Mooney VR46’s Bezzecchi dominates in Termas to become the new title leader as Pecco picks up P16 after crashing from P2
Take a bow Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team). From start to finish, the Italian MotoGP™ sophomore was untouchable as he produced a wet weather masterclass to claim a debut premier class victory – and with it, the World Championship lead.
A late-charging Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) grabbed a late P2 to beat Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) as the latter stands on the podium for the first time with Ducati. On the flip side of the Ducati coin, reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) crashed unhurt from P2 and crossed the line in P16.
Bezzecchi unbeatable as an early Championship twist occurs in Termas
The threat of a flag-to-flag race loomed but more rain fell after the Moto2™ race had finished, as the premier class revved up for a 25-lap fully went encounter. Bezzecchi grabbed the holeshot from polesitter Alex Marquez, with Bagnaia and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) slotting into P4. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) didn’t get away well, as Sprint hero Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed at Turn 5 after contact with Viñales.
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was shoved wide at Turn 7 by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) as the Frenchman dropped to P16 in the early exchanges, with the Japanese rider sitting P10. As the race settled down, Bezzecchi was able to stretch out a second lead over Alex Marquez, with Bagnaia and Morbidelli keeping in touch. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was up to P5, the gap to Morbidelli in P4 was 2.7s.
With 17 laps left on the clock, Bezzecchi’s lead was up to two seconds. A lap later it was 2.6s. The Italian was a class apart from the chasing pack in the early stages, and as the Grand Prix approached race distance, his lead kept on creeping up. Bagnaia was keeping second place Alex Marquez on his toe, 0.9s split the duo, with Morbidelli sitting 1.5s back from Pecco in a comfortable P4.
On Lap 15 of 25, Alex Marquez and Bagnaia engaged in battle. After a couple of attempts, Bagnaia got the better of Marquez as Morbidelli closed in too. Meanwhile, a flawless Bezzecchi was 5.6s up the road and well on course to take a dream debut victory in MotoGP™.
Then, drama. At the penultimate corner at the end of Lap 17, Bagnaia tucked the front. The World Championship leader was down, not out, but he re-joined in P16. That promoted Alex Marquez into P2 and Morbidelli into P3, but Zarco was setting a blistering pace – a podium wasn’t out of reach for the Frenchman who was 3.7s back from Morbidelli’s Yamaha.
World Champion Bagnaia crashes out of podium places!
With five to go, Zarco kept gobbling up the metres on Marquez and Morbidelli. The deficit was now 2.1s, as countryman Quartararo also made good late race progress – the #20 was up to P7. With four to go, it was down to 1.4s. Morbidelli was coming under pressure, and so was Marquez if the latter wanted to keep his P2 intact.
Turn 7, two and a half laps to go – Zarco was through on Morbidelli for P3. Now, Zarco locked his radar on Marquez’s GP22. And on the last lap at Turn 5, Marquez could do nothing but watch Zarco stick his GP23 up the inside and slide on through.
A few seconds up the road, Bezzecchi safely rounded the final lap to cross the line as a MotoGP™ race winner and World Championship leader. An unreal performance from the young Italian, as Zarco beat Marquez by half a second in what was another stunning comeback ride. Italy beats France and Spain, as Ducati Independent Teams lockout the rostrum in Argentina.
The points scorers in Termas
Despite narrowly missing out on a return to the podium, a resurgent Morbidelli will be very pleased with a P4 after a very difficult run of form. P5 went the way of Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) came from P16 on the grid to finish P6, as Quartararo climbs from P16 to P7 in what was a great recovery ride from the 2021 World Champion.
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and Di Giannantonio rounded out the top 10, with rookie Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) going very well in P11. It was a disappointing day for Viñales and Aprilia Racing, the Spaniard was P12 ahead of Nakagami, Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) and a lowly 15th place Aleix Espargaro. Not the weekend the Noale factory were looking for.
Bagnaia and Binder, the two crashers, crossed the line together in P16 and P17 – a frustrating Sunday for both.
Simply the Bez! What a stunning ride from Bezzecchi, who heads to the Americas GP as the World Championship leader by nine points over Bagnaia. Bring on the horsepower rodeo.
1. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)
2. Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) + 4.085
3. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 4.681
4. Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 7.581
5. Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) + 9.746
6. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 10.562
7. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 11.095
8. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 13.694
9. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 14.327
10. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 18.515