'I won't pay anyone!' - Bagnaia not expecting any favours in Valencia MotoGP decider

By Sports Desk November 05, 2022

Francesco Bagnaia quipped that he "won't pay anyone" to help him dethrone Fabio Quartararo and claim a first MotoGP title at the Valencia Grand Prix on Sunday.

The odds are stacked against reigning champion Quartararo, who needs to win at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo and hope Bagnaia finishes 15th or lower in the final race of the season in order to retain his crown.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo will start in fourth place, with Bagnaia only able to take eighth spot on the grid.

Jorge Martin sealed a third successive pole position, with Marc Marquez second and Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate Jack Miller set to start the decisive race in third.

Italian Bagnaia is not expecting any favours as he stands within touching distance of the biggest moment of his career.

"I won't pay anyone! Anyone can be my team-mate for this race," said the 25-year-old.

"It is difficult to do a strategy because it is impossible to predict what will happen. Maybe in the first two or three laps I have to take risks so I can then manage.

"I just say [to the team] that if Fabio is close to me, or behind me, then [the team should let him know] and then I will decide what to do."

He added: "My thing tomorrow is not to win - just be calm, understand. I will take risks at the start to get a gap. But then just be smart."

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    There had been some hope the Spaniard could return in Jerez, but the decision has now been made to focus on next month's French Grand Prix.

    "Yesterday, we did another CT scan, and it has been confirmed that, despite the fact that the injury is progressing favourably, the bone has not yet finished healing and racing in Jerez was risky," Marquez said on Wednesday.

    "Together with the medical team, we decided not to take any risks, to wait two more weeks and return in Le Mans.

    "I am very sorry to miss the Spanish Grand Prix because it is always special, because of the atmosphere, racing at home and above all, seeing and enjoying the fans.

    "I will continue with the rehabilitation and work to be back as soon as possible. Thank you for your messages of support!"

    Iker Lecuona will stand in for Marquez this weekend.

  • Rins delivers first LCR Honda win since 2018 as Bagnaia crashes out again Rins delivers first LCR Honda win since 2018 as Bagnaia crashes out again

    After an action-packed race at MotoGP's Grand Prix of the Americas it was Alex Rins emerging with a drought-breaking victory for LCR Honda.

    Rins, who qualified second and finished second in Saturday's sprint race around the Circuit of the Americas, was the beneficiary after pole-winner Francesco Bagnaia crashed out for the second race in a row, this time while leading with 13 laps remaining.

    Bagnaia, who could have taken over as the championship leader if he went all the way, was one of nine riders to not complete the race. 

    Alex Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Jorge Martin all went down on the first lap, before Jack Miller went down with 14 laps to go while in a podium position, and he was followed with an early finish by Raul Fernandez (14 to go), Bagnaia (13), Joan Mir (12), Takaaki Nakagami (nine) and Stefan Bradl (two).

    The carnage left Rins as the leader for the final 12 laps, and he held his nerve the rest of the way, coming home to deliver LCR Honda's first race victory since Argentina back in 2018. It is the Spaniard's fifth MotoGP win, and his first since switching teams after spending the past six seasons with Team Suzuki Ecstar.

    It was also the first win for a Honda bike in 539 days in what has been a dominant stretch by the Ducatis, as no Honda rider finished better than Marc Marquez's 13th in the 2022 season standings.

    With the result, Rins catapulted himself up to third in the standings after a 34-point week in Texas, while championship leader Marco Bezzecchi extended his gap at the top to 11 points with his safe sixth-place outcome.

    Grid Classification

    1. Alex Rins (Honda) 41:14.649

    2. Luca Marini (Ducati) +3.498 seconds

    3. Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) +4.936

    4. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +8.318

    5. Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) +9.989

    6. Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) +12.049

    7. Johann Zarco (Ducati) +12.242

    8. Franco Morbidelli (Yamaha) +20.399

    9. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) +27.981

    10. Augusto Fernandez (KTM) +28.217

    Championship Standings

    1. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) 64

    2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 53

    3. Alex Rins (LCR Honda) 47

    4. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 45

    5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 44


    1. Mooney VR46 102

    2. Pramac Racing 73

    3. Aprilia 63

    4. Yamaha 63

    5. Ducati 58

  • Bagnaia rejoices in 'one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP' ahead of Grand Prix of Americas Bagnaia rejoices in 'one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP' ahead of Grand Prix of Americas

    Reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia labeled Saturday's display as one of his best in MotoGP after setting a new lap record in qualifying and winning the Grand Prix of the Americas Sprint.

    Ducati's Bagnaia claimed pole for Sunday's race at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin with a new course lap record, edging Honda's Alex Lins by 0.160 seconds.

    Bagnaia backed that up with the maximum 12 points from the Sprint where he won by 2.545 seconds from Lins, moving within one point of championship leader Marco Bezzecchi in the early season standings.

    "It was one of the best days I ever had in MotoGP considering the performance we had during the whole day," Bagnaia said.

    "My feeling with the bike is growing and in this track, for the first time I’m feeling great. This morning with used tyres I was feeling okay, so already I understood where to improve.

    "But today for the race it was very difficult because the conditions were very hot and it was difficult to stop the bike.

    "I was having a lot of locking and sincerely, it was a bit of a problem at the start of the race. But then I was used to it. Tomorrow will be a different story."

    Bagnaia's impressive Saturday came after a disappointing performance in Argentina where he finished sixth in the Sprint and down in 16th in the Grand Prix.

    "I started well, and tried to push, do my pace, to build up a gap," Bagnaia said. "Now I've got to focus on tomorrow, that's going to be harder."

    Bezzecchi, who finished sixth in the COTA Sprint, will start the Grand Prix from fifth on the grid. Lins, who will start from second, was hopeful of an improvement on his Honda on Sunday.

    "Let's see, for sure. We have a good bike," Lins said. "The electronic side was not working at 100 per cent, so let's see if tomorrow it works like this.

    "The race today was a little fast, so we need to take a little bit more care of the tyres to arrive with a better performance in the end of the race."

    Bagnaia smashed the COTA lap record with a flying final effort of 2.01.892, which was the first-ever sub 2.02.00 lap at the course.

    That time came after Bagnaia had attempted to shake off Alex Marquez in his outlap after both recorded identical times.

    But Marquez crashed on his final attempt, with Bagnaia released to record his 12th MotoGP pole in style. Gresini's Marquez will start from fourth, with Moorey VR46's Luca Marini in third.

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