Valencia MotoGP: Bagnaia crowned 2022 champion, Rins wins finale
Francesco Bagnaia was crowned the 2022 MotoGP world champion after finishing the Valencia Grand Prix in ninth with Fabio Quartararo fourth, as Alex Rins took an emotional race win for Suzuki.
Yamaha’s Quartararo needed to win the race to have any chance of retaining his crown, with Bagnaia simply needing to finish in 14th to secure Ducati’s first world title in MotoGP since 2007.
Despite an incredibly tense race, with Quartararo beating Bagnaia on track, ninth at the chequered flag was enough for the Italian to win the championship – becoming the first Italian to do so since Valentino Rossi in 2009, and the first rider in history to do so having registered five DNFs.
At the front, Rins fended off early pressure from Pramac’s Jorge Martin to claim an emotional final victory for Suzuki in the Japanese marque’s last race in MotoGP.
Rins converted fifth on the grid to the holeshot to grab the early lead aboard, with poleman Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez slotting in behind.
Quartararo briefly dropped behind Bagnaia into Turn 1, but was back ahead again by Turn 2 as the pair debated fifth.
An aggressive overtake from Marquez on the second factory Ducati of Miller into Turn 8 on the opening lap promoted the Honda man up to third and opened the door for Quartararo to come into fourth.
Quartararo defended against Miller on the run into Turn 1 at the start of the second tour, but was powerless to stop the Australian demoting him into Turn 2.
Miller opened the door for teammate Bagnaia to come through also, leading to contact between the title rivals which ripped a wing off of the right side of Bagnaia’s Ducati.
Quartararo would overtake Bagnaia on lap four into Turn 6 to move back into fifth, as the Ducati rider steadily began to fall down the order.
Alex Rins, Team Suzuki MotoGP
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Bagnaia found himself passed by KTM’s Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira, the Suzuki of Joan Mir, VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini and Gresini’s Enea Bastianini to slip down to ninth.
In clear air once free of Bagnaia, Quartararo was able to close in on the leading quartet – with Marquez having pulled out a gap of 1.8s while the title rivals battle.
Quartararo was able to close this down, and was promoted two spots when Marquez crashed out of fourth going into Turn 8 on lap 10 of 27, before Miller slid out of fourth on lap 23.
But Quartararo could do no more than fourth as he ended up 0.852s behind Martin at the chequered flag.
Brad Binder came through to snatch second from Martin on the penultimate lap to equal his best result of the year, with the Pramac rider holding the final podium spot.
Oliveira was 5.2s adrift of Quartararo in fifth on his final appearance for KTM, with Joan Mir sixth on Suzuki’s farewell ahead of Marini and Bastianini.
Bagnaia took the chequered flag in ninth to emotional celebratory scenes with his entire Ducati crew, his fellow VR46 riders and Valentino Rossi himself – while Quartararo was the first to congratulate him on the cooldown lap.
Franco Morbidelli came close to passing his fellow VR46 Academy rider on the last lap, but the Yamaha runner settled for 10th ahead of VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi, Tech 3’s Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner, LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami and Gresini’s Fabio Di Giannantonio.
RNF Racing’s Cal Crutchlow recovered to 16th after an early crash, with LCR’s Alex Marquez the last runner in 17th after also tumbling out of contention.
Bike problems forced Aprilia duo Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales into early retirements, with Honda’s Pol Espargaro, RNF’s Darryn Binder and Pramac’s Johann Zarco all crashing out.
Bagnaia won the 2022 MotoGP world title by 17 points from Quartararo, with Bastianini completing the top three in the standings ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Miller.
Despite his crash, and missing eight races in total in 2022, Marc Marquez ended the year as the top Honda rider in 13th in the standings
Valencia MotoGP - Race results:
|15||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||31.819|
|17||Alex Marquez||Honda||1 Lap|
|View full results|
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