Bagnaia makes it three in a row

Italian rider leads from start to finish on his Ducati to win Austrian MotoGP ahead of Quartararo

AFP August 22, 2022


Italy's Francesco Bagnaia maintained his magnificent run of form by winning the Austrian MotoGP on Sunday for a third successive victory although series leader Fabio Quartararo limited the damage.

Bagnaia led from start to finish on his Ducati – their sixth win in the seven MotoGPs since the race returned to the programme – but world champion Quartararo battled gamely on a circuit that does not favour Yamaha to finish second.

The Frenchman extended his lead over second-placed Aleix Espargaro – who rode with a broken heel – to 32 points with Bagnaia 44 adrift with seven races remaining.

"It was a very, very long race, very tough," said 25-year-old Bagnaia, who was winning his fifth race of the campaign.

"However, I am very happy. It was tough at the end for the last two laps. I tried to be as calm as possible so I did not make an error.

"My tyres were almost totally worn out and Fabio was gaining on me all the time.

"However, I am delighted with the end result as we have gained another five points."

Bagnaia, though, said he hoped he would further eat into the lead in the San Marino MotoGP in Misano in a fortnight.

"Fabio is not my focus -- it is gaining more points to eat into the deficit."

Quartararo never let up, constantly harassing Bagnaia's team-mate Jack Miller in second and finally bore fruit with four laps remaining.

"That was one of my best races," said the 23-year-old.

"It was so difficult out there and I could have fallen several times. But I am super happy."

Quartararo's consistency this term has kept him ahead of the pack in the world title race.

He has just three victories but has also finished on the podium four times in 13 races and only failed to finish in one race whereas Bagnaia has four retirements to his name.

"Consistency is important and we have done well here," said Quartararo.

"We stayed strong and have secured a very good result."

Miller held on for third, helped when Jorge Martin, who went on to finish 10th, came off his bike on the penultimate lap.

"That was lucky, though, not for Jorge!" said Miller.

"It was a fantastic run but I had run out of everything by the end of the race," the Australian added.

Bagnaia's compatriot Enea Bastianini's miserable run of form since winning his third race of the season in mid-May continued.

Having secured his first ever pole position he saw Bagnaia pass him and although still in contention he rode off into the gravel with 23 laps remaining.

Bastianini at least walked away whereas 2020 world champion Joan Mir took a heavy fall on his Suzuki.

"It could've been a lot worse, so I feel lucky," tweeted Mir, who had his right ankle heavily strapped.

"Initial checks show some bone fragments and fractures in my ankle. Tomorrow I'll go for further checks and an MRI."

Japan's Ai Ogura won the Moto2 race to regain the overall lead in the championship while main rival Augusto Fernandez finished fifth.

Ogura's compatriot Ayumu Sasaki won the Moto3 race. Spain's Sergio Garcia retains the overall lead by five points from his fellow Spaniard Izan Guevara


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