MotoGP 2022: Bagnaia makes it three wins in a row, minimises gap with leader Quartararo

Francesco Bagnaia made it three wins in a row for the first time in his MotoGP career by storming to victory at the Austrian Grand Prix to further boost his title hopes here on Sunday.

The Ducati rider came off the five-week break, 66 points behind championship leader Fabio Quartararo, but that gap now stands at 44 points with seven races to go.

It could have been closed even further but Quartararo finished strongly to clinch second, while closest challenger Aleix Espargaro — 16th on Sunday — is 32 points adrift.

On Lap 14, Quartararo set his personal best lap of the race, but he made a mistake at the chicane with 12 laps to go and was forced to give the position up to Quartararo. He raised his hand coming out of Turn 4 to signal he might have but he was back at full speed soon enough.

With four laps to go, a sensational move at Turn 2B saw Quartararo carve his way past Miller up into P2. Miller just held off Martin for P3 as Quartararo saw Bagnaia 1.5s up the road at the beginning of Lap 26 of 28. Starting Lap 27, Quartararo had clawed 0.2s back and starting the last lap, it was under a second.

Bagnaia was quick off the mark to take the lead from Enea Bastianini, who was starting on pole for the first time in his career but failed to finish due to a deflated front tyre.

There was further drama on the opening lap as Joan Mir, starting in eighth, crashed out at turn four — his sixth abandonment of the season, and the most of any rider.

Jack Miller temporarily took the lead from Bagnaia with 21 laps to go, but the Italian instantly hit back and his fifth triumph of the season — a personal record — was never in doubt.

But in what could yet prove a big moment in the championship battle, Quartararo produced a late rally to climb from an early sixth into an eventual second place.

The reigning world champion climbed above Miller, who held on for third, while Jorge Martin recovered slightly from a crash early on the final lap to finish 10th.

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