Marc Marquez took his first win at a clockwise circuit since returning from his career-threatening right-arm injury.
Fabio Quartararo had his first of three shots at clinching the MotoGP world title at the Emilia Romagna GP, and the rapid Frenchman struck immediately, ending the race as the 2021 MotoGP World Champion.
Marquez took victory ahead of teammate Pol Espargaro
Bastianini scythed through the pack for another Misano podium
Championship hopeful Bagnaia crashed out of the lead
The 2021 Emilia Romagna GP was one of the most momentous and eventful races that MotoGP has had in a while. It was a big day for Marc Marquez, who not only took back-to-back victories for the first time since returning from his career-threatening right-arm injury earlier this year, but also took his first win at a clockwise circuit in nearly two years.
He took the chequered flag ahead of teammate Pol Espargaro, making it the first Repsol Honda 1-2 finish in a very long time, while rookie sensation Enea Bastianini once again scythed through the pack in the closing stages to secure the final podium spot.
The Doctor Signs Off
Racing is all about winning, but on this particular day, the podium celebrations were somewhat overshadowed by a couple of very strong sub-plots. Further down the order, Valentino Rossi ended his final home race in 10th place (a rather good result considering his recent form). There were celebrations and tributes all the way up and down the paddock and in the grandstands as ‘The Doctor’ treated a few lucky fans to his helmet and gloves.
Top of The World
But even Rossi's farewell at Misano wasn't big enough to take centre stage. That honour went to Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo, who finished fourth and clinched his maiden MotoGP World Championship, becoming the first Frenchman ever to win the premier class title.
Achieving a lifelong dream at just 22 years old, Quartararo was crowned champion when his only challenger, Francesco Bagnaia, crashed out of the lead of the race in the closing stages. The Ducati rider, having led the entirety of the race, lost the front at turn 15: the very same spot where his teammate had a near-identical crash out of second place, in the opening stages of the race.
Best of the Rest
Both men had opted for the hard front tyre, and both paid the price – Miller unable to get it up to temperature soon enough, and Bagnaia succumbing when the ambient temperature dropped towards the end of the race. That left Marquez in the lead of the race, even though the Spaniard made no overtaking moves after the opening lap.
Quartararo started in a lowly 15th place but was running as high as third in the closing laps. This was before a hard-charging Bastianini overtook him just a few corners before the chequered flag, denying him the opportunity to celebrate his championship from the podium.
The battle at the top of the table may be settled, but second placed Bagnaia will still have to keep an eye out for Joan Mir, who sits just 27 points behind him in the championship, but also crashed out of the Emilia Romagna GP. We have two races left to go, and next up is the Algarve Grand Prix in two weeks' time, which will be MotoGP's second visit this year to the action-packed Portimao circuit.