With a thrilling last lap pass on Francesco Bagnaia, Enea Bastianini won the Aragon MotoGP Grand Prix and ended Bagnaia’s winning streak at four consecutive races. It was Bastianini’s fourth win of the season.
“I gained on [Bagnaia] on the last lap and it was possible to attack this time,” Bastianini said on NBC Sports’ coverage. “I was able to win this race and now we go onto Japan.”
Bastianini stalked Bagnaia for the entire race, On the final lap, Bagnaia was forced to balance his need for the 20 championship points that came with a second-place finish and his desire to become the third rider in MotoGP history to win five in a row. The need for points was even more important because the championship leader, Fabio Quartararo, suffered a Lap 1 crash and failed to earn any at all.
Bagnaia entered the race having shaved 61 points off Quartararo’s lead in the last four rounds. He took another 20-point bite in the Aragon Grand Prix and now trails by 10 with five rounds remaining.
“It’s been great,” Bagnaia said. “I did my maximum and on the final lap it looked like there was more traction. Enea did an incredible job all weekend. It was already known that he and Fabio were the fastest – and Fabio had an unlucky crash on the first lap.
“In any case I did my best and on the final lap I didn’t feel like I was able to overtake Enea because I was already taking too many risks the lap before, so 20 points were important and it’s okay.”
An extremely costly Sunday for @FabioQ20's world championship hopes! 💥
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 18, 2022
The championship battle took a dramatic turn on Lap 1. Making his return to MotoGP competition after undergoing multiple surgeries on his arm, Marc Marquez was determined to be a factor.
In the first two turns of the race, Marquez blasted past seven riders into the lead pack. In Turn 3, his back tire slipped and Quartararo had nowhere to go. Quartararo clipped Marquez’s bike and he was pitched from his Yamaha, finishing last and earning no points.
“It was really unlucky,” Marquez said on NBC Sports’ coverage. “In Turn 3, I had a moment when I lost the rear and Fabio was really close like normal on the first lap and then I received the contact.”
Marquez sustained significant damage and was also forced to retire from the race.
At the front of the pack, Bagnaia was chasing the record book.
Leading early, he momentarily gave up the lead to Bastianini until that rider went too hard into a corner and pushed wide. Bagnaia pounced and retook the top spot, but was unable to shake the rider who will be his 2023 teammate at Ducati. Bastianini stalked Bagnaia for most of the race, but knew the pass had to be squeaky clean. Exiting a turn midway through the final lap, he completed the pass.
The two leaders crossed under the checkers 0.042 seconds apart as Bagnaia pulled up to the back tire of the winner.
With their 1-2 finish, Bastianini and Bagnaia clinched the manufacturers’ championship for Ducati.
The battle for the final podium position was also determined late in the race as Aleix Espargaro made an equally dramatic pass on Brad Binder with two to go. Jack Miller rounded out the top five as those three riders were separated by about eight-tenths of a second.
Riding with a broken finger, Espargaro closed his gap to 17 points and is also in title contention.
In Moto2, rookie Pedro Acosta scored his second win of the season over Aron Canet and points’ leader Augusto Fernandez.
Fernandez holds a slim seven-point advantage over Ai Ogura, who finished fourth.
Americans Joe Roberts and Cameron Beaubier finished ninth and 11th respectively.