San Marino 2022 Preview: Quartararo to fend Bagnaia off at his home turf

Following a well-deserved two-week break,  engines are roaring again for the second Italian round of the calendarThe San Marino MotoGP 2022 is to take place this weekend (2-4 September) at the Misano Marco Simoncelli Circuit. 

Local idol Pecco’ Bagnaia (Ducati) is the rival to beat at the Rímini Riviera. Following his three consecutive victories in Holland, Great Britain and Austria,  the Italian is currently the most competitive pilot on the grid 

Bagnaia is still 44 points away from the leadbut his title bid has taken a new leash of lifeOn top of that, he will be competing at his favourite trackperfectly suited to his driving style and the characteristics of his Desmosedici.

Proof of this was his success at the shores of the Adriatic sea at the 2021 GP of San Marino. He could have repeated the feat that same year for the Emilia Romana GP… If he hadn’t crashed. In addition, he will have the added motivation of competing before his home fans.  

 ‘El Diablo’, in hostile territory  

Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) arrives at the San Marino MotoGP 2022 at the lead of the standings. He commands the table with 32 points over runner-up Alex Espargaró, and 44 more than Pecco, third. 

 

The current champion, however, seems to have lost steam over the past few rounds…or he might just be wisely managing his advantage. The Frenchman will have to compete in a track where he’s never felt fully comfortable.

In the five times that he has raced there in the MotoGP category, he has only managed two second places, one in 2021. 

In spite of all of the above, El Diablo’ has good memories of the track in the Rímini Riviera, as this is where he sealed his crown a year ago. Aware of the superiority of Ducati, he was able to await Bagnaia’s mistake to snatch the title. 

The Italian crashed five laps before the end when he was trying to pass Marc Márquez, handing the crown to Quartararo. Only two months previous, with a lot of cunning and patience, the Frenchman had taken second place in that same scenario behind Bagnaia 

A​leix Espargaró hopes to go back to the top of his performance 

Meanwhile, Aleix Espargaró (Aprilia), next down in the standings, hopes to go back to full performance. The Spaniard didn’t quite manage to give it all over the last two races after fracturing his right heel in Silverstone.

In any case, and despite his delicate phisical situation, the Spaniard has been able to keep his head above the water…but losing ten points in the standings in Austria, where he finished sixth as Fabio was second.

With that injury now behind, the time has come to face Quartararo again. In theory, his recovery should allow him to at least fight for a podium, something he hasn’t done since Mugello 

As well as a great performing machine, Aleix will also count on the help of his teammate and good friend Maverick Viñales. After two consecutive podiums in Assen and Silverstone, Top Guns progress was brought to a halt in Austria. It was there that he was hoping to take his first win with the team from Noalebut it was not to be.  

Despite that mishap, his motivation and commitment to the Italian project remain intact. With such optimism, he is sure to attempt and get back on his feet in Misano this Sunday for his first victory on board the RS-GP.

If it doesn’t happen, he will at least try and finish ahead of Quartararo. In that way, he would rob some very valuable points from the Frenchman in his fight for the title with Aleix.  

Images of San Marino MotoGP 2022:

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