Sunday on the Italian coast marked the 450th Grand Prix race start made the by the Repsol Honda Team, following on from last race where the team achieved their 450th premier class podium. It would prove to be a fortuitous Sunday as the Repsol Honda Team went on to take a dominating 1-2 finish in the race.
Marc Marquez made another lightning start off the line and shot forward from the third row of the grid to immediately move into podium contention. A crash for Jack Miller just a few laps later left only Marquez and Misano 1 race-winner Francesco Bagnaia to push each other at the front and break away from those behind. The pair traded fastest laps as the #93 kept within a few tenths of the Ducati for the majority of the race. In the closing laps Bagnaia looked to have the edge over Marquez who eased his pace to secure a safe second, but a sudden fall for Bagnaia promoted Marquez to the lead of the race – a lead which he maintained ahead of his Repsol Honda Team teammate to take his first back-to-back wins since the Japanese and Australian GPs in 2019.
Pol Espargaro made an equally strong start from fourth to slot in behind Marquez and the Ducati pair with Miguel Oliveira just behind. Oliveira put consistent pressure to Espargaro, the Repsol Honda Team rider putting his head down and producing a strong race pace to steadily open up an advantage. Sitting in a safe third for the majority of the race, Espargaro would be promoted to second in the closing laps as Bagnaia fell ahead and sealed the #44’s first podium in Repsol Honda Team colours. Second position marks Espargaro’s best result to date in the premier class and sees the Repsol Honda Team take their first 1-2 finish since Aragon 2017.
After a difficult period, Honda and the Repsol Honda Team have shown the progress they are making as they aim to return to the front of the World Championship in 2022. The result is the first 1-2 for the Honda RC213V since the 2019 Australian Grand Prix when Marquez won ahead of Cal Crutchlow.
Marquez now moves to sixth in the World Championship with 142 points, just seven points shy of Miller and a top five position in the championship. Pol Espargaro’s 90 points leave him in a tight battle for eighth place overall, Viñales currently 23 points ahead. Both riders are aiming to continue this form into the final two races of the year.
Honda HRC and the Repsol Honda Team would like to congratulate Fabio Quartararo and Yamaha on winning the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.
Marc Marquez - Winner
“This is a much more important victory than Austin. My target was to be on the podium here or in Portimao, on a ‘right’ circuit to finish the season. And we won. We won here in Misano where usually we are not strong and today we had a race pace that was super-fast. When Pecco started to push, honestly speaking I said ‘ok’ and I relaxed a bit but he crashed. Fortunately, he’s ok and we were able to take profit because he had the edge. We keep improving and this is the best way to finish the 2021 season as we prepare for 2022. When you look at the gap compared to the first race here, we’ve made a step. I also want to say a big congratulations to Fabio for his title, he has been incredible this year and he really deserves it. Today is his day but I look forward to fighting with him again next year.”
Pol Espargaro - Second
“An incredible race and result, beyond just myself I am so happy and pleased for the team. They’ve worked so hard this year, and especially the Japanese staff in our team have lived a hard year away from home, so this result is for them. It’s a team result and shows the work and progress that we have made and are making. I was quite tense during the race, to make sure we could achieve this result for the team but on the final laps – everything happened, Pecco crashed, Miguel crashed, I had a track limits warning on the bike. Today is a day to enjoy as a team, as a group. It’s been a rollercoaster this year but this result shows what we can do with more knowledge of the bike and I was feeling strong after the test. Congratulations also to Quartararo on his World Championship, he has been the reference all year and put together a great season.”