Valentino Rossi joked he might opt to quit MotoGP again in 2022 after enjoying all the fanfare that accompanied his final race in Valencia before retirement.

Rossi, a seven-time MotoGP champion and legend of the sport, took to the track for the final time on Sunday having confirmed the 2021 season would be his last back in August.

The 42-year-old qualified in 10th and ultimately finished in the same position, achieving the top-10 finish he had identified as his goal heading into the weekend.

Rossi was mobbed at the end of the race, with his rivals, fans and crew all swarming around him before lifting him aloft of the track shortly after old friend Ronaldo waved the chequered flag.

A party then began as Rossi returned to the pits, and he could not hide his enjoyment of all the adoration.

"[There's been] a lot of surprises, we've had fun," he told Sky Sport Italia. "It was my style, we drank, broke a few things. I'm not that drunk yet!

"I'm happy to have had a good race, I finished among the 10 strongest riders in the world. Slowly now I'll realise that I'm stopping, but for now [it just feels like] the championship is over.

"I've always tried to do one last race in my style. They tried to make me cry, but in my opinion this was supposed to be a party.

"Quitting was an excuse to make a bit of a mess, maybe I'll quit next year too! No, you know how proud I am to have gone out strong.

"I was in shape today, I was inspired. I like that I've left in this way. At least I can say that at the last race I finished 10th."

Fittingly, VR46 academy product Francesco Bagnaia was victorious on the day.

He and the other riders to have come through the academy who were involved in the various races over the weekend wore replicas of Rossi's most iconic helmet designs, and he appreciated that tribute.

"Yesterday, when they surprised me with the helmets, it was tough but nice," Rossi added. "Today, it was great to see them in action."

Francesco Bagnaia dedicated his Valencia Grand Prix victory to Valentino Rossi as the MotoGP great hangs up his leathers.

Rossi, a seven-time world champion and legend of the sport, took part in the final race of his illustrious career on Sunday, having confirmed the 2021 season would be his last back in August.

The 42-year-old qualified in 10th and ultimately finished in the same position, achieving the top-10 finish he had identified as his goal heading into the weekend.

Rossi was mobbed at the end of the race, with his rivals, fans and crew all swarming around him before lifting him aloft of the track.

He was then treated to special tributes from other teams as he headed back down the pitlane for the last time, before something of a party began in the Yamaha paddock.

Bagnaia won the race after seeing off Jorge Martin, and the Italian – who came through Rossi's VR46 academy – dedicated the win to his hero.

"It was very exciting because with a helmet like this I could only win," the Ducati rider told Sky Sport Italia while holding a replica of Rossi's 2004 helmet.

"It is the only way to celebrate the greatest of all, it was beautiful. The hug with Vale was wonderful, I was able to pass on to him what he is for me, and all the gratitude for what he's done. Without him I would not be like this at the moment.

"I wanted to give Valentino a gift with my helmet and dedicate this race to him. I thank him for what he did for us at the academy.

"Before the weekend I wasn't sure I could do performances like this here. In the end, we were among the fastest and I'm happy to have won. It's the best way to end a season."

 

Valentino Rossi brought the curtain down on his illustrious MotoGP career with a 10th-placed finish at the Valencia Grand Prix while his protege Francesco Bagnaia crossed the line first in the final race of the campaign.

Seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi, 42, confirmed in August he would be hanging up his leathers at the end of the 2021 season, and he closed things out with a drama-free ride as he achieved his pre-weekend goal of a top-10 finish.

Danil Petrucci, who finished in 18th, is also departing MotoGP.

Rossi received a hero's reception at the end of the race as riders, fans and crew swarmed and held him aloft, with his old friend Ronaldo having waved the final chequered flag of his career.

The veteran enjoyed a solid performance in qualifying, securing a respectable 10th place on the grid, but it was his countryman Bagnaia and rookie Jorge Martin at the front who occupied the main in-race focus.

Martin started on pole for the fourth time this season and showed excellent poise to hold off Bagnaia for a while, but he left the door open at the end of the 15th lap as the Italian's persistence paid off.

Bagnaia was then in a class of his own for the rest of the race as Martin failed to reel him back in, though the latter did just enough to hold off Jack Miller to secure second.

Ducati bikes locked out the podium as their factory team secured the teams' title in emphatic fashion, but all the attention was on Rossi at the end, with various teams producing their own tributes to him as he rode back down the pit lane for the last time.

 

 

MotoGP great Valentino Rossi received a timely boost from one of the championship's emerging stars in qualifying for the Valencia Grand Prix.

Rossi, a nine-time world champion, is retiring after Sunday's race, which brings the curtain down on the 2021 season.

Fabio Quartararo already has the title sewn up, and the newly crowned champion will start from eighth on the grid, two ahead of 42-year-old Rossi.

Rossi was given a helping hand by Francesco Bagnaia, who is looking to cap a superb individual season that has seen him claim wins at Aragon, San Marino and Portimao.

Bagnaia finished second in qualifying, just 0.064 seconds behind Jorge Martin, who claimed the fourth pole of his rookie season with a superb ride.

The Ducati rider crashed at Turn Two, though still found the power to provide Rossi with a tow that secured his place in Q2.

"Pecco helped me, I'm very happy," Rossi explained.  "We didn't have a clear plan, I just started behind him and he saw me but he continued to push. So thanks a lot to Pecco, who helped me improve my lap time.

"This is a great feeling for me and for the team in my last race. I think that apart from the emotional moment for me it's very important to try to make a good weekend, a good result and I will start in the top 10. So it was a good Saturday."

Bagnaia added: "No, no [it wasn't planned]. But, I did see him enter on the track before me, so it's the minimum that I can do for him. He gave so much over the years to us so it's the minimum I could do."

Bagnaia gave Martin full credit for clinching pole and the Pramac Racing driver said he took a risky approach to give himself the best chance of a second win of the season.

"In qualifying as always, we risk a lot," Martin said. "It's not an easy track because the layout is strange, it's not normal and also the grip is not perfect here. So, I was risking every lap, in every corner, but finally I could finish this lap.

"I'm really happy. My performance is good. You can see all the Ducatis are strong, so tomorrow will be a great battle but I think I have the pace to fight for the podiums."

Jack Miller, Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate, will round out the front row on Sunday.

Marc Marquez will miss the Valencia Grand Prix this weekend as he is suffering from issues with his vision.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez sat out the Algarve Grand Prix on Sunday following a training crash that left him with slight concussion.

The six-time MotoGP champion has also been ruled out of the last race of the season in Valencia and testing in Jerez on November 18 and 19.

A statement from the Spaniard's team said: "The Repsol Honda Team rider will not participate in the Valencia Grand Prix this coming weekend, nor in the IRTA Jerez Test scheduled for November 18 and 19.

"After Marc Marquez underwent a medical examination at the Dexeus Clinic in Barcelona last Tuesday, in which he was evaluated after a fall while practicing off-road, the rider has been resting all week at his home in Cervera.

"During these days of rest, Marc has continued to feel unwell and has suffered from vision problems, which is why this Monday he was visited by the ophthalmologist Dr. Sanchez Dalmau at the Hospital Clinic de Barcelona, who examined him and performed the tests, which detected a new episode of diplopia."

Marquez suffered the accident last Saturday while preparing for the penultimate round of the season in Portimao, where he would have been going in search of a third successive win.

The 28-year-old missed the start of the season as he continued to recover from a serious arm injury.

He returned at the Portuguese Grand Prix in April and is sixth in the standings with 142 points following back-to-back victories in Austin and at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, when Fabio Quartararo sealed the title.

Francesco Bagnaia's late-season rally did not come in time to push Fabio Quartararo all the way for the 2021 MotoGP title, but the Ducati rider's outstanding form has shown him how to compete next year.

Quartararo clinched the championship at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix when second-placed Bagnaia dramatically crashed out.

On Sunday, at the Algarve Grand Prix, Bagnaia – starting from pole for a fifth consecutive race – won while Quartararo crashed.

If not for his untimely previous retirement, the Italian would be still within touching distance of the season leader heading into the final round.

"If I had the win in Misano, today was perfect for me," Bagnaia told a news conference. "But it's not like this."

Bagnaia's result clinched second and also delivered the constructors' championship for Ducati, who now lead the teams' standings, too.

But attention can start to turn towards next year, when Bagnaia will hope to be competitive from the outset.

"I think we didn't lose the championship in Misano," he said. "I lost a lot of points before and I started to be so competitive after some races.

"For sure, it's a really great base for next year. Also we have worked so hard and so well with our bike, so for next year we have a really great base."

Of course, Bagnaia would have to cope with significant pressure if he were to lead the title race from the outset, and he acknowledged riding this week without the championship on the line was an easier experience.

"I didn't change it compared to Misano," he explained. "But in Misano, I was trying to [keep] open the championship but I was knowing that it was very difficult to win it.

"Today, if I had the win in Misano, for sure Quartararo was not crashing. I was racing without the pressure of the championship, so I just did the same thing."

Quartararo took the title from Joan Mir, who is also keen to respond in 2022 after a difficult championship defence.

He finished second on Sunday for the second time this year but has not won a single race and said Suzuki would have to work on a "better base".

For now, Mir was simply delighted to be back in contention on race day, saying: "Honestly, I'm so happy, I'm especially happy for this podium.

"It's not for the result, it's more for the weekend that we did. It was unbelievable. I felt so good from the first moment and I was able to be competitive from FP1.

"Then, as Pecco said, when you feel good with the bike and the base is good, everything came easily. What I needed was a weekend like this one."

Francesco Bagnaia returned to winning ways with a dominant Algarve Grand Prix victory as he closes on the end of his debut season with the Ducati factory team in top form.

Bagnaia was unable to take the MotoGP title race right down to the wire, with Fabio Quartararo clinching the championship last time out when his nearest rival retired.

But Bagnaia has undoubtedly been the form man on the grid from September onwards. Indeed, had he not crashed at the Emilia Romagna GP, the Italian would have had Quartararo firmly in his sights – the new champion went down at Turn 5 with five laps remaining on Sunday, his first error of the season.

Meanwhile, Bagnaia had continued his stunning run of poles with a fifth in succession at Portimao and, as in the first two races in that sequence, protected his position for a third win of the year.

That was enough to seal the constructors' championship for Ducati, who also moved into the lead in the teams' standings as Jack Miller joined Bagnaia on the steps.

The pair both started from the front row and Miller jumped ahead of the pole man into the first corner but then relinquished the lead.

Joan Mir caught Miller, too, while Bagnaia steadily disappeared into the distance, finishing well clear.

Mir held off Miller for his joint-best result of the year, while Alex Marquez also nipped ahead of the second Ducati man when his pace just relented slightly.

Marquez, pursuing a first podium of the year, could not keep Miller at bay, though, and a run of nine races without appearing on the steps ended for the Australian as the grand prix was prematurely brought to a close.

Home hopeful Miguel Oliveira was involved in a nasty crash with Iker Lecuona, prompting a red flag and the end of the race with more than three quarters completed. Both riders were quickly confirmed as conscious.

Francesco Bagnaia and Jack Miller both lauded the impact Casey Stoner had on their rides after the Ducati duo sealed a one-two in qualifying for the Algarve Grand Prix.

Though Fabio Quartararo already has the MotoGP world title sewn up, the rest of the field are still fighting for position and second-placed Bagnaia set a record lap time at Portimao in Q2 on Saturday.

That effort saw the Italian sensationally claim pole position for a fifth straight race. This is the second run of the same rider taking five poles in a row this season after Quartararo also did so.

Miller had provisional pole, but Bagnaia snatched first place on the grid away from his team-mate and then improved to a final time of 1:38.725.

With Stoner a guest of Ducati throughout the weekend, as well as for the Valencia Grand Prix, both Bagnaia and Miller expressed their desire for Ducati to employ a rider coach for next season, with the Australian – who won the MotoGP title in 2007 and 2011 – a prime candidate.

Bagnaia told a news conference: "It could be a nice present from Ducati to have Casey as a coach next year.

"It's a different point of view, he's a legend and it's different to have a coach, because in Ducati we don't have a coach and for me it helps a lot.

"Maybe next year we can have him. But for me today he helped a bit for the last corner, the exit of the last corner, and it was useful."

Miller, a compatriot of Stoner, added: "It's fantastic to have Casey at the last two grands prix.

"He's got a family and lives on another side of the world, so the idea of that working out I think could be too hard logistically and whatnot.

"But I'd be all for it 100 per cent. But like Pecco said, it is really nice, I've worked with spotters on track and he's not a normal spotter – let's say it like that.

"It's Casey Stoner, a legend, one of the best ever. But I think it is something we're missing in our programme and I think it is definitely something we need to look at maybe introducing into the programme.

"I'm not saying we can get Casey, I'm more than happy to have him, but somebody."

Behind the Ducati duo, Joan Mir of Suzuki Ecstar claimed third. Remarkably, it is the first time the Spaniard, who won the title in 2020, will start on the front row in a MotoGP race.

"Maybe starting in the first row it will help to be more in front and have the situation a little bit more under control," said Mir, who expanded on a heated exchange he had with Alex Marquez at the end of the session.

"Well, Alex was following me I think until FP3 in all the sessions, also FP4 and the first exit in qualifying and the second one he was waiting again," he explained.

"If he didn't disturb me then it's not a problem, but in that moment I made the first lap quite slow to warm up the tyres; the lap time was not bad, but I was warming the tyres and I had just one lap left, but then he decided to overtake me on the braking and went wide. 

"That's why I was angry. Alex came to the box to apologise which is something I appreciate. At that moment I was not happy because I could not get the 100 per cent today."

Marc Marquez will miss the Algarve Grand Prix this weekend after suffering a "slight concussion" when he crashed in training.

The six-time MotoGP champion suffered the accident last Saturday while preparing for the penultimate round of the season in Portimao, where he would have been going in search of a third successive win..

Marquez was still feeling unwell on Tuesday following a few days of rest at home and the Repsol Honda rider will not race at the Algarve Motorsports Park as a precautionary measure after a medical check-up.

The Spaniard's team said in a statement: "This past Saturday Marc Marquez, while preparing for the Algarve Grand Prix with one of his standard off-road training sessions, suffered a fall that caused a slight head concussion.

"After a few days of rest at home and seeing that he was still unwell, today Marquez has been assessed by doctors in a medical check-up to evaluate his current status.

"As a precautionary measure, this coming weekend Marquez will not contest the Algarve Grand Prix."

Marquez missed the start of the season as he continued to recover from a serious arm injury.

He returned at the Portuguese Grand Prix in April and is sixth in the standings with 142 points following back-to-back victories in Austin and at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, when Fabio Quartararo sealed the title.

Fabio Quartararo is "living the dream" after becoming the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP title following an eventful Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old, who is competing in just his third season, was crowned 2021 world champion after closest challenger Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of Sunday's race.

Bagnaia started from pole and was leading with five laps to go, only to come off his bike and effectively end his chances of catching Quartararo in the drivers' standings with two grands prix remaining.

Yamaha rider Quartararo still had to see out the race to pick up the three points needed to seal top spot and did that with a fourth-placed finish in Italy.

Quartararo's triumph, which ends Yamaha's six-year wait for a title, was achieved the hard way as he started the race in 15th after his worst ever qualifying session on Saturday.

He gradually made his way through the field after a slow start that saw him drop two more places, yet he was still fifth when Bagnaia crashed.

The Frenchman said on the eve of the race he expected the title battle to continue into the Grande Premio do Algarve next month and he felt the pressure at the start line.

"It was tough for me because I made a really bad start and I never experienced a MotoGP start at that far back," he said. 

"I think our front tyre pressure goes so much up [in a pack]. When I braked, I had a lot of moments almost crashing, so to be close to the podium was amazing.

"It was a new experience, and also with the pressure of the championship I was feeling really bad this morning.

"Let's say I had pain in the belly, it is the first time that I found it difficult to eat before the race, so it was a big day and we managed to be world champion.

"After this I think the weight of trying to be world champion, from now, will totally lose the pressure and I can enjoy the two last races."

Bagnaia had just stretched away from eventual race winner Marc Marquez when he crashed and cut a desolate figure at the end of the race.

The Italian, who was one of the first to congratulate Quartararo, denied losing focus with the winning line in sight and also backed the call to use hard front tyres.

That was a decision that also cost Ducati team-mate Jack Miller, who crashed early on at the same corner as Bagnaia.

"Medium for me was worse than soft; soft was already on the limit yesterday and this morning, so the hard was the correct choice," Bagnaia said.

"The only thing is with the hard you just need to push every single lap like hell, to let the tyre be hot.

"As for the crash, that was not because I lost concentration. I was pushing – it was winning or gravel, and I tried all to achieve this win.

"I'm happy about my performance. Of course I'm a bit frustrated about the result because I think we were deserving of more.

"But we just try to be always more competitive, and for next year we are for sure in a good way."

Fabio Quartararo has been crowned 2021 MotoGP world champion for a first time following a dramatic conclusion to the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that saw title rival Francesco Bagnaia crash out.

Yamaha rider Quartararo had to outscore Bagnaia by three points in Sunday's race to bring an end to the title battle with two races to go, but a career-worst finish of 15th in qualifying meant the Frenchman had plenty of work to do.

The 22-year-old gradually climbed the field after a slow start that saw him drop two more places, yet he was still fifth, well off leader Bagnaia, with five laps to go in Italy.

Then came an incredible moment as Bagnaia, on course for a third victory in four races, lost the front of the Desmosedici into turn 15 to effectively hand Quartararo the title – and a first for Yamaha since 2015.

Quartararo continued his ascent into third place before dropping behind Enea Bastianini into his eventual final position of fourth, with Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro leading a one-two for Repsol Honda.

It is a second successive triumph for Marquez on the back of his victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate Jack Miller, who started in second, had earlier crashed out in a drama-filled race, while Valentino Rossi battled to 10th in his final race on home soil.

Francesco Bagnaia's gameplan will remain the same in Sunday's Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, despite Fabio Quartararo starting the race down in 15th after struggling in qualifying.

Quartararo leads Bagnaia by 52 points with three races left and will be crowned 2021 MotoGP champion this weekend should he outscore his title rival by three points.

However, the Yamaha rider has his work cut out on Sunday as tough conditions at the Misano Circuit meant he failed to qualify for Q2 for the first time in his MotoGP career.

The Frenchman's best lap would have had him in 13th, but that was voided and he now has 14 places to make up on Bagnaia if he is to come out on top.

Bagnaia had no such trouble in both qualifying sessions, setting the fastest time in both en route to claiming his fourth successive pole.

And the Ducati rider intends to pick up from where he left off by going all out for victory on Sunday and claiming a third triumph in four races to keep the title race alive.

"I was needing to push if he was starting Q2, and I have to push the same now he's 15th," Bagnaia said. 

"The only thing that I can do to leave open the title championship is to try to win tomorrow. The objective would be the same even if Fabio was starting further in front."

Quartararo has only been off the front row once this season, when starting fifth in Qatar, and he doubts the title will be won for at least another week as a result of Saturday's setback. 

"Of course it's a tough situation for me," he said. "To be honest, I have not thought about the championship, because he is P1 and I'm P13 or P15.

"But he has the pressure, it's not only me. He has the pressure to do well, and maybe he will make a mistake. I don't wish him that, but it's something that we will see.

"My feeling is that if everything is normal, we will fight [to decided the title next time] in Portimao."

The front row is dominated by Dacia as Luca Marini finished qualifying in third and Jack Miller second, the latter just 0.025 seconds behind team-mate Bagnaia.

With Quartararo so far down the grid, it sets up the possibility of Miller potentially being given room to push Bagnaia for victory.

"Nobody's said anything to me about team orders up until this point," Miller said. "It's just me as being a rider and having common sense is the main thing.

"We all want the same thing, we all want to see Ducati win, we all want to get the best for that, and at the moment Francesco is our biggest chance.

"It doesn't change anything for me. I'm there to do the best I can do. We'll see what happens in the race tomorrow, but for sure Francesco's speed around here is not doubted."

Last week's Grand Prix of the Americas winner Marc Marquez will start seventh on the grid, while Valentino Rossi is 23rd on home soil.

 

Qualifying results

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1:33.045
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.225s
3. Luca Marini (Ducati) +0.85s
4. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.268s
5. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull) +0.394s
6. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.481s
7. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.805s
8. Iker Lecuona (Tech3) +0.848s
9. Danilo Petrucci (Tech3) +1.095s
10. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +1.642s
11. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +1.198s
12. Jorge Martin (Aprilia) ++51.586s

Marc Marquez returned to the top step of the podium at the Grand Prix of the Americas, where Fabio Quartararo took another step towards the MotoGP world championship.

Six-time premier-class champion Marquez did not finish a single grand prix in 2020 due to injury and has struggled at times with his fitness again this year, unable to play a part in the title race.

But the Repsol Honda great provided a reminder of his talent with a straightforward second win of the season in Texas on Sunday.

Marquez had won on 10 of his 11 previous appearances in the United States, only failing at the previous GP of the Americas in 2019 as he retired.

He started from third but led from the first corner, ducking up the inside and never looking like relinquishing his advantage.

Marquez maintained a steady pace initially, but having held his own looked to kick clear and was comfortable all the way to prompt celebrations in his garage.

Crucially in terms of the title picture, Quartararo followed Marquez over the line, his second consecutive second-placed finish enough to stretch his season lead.

Fabio Bagnaia, Quartararo's nearest rival, started from pole for a third race running but could not follow up back-to-back victories with a third.

He was forced to settle for third and now trails by 52 points with only three grands prix remaining.

All eyes will be on Francesco Bagnaia at the Grand Prix of Americas after the Ducati star claimed his third successive pole position.

Bagnaia became the first Italian rider to clinch a hat-trick of poles since MotoGP great Valentino Rossi in 2009, while he is first Ducati to do so in consecutive events since Jorge Lorenzo in 2018.

The 24-year-old achieved the feat after snapping Honda superstar Marc Marquez's run of seven straight poles at the Grand Prix of Americas in Texas on Saturday.

Bagnaia's last lap of two minutes, 02.781seconds left six-time world champion Marquez in third as Yamaha championship leader Fabio Quartararo earned second spot.

As Bagnaia seeks to become the second Ducati rider to clinch three straight victories along with Casey Stoner (2007 and 2008), Yamaha's Rossi lavished his countryman in praise.

"Pecco is impressive, it's his third consecutive pole position, with an incredible lap," seven-time MotoGP champion Rossi said after qualifying 20th fastest.

"He's in great shape and it's a real pleasure to see him ride. It's really been a long time since I've seen the Ducati ridden so well, so I'm very happy for him."

It is set to be another showdown between Quartararo and Bagnaia, who is 48 points adrift of the Frenchman ahead of Sunday's main race with crucial championship points on the line.

Quartararo is the only MotoGP rider who has collected points in the 14 races held so far in 2021. In fact, he has picked up points in his last 15 races – his best historical run in all categories and the best of any MotoGP rider since Maverick Vinales' 16 between 2020 and 2021.

But Bagnaia said: "I took some risk to do it because this morning I was more in trouble. Then we decided to stop and try to let the bike follow the bumps better. 

"I started getting a better feeling in FP4 and in the Q2 I was able again to have the same feeling. 

"It was easier for me to push more. Then when I saw I was down [faster] in the first sector by two tenths I tried to push more and I'm very happy because we started this weekend a bit in trouble and now we are again on top."

 

Qualifying results

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 2:02.781
2. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.348secs
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.428
4. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.497
5. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.511
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.598
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.672
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.747
9. Luca Marini (Avintia) +0.765
10. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.939
11. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.000
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.094

Francesco Bagnaia was "on another level" as he sealed victory at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday, so says MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo.

Bagnaia held off Quartararo in a pulsating late battle to secure back-to-back victories, following on from his maiden MotoGP win in Aragon last time out.

Yamaha's Quartararo still holds a healthy 48-point lead over Bagnaia in the world championship standings, after the Frenchman made a late charge to secure second place ahead of rookie Enea Bastianini.

Quartararo was delighted with his ride, but was full of admiration for Bagnaia's performance at Misano.

"It was so difficult because they were attacking me from all sides and I lost quite a bit of time in the beginning," Quartararo said.

"But I gave it all and sometimes was really close to the ground. I wanted to try for the win but Francesco was on another level today, I don't know how he's doing that.

"At the end we did the job, points in the championship is really important, we still have an advantage so let's stay calm and give congratulations to Francesco because he did an amazing race."

A first MotoGP win had been a long time coming for Ducati's Bagnaia, who was delighted to so swiftly add a second, and he acknowledged a strong start was crucial to his victory.

"With soft tyres, maybe I was struggling a bit, but I tried to push in the first two or three laps to make the gap," he said.

"It was very difficult, but I tried to push. The pace was quite close.

"We worked it so perfectly, two big wins in a row is incredible for me. I was targeting to win my first race but always I was missing something and now already two, so I'm very happy."

Bastianini, meanwhile, revelled in a maiden podium appearance.

"It's possible to do this with these bikes, I know the potential," Bastianini said. 

"I battled a lot during the race, it was really difficult to close the gap. It was impossible for me to attack these two riders [Bagnaia and Quartararo] today, but it's really nice to have the first podium at Misano, it's amazing for me."

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