Johann Zarco says he was happy to give Francesco Bagnaia a helping hand in the MotoGP title race rather than push for a Thailand Grand Prix victory on Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira secured his second win of the season on a wet day in Buriram following a delayed start due to heavy rain, with Bagnaia third behind Jack Miller.

Zarco moved up to fourth as he thrived in drier conditions late in the race, but the Pramac Racing rider resisted the temptation to push for victory at the risk of damaging Bagnaia's title hopes.

With Fabio Quartararo only able to finish 17th, Ducati's Bagnaia reduced the defending champion's lead in the standings to only two points with three races to go.

Zarco said: "I was waiting for it to get drier, but it came a bit too late. The amount of water at the beginning of the race was difficult for me.

"The others had a bit more pace and I could not attack too much, I was sliding, so I've lost positions.

"Then it took time to get dry, if it could get dry a bit earlier I would have taken the advantage much earlier and could think about the victory.

"Four laps from the end I was there and two laps from the end almost fighting for the podium, but also hesitating a bit with Pecco as he is doing a great championship.

"I didn't want to make a mistake in the Ducati group. I was really hoping for victory today in these conditions, but I stayed fourth and it's good enough for me."

He added: "It's kind of being clever in the championship. I have lost too many points many races ago.

"I need to race to try to catch a victory, but I have nothing to fight for [in the championship battle], so that's why.

"We are a big group at Ducati, I think if we can sometimes give help in some way, I'm pretty glad the race has been like that."

Aleix Espargaro finished back in 11th and is 20 points adrift of Quartararo, while rookie Marco Bezzecchi crossed the line in 16th after starting on pole for the first time.

Fabio Quartararo endured a Thailand Grand Prix nightmare as Miguel Oliveira secured his second victory of the season on a wet Sunday in Buriram.

Quartararo's lead over Francesco Bagnaia in the battle for the MotoGP title is down to only two points with three races to go after the reigning champion could only finish 17th.

Bagnaia had been 18 points adrift of the championship leader after crashing out on the final lap in Japan last weekend, but reduced the deficit by taking third place at the Chang International Circuit, where Aleix Espargaro finished back in 11th

Oliveira secured a brilliant win after starting back in 11th, with Jack Miller second and Bagnaia holding on for the final podium spot under pressure from Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez.

Rookie Marco Bezzecchi retained his lead following a delayed start due to heavy rain, but had to drop into second behind Miller as punishment for exceeding track limits at Turn 1.

Quartararo plummeted from fourth to 17th on the opening lap, with title rival Bagnaia briefly in second before Miller passed him.

Espargaro made contact with Brad Binder early in another exhilarating race, with Luca Marini sliding off into the gravel and Oliveira moving into second spot as the track dried out.

Marquez surged into fourth place as Quartararo continued to struggle, while Espargaro's title hopes suffered another blow when he was given a long-lap penalty for his clash with Binder.

Oliveira powered past Miller to take the lead 11 laps from the finish and there was no catching the Red Bull KTM rider, as he won for the first time since the second round of the season in Indonesia.

TOP 10

1. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) 41:44.503
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.703
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +1.968
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +2.490
5. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +2.958
6. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +13.257
7. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +14.566
8. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda) +14.861
9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +15.365
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +18.097

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 219
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 217
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 199
4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) 180
5. Jack Miller (Ducati) 179

Teams

1. Ducati 398
2. Aprilia Racing 321
3. Red Bull KTM 285
4. Pramac Racing 278
5. Monster Energy Yamaha 250

Jack Miller stormed to his first victory of the season and Francesco Bagnaia's MotoGP title hopes suffered a blow when he crashed on the last lap of the Grand Prix of Japan.

Ducati rider Miller dominated a dramatic race on a dry Sunday in Motegi to the chequered flag, with Brad Binder second and Jorge Martin edging out Marc Marquez to take his place on the podium.

Fabio Quartararo could only finish eighth, but it proved to be a good day for the championship leader as title rival Bagnaia ended up in the gravel when he tried to pass the Frenchman from ninth place.

That costly mistake left Quartararo leading by 18 points with four rounds to go, with third-placed Aleix Espargaro having endured the nightmare of starting from the pits rather than six place as he had to change his bike before the start due to technical issue and finished way back in 16th.

Marquez claimed his first pole for three years on a wet Saturday, but it was Binder who got off to a dream start as he bolted from third on the grid to hit the front.

Martin then passed Binder, but Miller took the lead with 22 laps to go and never looked like losing it in a brilliant ride from the Australian.

There was a yellow flag after Takuya Tsuda retired with his bike on fire in his homeland and Marquez was scenting a 100th podium in the premier class in his 150th race when he moved ahead of Miguel Oliveira into fourth place.

Binder then passed Martin late on to take second before Bagnaia paid the price for pushing a little too hard on the last lap, missing out on points in a stunning finale.

Miller, who started in seventh spot, eased to his fourth MotoGP victory and eight-time world champion Marquez had to settle for an impressive fourth spot in his second race back following a fourth operation on his right arm.

Fabio Quartararo was left feeling "sore and burned" after crashing out of the Aragon Grand Prix – not helped by a second collision involving a scooter.

The MotoGP championship leader hit the rear of Marc Marquez on the exit of turn five on the opening lap in Sunday's action-packed race and slid along the asphalt.

Quartararo, who now has just one podium finish in his past five races, later revealed he was involved in another accident as he made his way to the Yamaha garage.

"After the crash a marshal hit the scooter. I had a second crash. It was quite fast actually," he told reporters. "Luckily I hadn't taken off my helmet.

"But the marshal just hit face to face with another scooter, quite fast. I didn't have any damage from that crash. Everything I have [injury-wise] is from the first crash. 

"I'm feeling sore and burned. It's a shame because it's the first time I've felt good in Aragon in many years and crashing in the third corner was not the best."

Stuttering Quartararo's lead over Francesco Bagnaia now stands at just 10 points with five races of a gripping season left to go.

That gap could have been reduced to five points, but Bagnaia was overtaken by Enea Bastianini on turn seven of the final lap as his four-race winning streak came to an end.

"Our race was good; I did my best," Bagnaia said. "Enea did an incredible job. He was very competitive throughout the weekend and I knew he and Fabio were the fastest. 

"Fabio unfortunately crashed on the first lap, but in any case I just tried to do my best.

"On the last lap I felt that I wasn't able to overtake Enea again, because I was already taking too many risks in the previous laps. So the 20 points are important."

Gresini rider Bastianini avenged his slim loss at the San Marino Grand Prix two weeks ago by finishing 0.042 seconds ahead of Bagnaia for his fourth victory of the season.

Bastianini, who started third on the grid, said: "It's almost like a dream. I made some mistakes during the race.

"But in the end I ended up approaching [Bagnaia] and on the last lap I had the opportunity to attack, and I managed to win."

Aleix Espargaro held off Jack Miller and Brad Binder to complete the podium, but fellow home favourite Marquez failed to finish in his first competitive race since May.

Marquez also ended Takaaki Nakagami's race and apologised to both the Japanese and Quartararo after the race.

"I lost the rear in turn three and Fabio made contact. When I engaged the holeshot device later in the lap, the bike locked and moved to the left," he said.

"I think that was because there was a piece of Fabio's bike in the rear. It was really unlucky and I want to apologise to both Taka and Fabio."

Francesco Bagnaia moved to within 10 points of MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo on Sunday, despite finishing second to Enea Bastianini in a thrilling Aragon Grand Prix.

Ducati's Bagnaia was aiming to become the first rider since Marc Marquez in 2019 to win five races in a row and looked good value to achieve that heading into the final lap.

But in the latest tense battle between the pair, Gresini rider Bastianini took the lead from Bagnaia on turn seven to claim his fourth victory of the season.

Bagnaia had to settle for 20 points, which further increases the pressure on the faltering Quartararo, who crashed out early on and has just one podium finish in his past five races.

Aleix Espargaro held off Jack Miller and Brad Binder, who had earlier climbed from 10th to third, to complete the podium with an impressive performance on home soil

The first big twist arrived on the first lap when Quartararo hit the rear of Marc Marquez, competing for the first time since May, and was unable to continue.

Takaaki Nakagami was fortunate to avoid serious injury soon after when unintentionally struck by Marquez, who was forced to retire in a disappointing return to action.

Further up the grid, Bagnaia and Bastianini engaged in another battle and, unlike in San Marino last week, it was the latter who came out on top on this occasion.

Having temporarily taken the lead a little earlier before gifting it straight back, Bastianini made a sensational move on Bagnaia late on to win the race.

The battle for third was just as entertaining, with Espargaro making his move on Binder with two laps to go to move within 17 points of leader and reigning champion Quartararo.

Francesco Bagnaia produced "one of the best laps" of his career to set a new record and claim pole position for Sunday's Aragon Grand Prix.

The Ducati star is this weekend seeking to become the first rider to win five races in a row since Marc Marquez in 2019 and the first Italian since Valentino Rossi in 2008.

Bagnaia set an all-time lap record at the Gran Premio Animoca Brands de Aragon on Saturday with a time of 1:46.069 – 0.090 seconds faster than team-mate Jack Miller.

The 25-year-old was victorious at Aragon last year, snapping a run of nine wins in a row for Spanish riders, and looks in good shape to extend his superb form on Sunday.

"I'm very happy about the lap time because I think it's one of the best laps I've ever had," he said after qualifying. "Everything was perfect.

"I was just a bit scared in corner two because I was knowing that the best lap time was on the first attempt but on corner two the front tyre was a bit too cold. 

"When I entered I was feeling that the front was closing a bit. That was the only worry to think about because everything else was perfect."

Bagnaia has closed the gap on championship leader Fabio Quartararo from 91 points to just 30 with six race weekends to go.

Quartararo has claimed only one podium finish in his past four grands prix and will start Sunday's race in sixth after losing time on the final sector.

Asked what can be done to avoid a similar outcome happening again, the Yamaha rider joked: "There is no legal plan! It's like this, we know. 

"We used video analysis in the last corner to see, and we don't lose [time there]. So we know where the four tenths is being lost. If you add that up over 23 laps, it's quite a lot."

Bagnaia's future colleague Enea Bastianini finished third in qualifying to continue his strong run since the mid-season break.

Gresini rider Bastianini has finished on the podium in four races this season, which is double the number managed last season.

Bagnaia pipped Bastianini to victory in a dramatic San Marino GP last time out, but he does intend to engage in any unnecessary battles this time around. 

"He's very fast," Bagnaia said of Bastianini. "I think if he has the chance to win tomorrow and if he gets away, I'm not going to go crazy trying to stay with him.

"Of course, it's important to bring back a lot of points, but it's also true that we're coming to a phase of the championship where it's essential to bring back results.

"I already made too many mistakes at the beginning of the year, so we have to understand that and try not to repeat them."

Bastianini is fourth in the overall standings, albeit 73 points behind leader Quartararo, but is happy with his performances in recent races.

"Since the summer break I've been stronger in the qualifying, but the reality is that I don't know why," he said.

"It's better for me and I think my feeling with the bike is fantastic from Silverstone. We have been fast in all the races and this is the most important for me. 

"The first row is important for me to do a great race. I have to manage the first part of the race well and at the end there is the possibility that the tyre will be destroyed."


PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) – 1:46.069
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.090s
3. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +0.244s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +0.521s
5. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.577s
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.733s
7. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) +0.783s
8. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) +0.842s
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) +0.843s
10. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.855s

Fabio Quartararo was left "more than angry" after Francesco Bagnaia closed the gap in the battle for the MotoGP title by winning the San Marino Grand Prix,

Bagnaia became the first Ducati rider to win four successive races with victory in Misano after holding off the pressure from future team-mate Enea Bastianini.

Championship leader Quartararo had to settle for fifth on Sunday after starting the race in eighth before two riders crashed out in front of him.

Quartararo battled with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, who the Frenchman managed to overtake by lap six.

He could not make any further progress, though, and was left frustrated after Bagnaia cut his advantage to 30 points in the championship standings.

"That was the limit," said Quartararo, who finished over five seconds behind Bagnaia. "More than angry, I was really frustrated, because I gave my 100 per cent and could not fight for more.

"Any more than that and I think I would be on the floor… we arrived really on the limit of our bike today.

"There was no problem, that's the thing. If you check the pace, I had the same pace as practice. I felt quite good on the bike.

"I made a really good race today, but it's only P5 and five seconds from the top. So we are not in a great position."

Quartararo heads into the final six rounds of the 2022 season with mixed feelings as he battles with Bagnaia and third-placed A;eix Espargaro, who has 33 points to make up.

"No, I will not say I'm worried [about the championship], but I'm also not calm," he said. "I have just been more consistent than Pecco [Bagnaia], but in the speed we are so slow."

Bagnaia says he will only begin dreaming of the championship when within touching distance of the Yamaha rider.

"I've already made too many mistakes [this season] thinking about the championship," Bagnaia said.

"My objective is to now be always competitive, always fast, always in front and try to win.

"I don't want to think about the championship, just to be more focused on my objective and to remain focused on the schedule during the weekend. I prefer to think like that."

Jack Miller claimed a long-awaited pole position and Aleix Espargaro was left "angry and disappointed" after he could only qualify in ninth at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Ducati rider Miller will start at the front of the grid for the first time in four years after he clocked a quickest lap of one minute and 31.889 seconds on a rainy Saturday in Misano.

Francesco Bagnaia was second-fastest - but will start in fifth after being handed a three-place grid penalty - and Enea Bastianini third, with MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo only eighth.

Espargaro, who trails Quartararo by 32 points, will begin Sunday's race in ninth place and says he was not prepared to take any risks in tricky conditions after a crash at Silverstone last month left him with a fractured heel.

Aprilia Racing's Espargaro knows he will have to take a more aggressive approach on race day.

He said: "My guys said, 'Fabio is [just] in front of you'. But I don't care. This is a very special GP. I want to finish on the podium because it's the home race of Aprilia."

The Spaniard added: "When I left pit lane I felt a mix of angry and disappointed. Because to ride in these conditions is very tricky, very dangerous,

"I touched a white line in the first lap and almost flew [off]. So I tried to focus and make no mistakes, go as fast as possible but without risk. And maybe I had to risk a little bit more because ninth place is not good.

"I didn't want to make a stupid mistake like I did in Silverstone, because there are still a lot of points, a lot of races, a lot of days in front of us. It's just qualifying.

"But obviously if it rains tomorrow, I will have to risk a bit more because you get the points, not today.

"I know that if I want to fight for the championship, I need to finish on the podium. So this is what I'm aiming for."

Andrea Dovizioso will start his final MotoGP race before retiring back in 18th.

 

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Jack Miller (Ducati) 1:31.889
2. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing)  + 0.115
3. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.149
4. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.219
5..Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) + 0.115
6. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 0.270
7. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 0.327
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.347
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.678
10. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 0.876

Francesco Bagnaia made it three wins in a row for the first time in his MotoGP career by storming to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix to further boost his title hopes.

The Ducati rider came off the five-week break 66 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo, but that gap now stands at 44 points with seven races to go.

It could have been closed even further but Quartararo finished strongly to clinch second, while closest challenger Aleix Espargaro – 16th on Sunday – is 32 points adrift.

Bagnaia was quick off the mark to take the lead from Enea Bastianini, who was starting on pole for the first time in his career but failed to finish due to a deflated front tyre.

There was further drama on the opening lap as Joan Mir, starting in eighth, crashed out at turn four – his sixth abandonment of the season, and the most of any rider.

Jack Miller temporarily took the lead from Bagnaia with 21 laps to go, but the Italian instantly hit back and his fifth triumph of the season – a personal record – was never in doubt.

But in what could yet prove a big moment in the championship battle, Quartararo produced a late rally to climb from an early sixth into an eventual second place.

The reigning world champion climbed above Miller, who held on for third, while Jorge Martin recovered slightly from a crash early on the final lap to finish 10th.

Quartararo did not quite have enough left to catch Bagnaia, however, with half a second separating the pair in the end to ensure the title battle remains alive and well.

TOP 10

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.492
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +2.163
4. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) +8.348
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +8.821
6. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +11.287
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +11.642
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +11.780
9. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +16.987
10. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +17.144

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 200
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) - 168
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) - 156
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) - 125
5. Jack Miller (Ducati) - 123

Teams

1. Ducati - 279
2. Aprilia Racing - 253
3. Monster Energy Yamaha - 226
4. Pramac Racing - 212
5. Red Bull KTM - 192

Enea Bastianini will start on pole for the first time in his MotoGP career at the Austrian Grand Prix after edging out Francesco Bagnaia for top spot.

Gresini Racing rider Bastianini beat Bagnaia's time by 0.024 seconds to claim his first premier class pole position.

Ducati's Jack Miller completed the front row, while Fabio Quartararo and Aleix Espargaro – the top two in the riders' standings – now face second and third-row starts respectively.

Bastianini was surprised to claim pole after leaving it late but is determined to start quickly on Sunday.

"It's been a long time without a pole position for me," he said. "I'm really happy for the team; we have prepared very well for the qualifying.

"I was fast in all the laps and made good paces; I was confident I would do a great job.

"To start in front is a surprise. It is looking good for tomorrow.

"Tomorrow, we have to be fast from the start. Usually I'm fast in the second part, so it's important to start fast. We will see tomorrow in the race."

Quartararo, who is 22 points ahead of Espargaro at the top of the riders' standings, will start from fifth on the grid after posting a time 0.231s slower than Bastianini's.

The Frenchman revealed he did not feel like he had full control of his bike, which again impacted his enjoyment of qualifying.

"In qualifying, in every corner, I don't know if I'm going to turn or if I'm going to go in the gravel, so that's the most difficult thing," he said.

"My front is moving so much, the bike is moving, and at the end I don't have 100 per cent control in the qualifying.

"On the race pace, we are always more or less good, but in qualifying I have no control. I'm just out of control, and this is a problem.

"In 2019 or even last year, I was much more consistent and better. But this year is a nightmare for us. I'm not enjoying qualifying like before."

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) 1:28.772
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) + 0.024
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) + 0.109
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.186
5. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) + 0.231
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) + 0.274
7. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) + 0.363
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) + 0.483
9. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) + 0.483
10. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) + 0.564

Francesco Bagnaia secured back-to-back MotoGP victories to hand a significant boost to his championship hopes.

The Ducati rider came off the five-week break 66 points behind the championship leader but capitalised on Fabio Quartararo's struggles, closing the gap to 49.

Johann Zarco, who started on pole and third in the championship standings, saw his hopes of a first MotoGP victory end after he crashed out in the lead, which will also have a significant impact on his title chances.

With Quartararo affected by a long-lap penalty and Aleix Espargaro – second in the standings – carrying an injury, Bagnaia's win saw Ducati secure another podium.

Quartararo had an excellent start and immediately propelled himself to second on the grid behind Zarco before serving his long-lap penalty on the fourth lap, subsequently returning to the field to take fifth as he crucially came out ahead of Maverick Vinales.

Zarco's hopes of securing a maiden MotoGP victory ended the following lap, crashing out in the lead, leaving Jack Miller and Alex Rins to challenge for first – the latter having surged from 11th at the start.

Espargaro, having been a doubt for the race after a high-side in practice on Saturday, was unable to compete and fell down the field, though the dent to his Championship hopes was not as severe with teammate Vinales overtaking Quartararo on lap nine.

Three laps later, Bagnaia made his move and became the fifth different leader of the race, while Miller rose to second soon after with Rins looking vulnerable heading into the closing stages.

Vinales jumped further up the standings in the final laps, taking Rins, Miller and then Bagnaia to cap off a stellar drive, but he could not retain the lead, with Bagnaia's title hopes boosted by two consecutive victories.

Quartararo finished eighth, narrowly ahead of championship rival Espargaro but both will now be worried about the title charge of Bagnaia.

TOP 10

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati)
2. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +0.426
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.614
4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +1.651
5. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +1.750
6. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +2.727
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +3.021
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +3.819
9. Alex Espargaro (Aprilia) +3.958
10. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +6.646

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) - 180
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) - 158
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) - 131
4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) - 118
5. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) - 114

Teams

1. Aprilia Racing - 240
2. Ducati - 238
3. Monster Energy Yamaha - 206
4. Pramac Racing - 195
5. Red Bull KTM - 179

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo believes he has the pace to win at Silverstone but accepts his long-lap penalty brings uncertainty.

The Frenchman will start on the second row for Sunday's race, finishing in P4 behind Jack Miller, Maverick Vinales and pole sitter Johann Zarco, clocking in at 0.171 seconds behind the leader.

Quartararo's strong pace means he is well in the fight for round 12 of the season, but having been issued a penalty for colliding with Aleix Espargaro last time out in the Netherlands, he knows it could cost him a win that would extend his championship lead.

"Johann has really strong pace, I think he is the fastest. But I think our pace is to fight for the victory," he told Autosport.

"Okay, long-lap penalty, we don't know which position we will finish, but at least our pace is top."

Quartararo added that he could not have offered anything more during qualifying, stating he was at the "maximum", but was pleased with his lap time.

"Well, it is what it is. I mean, I made one of the best laps of qualifying this year, I feel I have nothing more. We want to put more power in sometimes, but we are already on the maximum," he said.

"I feel happy about my pace also in FP4. Okay, with the crash of Aleix and [Takaaki] Nakagami I could not finish the lap because of the yellow flag, but I think all of our laps was on [1m] 59 and this is something really positive.

"The track is much better than last year and our consistency as well is much better."

Quartararo currently leads Espargaro by 21 points in the standings.

Fabio Quartararo lamented a "rookie mistake" after twice crashing at the Dutch TT to see the 2022 MotoGP title race blown wide open again.

The Monster Energy Yamaha rider's lead over Aleix Espargaro at the top of the standings was cut from 34 points to 21 after failing to finish Sunday's race in Assen.

After a near blemish-free season up to this point, reigning world champion Quartararo uncharacteristically clattered into Espargaro early on when pushing for second place.

Both riders ended in the gravel, but whereas Espargaro was able to make up significant ground to finish fourth, Quartararo again came off his bike on lap 12.

He lost grip on his rear tyre and was sent flying over his handlebars in a nasty fall, with this his first MotoGP retirement since Valencia 2020.

Quartararo apologised to Espargaro immediately after the race, which was won by Francesco Bagnaia, and took full blame for the contentious incident.

"I made a rookie mistake. I wanted to push too much from the beginning," he told Canal+. "I apologise to Aprilia and to Aleix for putting him out of the track.

"It's with these mistakes that you learn for the future, but it was a really stupid mistake. We could very well have set a very good pace and fought for the win. 

"These are mistakes that you learn from for the future. I wanted to restart and try to score some points, but I saw that the bike was a problem. 

"I stopped, the team told me to restart in case of rain, but when I restarted, I could see that something was wrong.

"I tried, but I don't know [what happened]. We have to analyse the crash, but I lost the rear a bit abruptly, so we'll see what they say. I made a rookie mistake."

Despite seeing his lead cut, Quartararo still holds a healthy advantage at the top of the riders' standings heading into the five-week break.

Espargaro produced the ride of the day – and one of the best individual rides of the season – to recover from 15th after being sent off the track by his title rival.

The Aprilia rider overtook Jack Miller and Brad Binder on the final lap to finish just outside the podium places, but he could not make a serious dent in Quartararo's title lead. 

"I was very strong in that place, and Fabio knew it," Espargaro said of the early collision. "The reason Fabio did his movement is because his feeling with the bike is super-high. 

"We saw it also in Germany, corner one with [the overtake on Bagnaia]. He's not a dirty rider, but his confidence is that high.

"Today, it's not that he was arrogant. But because he felt super, a lot faster than the rest, he made a bad judgment.

"I knew this could happen. From this moment I said to myself – Fabio is almost perfect, he made no mistakes during the season, so if he makes one mistake you have to profit."

Ducati's poleman Bagnaia led from the start to move back to within 66 points of Quartararo with nine rounds to go.

The Italian, who is fourth in the championship, now has three wins and three retirements in his past six races.

Bagnaia never looked like relinquishing first place to Marco Bezzecchi, although he admitted to being "terrified" of a third DNF in a row when rain hit late on in the Netherlands.

"Looking at the gap with Bezzecchi, he was always catching," Bagnaia said. "I had to push again, I had to open this gap again to be smarter and more calm again later in the race.

"But then the rain came. When I saw the rain, I just slowed down a bit, but Bezzecchi was pushing again.

"So, it was very difficult. I was terrified to crash again, so the main thing was to finish the race. It wasn't easy, but I tried to be smart, I tried to not push over the limit."

Francesco Bagnaia reignited his 2022 MotoGP title hopes with victory at a dramatic Dutch TT, in which championship leader Fabio Quartararo failed to finish.

Ducati rider Bagnaia had crashed out in four of the previous 10 races this year, but he took full advantage of pole position on Sunday by comfortably holding on to first place.

Quartararo endured a rare off day in Assen, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider finishing outside the points after twice crashing to see his championship lead cut.

Bagnaia is now 66 points behind the Frenchman heading into the five-week break, while Aleix Espargaro is within 21 points of top spot after making an exceptional recovery.

The drama at Circuit Assen started at Turn 5 when Quartararo, in an attempt to take second place from Espargaro, collided with his rival in a hugely contentious moment.

Both riders ended in the gravel before rejoining. But while Espargaro brilliantly made up ground, Quartararo was left with too much to do and crashed for a second time.

The reigning world champion high-sided out of Turn 5 and landed awkwardly, bringing an end to his race and marking his first MotoGP retirement since Valencia in 2020.

The rain started to fall soon after, adding even more drama to a race that had it all, though ultimately Bagnaia saw things through by holding off Marco Bezzecchi.

Jack Miller, who served a long lap penalty, was not able to join his Ducati team-mate on the podium as he failed to catch Maverick Vinales – his first top-three finish for Aprilia.

Miller was then overtaken by Espargaro, who also moved in front of Brad Binder to climb from sixth to fourth in an exceptional final lap as the title race was blown wide open.

TOP 10

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +0.444s
3. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +1.209s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +2.585
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +2.721s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) +3.045s
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +4.340s
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +8.185s
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +8.325s
10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +8.956s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 172
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 151
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 114
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 106
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) 105

Teams

1. Aprilia Racing 213
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 197
3. Ducati 197
4. Pramac Racing 184
5. Red Bull KTM 164

Francesco Bagnaia reignited his 2022 MotoGP title hopes with victory at a dramatic Dutch Grand Prix, in which championship leader Fabio Quartararo failed to finish.

Ducati rider Bagnaia had crashed out in four of the previous 10 races this year, but he took full advantage of pole position on Sunday by comfortably holding on to first place.

Quartararo endured a rare off day in Assen, the Monster Energy Yamaha rider finishing outside the points after twice crashing to see his championship lead cut.

Bagnaia is now 66 points behind the Frenchman heading into the five-week break, while Aleix Espargaro is within 21 points of top spot after making an exceptional recovery.

The drama at Circuit Assen started at Turn 5 when Quartararo, in an attempt to take second place from Espargaro, collided with his rival in a hugely contentious moment.

Both riders ended in the gravel before rejoining. But while Espargaro brilliantly made up ground, Quartararo was left with too much to do and crashed for a second time.

The reigning world champion high-sided out of Turn 5 and landed awkwardly, bringing an end to his race and marking his first MotoGP retirement since Valencia in 2020.

The rain started to fall soon after, adding even more drama to a race that had it all, though ultimately Bagnaia saw things through by holding off Marco Bezzecchi.

It was not quite an all-Ducati podium as Jack Miller, who served a long lap penalty, could not catch Maverick Vinales as he claimed his first top-three finish for Aprilia.

Miller was then overtaken by Espargaro, who also moved in front of Brad Binder to climb from sixth to fourth in an exceptional final lap as the title race was blown wide open.

TOP 10

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +0.444s
3. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +1.209s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +2.585
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +2.721s
6. Jack Miller (Ducati) +3.045s
7. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +4.340s
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +8.185s
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +8.325s
10. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +8.956s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 172
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 151
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 114
4. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 106
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) 105

Teams

1. Aprilia Racing 213
2. Monster Energy Yamaha 197
3. Ducati 197
4. Pramac Racing 184
5. Red Bull KTM 164

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