MotoGP: Mir Puts a Hand on MotoGP Title as Quartararo Crashes
Joan Mir becomes the ninth MotoGP race winner and extends his championship lead.
The race got underway with Pol Espargaro leading a hard-charging Suzuki pair, who quickly dispatched of the KTM rider with Alex Rins leading Joan Mir. Drama unfolded on the opening lap when Aleix Espargaro and championship contender Fabio Quartararo crashed out at the tricky turn eight, both in separate crashes.
Meanwhile, Lorenzo Savadori ran into trouble at the final corner, slipping off his Aprilia. A lap later, Valentino Rossi’s comeback ended early with a mechanical failure forcing the Italian out of the race due to an expected fuel pump issue.
The chaos didn’t stop there, Cal Crutchlow and Francesco Bagnaia were the next riders to fall victim to the tricky Valencia circuit.
Back at the front, Alex Rins was controlling the pace with Mir, Espargaro and Miguel Oliveira hot on his heels. Takaaki Nakagami and Johann Zarco were both in touch with a second gap to Jack Miller who had dispatched Franco Morbidelli, who looked to be struggling with the hard rear tyre.
Maverick Viñales’ charge through the pack had him up to 14th by the halfway mark – the Spaniard had to start from pit lane after he exceeded his engine allowance.
The race hit stalemate as riders controlled their pace and saved the Michelin rubber underneath them. Nakagami cleared Miguel Oliveira and jumped up to fourth place. Meanwhile, Joan Mir took his first look at Rins on lap 17, edging the nose of his Suzuki under his team-mate into the final corner, but opted to back out and sit behind his race-winning team-mate for another lap.
Rins made a costly mistake at turn 11, inviting Mir through as he aimed to take his first MotoGP race win and open his lead to 37 points. Mir made his intentions clear, putting in the fastest lap of the race and started to stretch the lead over his team-mate, who still had Espargaro for company.
Alex Marquez was the next rider to bite the dust. A hard move from Andrea Dovizioso forced Marquez into squeezing the brake harder due to the Italian taking his line. Marquez had to turn slightly tighter, but with the wet patch looming, the Honda rider had nowhere to go, but the gravel.
Mir opened the lead up to 1.3 seconds, securing his first MotoGP win and Suzuki’s first 1-2 in the MotoGP era. Joan Mir crossed the line to take his first win since 2017 with Rins in second and Pol Espargarò in third. Nakagami finished fourth ahead of Miguel Oliveira and Jack Miller.
Brad Binder finished seventh ahead of Andrea Dovizioso and Johann Zarco. Danilo Petrucci was tenth ahead of Franco Morbidelli and Stefan Bradl. Maverick Viñales finished 13th ahead of the final finisher Fabio Quartararo, who is now joint second with Rins, 37 points off Mir.
MotoGP returns next weekend, with nine winners and five new winners will we see the new champion crowned?
Featured image: MotoGP.com