MotoGP: Australian Jack Miller wins Spanish GP as Francesco Bagnaia takes championship lead

Miller, who underwent surgery early in April, took the lead when pre-race championship leader Fabio Quartararo started to lose pace midway through the race.

Agence France-Presse May 02, 2021 19:45:34 IST
MotoGP: Australian Jack Miller wins Spanish GP as Francesco Bagnaia takes championship lead

Australian rider Jack Miller celebrates victory after the MotoGP Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix. AP

Jerez de la Frontera: Australian Jack Miller rode to only his second victory at the Spanish MotoGP on Sunday as Ducati team-mate Francesco Bagnaia finished runner-up to take the overall championship lead.

Miller, who underwent surgery early in April, took the lead when pre-race championship leader Fabio Quartararo started to lose pace midway through the race.

On a track where Ducati had not won since 2006, Bagnaia followed Miller home to take the championship lead from Quartararo.

Italian Franco Morbidelli was third on a Yamaha.

Frenchman Quartararo finished 13th and doubled over, seemingly in pain, at the finish.

Miller started and finished his immediate post-race interview in tears.

"It's a flood of emotions: happy sad, everything," he said.

"I thought when Fabio went past OK he's got a bit better pace," Miller said. "I thought he was going to bolt.

"I didn't expect him to come back to me but he did.

"He started to drop really off when I passed him.

"There were still 12-13 laps left and I was thinking that's a long time out in front by myself but I was able to do it."

Bagnaia followed Miller home to give Ducati the first two places and take the championship lead.

"I'm happy," he said. "This was a really tough track for us, so to finish one-two is a really big result for us."

Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami (Honda-LCR) was fourth and Spanish world champion Joan Mir (Suzuki) was fifth.

Spaniard Marc Marquez, who after crashing his Honda in practice on Saturday, crashed again in the warm-up on Sunday, finished a creditable ninth in his second Grand Prix after nine months out with injury.

Morbidelli scored his first podium of the season.

Quartararo, who had won two of the season's first three races, said he had picked up an arm injury.

"I had no strength at all, my arm was like stone," said the 22-year-old who is now second in the championship, two points behind Bagnaia.

Fabio Di Giannantonio cruised to his first Moto2 victory to give the grieving Gresini team their first in the class since the death of founder Fausto Gresini.

Acosta, 16, wins again

On his 38th Moto2 start, the 22-year-old Italian led comfortably almost throughout.

Italian Marco Bezzecchi of Sky Racing was second, a distant 1.722sec behind with Briton Sam Lowes of Marc VDS third, another half second behind.

Gresini, a former 125cc world champion, founded the team in 1997. He died at 60 from COVID-19 on 23 February.

MotoGP Australian Jack Miller wins Spanish GP as Francesco Bagnaia takes championship lead

Red Bull KTM Ajo's Spanish rider Pedro Acosta. AFP

Australian Remy Gardner, who was fourth, remains atop the world championship standings on 69 points, three ahead of Lowes and six ahead of Spaniard Raul Fernandez. Di Giannantonio is fifth.

Spanish 16-year-old Pedro Acosta took his third straight Moto3 win as three of his closest pursuers crashed on the final corner.

Italian Romano Fenati on a Husqvarna inherited second place.

Spaniard Jeremy Alcoba on a Honda, who had been forced to ride two long-lap penalties for straying off the track, finished third.

Acosta became the first rider to achieve four podium finishes in their first four races of the world championship and extended his lead at the top of the standings to 51 points over Niccolo Antonelli, an Italian KTM rider.

Acosta won in Portugal on 18 April, Qatar on 4 April and also finished second in the season-opener on the same Doha track a week earlier.

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