Francesco Bagnaia (right) and Aleix Espargaro earned the top two spots on the podium. (Michelin Motorsport Photo)

Bagnaia Tightens Championship Fight With Dutch GP Victory

NORTH HOLLAND, Netherlands — Francesco Bagnaia rocketed to the top step of the podium in the Dutch Grand Prix, entering his name back into the MotoGP championship picture. 

Bagnaia started on pole and cruised to the victory, gapping runner-up finisher Marco Bezzecch by .444 seconds at the line. 

In a huge points altering race, championship leader Fabio Quartararo collided with second-place points runner Aleix Espargaro on lap five. Esparagaro managed to work his way back up to fourth after the incident.

Quartararo crashed again a few laps later, negating any hope of finishing the race. 

“I made a rookie mistake,” Quartararo said. “It was only the third lap and I attacked like it was the last one. It was totally my mistake. My apologies to Aprilia (Racing) and Aleix (Espargaro) for making him go out of the track. It was a race accident. I came into the pits because I felt there was a problem, but the team told me to continue because rain was supposed to come. But we crashed again. I feel pretty lucky I haven’t broken anything. I could save the first moment, but as soon as I moved, I had another one and fell. I feel a bit sore in the shoulder.”

Maverick Viñales notched the third-place podium position to give Aprilia Racing a solid third and fourth-place effort. 

As the Summer break hits MotoGP, Quartararo has a 21-point cushion to second place Espargaro, with Johann Zarco behind 58 points, and Bagnaia in fourth, 66 points behind. 

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