Team orders were out the window in a nailbiting visit to Misano for Round 14
Round 14 of the 2022 MotoGP™ World Championship saw the grid head to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli, and our return to the Adriatic coast was certainly a memorable one for a multitude of reasons.
REWIND: Chapter 14 - League Of His Own
Coming into Sunday’s event, we knew that it would be Andrea Dovizioso’s swansong in MotoGP™ as the Italian veteran announced he was hanging up the leathers after the race. While we said goodbye to one rider, we would soon welcome back another as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) announced his return to the track was imminent following a fourth surgery on his problematic injury, though he wouldn’t participate at the San Marino GP.
Having won three on the trot and despite a grid penalty, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was the red hot favourite, but it was his teammate Jack Miller who was on pole with the Gresini Ducati of Enea Bastianini and Marco Bezzecchi (Monney VR46 Racing Team) completing the front row. All three got away cleanly at lights out, but the same couldn’t be said for Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing), Honda’s Pol Espargaro or wildcard Michele Pirro who were caught up in a Turn 1 pile up and out of the race.
It indeed proved an attritional day as race leader Miller crashed out soon after, handing the lead to Bastianini, but that was short-lived as Pecco made his move on Lap 3 to take the lead. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) also pounced to move into second place on the third lap as the race began to settle down.
There was no change in the top five places until Lap 20, when Bastianini regained second place as his trademark late race pace came to the fore. ‘The Beast’ was carving into Bagnaia’s lead out front as he left Viñales in his wake, and with just a couple laps remaining, a split second separated the front two. Searching for a passing manoeuvre, Bastianini was late on the brakes at Turn 4 but he was out of shape, narrowly avoiding contact. The Italian regrouped and by the time Turn 10 came around, the gap was back to nothing. No pass came into Turn 14 and neither into the final corner, but Bastianini hooked his GP21 up on the exit and threatened to snatch victory away from Pecco’s grasp at the chequered flag. It wasn’t to be though as Bagnaia won by 0.034s – a stunningly close finish between two phenomenal riders.
FREE: The breathtaking final lap of the San Marino GP
It was history for Bagnaia as he became the first Ducati rider to win four races in a row, while he claimed 25 more crucial Championship points as his title rivals Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) had quiet days, coming home in P5 and P6 respectively. Bagnaia moved into second overall and was now just 30 points off the lead with Aragon up next.