until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Bagnaia leads all-Ducati podium, Rossi bows out with 10th

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Francesco Bagnaia led a walkover Ducati 1-2-3 in the 2021 MotoGP season finale at Valencia, as his mentor Valentino Rossi bowed out with a 10th–place finish.

It was only the fourth top-10 finish of Rossi’s final season, the Italian seeing off another protege of his, Franco Morbidelli, before receiving a grandstand farewell.


Rookie poleman Jorge Martin was perfect off the line, his lead aided by nearest rival Bagnaia dropping behind Jack Miller and Joan Mir.

Yet Miller was right with Martin in no time, taking the lead at Turn 1 on the second lap, only to run wide at the next corner and allow Martin back through on exit – before Mir relegated him to third with a forceful Turn 4 overtake.

Bagnaia was back through on Miller at Turn 1 a lap later, and then took care of the Suzuki of Mir on the straight with ease the next time around, establishing himself as Martin’s closest adversary once more.

The pace set by the Ducati pair at that point began to stretch the leading pack, with only Mir’s team-mate Alex Rins – who had overtaken the 2020 champion – managing to stay close until he was left raging in the gravel moments after a Turn 6 crash on the 11th lap.

Rins’ crash left the Ducatis with an eight tenths of a second buffer to Mir, and while this was eroded somewhat as Martin worked to keep Bagnaia behind, the rookie finally yielded on lap 15 as Bagnaia bravely stuck his front wheel down the Pramac bike’s inside at the final corner.

He quickly pulled out a half-second gap over Martin, but Martin closed back up and kept Bagnaia honest for a few laps, only to finally start dropping back for good in the final stages.

And this meant he nearly fell into the clutches of a resurgent Miller, who had pulled off a final-corner move of his own on Mir to secure Ducati’s first MotoGP podium lockout.

Ultimately, Miller came up short and completed a Ducati top three split by just 0.823s, the small gap aided by a gingerly final lap for Bagnaia.

Despite this, Mir finished over five seconds down as best of the rest, fading noticeably in the second half of the race, and having to fight off the rider who succeeded him as MotoGP champion, Fabio Quartararo, late on.

On an uncharacteristically difficult weekend, Quartararo was still comfortably the top Yamaha in fifth, while Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) made it four 2021-spec Ducatis in the top six.

Brad Binder moved up into fifth place early on on his KTM, but lost precious places running wide during the opening lap. He did recover to seventh, however, with none of his fellow KTMs even breaching the top 13.

Enea Bastianini (Avintia Ducati) completed his impressive late-season streak by taking eighth from Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) late on, but it was not enough to prevent Martin from beating him to rookie of the year honours.

With Marc Marquez’s season ending prematurely due to a training crash and Pol Espargaro pulling out of the Valencia race due to a painful practice crash, Honda was represented only by the two LCR riders in the event.

Takaaki Nakagami crashed out early on while chasing Rossi through the same Turn 6 that would claim Rins’ Suzuki, while Alex Marquez wound up finishing 13th, half a second down on Petronas Yamaha’s Andrea Dovizioso, who posted the best finish of his MotoGP comeback so far.

The other rider besides Rossi who’s almost certainly finishing his MotoGP career this weekend, Danilo Petrucci took 18th and last place, potentially struggling for fitness after a bruising practice fall.

He was three places down on Tech3 KTM team-mate Iker Lecuona, who will be riding for Honda in World Superbikes next year.

Race Results

Pos Name Team Bike Laps Laps Led Total Time Fastest Lap Pitstops Pts
1 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 27 13 41m15.481s 1m31.042s 0 25
2 Jorge Martin Pramac Racing Ducati 27 14 +0.489s 1m31.141s 0 20
3 Jack Miller Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 27 0 +0.823s 1m31.17s 0 16
4 Joan Mir Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 27 0 +5.214s 1m31.203s 0 13
5 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 27 0 +5.439s 1m31.475s 0 11
6 Johann Zarco Pramac Racing Ducati 27 0 +6.993s 1m31.35s 0 10
7 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +8.437s 1m31.292s 0 9
8 Enea Bastianini Avintia Esponsorama Racing Ducati 27 0 +10.933s 1m31.437s 0 8
9 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 27 0 +12.651s 1m31.5s 0 7
10 Valentino Rossi Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 27 0 +13.468s 1m31.701s 0 6
11 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 27 0 +14.085s 1m31.714s 0 5
12 Andrea Dovizioso Petronas Yamaha SRT Yamaha 27 0 +16.534s 1m31.8s 0 4
13 Alex Marquez LCR Honda Castrol Honda 27 0 +17.059s 1m31.781s 0 3
14 Miguel Oliveira Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +18.221s 1m31.799s 0 2
15 Iker Lecuona Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +19.233s 1m31.856s 0 1
16 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 27 0 +19.815s 1m31.674s 0 0
17 Luca Marini SKY VR46 Avintia Team Ducati 27 0 +28.86s 1m32.143s 0 0
18 Danilo Petrucci Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM 27 0 +32.169s 1m32.14s 0 0
Alex Rins Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 10 0 DNF 1m31.261s 0 0
Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda 4 0 DNF 1m31.894s 0 0
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Email
  • More Networks