Fabio Quartararo retires on fall and loses big, Francesco Bagnaia winner

Fabio Quartararo retires on fall and loses big, Francesco Bagnaia winner

Quartararo makes a mistake and Bagnaia takes advantage. Yet confident before the start, Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha Factory) suffered a first crash in the race this season, Sunday on the legendary circuit of Assen (Netherlands). El Diablo fell after four laps trying inside on Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia). Embarrassed by the maneuver of the Nice and demoted to 15th place, the Catalan produced an ascent as it is not often done (4th on arrival).

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Obviously, all this fuss played into the hands of an imperturbable Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) winner, ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46), second, and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia), third. Never in the game, Johann Zarco finished 13th. The only blue clearing in the low Dutch sky, Quartararo retained the lead in the championship.

Quartararo misses out, Bagnaia is reassured

If there was a place where confidence transpired under the Fabio Quartararo suit, it was in the cathedral of Assen, historic circuit of the oldest Grand Prix in history (1949). El Diablo martyred the lap times, posting an unequaled pace all weekend long. And while all the lights were flashing a radiant green, the Niçois still found a few tricks during this morning’s warm-up, the last rehearsal before the big lift.

At the start, the first laps of the reigning world champion were timid, quickly overwhelmed by Bagnaia and Espargaro. After a few loops just to break in, Quartararo swooped down on the Spaniard, applying himself to attacking him in the slowest corner, n°5. Problem, the French lost the front and pushed the Aprilia rider into the gravel.

Although back on his mount, the Frenchman is pushed back to 24th place, dead last. The machine damaged, the Niçois fell a second time, again at turn 5, but more violently. A fall from the back which forced him (14 laps from the end) to retire, he who had pushed to continue his work, despite a wing in crumbs. A zero that inevitably delights the big winner of the day, Pecco Bagnaia. The Turinese quietly managed his race, without overdoing it, contenting himself with stabilizing a gap of one and a half seconds over Marco Bezzecchi. The Ducati rider is eating away at part of his championship lag, and is only 66 points behind the leader. A dream accounting operation before a well-deserved summer break.

Espargaro, the crazy ascent

Behind Bagnaia, Marco Bezzecchi confirmed his good disposition displayed on this winding and demanding track. The Italian, second, opened his podium counter in MotoGP, the first of the team built by Valentino Rossi. First day therefore, since Maverick Vinales has confirmed his return to the heights of the grid, with a third place synonymous with his first presence on the box with Aprilia. And what was his surprise to see the bubbling Aleix Espargaro burst forth, fourth after a sensational last lap.

In the end, very lucky to have remained on his wheels, Quartararo’s companion of choice in the paddock offered the 104,000 spectators in the cathedral a comeback worthy of a certain Marc Marquez. Espargaro grabbed eleven places, including two in the last loop. At the end of the feat, 13 new points added to the Aprilia rider’s total (151 pts). Result, the Quartararo dolphin is only 21 lengths behind the Habs. With a painful Zarco 13th during a race where he never found his rhythm, the summer break comes at the right time for the two French drivers. All that remains is to hope that our French don’t gamble too much. Five weeks is a long time.

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