Relive the Catalunya MotoGP with Boris

MotoGP 2022 – Round Nine
Catalunya with Boris


If the last few races did not convince you anything is possible in MotoGP, then how about now? Surely you don’t need any more convincing to understand why this is the greatest sport on earth?


In the endless war between Spain and Italy that is the MotoGP, Catalunya is an old and fabled battleground. And none of the battles is more fabled than the one which saw Rossi beat Lorenzo on the last corner of the last lap in 2009. I still play that video from time to time because it is spectacular and always worth another look. And I enjoy seeing Jorge eat shit.

Last Sunday, another battle took place at the Circuit de Barcelona, ​​and it too will be talked about and rewatched for years to come. But not for the same reasons we watch the Rossi/Lorenzo stoush. Though there was some more shit-eating.

Jack Miller during Friday practice at Catalunya

Catalunya is a track that’s hard on tires and riders. It’s hot and merciless. Turn 10 eats the makers of mistakes like a fat boy eats biscuits – and it was both very hot and very merciless again this year.

It began benignly enough, if a little strangely. Yes, seeing Rins, Vinales, and Morbidelli as the fastest blokes in FP1 is strange this year. Had Maverick suddenly woken up after signing a two-year deal at Aprilia? Had Franki’s knee finally healed? Was Alex serious about finding a job next year?

Aleix Espargaro qualified on pole position for the fourth time in MotoGP and set a new all-time lap record.

Free Practice Two was only strange because Maverick was still second fastest. Otherwise, Aleix was firing that Aprilia along with a purpose, and was easily the quickest, with the Beast just a tad slower than Top Gun, for third. Yeah, this was all kinda normal.

The crucial FP3 saw Aleix remain at the top, with Zarco and Martin keeping it real for Ducati, and outpacing the factory boys, Peco and Jack, who were just behind them. I relaxed. The world had righted itself.

Qualifying One started heading down the strange road again, but not in a hugely disturbing fashion. I mean, sure, Maverick was fastest, and Nakagami was second fastest, out-pacing Bezzechi and the Beast, and Mir was somewhere near the back wondering how he ever won a world championship, no doubt. But other than that, it was all good.

2022 Catalunya MotoGP Front Row
1 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – Aprilia- 1’38.742
2 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – +0.031
3 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – Yamaha – +0.217

Qualifying Two was normality incarnate. Well, for 2022, anyway. Aleix was pole, Bagnaia was second, and Fabulous was third. My tipping comp had me hang my hat on Fabulous bringing this home, but not for any special reason. Peco could just as easily win here, but I was doubtful Aleix could do so. Why? Well, he’s been strutting around a lot lately. Far too much for a bloke who’s only ever won one race. In his entire career. All he’s doing is demonstrating what a splendid bike Aprilia has built this year.

Aleix Espargaro on the grid at Catalunya

Yes, I know he rates himself one of the three best riders in the world. I do not share that delusion. But he was a very close second in the world championship this year, so maybe he was allowed to swagger a bit.

The race-start was like a punch in the face. Fabulous rocketed to the first corner and everybody followed, and the chaos commenced. Taka, emboldened by being gifted all of Marc Marquez’s new chassis bits and swingarm – an interesting HRC strategy which ignored the other HRC rider, Pol Espargaro, and handed all the goodies over to the satellite Honda team – passed ten riders as he shot off from 12th on the grid.

Catalunya MotoGP 2022

And then folded his front going into Turn One, and face-planted into Peco’s back-wheel. How he didn’t tear his own head off is a mystery. He did, however, take Peco down, as well as Alex Rins, and very helpfully rejigged the championship for Fabulous.

Catalunya MotoGP 2022

Happily, Taka was unhurt, as was Peco, but Alex Rins is nursing a broken wrist – and a lot of hate in his heart for Taka Nakagami.

Nakagami lost the front which skittled Bagnaia and Rins

Fabulous then just rode away from everyone else, hotly pursued by Aliix and Martin. Jack Miller seems to have entered the long, dark tea-time of the soul, so he was nowhere to be seen. He started in 11th and finished in 14th, 34-seconds behind the winner. His move to KTM, still unofficial, may or may not be playing a part in how he’s riding at the moment.

None of this mattered to Fabulous, who continued to ride further and further away from his pursuers, with a consistency Jorge Lorenzo would have admired. His lap times were metronomic – and invariably faster than everyone behind him.

Quartararo just rode away from them

There was a little bit of passing action behind him. Martin did get past Aleix for a while, Mir was forced to drop a position as a penalty for overtaking under a yellow flag, and the Beast once again began to make his move from midfield.

Bezzecchi moved himself into the gravel at turn 10, like so many more before him, as Beast passed both Maverick and Pol in one fell swoop. Traumatized, Pol immediately started going backwards. Brad Binder and Miguel Oliveira passed him as well, and you could almost hear Alberto Puig throwing Pol’s belongings into the nearest dumpster.

Pol Espargaro got bindered, then pretty much got passed by everyone as the race wore on

Remy got himself in front of Jack, which tells you a bit about how jack was feeling that day. I sure hope Remy feels better after that race. He could sure do with a cheering up.

Remy Gardner

Fabulous was now an hour ahead of the others…well, maybe three seconds, but it might as well have been an hour. Last week’s wunderkind, Fabio Di Giannantonio plowed some dirt, and for a brief lap, Zarco, sitting in fourth, was the fastest man on the track.

The heat began to chew on the tires and the lap times started dropping. For everyone except Fabulous. His lead just kept increasing, and the fight, what there was of it, was all for second place, between Aleix, Martin, and Zarco.

Quartararo, Martin, Espargaro, Zarco

And so the grind began. Aleix and Martin would gap Zarco a little, then Martin looked to be hard on Aleix’s tail, then Zarco would catch up, and so on. Martin did manage to fire his Ducati past Aleix at the end of the straight, which gave Zarco some hope of a podium at this stage.

Dovi retired. It was all too much, and Pol soldiered on in second-last place. Jack had managed to move into 11thjust behind Alex Marquez, which must have been weird for both of them.

Fabio Quartararo was gone…

Fabulous was now almost six seconds clear, and there were only four laps left, so barring some mistake on his part, this was all his to lose. Aleix, for his part, belted past Martin, and even started to gap him a little, and that looked to be that – Fabulous on the top step, Aleix in number two, and Jorge Martin in third.

Then, on the second last lap, Aleix slowed down, and rolled to a stop. And started waving to the crowd. And feeling like he’d ridden to an excellent second place, no doubt.

Everyone kinda lost their shit. The commentators, who originally thought he’d had a mechanical issue, started honking about the huge mistake Aleix had just made. Maybe he heard them. Or maybe he realised the race was not over when Martin, Zarco, and Mir went hammering past him at full race pace.

He picked up his skirts, tucked in behind his screen and went to finish the race in fifth. Then he went and sat in the corner of his pit garage with his head in his hands and webt. And I do not blame him. This is an error which should not occur at this level, and rarely does. I think it might have last happened when Wayne Rainey was a thing.

Of course, this made world news headlines. The Daily Mail wrote about it. Aleix apologised and tried to explain what happened, but it didn’t really make any sense. He just screwed up. And trying to explain screw-ups is hard. It’s best not to even try.

Fabio Quartararo

His mistake gifted Fabulous nine points more than he might have got if Aleix had not screwed the pooch. So Fabulous had a great day. Taka took out Bagnaia for him, Aleix took himself out, and the Beast also helped by having his second DNF in a row. The championship is looking very French at the moment.

2022 Catalunya MotoGP Podium<br /> 1 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – Yamaha +0.635<br /> 2 Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – Ducati – +6.473<br /> 3 Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) – Ducati – +8.385″ width=”1024″ height=”892″ srcset=”https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-1024×892.jpg 1024w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-300×261.jpg 300w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-122×106.jpg 122w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-768×669.jpg 768w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-750×653.jpg 750w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco-1140×993.jpg 1140w, https://www.mcnews.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/2022-MotoGP-Rnd9-Catalunya-Race-MotoGP-podium-L-R-Martin-Quartararo-Zarco.jpg 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px”/><figcaption id=2022 Catalunya MotoGP Podium
1 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – Yamaha +0.635
2 Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) – Ducati – +6.473
3 Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) – Ducati – +8.385

Germany is next, then the Cathedral of Speed ​​at Assen. Then a long, five-week summer break. Yeah, it’s gonna get heaps weirder before then, I reckon.

MotoGP Race Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Fabio QUARTARARO YAMAHA 40m29.360
2 Jorge MARTIN DUCATI +6.473
3 Johann ZARCO DUCATI +8.385
4 Joan MIR SUZUKI +11.481
5 Aliix ESPARGARO APRILIA +14.395
6 Luca MARINI DUCATI +15.430
7 Maverick VIÑALES APRILIA +15.975
8 Brad Binder KTM +21.436
9 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +26.800
10 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA +30.460
11 Remy GARDNER KTM +32,443
12 Darryn Binder YAMAHA +32,881
13 Franco MORBIDLI YAMAHA +33.168
14 Jack MILLER DUCATI +34.693
15th Raul FERNANDEZ KTM +37,844
16 Michele PIRRO DUCATI +44,533
17 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA +46.199
Not Classified
DNF Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA 7 laps
DNF Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO DUCATI 16 laps
DNF Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI 17 laps
DNF Marco BEZZECCHI DUCATI 19 laps
DNF Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI 23 laps
DNF Alex RINS SUZUKI DNF
DNF Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA DNF
DNF Stefan BRADL HONDA DNF

MotoGP Event Top Speeds

Pos Rider Motorcycle km/h Event
1 Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI 352.9 FP3
2 Joan MIR SUZUKI 352.9 Q1
3 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA 352.9 Q2
4 Aliix ESPARGARO APRILIA 351.7 Q2
5 Maverick VIÑALES APRILIA 350.6 Q1
6 Brad Binder KTM 350.6 FP3
7 Luca MARINI DUCATI 350.6 FP3
8 Jack MILLER DUCATI 350.6 Q2
9 Alex RINS SUZUKI 350.6 Q2
10 Johann ZARCO DUCATI 350.6 FP3
11 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI 350.6 WUP
12 Marco BEZZECCHI DUCATI 349.5 WUP
13 Franco MORBIDLI YAMAHA 349.5 WUP
14 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA 349.5 FP3
15th Jorge MARTIN DUCATI 348.3 WUP
16 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO DUCATI 348.3 Q2
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 348.3 Race
18 Stefan BRADL HONDA 347.2 WUP
19 Raul FERNANDEZ KTM 347.2 FP3
20 Remy GARDNER KTM 347.2 FP4
21 Fabio QUARTARARO YAMAHA 347.2 Q2
22 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA 346.1 Q1
23 Darryn Binder YAMAHA 345.0 Q1
24 Michele PIRRO DUCATI 345.0 Q1
25 Andrea DOVIZIOSO YAMAHA .343.9 FP4

MotoGP Championship Points Standings

Pos Rider Nat Points
1 QUARTARARO Fabio FR 147
2 ESPARGARO Aliix SPA 125
3 BASTIANINI Enea ITA 94
4 ZARCO Johann FR 91
5 BAGNAIA Francesco ITA 81
6 BINDER Brad RSA 73
7 RINS Alex SPA 69
8 MIR Joan SPA 69
9 MILLER Jack AUS 65
10 MARQUEZ Marc SPA 60
11 OLIVEIRA Miguel POR 57
12 MARTIN Jorge SPA 51
13 VIÑALES Maverick SPA 46
14 MARINI Luca ITA 41
15th ESPARGARO Pol SPA 40
16 NAKAGAMI Takaaki JPN 38
17 BEZZECCHI Marco ITA 30
18 MARQUEZ Alex SPA 26
19 MORBIDLI Franco ITA 22
20 BINDER Darryn RSA 10
21 DI GIANNANTONIO Fabio ITA 8
22 DOVIZIOSO Andrea ITA 8

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