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Bagnaia extends MotoGP winning streak to heap pressure on Quartararo

Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia closed the gap on MotoGP leader Fabio Quartararo on Sunday after winning the San Marino Grand Prix to claim his fourth straight premier class triumph.

Ducati rider Bagnaia pipped Enea Bastianini by just 0.034 seconds in a thrilling victory at Misano Adriatico which moved him to within 30 points of reigning world champion Quartararo, who finished fifth.

The Italian moved into second spot in the championship standings ahead of Aleix Espargaro after the Spaniard finished a place behind Yamaha rider Quartararo.

Aprilia rider Espargaro is 33 points behind Quartararo after being overtaken by the Frenchman who had started on the grid in eighth.

Bagnaia’s victory was all the more impressive for him being forced to start from fifth after a three-place grid penalty imposed during practice on Friday.

“I struggled at the start because it was not so dry so I was struggling to find some grip, but then I started to feel that the fear was going down a bit and my feeling was better lap by lap,” said Bagnaia.

“In the last laps I was trying to push the gap but Enea was too fast. I’m very happy to win today, it wasn’t the best start from P5 but I did it.” 

After taking the lead on lap three Bagnaia held off first Maverick Vinales and then Bastianini to claim his sixth win from the 14 GPs completed in the 20-race season.

Bastianini will be Bagnaia’s teammate on the factory Ducati bike next season and he showed why he is moving up from the satellite Gresini team.

The 24-year-old, who had started second on the grid, pushed past Vinales and behind Bagnaia on lap 20 and then piled the pressure on his compatriot.

The pair were practically wheel-to-wheel for the final few laps and after trying to overtake with only a few turns remaining crossed the line almost alongside Bagnaia.

“The last lap I tried with everything I could to overtake Pecco but he was too good,” Bastianini told Sky Sport Italia. 

“It was a fantastic race I think it would have been difficult to do any better.”

Miller goes down –

Bagnaia’s teammate Jack Miller had started on pole for the second time in his MotoGP career but was one of five riders to crash in a chaotic opening to the race.

Johann Zarco, Michele Pirro and Pol Espargaro all crashed out on the very first corner, while Miller and Marco Bezzechi went down a lap later.

Andrea Dovizioso finished his final MotoGP race in 12th place.

Alonso Lopez became the first non-Kalex rider to win a Moto2 race since 2019 with his first ever GP triumph.

The Boscoscuro rider, who started the day 12th in the championship, finished ahead of Spaniards Aron Canet and Augusto Fernandez who snatched the overall lead from Japan’s Ai Ogura by four points. 

“It was incredible, I don’t have any words to explain it,” said Lopez.

In Moto3 Dennis Foggia made it three Misano wins in a row when he pipped Jaume Masia to close the gap between him and new championship leader Izan Guevara to 35 points.

Foggia is the first rider to complete the Moto3 hat-trick at the track and is 24 points behind Guevara’s fellow Aspar rider Sergio Garcia, who dropped down to second in the standings after being disqualified from the race for irresponsible riding.

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