Advantage Quartararo as Bagnaia crashes in Germany
Frenchman Fabio Quartararo goes a race clear in the World Championship with a second straight victory. Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia's challenge ended early and Quartararo cruised through.
Fabio Quartararo has won a Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland which could well be looked back on as a crucial race in the 2022 Moto GP World Championship title fight. The Yamaha Moto GP rider not only scored consecutive victories for the first time this year but is now 34 points clear at the top of the standings. Aprilia Racing's Aleix Espargaro remains second in the title race after finishing fourth at the Sachsenring but the Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia has a mountain to climb after he crashed out while chasing Quartararo on Lap 4.
From that point on, Quartararo asserted himself in a dominant display to win by almost five seconds after 30 laps, with Prima Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco finishing a lonely second. Bagnaia had sensationally qualified on pole on Saturday afternoon but, as is so often the case, Quartararo was not going to allow a key rival to catch an early break. 'El Diablo' was late on the stoppers when they arrived at the first corner of the race and nabbed the early lead, as Aleix Espargaro took up third, ahead of Zarco, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto GP), and Miller. Bagnaia then overtook Quartararo at the start of the second lap but the Frenchman was not having it, forcing his way back down the inside of the Ducati as they exited Turn 1. The manoeuvre left Pecco having to chase, but his pursuit ended just two laps later when he lost the rear of his Desmosedici as he tried to round Turn 1 again. The crash gave Quartararo a free kick in the context of the World Championship, and a clear, one-second lead over second place in the Grand Prix, which had been inherited by Zarco after he had squeezed past Aleix Espargaro on Lap 2.
By then, Maverick Vinales had made his way up the order to be running just a position behind third-placed Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaro, and starting to apply the pressure. After little more than 20 laps, Quartararo, who had made the bold choice of a medium compound Michelin rear tyre when hard was the far more popular option given the hot conditions, had stretched his margin over Zarco to more than three seconds. Quartararo got more than five seconds ahead of the rest of the field in the last handful of laps before cruising to victory by an official margin of 4.939 seconds. Zarco took the chequered flag 3.433 seconds up on Miller, with Aleix Espargaro a few tenths further back as he battled for rear grip in the closing stages.
The top 10 was rounded out by Di Giannantonio, Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), and Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto GP). A further five riders joined Bagnaia and Vinales as DNFs. Pol Espargaro (Honda Team) retired due to rib pain from a crash in Free Practice and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) also had a rear ride height device failure, specifically that it would not disengage after the start. In the World Championship, Quartararo is not only a race clear of Aleix Espargaro but more than two (61 points, to be precise) up on Zarco. Bagnaia has dropped to sixth on the table, a full 91 points off the pace, to be in a tie with Ducati team-mate Miller. (ANI)
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