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MotoGP Valencia: Bagnaia wins as Rossi bows out

Ducati Lenovo’s Pecco Bagnaia won a historic MotoGP race at Valencia leading an all-Ducati podium on Valentino Rossi’s final race.

Jorge Martin and Jack Miller completed the podium as the factory team secured the Team Championship, alongside the already won Manufacturers prize. While the circuit erupted to the sound of fireworks and applause as the 42-year-old legend bowed out in style.

MotoGP was unanimous on tyre choice as the grid lined up on hard front, medium rear Michelins. The nine-time World Champion preparing for his 432nd and final Grand Prix race of his illustrious 26-year career from 10th as rookie Jorge Martin took his place on pole.


Repsol Honda missing from the race in its entirety as both Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro sat out of the season finale due to injury.

Martin maintained his advantage at lights out as Jack Miller got the better of his Ducati teammate, Bagnaia dropped to fourth as Mir took third. Rossi came through to ninth from Johann Zarco with Alex Rins, Fabio Quartararo, Aleix Espargaro and Brad Binder battling for fifth to eighth.

Miller took the lead as the second lap began but Martin struck back moments later. Mir coming through to second at turn four with Bagnaia behind for fourth. The Ducati battle fired up as Bagnaia repeatedly looked to find a way though on the Australian. The Portimao winner succeeding down the home straight and up the inside into turn one with Rins capitalising as he too dropped Miller to fifth.

Bagnaia was up to second as lap four began, Zarco bettering 'The Doctor’ for ninth further back with Takaaki Nakagami, Andrea Dovizioso and Franky Morbidelli now behind.

Rins was on a charge as he flew through to third over his Suzuki teammate, Miller defending hard from Quartararo before the World Champion claimed the position halfway round lap five.

Nakagami became the first victim of the Ricardo Tormo Circuit as his LCR slid out at turn six. Enea Bastianini capturing his 11th place behind Rossi over Morbidelli and Dovizioso, with the Rookie of the Year title in his sights.

Rins looked to challenge Bagnaia with the Ducati man immediately striking back. Two-tenths splitting the pair, with the same gap to the leader out front, as lap seven began.

The pace increased as the race unfolded, Martin running 1’31.5 as he looked calm and collected in control. Rossi setting his own personal best lap on the seventh revolution, with 20 left to play, despite being demoted out of the top 10 by Bastianini.

Miller advanced back in to the top five as lap 10 began, the Ducati quickly dropping the M1 as he pushed to reel in the Suzukis ahead.


The trio out front were inseparable as the mid-race played out. Rins struggling to find a way through on the Ducati before disaster struck at turn six and he slid out of contention.

Rossi returned to 10th due to the fallen Suzuki, Morbidelli and Dovizioso his nearest rivals but eight-tenths back.

Martin’s first sector prowess continued to deny Bagnaia the lead, Mir six-tenths back on the duelling duo with Miller a further half-second behind at half distance but closing fast.

Bagnaia showed a wheel with 13 to go, finally capitalising at turn 14 as the lap reached its conclusion with Mir now in touch, three-tenths back.


The Italian pulled out a half-second gap by the close of the next revolution - and with it the best race lap record. Martin regrouping to protect second as Mir fell into the clutches of Miller.

The Australian finally returned to third with nine laps to go, dispatching the Suzuki at turn two to lock out the podium positions for Ducati, as Morbidelli ran close to Rossi back in 10th.

Zarco dispatched Espargaro for sixth to circulate behind his countryman, Quartararo however, sitting a comfortable two seconds ahead.

Five laps remained as Binder bettered Espargaro for seventh. Miller looking to draw in Martin out front as half a second spilt the leading trio equally. Mir fading to here seconds adrift with Quartararo a further seventh-tenths behind.

Espargaro continued to fade as Bastianini became the next to capitalise, the Aprilia running ninth with three laps to go. But with Martin running second the Avintia rider’s ‘Rookie’ hopes were out of reach.

The final lap saw Bagnaia over a second clear in the lead, Miller on the wheels of his Pramac rival for a last lap duel with Rossi maintaining his top 10 run for his final farewell.

Bagnaia claimed his fourth victory of 2021 at the head of an all-Ducati podium. Martin holding off Miller at the line with Mir and Quartararo completing the top five.

Zarco met the Ronaldo-waved flag in sixth from Binder, Bastianini and Espargaro with Rossi crossing the line for the final time in 10th ahead of his friend and Academy rider Morbidelli.

Dovizioso claimed 12th from Alex Marquez’s solo Honda, Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona with Maverick Viñales and Luca Marini heading Danilo Petrucci in the Tech3 rider’s final MotoGP race before he heads to the desert with the Dakar Rally.

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