The Italian, who achieved his first win of the season in Jerez, defeated the Frenchman in his particular duel with Aleix Espargaró in third place
Before starting, the 2022 MotoGP World Championship was planned as an even war, although on paper with four names above the rest: the champion Fabio Quartararo, the runner-up Pecco Bagnaia, the 2020 champion Joan Mir and the six-time champion Marc Márquez . Before arriving in Jerez, ten riders had already been on the podium, which ratified this presumption of equality, although among the theoretical favorites, only Quartararo responded to expectations.
The Frenchman, who came as the leader tied with Álex Rins, had pointed out as an important moment for his aspirations the trio of races Portugal-Jerez-France in which the championship is immersed. He won at the first stop and threatened to do so at the second. In fact, on Friday he appeared as the man to beat on the Andalusian track, although on Saturday there was a rider who came very close to him: Bagnaia.
The Italian, with problems at the start of the season with the latest version of the Ducati, had been improving over the course of the first Grand Prix at the cost of gray results (fall in Qatar, fourteenth in Indonesia, two-fifths in Argentina and the United States). States and an eighth in Portugal). This progression led him to the point of being able to sign a powerful pole position in Jerez, with a record included, from which he prepared his attack to victory in the race.
«I was aware that Fabio was the man to beat, but in terms of pace I was clear that the problem was going to be the pressure of the front tire due to the temperatures. That’s why he needed to be ahead », he explained after dominating the 25 laps of the race, at a pace very similar to that of his rival with whom he maintained a margin that barely exceeded seven tenths of a second. All in a stress test marked by high temperatures and the need not to overheat the front rubber while in the wake of another bike.
«I knew that if I couldn’t overtake him in the first few laps it was going to be very difficult for me to maintain the correct pressure in the front tire, which was what happened, so I tried to keep the correct distance during the race because immediately the front end moved. a lot, I skidded a lot”, corroborated Quartararo, trying to explain why the race did not leave many overtaking. This circumstance allowed Bagnaia to keep the MotoGP leader at bay, to once again present his candidacy to fight for the crown.
«The victory has come after a difficult period, we have never stopped working, and finally after so much hard work at home and here we begin to show the potential that we already knew was in this bike, but that we had a hard time showing. » concluded Bagnaia.
The fight for the podium
Behind, in the second step of the rhythm, a group of three was formed, with Jack Miller, Marc Márquez and Aleix Espargaró, where there was more fighting. The one that Márquez raised in the first place, who taught part of his essence by not giving up in the effort to add his first box of 2022 and also by leaving one of the images of the test when saving a fall in the last corner in full struggle with their rivals. Espargaró took advantage of this incident to pass both him and Miller and thus put one more point and open a gap that allowed him to sign his third podium of the course, the second in a row, a result that leaves him as second overall at seven points of Quartararo (Rins failed and was left without scoring).
“Fabio is last year’s champion, the third part of the championship has already passed and we are only seven points behind him,” said the Aprilia rider. «This train only passes once in a lifetime, especially in my case, and I will try not to get off it. I know that especially with respect to Fabio and with Pecco, when they are in their sweet moment, something is still missing. We have to improve the bike and myself a bit, but consistency will be the key », he added.
Márquez ended up beating Miller to be fourth and get what is so far his best result of the year. «I have fought as I fought in Portimao with my brother Álex for sixth place, as if it were for a victory. They are realistic goals, because in this way there is no frustration and there is always that little motivation that can help you for the next races”, the Repsol Honda rider consoled himself, still searching for the moment to recover his competitiveness and that of his motorcycle .
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