Francesco Bagnaia holds his nerve to beat Fabio Quartararo at Jerez

Francesco Bagnaia claims his first win of the 2022 MotoGP season after holding strong despite intense pressure from Fabio Quartararo. 
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Jerez
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Jerez

As the lights went out, pole sitter Bagnaia got a great launch as did MotoGP champion Quartararo, with the two battling on the run down to turn one. 

Bagnaia managed to hold strong around the outside, while Takaaki Nakagami also made a brilliant getaway. The LCR Honda rider got ahead of Marc Marquez to take fourth place after starting seventh. 

Marquez also gained a place at the expense of Aleix Espargaro, after the two Spaniards made contact off the start - banged elbows on the approach to turn one. This all comes after Espargaro had some ‘choice words’ for the eight-time world champion on Friday. 

Nakagami then lost two places in one corner as Marquez forced his way through at the Lorenzo corner. The six-time world champion pushed Nakagami wide which allowed Espargaro through. 

Martin’s Jerez MotoGP ends in disaster…

At the end of lap one there was a double crash as Jorge Martin went down on his own, before wildcard rider Stefan Bradl joined him in losing the front at the final corner.

Martin’s crash is his fourth in a race situation this year, which equates to over half the Grand Prix’ that have been completed. The Spaniard already crashed in qualifying too. 

Jorge Martin, Spanish MotoGP, 30 April
Jorge Martin, Spanish MotoGP, 30 April

At the front, Quartararo began to line-up a move for first place, while Miller began to drop back in third, as did Marquez. 

Darryn Binder became the third rider to crash as he went down at turn two on lap six. The South African did manage to rejoin. 

More drama happened on lap nine as Alex Rins, joint championship leader with Quartararo heading into the race, ran wide at turn 11, which dropped him down to 21st. On the same lap, Johann Zarco crashed at turn five in what was a very fast off for the Pramac Ducati man. 

As the battle for third between Miller and Marquez intensified, Bradl suffered a second crash (turn one). 

As Miller and Marquez came through the third sector, the latter attempted to pick up speed at the penultimate corner in the hope of going down the inside at turn 13. But once again, Miller stayed strong on the brakes. 

The gap between Bagnaia and Quartararo grew to nearly a second at mid-race distance, however, Quartararo began to close back up with ten laps to go. Come the end of lap 16 the gap was reduced to half a second. 

After getting within a second of Miller, Marquez and Espargaro early on, Mir’s charge for a podium appeared stuck as he failed to close in any further. 

After thinking Quartararo’s metronomic race pace in FP4 would be enough for victory pre-race, Bagnaia once again responded to the Yamaha rider’s pressure with his own run of stunningly quick, yet consistent laps. His lead was pushed back up to seven tenths with eight laps remaining. 

That lead then grew again by another two tenths on lap 19, while Marquez’s charge for third remained blocked by Miller’s unmovable Ducati. 

Marquez saves a front-end crash in superb style

Marc Marquez, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May
Marc Marquez, Spanish MotoGP race, 1 May

Marquez finally made his move at turn five with four laps to go, but Miller tried to respond immediately by using his superior top speed. However, Marquez completed a stunning move around the outside of turn six to remain third. 

But just as it looked like a podium could be on the cards, Marquez lost the front at turn 13 before producing an unbelievable save on his elbow. The mistake did allow Espargaro, who also got through Miller at the same corner to come through. 

Despite a late charge, Quartararo was no match for Bagnaia who held strong for his first win of the season, also making it five different winners from six races. There was a late change for fourth as Marquez produced a sensational move on Miller at turn eight. 

Outside of the top five was Mir and Nakagami in sixth and seventh, while Enea Bastianini, Marco Bezzecchi and Brad Binder rounded out the top ten.

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