Grand prix

Bagnaia hands Ducati Constructors crown in red-flagged race

The Italian converted pole into victory number three of the season as Ducati retain their title; Quartararo suffers first DNF of 2021

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was unstoppable at the Grande Prémio Brembo do Algarve and picked up his third victory of the season, with his latest 25-point haul handing Ducati the 2021 Constructors title. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) completed the podium in Portimao as the race ended prematurely, with an Iker Lecuona (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crash at Turn 13 bringing out the red flags – riders conscious, Oliveira headed to the medical centre for a check-up. 

Bagnaia in cruise control, Ducati retain Constructor crown, Quartararo crashes

Miller propelled his GP21 off the line very well and grabbed the holeshot diving down the hill into Turn 1, but the Australian was slightly wide, allowing polesitter Bagnaia through and into the lead. Lap 1 saw Mir pass Miller at Turn 8, the Spaniard making his front row start count, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) losing a couple of positions.

Pecco and Mir soon found themselves nearly a second clear of Miller, who had Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing), Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Quartararo in hot pursuit. Pecco started to get the hammer down on Lap 7, his lead was up to 0.7s over Mir, who in turn was a second up the road from Miller. Third place soon went to Alex Marquez though, the double World Champion got the job done at Turn 1 at the beginning of Lap 12.

As things stood, with Pecco leading and Quartararo 7th, Ducati would be crowned Constructors Champions. And Pecco’s lead was stretching. With 12 laps to go, the Italian’s lead was up to 1.9s over Mir, who was sat 1.3s ahead of Alex Marquez. 2.4s was Bagnaia’s advantage with nine laps to go, Mir was holding Alex Marquez and Miller at bay by just over a second, with Martin, Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) and Quartararo a second and a half down on the podium fight.

A fantastic fight between Marquez and Miller was unfolding for the final podium spot. Turn 1 witnessed Miller dive up the inside of the Honda rider, but Marquez was able to make the cutback work – so it was as you were with six laps remaining. Quartararo was struggling to dismiss Pramac duo Martin and Zarco, with Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) now joining the scrap for P5.

With five laps to go, at Turn 5, Quartararo slipped out of contention. A first DNF of the season was endured by the World Champion, not the way he imagined his Algarve GP going – rider ok. Focus turned then turned to the Miller vs Alex Marquez fight, the Aussie still leading that ding-dong, before a crash involving Lecuona and home hero Oliveira at Turn 13 brought out the red flags. Both riders were conscious and eventually up on their feet, but with three-quarters of the race completed, the race was declared a result at the beginning of Lap 24.

Pecco’s victory ultimately ensured Ducati retained their Constructor crown, a fantastic way to bounce back after the disappointment felt by the Bologna camp at Misano. Mir returns to the rostrum for the first time since Aragon, Miller too ends a podium drought that stretched back to the Catalan GP.

Portimao’s points scorers

Alex Marquez’ fantastic weekend ended with the Spaniard unluckily missing out on a chance to attack Miller for the final podium spot, but it was nonetheless a brilliant rider from the LCR Honda Castrol man – a best result of the season for the number 73. Zarco claimed a lonely P6 in the end, a result that confirms the Frenchman as the top Independent Team rider in 2021. Pol Espargaro’s P6 was a job well done for the Spaniard, and talking of jobs well done, Martin’s P7 was fantastic.

Only a few months on from his Turn 7 horror crash, Martin returned to Portimao to pick up an impressive result to help Pramac Racing become Independent Team Champions – with Martin now just three points down on Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) in the Rookie of the Year fight. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) finished 8th ahead of Bastianini in 9th, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top 10.

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Luca Marini (SKY VR46 Avintia), Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Andrea Dovizioso (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Marc Marquez’ stand-in Stefan Bradl (Repsol Honda Team) completed the points positions, Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) were the other finishers in Portimao.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Danilo Petrucci (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) suffered DNFs in the Algarve.

Pecco is back on top! The Italian has secured the silver medal in the MotoGP™ World Championship, as well as helping Ducati secure the Constructor crown. Now, Ducati Lenovo Team and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP go head-to-head for the Teams Championship title in Valencia. The season finale is just around the corner – don’t miss out on all the action.

Top 10:
1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)
2. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 2.478
3. Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 6.402
4. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) + 6.453
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 7.882
6. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) + 9.573
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 10.144
8. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 10.742
9. Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) + 13.840
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 14.487

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