Racing at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Cheste, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider from Italy secured his first MotoGP World Title after making a historic comeback in the championship, which has never been achieved before by any other rider in the premier class.
After finding himself sixth in the standings at the end of the German GP, Bagnaia, or “Pecco” as he’s often referred to, managed to close a gap of 91 points on Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo over eight Grands Prix and took the lead in the series with 14 points over the Frenchman in the Australian GP, at Phillip Island, with two races to go.
After increasing his lead to 23 thanks to a stunning victory at Sepang in Malaysia, Bagnaia needed only a ninth place at the weekend to secure Ducati’s second Riders’ World Title in the premier class, 15 years after Australian Casey Stoner’s first title for the manufacturer in 2007.
For the 25-year-old Bagnaia, from Turin, and the Bologna-based manufacturer, this is a historic achievement: With seven wins, 10 podiums and five pole positions this year, Bagnaia became the first Italian rider to win the MotoGP World Championship on an Italian bike, the Ducati Desmosedici GP.
The last person to do so in the top class was Giacomo Agostini 50 years ago, in 1972, when he won the title in the 500cc category with the MV Agusta.
The Valencia GP was also Jack Miller’s last race with Ducati. Starting with the third fastest time, the Australian rider had managed to stay in the top positions fighting for the podium, but with four laps to go, he crashed out while he was third.
Miller ends the season in fifth place in the championship thanks to one win and seven podiums, besides a pole position.
“We have to be really happy and proud of the incredible work we did,” said Bagnaia afterwards.
“After Germany, we found ourselves 91 points off the top, but we found the right motivation to come back and win the title in Valencia. Together we showed that we are really strong and can handle even complicated situations.
“Today’s race was also really difficult because after the contact with Fabio, I lost a wing of my bike, and from there on, I struggled a lot, but I am really proud and happy with the result.
“I also want to congratulate Fabio, who has been an incredible opponent throughout the season. To win coming in front of a rider you respect, as I respect Fabio, gives even more value to this title.”
Meanwhile, the final race weekend of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship season ended with emotions running high also for Team Suzuki Ecstar, who bowed out – not only from the season, but also from competing in the championship.
They did it in spectacular style as Spain’s Alex Rins led from start to finish in the Valencia GP, taking a whole-hearted victory. His Suzuki team-mate and fellow Spaniard Joan Mir showed his usual grit and perseverance to take a solid sixth place.
The team have achieved many great things in the relatively short space of just eight years, with the undoubted highlight being the team and Mir becoming World Champions in 2020.
Francesco Bagnaia fact sheet:
GPs Started: 172 (67 x MotoGP, 36 x Moto2, 69 x Moto3)
First GP: Qatar 2019 (MotoGP), Qatar 2017 (Moto2), Qatar 2013 (Moto3)
Wins: 21 (11 MotoGP + 8 Moto2 + 2 Moto3)
First GP win: Aragón 2021 (MotoGP), Qatar 2018 (Moto2), Netherlands 2016 (Moto3)
Pole positions: 18 (11 MotoGP + 6 Moto2 + 1 Moto3)
First pole: Qatar 2021 (MotoGP), France 2018 (Moto2), Britain 2016 (Moto3)
World Titles: 2 (MotoGP 2022, Moto2 2018)
Photo courtesy Ducati
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Final 2022 MotoGP championship standings:
|1||Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||7||265|
|2||Fabio Quartararo, Monster Yamaha (M1 Factory)||3||248|
|3||Enea Bastianini, Gresini Ducati (GP21)||4||219|
|4||Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||1||212|
|5||Jack Miller, Ducati Lenovo (GP22)||1||189|
|6||Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM (RC16)||188|
|7||Alex Rins, Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||2||173|
|8||Johann Zarco, Pramac Ducati (GP22)||166|
|9||Jorge Martin, Pramac Ducati (GP22)||152|
|10||Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM (RC16)||2||149|
|11||Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing (RS-GP)||122|
|12||Luca Marini, Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP22)||120|
|13||Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda (RC213V)||113|
|14||Marco Bezzecchi (R), Mooney VR46 Ducati (GP21)||111|
|15||Joan Mir, Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||87|
|16||Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda (RC213V)||56|
|17||Alex Marquez, LCR Honda Castrol (RC213V)||50|
|18||Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda Idemitsu (RC213V)||48|
|19||Franco Morbidelli, Monster Yamaha (M1 Factory)||42|
|20||Fabio di Giannantonio (R), Gresini Ducati (GP21)||24|
|21||Andrea Dovizioso, WithU RNF Yamaha (M1 Factory)||15|
|22||Raul Fernandez (R), Tech3 KTM (RC16)||14|
|23||Remy Gardner (R), Tech3 KTM (RC16)||13|
|24||Darryn Binder (R), WithU RNF Yamaha (M1 A-Spec)||12|
|25||Cal Crutchlow, WithU RNF Yamaha (M1 Factory)||10|
|26||Stefan Bradl, Repsol Honda (RC213V)||2|
|27||Kazuki Watanabe, Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||0|
|28||Tetsuta Nagashima, Team HRC (RC213V)||0|
|29||Takuya Tsuda, Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||0|
|30||Michele Pirro, Aruba.it Ducati (GP22)||0|
|31||Danilo Petrucci, Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)||0|