2022 MotoGP – Race 13: Gran Premio di San Marino
Venue: Misano World Circuit, Misano Adriatico
Race Date: 4 September 2022
The San Marino Grand Prix is next up on the MotoGP tour and this is a race that has been pretty open over the last few years. There have been three riders and three manufacturers that have won the race since 2019, with Marc Marquez on the Honda winning that year, France Morbidelli finishing first in 2020, and the Ducati of Francesco Bagnaia leading the riders across the line last season.
The big news going into this race is that last year’s winner has been handed a three-place grid penalty for a move he made on the track during free practice on Friday. Bagnaia has been in astonishing form – he has won the last three MotoGPs – and he has been reeling in series leader Fabio Quartararo.
The way that Bagnaia is riding there is no doubt that he can overcome the penalty, but it is the last thing he needed, given the stakes as the number of races to catch the Frenchman are running out.
1 – Fabio Quarararo – 9/20
It feels like Quartararo has to stop the bleeding as Bagnaia is roaring behind him. He is currently 44 points better off than the Ducati rider, which is why his odds are so short to win it all.
It was, however, another frustrating qualifying session for the Frenchman. He will start in eighth on the grid, with his Yamaha not really performing in what were admittedly tricky conditions. This means that Quarataaro will have to slip past the likes of Enea Bastinini (third) and Marco Bezzecchi (fourth) if he is to win his first race since Germany.
2 – Francisco Bagnaia – 28/10
Ducati’s ruled the qualifying session in San Marino, and Bagnaia would sit second on the grid behind only teammate Jack Miller if it weren’t for his grid penalty, pushing him down to fifth. It was Miller’s first pole in four years, and it feels like the Australian is due for a good ride and is more than worth a punt as the race winner.
It is a testament to his form that Bagnaia is the second-favorite to win the title as he is actually third in the standings currently. Another win here – and he is certainly good enough to do so – will really put the pressure on Quartararo in Spain.
3 – Aleix Espargaro – 11/2
The second-laced rider in the overall standings is Spaniard Espargaro. He is 32 points behind Quartararo but is not seen as the same threat as Bagnaia. Espargaro will start his Aprilia in ninth for this one, frustratingly down the grid in a race where he could have out-qualified both other title contenders.
Espargaro’s skill has been in his consistency. He hasn’t retired from a single MotoGP this season. Quartararo has retired from one and Bagnaia from four by comparison. Another clean ride here will be needed as his title hopes look to be fading.
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