It looked as though it was going to be a Ducati lockout after the Italian manufacturer bagged the top five grid slots in qualifying, and then proceeded to have their riders run away with the race. That was until a couple of pesky Suzuki riders spoiled the party. It was another action packed MotoGP race at COTA, the kind we’ve come to expect in 2022, with some exceptional performances. Here are the best ten, rated by 44teeth.com.
1st Enea Bastianini 10/10
Enea Bastianini, yesterday’s COTA race winner and the new MotoGP World Championship leader, rode a perfect race yesterday. He didn’t rush to the front even though he probably could have; he kept Jack Miller (who lead more of the race) honest, but looked after his tyres at the same time. Then struck with five laps to go. And once he got to the front, that was it. If you ask me, that’s the perfect way to win a MotoGP race; let someone else lead the first 15 laps (because that’s the hard bit) and pass them at the end to take all the glory. It’s also good to see a satellite rider standing on the top of the podium. And it’d be great to see one win the championship. Keep up the good work Enea. Full marks.
2nd Alex Rins 9/10
There were some very impressive, if not slightly scary, dive bombs into turns 1 and 10 from Rinnsy, which I suppose is what you’ve got to do if you want to overtake a streak-of-lightening Ducati on you’re slightly less speedy Suzuki. That said, the Suzuki’s definitely are a closer match to the Ducati’s straight-line-speed-wise this year, than they ever have been. One of the reasons Team Suzuki Ecstar are leading the Teams Championship? Probably.
3rd Jack Miller 7/10
I feel a bit sorry for Jack Miller, who lead almost all of the race, up until Bastianini passed him and cleared off. He put all the hard work in and only came away with third, which must sting a little bit. Still, maybe he put in too much hard work and cooked his tyres. Although he did admit to making a few mistakes in the last few laps of the race, that allowed Rins to catch him and pass him.
4th Joan Mir 8/10
If he’s not on the podium, he’s never far away from it, is he? He’s not one of those characters that’ll win one weekend, and be outside the top ten the next (like literally every race winner so far this season). Top six finishes and strong points in every race is definitely Mir’s modus operandi, and good luck to him. I think he must have seen his teammate, Rins’, dive bombing tactics, because he did a few himself, which was good to see. Although I don’t think Fabio Quartararo was particularly thrilled about it.
5th Pecco Bagnaia 6/10
Pecco showed some signs of real speed yesterday, but I can’t help thinking it was a bit of a scrappy performance, with a few too many mistakes. His laptimes were up and down, and although on paper he looked as though he had the pace to win, and for most of the race he was with the leading group, he never looked strong enough to get to the front of it. I’ll be honest, I expected a bit more from Bagnaia this year.
6th Marc Marquez 10/10
This has to be one of the rides of the day. I doubt if we’ll ever find out exactly what happened to Marc’s bike at the start, but it looked (and sounded) as though it might have been a launch control malfunction that caused him to drop from ninth on the grid to dead last. Anyway, his eyes are obviously better because he was on lap record pace for a lot of the race, even though he spent most of it carving his way through the field. A very, very impressive ride from the king of COTA… well I still think he’s the king of COTA, anyway.
7th Fabio Quartararo 7/10
You could see Fabio was riding the wheels of that Yamaha; a bike that didn’t look as though it was especially suited to COTA. There were a few hard passes, but none of them ended in tears. I would think Fabio is happy enough with seventh place, knowing that COTA was always going to be a hard MotoGP race, and they’re heading back to Europe now where they’ll expect/hope to do better.
8th Jorge Martin 6/10
I thought Jorge was going to do what Bastianini did. He stalked Miller for ten (or of twenty) laps, but instead of passing him and taking the lead, he dropped back further and further. From first on the grid, I expected a top six at the very least, but unfortunately he didn’t deliver that yesterday. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say it was a tyre management issue. Perhaps he had to overwork his tyres to keep in touch with Miller at the start. Still, eight points are better than no points.
9th Johann Zarco 5/10
Zarco (like his teammate Martin) had a mega start, but it all seemed to go to shit towards the end of the race. I think Ducati need to organise an educational seminar on race tyre management. Professor Enea Bastianini can host the first lecture.
10th Maverick Viñales 6/10
Maverick will have been pretty desperate to beat his teammate Aleix Espargaro at COTA, after he took Aprilia’s maiden MotoGP win last weekend; and he did, just. He didn’t look as though he was going to, spending most of the race outside the top ten, but he managed to pull something out of the bag and push his way past last weeks race winner to take 10th. The fact that last weeks race winner only managed 11th place reinforces how competitive the championship is this year.
I reckon we can look forward to more of the same in a fortnight’s time at Portimão.