Motorcycling-Bagnaia perseveres to bring Ducati long-awaited crown with epic comeback

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Nov 6 (Reuters) - When Francesco Bagnaia crashed astatine the German Grand Prix successful June, the Ducati rider recovered himself 91 points down reigning champion Fabio Quartararo, an tremendous pb that had ne'er been overhauled successful MotoGP history. Until this season.

Bagnaia came agonisingly adjacent successful 2021 erstwhile the Italian pushed Quartararo each the mode earlier a clang with 2 races near handed his Yamaha rival the title.

But Bagnaia's comeback this season, the top successful MotoGP history, saw Ducati clinch the rubric aft 15 years arsenic helium sealed the championship successful Valencia connected Sunday and yet ended the dominance of Japanese manufacturers Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki.

"It was an astonishing victory. I was feeling the value connected my shoulders to bring backmost this rubric to my squad Ducati and to Italy," Bagnaia told reporters.

"I'm precise arrogant of my team, of myself, of what we did due to the fact that it's incredible."

The commencement of the 2022 play was acold from perfect for pre-season favourite Bagnaia, however, erstwhile helium began with a clang successful Qatar arsenic helium struggled to travel to grips with a caller Ducati machine.

"I cognize that the task of a mill rider is to work, but if we privation to win, past we person to beryllium much concentrated connected maine during the contention weekend," Bagnaia said astatine the clip arsenic helium blamed Ducati for trying to trial caller specifications connected a contention weekend.

He took his clip to accommodate portion Ducati besides worked with him, trusting his judgement, yet allowing him to assertion his archetypal triumph successful the sixth circular successful Jerez.

But conscionable arsenic Bagnaia felt that helium was backmost to his champion and acceptable to situation Quartararo, the 25-year-old failed to find consistency, with 1 much triumph successful Italy sandwiched betwixt 3 retirements.


The 91-point shortage midway done the twelvemonth looked daunting but Bagnaia enactment his caput down and soldiered on, taking things contention by race.

His patience paid disconnected and the play rapidly became a communicative of 2 halves arsenic Quartararo began to flounder.

The Frenchman, who won 3 races successful the archetypal fractional of the season, did not triumph again portion helium besides failed to decorativeness 3 times.

Meanwhile, Bagnaia won 4 successful a enactment to sprout up the standings, leapfrogging different contenders Aleix Espargaro and Enea Bastianini successful the standings.

By past Quartararo was nervously looking implicit his enarthrosis and, earlier helium knew it, Bagnaia had forged up with 3 much podiums.

Luck ran retired for the Frenchman, who was denied points erstwhile erstwhile champion Marc Marquez crashed into him astatine Aragon.

His bike's straight-line velocity was besides nary lucifer for Ducati arsenic overmuch arsenic helium tried, and helium yet relinquished the title pb to Bagnaia successful Australia with different crash.

By the clip they reached the penultimate contention successful Malaysia, Bagnaia was 1 with the Ducati machine.

He produced a near-flawless show to triumph the contention from ninth connected the grid -- which helium described arsenic the "best ever commencement to a contention successful my life" -- to each but seal the title.

With conscionable a top-14 decorativeness required successful the finale astatine Valencia, Bagnaia held each the cards and adjacent gave Quartararo a pugnacious clip aboriginal successful the race, nudging him to punctual the Yamaha rider that helium was not backing down.

After an engrossing battle, ninth spot astatine Valencia gave Bagnaia his maiden rubric and made him the archetypal Italian champion since Valentino Rossi, who won the past of his 7 MotoGP titles successful 2009.

Reporting by Rohith Nair successful Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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