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

Andrea Dovizioso has announced that he will end his illustrious MotoGP career after the San Marino Grand Prix next month.

The Italian will not see the MotoGP season out with Yamaha, having won only 10 points from 11 rounds this year.

Dovizioso is 22nd in the championship standings after signing a full factory contract with the Iwata outfit for 2022 and has decided to quit after his home race at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli on September 4.

Yamaha test rider Cal Crutchlow will replace the 36-year-old for the final six rounds of the season, starting at the Aragon GP.

Lin Jarvis, managing director Yamaha Motor Racing, said: "I want to start by saying that, of course, we are all sad that Andrea will be leaving the sport earlier than expected. He is a big name in MotoGP, and he will be missed in the paddock.

"We considered ourselves very lucky last year that he was available and willing to join our MotoGP programme when Franky [Franco Morbidelli] switched to the Yamaha Factory Team thus creating the need for a replacement rider for the remainder of the 2021 season.

"Andrea's great expertise, experience, and methodical nature were of great interest to Yamaha and the RNF team and the project was fixed to include the full 2022 season.

"Unfortunately, Andrea has struggled to extract the maximum potential out of the M1 and thus the results have not been forthcoming, which has created understandable frustration for Andrea. Finally during the summer break, he confirmed to us his desire to retire before the end of the season.

"After mutual discussions it was deemed appropriate for Andrea to ride his final race in Misano at his home GP. Naturally, Yamaha will continue to give 'Dovi' their full support over the next three races. In the meantime, let's enjoy his last three GPs and celebrate in Misano the end of a spectacular career."

Dovizioso said: "I thank Lin for his words, I totally agree with them. In 2012, the experience with the Iwata manufacturer in MotoGP had been very positive for me and since then I have always thought that, sooner or later, I would have liked to have an official contract with Yamaha. This possibility presented itself, actually in a somewhat daring way, during 2021. I decided to give it a try because I strongly believed in this project and in the possibility of doing well.

"Unfortunately, in recent years the MotoGP has changed profoundly. The situation is very different since then: I have never felt comfortable with the bike, and I have not been able to make the most of its potential despite the precious and continuous help from the team and the whole of Yamaha. The results were negative, but beyond that, I still consider it a very important life experience. When there are so many difficulties, you need to have the ability to manage the situation and your emotions well.

"We did not reach the desired objectives, but the consultations with the Yamaha technicians and with those of my team have always been positive and constructive, both for them and for me. The relationship remained loyal and professionally interesting even in the most critical moments: it was not so obvious that that would happen.

"For all this and for their support, I thank Yamaha, my team and WithU, and the other sponsors involved in the project. It didn't go as we hoped, but it was right to try. My adventure will end in Misano, but the relationship with all the people involved in this challenge will remain intact forever. Thank you all.2

Dovizioso has won 24 races and has finished the season as a runner-up on three occasions in the premier class.

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."

Fabio Quartararo declared he is "riding better than ever" after a tyre choice gamble paid off at the German Grand Prix on Sunday.

Track temperatures exceeded 50 degrees at the Sachsenring, where Francesco Bagnaia started on pole, with reigning MotoGP world champion Quartararo one of just two riders to opt for the medium rear tyre.

The Frenchman's decision was rewarded as he overtook Bagnaia on Turn 1, with Quartararo leading for all 30 laps and winning the race by almost five seconds to extend his lead in the championship to 34 points.

Bagnaia crashed out on lap four, losing the rear end of his GP22 for his fourth abandonment of the season, and last year's runner-up now sits 91 points behind Quartararo.

While Bagnaia was left to rue his mistake, Quartararo admitted he was nervous about his tyre decision.

"I feel tired. I was sick all weekend and during the race I was coughing a bit," Quartararo told reporters.

"I have no words. We took a choice on the rear tyre, the medium, that was really risky and in the race we were lucky because it dropped much more than expected.

"But I'm super happy. A really, really special victory, it was a little bit like Barcelona.

"On Friday I was not so great, yesterday was much better and this morning, with the medium tyre I felt it was the correct choice.

"In the race the conditions were totally different and from the beginning I was scared because I was using the tyre a little bit more than expected to ride fast.

"The last five, six laps were a total disaster from the rear. But the feeling on the front was super good."

Yamaha's Quartararo picked up his third win of 2022, adding to victories at the Portuguese Grand Prix and Catalan Grand Prix, and the 23-year-old feels he is in the form of his life.

"Of course, I'm feeling better than ever every time I race," the defending world champion added.

"I'm learning and I feel like every time I find something. The focus here was to make 30 laps in front and being consistent was something difficult.

"Barcelona helped me a lot because I had a similar situation, but of course I'm feeling confident and I feel I'm riding better than ever."

Fabio Quartararo extended his MotoGP championship lead with victory at the German Grand Prix, where Francesco Bagnaia suffered yet more disappointment by crashing out.

Bagnaia had won twice in his past four races and set a scorching pace to claim pole at Sachsenring, but he was overtaken by Quartararo on Turn 1 and lasted three more laps.

In an attempt to reclaim first place from reigning world champion Quartararo, Bagnaia lost the rear end of his GP22 when coming through Turn 1 on lap four and left the track.

Bagnaia was unhurt physically, but his furious reaction said it all, with last year's runner-up now 91 points behind Quartararo and surely out of title contention for another year.

It was the fourth abandonment of the season for the Ducati rider, which is two more failures than he suffered throughout last year's 18-race campaign.

Adding to his victory at the Catalan Grand Prix last time out, Quartararo had no trouble in retaining his lead in Germany to move 34 points in front of Aleix Espargaro in the championship.

Monster Energy Yamaha's Quartararo is the first MotoGP rider other than Marc Marquez to win on this track since 2012, with the Spaniard missing this race due to injury.

Pramac Racing's Johann Zarco stayed safe in second place, 5.3 seconds behind the race winner, while Jack Miller did brilliantly to pip Espargaro to a place on the podium.

Luca Marini and Zarco's team-mate Jorge Martin completed the top six, with the latter returning to action after a period out following hand surgery.

Elsewhere, Maverick Vinales was forced to retire with 13 laps to go due to his rear ride-height device jamming. Joan Mir and Pol Espargaro were also among those not to finish.


TOP 10

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha)
2. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +4.939s
3. Jack Miller (Ducati) +8.372s
4. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +9.113s
5. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) +11.679s
6. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +13.164s
7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +15.405s
8. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini) +15.851s
9. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +19.740s
10. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) +21.611s

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Riders
1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 172
2. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) 138
3. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) 111
4. Enea Bastianini (Gresini) 100
5. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) 82

Teams
1. Monster Energy Yamaha 197
2. Aprilia Racing 184
3. Pramac Racing 172
4. Ducati 162
5. Red Bull KTM 146

Aleix Espargaro continued his dominant form in Barcelona by setting a "totally crazy" lap record to claim pole position for the Catalan Grand Prix.

Aprilia rider Espargaro topped three of the four practice sessions and was able to see off Francesco Bagnaia's late charge in qualifying on Saturday.

The Spaniard blitzed to a lap record of 1:38.771 in the third practice session and promptly broke his own mark with a time of 1:38.742 in qualifying.

Espargaro, whose only previous pole this season came in Argentina in round three, finished 0.031 seconds ahead of Bagnaia at a scorching Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Reflecting on an impressive showing in his home country, the 32-year-old said: "I did a totally crazy lap, slipping around everywhere and in truth I didn't really appreciate this lap.

"I was on the limit on each bend. The conditions today were super difficult. I'd say the most difficult I've experienced this season."

Espargaro is eight points behind reigning MotoGP champion and 2022 pacesetter Fabio Quartararo, who finished third in qualifying.

However, Espargaro has failed to finish in six of his seven appearances at the Catalan Grand Prix, completing the race only once when finishing 12th in 2020.

Monster Energy Yamaha rider Quartararo has finished on the podium in three of his last four races, meanwhile, and is one shy of finishing in the top three for a 25th time.

After struggling in practice, Quartararo is pleased to be behind only Espargaro and Ducati's Bagnaia heading into Sunday's race.

"I would have signed up for such a result, indeed," he said. "I would have been satisfied with second row, because yesterday's practice was a disaster. Nothing seemed to work.

"Technically we opted for a big change of setting today, and the track conditions also changed."

Bagnaia also has no complaints following a well-fought qualifying session in which 0.403s separated Espargaro in first and Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins in seventh.

"It wasn't easy because of the heat, which made the track slippery. For my part, I couldn't do any more," he said.

"I'm very happy with the work we did. We are close to Aleix in terms of the race pace."

Bagnaia, who has won his past three races held in Spain, added: "This is turning into one of the most difficult world championships.

"Tomorrow it will be essential to understand the grip of the track so as not to use the tyres too much. All the bikes are very fast and practically every driver is a world champion."

 

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) 1:38.742
2. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.031s
3. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.217s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.285s
5. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) +0.357s
6. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.400s
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.403s
8. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) +0.655s
9. Luca Marini (Mooney Racing) +0.709s
10. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) +0.735s

MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo says Monster Energy Yamaha's pledge to improve on their bike's shortcomings convinced him to commit to a new two-year deal with the team.

Quartararo, who finished ahead of Francesco Bagnaia to become the first Frenchman to be crowned MotoGP world champion in 2021, extended his contract through the 2024 season on Thursday.

The 23-year-old again tops the driver's standings after eight races of the 2022 campaign, having posted three podium finishes in his last four outings, but had previously hinted at a move elsewhere after becoming irritated by the M1's lack of power.

After claiming his first win of the season at the Portuguese Grand Prix in April, Quartararo revealed his frustration that the team had "not made a massive improvement on the bike."

While Quartararo admits he talked to various teams before signing his new deal, he has now revealed Yamaha's promise of substantial investment to improve the bike convinced him to commit his future to the side. 

"It was not an easy decision, and we took a little bit more time to evaluate all the project," he said.

"As you can imagine, we were not talking only to Yamaha. At one stage, my head was going to one side, then one week later I wanted to go [somewhere else] and it was a little bit difficult.

"Basically, my first goal is to have the best bike and best project. And they convinced me because they will bring new people, engineers, and they know exactly where they need to improve.

"In the past, maybe they were working on a few areas, but they didn't really accept that the bike was more slow than the others. And now they know, and they will clearly work on this weak point.

"To be fair, I feel super good on the bike. Of course, every rider always wants more. But the only thing that we're missing compared to the others is the speed.

"So that's what made me really take the decision to stay in Yamaha. I know that they're pushing to bring more power, and I feel good on the bike.

"I'm super happy because they really understand, and they are doing their best to find what we are missing. Many people, engineers, will go into the engine side and work on that part of the bike."

Quartararo will hope to celebrate his new deal by continuing his strong recent form at Sunday's Catalan Grand Prix, where he posted a disappointing sixth-placed finish from pole last year.

Fabio di Giannantonio claimed a stunning maiden MotoGP pole in his home race at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello on Saturday. 

The rookie Gresini rider snatched pole as rainy conditions hovered over the Mugello circuit, leading an Italian front three on the grid with Valentino Rossi duo Marco Bezzecchi and Luca Marini was halted due to a red flag.

Initial spots of rain prompted the field to venture out on rain tyres expect Brad Binder, who gambled and lapped almost three seconds quicker, forcing the rest to return to the pits for slicks.

Di Giannantonio took chances on the testy Mugello circuit, sticking his 2021-spec Gresini on pole with a time of 1:46.156, and his response post-qualifying was naturally one of excitement.

"It’s one thing unimaginable, since you arrive right here in Mugello and anticipate to do a superb outcome for all of the individuals who come for you, who cheer for you, all of the help that you’ve got right here in your house race," he said post-qualifying.

"Already using a Ducati MotoGP bike in Mugello is one thing unimaginable, and getting to the pole place is one thing else.

"It was such a fantastic finish of the day for me, and one of many desires of my life is to be high on the grid in MotoGP."

Johann Zarco briefly held provisional pole but had to settle for fourth on his Pramac Ducati, ahead of Francesco Bagnaia on the factory Ducati.

He was followed by reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo, with Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro and LCR Honda's Takaaki Nakagami rounding out the second row.

While Jack Miller missed out on Q2, but qualifying was ultimately marred by a fiery crash for Marc Marquez, who had a big highside at Luco.

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) 1:46.156
2. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46) +0.088s
3. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46) +0.171s
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.227s
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.315s
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.350s
7. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.351s
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +0.405s
9. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +0.511s
10. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.523s

Francesco Bagnaia secured another lap record and so another pole position at the French Grand Prix on Saturday, this time leading a Ducati one-two ahead of Jack Miller.

Bagnaia had ended defending MotoGP champion Fabio Quartararo's sequence of four consecutive poles last time out at the Grand Prix of Spain, setting a Jerez record.

The Italian protected that position to win for the first time this season and will hope to repeat the feat at Le Mans, where he was again dominant in qualifying.

Bagnaia's time of 1:30.450 edged out Miller by 0.069 seconds, with Quartararo – looking to become the first home winner in France since 1954 – forced to settle for fourth.

But the Monster Energy Yamaha rider, who again leads the standings, recognises Bagnaia and Ducati are doing something special in qualifying.

Indeed, Bagnaia has a leading eight poles since the start of last season.

"I was disappointed, but two minutes later I was happy," Quartararo said. "On the qualifying, we miss something – all the time, not only in qualifying. 

"Ducati is able to really do something crazy – and the riders, I would not say only Ducati.  

"But we are all the same in the race pace, so it's difficult to really make the difference."

Even so, Bagnaia believes Quartararo will be the man to beat, although he added: "I think after the modification I did in qualifying, I am more close now.

"But it's difficult to say now. The forecast says tomorrow it will rain. I hope it will not be like this, but it looks like it could be."

PROVISIONAL GRID

1. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) 1:30.450
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.069s
3. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) +0.159s
4. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.238s
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.261s
6. Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) +0.413s
7. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.493s
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.527s
9. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.618s
10. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.698s

Jorge Martin led the first ever Ducati quintet in a stunning MotoGP qualifying, finishing top of the time sheets at Circuit of the Americas on Saturday.

Martin's pole was enough to set a new all-time MotoGP lap record around COTA, while also keeping his front-row start record in 2022 unblemished.

Jack Miller shot to the top of the order, clearing Ducati factory teammate Francesco Bagnaia and it looked good enough to secure pole for the Australian at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

Enter the qualifying specialist Martin, however, gaining close to two tenths in the final sector on his way to setting a new all-time lap record at COTA by just three thousandths of a second.

Seven-time pole winner at this track and dubbed the King of COTA, Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez made an error on his final lap in Q3, meaning a starting position of ninth – his worst qualifying result in Austin.

Behind the top three of Martin, Miller and Bagnaia to clear out the front row for Ducati was the second Pramac bike of Johann Zarco, who finished over five tenths off Martin's pole time.

Reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo was in a decent rhythm in the early stages of qualifying, but slid his Yamaha off at the penultimate corner.

He was able to get back out onto a second bike, but was nearly sixth tenths off the eventual pace in sixth, the only Yamaha in the top 12 qualifiers.

Pole and race winner at the Argentine Grand Prix last weekend, Aleix Espargaro will be heading from row fourth row in 13th, just missing out on the final qualifying session.

Provisional classification

1. Jorge Martin (Pramac Ducati) 2:02.029
2. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.003s
3. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.128
4. Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) +0.531
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Ducati) +0.539
6. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Yamaha) +0.595
7. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.655
8. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.908
9. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +0.999
10. Takami Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.015
11. Luca Marini (Mooney Ducati) +1.020
12. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda) +1.057

 

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo says he felt the best he has for "a long time" after storming to pole position in qualifying for Sunday's Indonesian Grand Prix.

The 22-year-old edged out Jorge Martin with a lap of 1:31.067 on Saturday, securing a place at the front of the grid for the first time since the Catalan Grand Prix in June last year.

Quartararo's compatriot Johann Zarco will join the duo on the front row after posting a personal best time on his final lap, with Brad Binder and Enea Bastianini, the latter fresh from his maiden MotoGP victory in Qatar two weeks ago, both doing likewise to qualify as fourth and fifth fastest.

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez, meanwhile, crashed twice and will start from 14th as Honda experienced problems with their tyres in the heat.

"I felt great, finally on one lap, it's a long time since I felt so good," Quartararo, who came a disappointing ninth in Qatar, told reporters.

"Here I felt good from FP2 when I put in the soft rear and actually in FP4, I'm super happy because I made 15, 14 laps in a row and the pace was really good. 

"I think it was the most important thing to make those laps in a row and see the consistency of the tyres.

'I'm pretty happy, I expected much more drop from the rear and I feel great."

"With our bike we struggle quite a lot to overtake and then I think you need to play a little bit with the pressure before the start," he said, as reported by Autosport.

"But in this kind of track, where it's hot, it's always better to start at the front than on the back.

"So, I feel like it's a great track to start from the front row and let's see how my start goes."

Provisional classification

1. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.067
2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) +0.213
3. Johann Zarco (Ducati) +0.311
4. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM) +0.366
5. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) +0.437
6. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) +0.440
7. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM) +0.499
8. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.515
9. Jack Miller (Ducati) +0.647
10. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia) +0.656
11. Fabio di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing) +0.762
12. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.507

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."

Maverick Vinales has left Monster Energy Yamaha ahead of schedule, the team announced on Friday.

Vinales and Yamaha agreed earlier this season to cut short a contract that was supposed to run through 2022, with the rider instead leaving at the end of this season.

But Vinales was at the centre of controversy at the Styrian Grand Prix, where he failed to finish.

The Spaniard cited electrical issues with his bike, but Yamaha told of his "irregular operation of the motorcycle", which "could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine".

Vinales was then cut from the Austrian GP and now will not ride for the team again.

The decision was announced in a statement, with Yamaha's team managing director Lin Jarvis explaining: "In Assen, Yamaha and Vinales already announced the mutual decision to cut short their original 2021-2022 programme and to finish it at the end of 2021.

"A commitment was made by both rider and team to continue to the end of the current season, with the team guaranteeing its full support and the rider giving his maximum efforts so that we could finish the project 'in style'.

"Regretfully, at the Styrian GP, the race did not go well or end well and consequently, after deep consideration by both parties, the mutual decision was reached that it would be better for both parties if we end the partnership earlier.

"The early separation will release the rider to be free to follow his chosen future direction and will also permit the team to focus its efforts on the remaining races of the 2021 season with a replacement rider – yet to be determined."

Vinales joined Monster Energy Yamaha in 2017 after leaving Team Suzuki Ecstar, where he had one victory across his first two seasons in MotoGP.

With Yamaha, Vinales added eight more victories among 24 podiums, finishing third in the championship in 2017 and 2019.

This year, he started the year with a triumph at the Qatar GP and was second as recently as the Dutch TT, where the initial announcement with Yamaha was agreed.

Vinales is sixth in the standings at the time of his departure.

Monster Energy Yamaha have withdrawn rider Maverick Vinales from Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix following his "irregular operation of the motorcycle" in last week's race.

The 26-year-old failed to finish the Styrian Grand Prix due to what he put down to multiple electrical issues.

However, Yamaha said in a statement on Thursday that Vinales' actions "could have potentially caused significant damage to the engine" and have withdrawn the Spaniard from the 11th round of the championship.

Yamaha's decision was taken after "an in-depth analysis of telemetry and data over the last days".

Vinales, who races alongside championship leader Fabio Quartararo, will not be replaced by another rider at the Red Bull Ring.

The nine-time MotoGP race winner announced in June that he is to leave Yamaha a year early at the end of the 2021 season.

MotoGP championship leader Fabio Quartararo enjoyed a "good day" at the Styrian Grand Prix, as his podium finish and Jorge Martin's win extended his lead at the top of the standings.

Quartararo finished third in a race that was suspended for half an hour due to an early crash, which saw two bikes engulfed in flames.

Both riders – Dani Pedrosa and Lorenzo Savadori – escaped relatively unscathed, though the latter was unable to restart the race.

The restart benefited Martin, who had set a record time at the Red Bull Ring to take pole position in Saturday's qualifying session.

Francesco Bagnaia had overtaken the Pramac Racing rider but, despite an early attack from Jack Miller after the restart, Martin recovered to cruise to his maiden MotoGP triumph.

Behind Martin, Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) claimed second, with Quartararo nipping into third – Miller's hopes fading when he skidded off the track at Turn 7 with 10 laps remaining.

Quartararo (172) now has a 40-point lead over Johann Zarco, who finished sixth, in the championship standings, with Mir further behind on 121.

"It feels so good because when there is a red flag it is always tough," said Quartararo.

"I was extremely good on the braking on Turn 3. I knew that there was a possibility to overtake and did it.

"I don't really know the position of the other guys apart from Joan and Jorge finishing in front. I am so happy. The best goal was to finish on the podium and we did it. So happy for Jorge, he took some points off Joan, so a good day."

Martin, meanwhile, was ecstatic after achieving what he labelled the first step on his path to pushing for world championship glory.

"I can't believe it, I don't believe it, that's why I'm not so excited! I think the ride was amazing. I kept a really constant pace. I was super focused," said the 23-year-old.

"Even if I did some mistakes, my target was to win the race. Joan was impressive today, he was behind me almost all the race but then in the last laps I tried a bit more and I took a gap for the lead.

"The last laps I was thinking about things – everyone who has helped me to be here – that's why I did worse in the last laps but I had this gap to manage. Thanks to all my family, this is one big step towards my big area to be world champion."

Reigning world champion Mir said: "Today was close. I'm happy because all weekend we have been there, overall.

"I needed a couple of faster laps to fight with Jorge, he did a great job. We must push a bit more, find something more for next weekend if we want to be on the top of the podium.

"I am proud of the team, they have done a great job and finally, the performance is higher, so happy and proud of them."

Page 1 of 3
© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.