Dutch GP 2022: Bagnaia redeems himself and Aleix Espargaró performs a herculean comeback

Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) has atoned himself for his recent crashes after winning the Dutch MotoGP 2022 with great authority this Sunday at the Assen Circuit, his third victory of the year after Spanish & Italian GP.

 A spectacular Marco Bezzechi (Mooney VR46) finished second, the best MotoGP result of his career. Third was Maverick Viñales, who claimed his first podium with Aprilia. 

The main protagonists of the day, however, were the current leader of the championship, Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), and his immediate pursuer, Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia). In the opening stages of the race, the Frenchman fell as he was trying to overtake the Spaniard, dragging his rival off the track. 

Although both were able to re-join the race, they lost many positions. The defender of the crown was worse off due to the extensive damage endured by his M1. After going through pits, he returned to action only to end up on the ground again. 

The pilot from Catalonia, on the other hand, managed to climb from fifteenth to fourth place with a final and thrilling double overtake in the last corner, when he swallowed up Brad Binder (KTM) and Jack Miller (Ducati).

With this result, Aleix has reduced his distance from the leader Quartararo in the standings to 21 points, who won in Portugal, Catalonia & Germany. Now, Bagnaia in fourth with 66 points less than The ‘Diablo’.

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Bagnaia commands from the start  

Pecco maintained his starting position with ease while the fighting went on behind. Thanks to a great start, Aleix Espargaró climbed from seventh to second place, one ahead of Quartararo, who had started from that position. 

By the end of the second lap of the Dutch MotoGP 2022, Aleix had caught up with Bagnaia, while Fabio was third, half a second behind the Torinese. The Catalan pilot wanted to stop the Ducati rider from escaping solo, currently just three-tenths of a second ahead of him.

Quartararo, for his part, was running third, another three-tenths of a second behind. Just two laps later and Fabio caught up with Aleix but his impetus resulted in him making a mistake as he was trying to prevent Pecco from escaping away. 

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Quartararo falls and drags Aleix Espargaró with him

With 22 laps remaining, in turn five, ‘El Diablo’ went to the ground while trying to overtake Aleix, dragging this off the track at the Dutch MotoGP 2022. Both were able to return to the race but had lost a lot of precious time. The Spaniard re-joined in fifteenth position and the Frenchman, in last. 

Four laps later and nothing had changed at the top. Pecco held a 0.9-seconds distance over the feisty rookie, Bezzechi, who was in turn containing Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing). 

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With a badly damaged M1, Quartararo retired shortly after. However, with rain approaching, he was advised from the box to return to the track. In the next lap, Viñales climbed to fourth place after overtaking Binder. The Spaniard was still several seconds behind Martín, third, who he would pass later on. 

It was then, with nine laps to go, that a few drops of rain triggered a white & red flag, making the teams nervous. The rain, however, did not go any further. 

 

Pecco dominates unopposed  

Meanwhile, Pecco went about his business. He commanded the Dutch MotoGP 2022, ahead of Bezzechi, Viñales, who was half a second over Miller, who was in turn followed by Binder and Martín, sixth. Aleix was seventh 1.2 seconds behind the leading pack. 

With the winner decided, the excitement centred around the battle for third place between Viñales and Miller, who were running very close together. The Australian rider was now hot on the heels of the Catalan. There were two laps left when Miller attempted a pass, but the Aussie thwarted it by going long. Meanwhile, Aleix passed Martín for sixth. 

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The Catalan pilot was the protagonist during the final meters as he devoured Binder and Miller in the last corner to finish fourth, one place behind his teammate Viñales took his first podium with Aprilia.

By that point, Bagnaia was already celebrating his third victory of the season and his compatriot Bezzechi, his first podium finish in MotoGP. 

Images of MotoGP Dutch GP 2022: Michelin.

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