Spaniard Alex Rins won in a race where the Frenchman went to the mat before being forced to retire.
The Diablo on the carpet! Leading the championship since April, the French Fabio Quartararo, victim of a fall, lost big Sunday at the Australian Grand Prix in MotoGP against his rival Francesco Bagnaia, new leader after a race won by Spaniard Alex Rins.
At the end of the 18th round of the season (out of 20), the Italian, third in the GP, now has 233 points in the championship – 14 points more than the reigning world champion Quartararo (Yamaha-219 points) , forced to give up after falling.
The 25-year-old Ducati rider could thus afford his first MotoGP world championship title next weekend, in Malaysia, on the Sepang circuit.
“The championship is not over, there are two races leftHowever, Quartararo wanted to reassure himself. “You have to believe in it but I’m mainly going to think about having fun, I haven’t really been able to enjoy racing for a long time“, a recognized Nice. “It’s a mistake on my part, I wanted to push too much“, he also noted, about his abandonment.
Starting 5th on the grid, the Frenchman occupied 15th place until his fall before the halfway mark. Shortly after the start, he had already made an error which had caused him to lose 17 places.
“When I saw that Fabio had retired, I said to myself that a victory was possible but that if they passed me on the last lap, it did not matter“, for his part reacted Bagnaia, in front of the public authorized to enter the track after the arrival of the pilots.
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Spaniard Aleix Espargaro, still third in the championship, finished 9th and is 27 points behind Bagnaia.
If, like the Italian Enea Bastianini (Ducati-Gresini), 5th in the GP, the Aprilia rider is still mathematically in the race, his chances are slim knowing that 50 points remain to be distributed.
The local of the event Jack Miller (Ducati), victim of a violent fall on Sunday, abdicated him, as did the other Frenchman on the grid, Johann Zarco (Ducati-Pramac), 8th in the race.
In front of 40,000 spectators, it was Alex Rins who won at the end of a breathless end of the race where the Suzuki rider definitively took the advantage over Bagnaia, then in the lead.
The Spaniard, imperial after starting from 10th place, signs his fourth victory in MotoGP – the first this season for him and for Suzuki, who will leave MotoGP at the end of the season.
He is ahead of six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez (Honda), second after also overtaking Bagnaia, and who won his 100th MotoGP podium in Australia – but the first of a season he did not compete in entire due to health issues.
“This podium means a lot, to keep the motivation, to show that I am still the driver who won six titlessaid Marquez, who returned to competition last month after a fourth operation on his right arm.
Guevara champion in Moto3
In Moto2, the Spaniard Alonso Lopez won at the end of a race marked by the fall of his compatriot Augusto Fernandez (KTM Ajo), who lost the lead in the championship to the benefit of the Japanese Ai Ogura ( Honda).
Spaniard Izan Guevara (GasGas) was crowned Moto3 world champion two races from the end of the season, after his victory on the Australian track. With 65 points ahead of his pursuer, Guevara can no longer be reached.
For the return of the Australian GP to the calendar after two seasons of absence due to Covid-19, several former MotoGP world champions made the trip this weekend to Phillip Island, in the south-east of Australia, at the crossroads of the Pacific and Indian oceans.
Among them, the Australian double world champion Casey Stoner (2007, 2011) or the triple Spanish world champion in the queen category Jorge Lorenzo (2010, 2012, 2015), who moreover saw his lap record old nine-year-old beaten on Saturday by poleman Jorge Martin.
Former Australian Formula 1 race director Michael Masi, known for his controversial decisions at the last F1 GP last season, was also present in the paddock.