Francesco Bagnaia is a MotoGP race winner after managing to hold off a resurgent Marc Marquez at Aragon.
Bagnaia withstood immense pressure from Marquez for the majority of the race, with the duo breaking clear of the chasing pack almost immediately. Marquez moved from fourth to second on the opening lap, whilst Bagnaia held first position off the line.
The top two were the only riders inside the 1:48 lap-times, with Marquez making his first move heading down to turn five with three laps remaining. However, the Repsol Honda rider ran in too hot and lost the position immediately, with the same scenario being repeated at turn 15 and then again at those two corners on the penultimate lap.
Marquez made a move at the first corner on the final lap but could make it stick, before once again failing to complete the manoeuvre at turn five. Marquez’s final attempt came at turn 12, however he could get the bike stopped in time for the apex and went off the circuit and onto the green.
Bagnaia crossed the line with an advantage of 0.673 to become a premier class winner at the 42nd attempt. Bagnaia has closed the gap to championship leader Fabio Quartararo, who struggled back in eighth spot this afternoon, to 53 points with five races remaining.
Reigning champion Joan Mir secured his fifth podium of the season in a relatively quiet third position. Aleix Espargaro was over five seconds further back in fourth, but will be pleased to follow-up Aprilia’s maiden podium with another top five result. Espargaro is now seventh in the championship, 21 points behind Brad Binder.
Jack Miller completed the top five on the second factory Ducati machine. With 13 laps to go Miller ran wide at turn 16, allowing Espargaro and Mir to overtake him. Binder was seventh ahead of the aforementioned Quartararo, whilst Jorge Martin and Takaaki Nakagami completed the top 10.
Iker Lecouna fell outside of the top 10 in the closing stages but still secured a respectable 11th place finish ahead of Alex Rins, who had to come through from 20th on the grid. Pol Espargaro finished 13th, whilst Miguel Oliveira and Danio Petrucci took home the remaining points on offer today.
Maverick Vinales ended his first race with Aprilia in 18th, just behind Cal Crutchlow and Johann Zarco. Valentino Rossi and brother Luca Marini completed the race classification.
Alex Marquez’s race came to an end on the opening lap when the LCR Honda rider fell at turn five. Meanwhile, Jake Dixon crashed out of the race on the second lap at turn nine.