two to take the lead, but it was short-lived. Martin and Mir cut through on lap two, Miller down to third, then it was fourth, then fifth – the Australian going backward after briefly leading.

The Suzukis were charging – hard. Mir was harassing Martin, before Pecco then used the GP21’s superior grunt to take second from the former champion.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) then snuck past Mir at turn six on lap three, as the top four – Martin, Bagnaia, Rins and Mir – started to create a gap to now fifth place Quartararo. Miller was down to sixth and seemingly struggling in the early stages.

The race settled as the front runners held station, but Martin, Bagnaia and Rins were now 0.7 seconds ahead of Mir.

After a few laps of following the world champion, Miller was back through on Quartararo and up to fifth, as Rins set the fastest lap of the race. However, Rins went down in turn six on lap 11.

Bagnaia was swarming all over the back of Martin and with 12 laps to go, at Turn 14, Pecco pounded. Now, with some clear air, what could the Italian do? The fastest lap was slammed in by Bagnaia, a 1:31.042, hammer well and truly down. His mentor Rossi was still 10th with 11 laps to go, but VR46 Academy’s first World Champion and fellow Yamaha star Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) right behind him.

Martin was not letting Pecco pull clear. On two consecutive laps, Martin was quicker than Bagnaia, and a second or so behind, Miller grabbed third off Mir at turn two. It was a Ducati 1-2-3 with eight laps to go, history was on the cards for the Bologna factory.

Miller passed Mir with five laps to go and began chasing Martin.

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 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, Ducati earned the Teams’ Championship, adding to their Constructors’ crown.

Mir held onto fourth, with Quartararo fifth.

 

 

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