Francesco Bagnaia ends MotoGP season on high with fourth win at Valencia
Pecco Bagnaia produced a Valencia masterclass from second on the grid as he claimed his fourth victory of the season and created history, leading a Ducati 1-2-3 of Jorge Martin and Jack Miller across the line.
It was Martin on the Pramac Ducati who led from the lights with Miller on the factory Lenovo Ducati second. Bagnaia was down in fourth behind the Ecstar Suzuki of outgoing World Champion Joan Mir.
Four laps into the 27-lap race and Bagnaia was past Mir and closing on Martin with Alex Rins on the second Suzuki passing Mir for third. Unfortunately for Rins his race was over on lap 1 as he crashed out at turn six.
Bagnaia was pushing Martin hard by half-race distance and on lap 15 he passed the Spaniard for the first time at turn six but couldn’t make the move stick.
But he made no mistake at the final corner, sweeping into the lead as they powered down the home straight to start their 16th lap.
By lap 20 Miller was putting the pressure on Mir and squeezed through at the left-hand turn two but the Australian couldn’t get past Martin, who held on to second with an amazing final lap to finish the season as the top rookie.
Mir finished a distant fourth with newly crowned champion Fabio Quartararo bringing the factory Yamaha home in fifth ahead of fellow French rider Johann Zarco.
Delighted race winner Bagnaia, who wore a Valentino Rossi helmet in tribute to the nine time world champion who retired from MotoGP with a tenth place at Valencia, said: “I wore his helmet today and I want to dedicate this race to Vale and say thanks to him for what he done for us in Italy.
“Before the weekend I was not sure it was possible to do a weekend like this. Finally we arrived here and we were one of the fastest.
“In the last lap I was too scared to crash and did my slowest lap ever. We won today and it was an incredible way to finish the season.”
Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Remy Gardner claimed the final World Championship of 2021 finishing tenth in Valencia to secure the Moto2 crown. He made it a family double as his father Wayne won the 500 title back in 1987.
Gardner said: “I’m lost for words. There have been so many years of suffering and so many points in my career when I’ve thought I’m not good enough and not going to make it, but I’ve made it happen and it’s a dream come true. I still can’t believe it.”
They join the only other father and son MotoGP world champions Kenny Roberts and Kenny jr.
Roberts senior was 500 champion in 1978/79 and 1980, with his son Kenny junior winning the 2000 crown.
The Moto2 race was won by Gardner’s team-mate Raul Fernandez, while Xavier Artigas claimed his maiden Moto3 win for the Leopard team after title rivals Pedro Acosta and Dennis Foggia collided in the closing stages, with Acosta crashing out of the lead.