Quartararo is 2021 Moto GP Champion
Becomes the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP C'ship
MISANO, Italy: Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo became the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP world championship after finishing fourth in the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix on Sunday, as his closest title rival, Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia, crashed.
FRANCE'S HERO ???????? @FabioQ20 IS THE 2021 #MotoGP WORLD CHAMPION ???? and becomes the first Frenchman to clinch a premier class title! ????— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) October 24, 2021
Congratulations, Fabio! ???? #ELD1ABLO ???? pic.twitter.com/vWvvn6Z74z
Pole sitter Bagnaia was leading Ducati's home race when he crashed with five laps remaining, handing the race victory and world title to Quartararo, who has an unassailable lead in the standings with two races remaining.
"I still can't believe it," Quartararo, 22, said in the pit lane, breaking down in tears.
"It's incredible; I'm living my dream right now. It feels good to have my family with me, and we will have a good time tonight and throughout the season."
After Marquez (six championships), Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo (2012 and 2015), and Suzuki's Joan Mir (2020), Quartararo's victory brought an end to nearly a decade of Spanish dominance.
Casey Stoner of Australia was the last non-Spanish rider to win a championship when he dominated the 2011 season with Honda. Lorenzo, the last Yamaha rider to win the championship, was also present in Misano to congratulate Quartararo.
Pol Espargaro of Honda finished second, and Quartararo appeared to be on the podium as well, but he was passed on the final lap by Enea Bastianini of Avintia Esponsorama, who moved up from 16th to third.
Confirmation of @FabioQ20's unassailable 65 point lead! ????— MotoGP™???? (@MotoGP) October 24, 2021
Following @JoanMirOfficial's early crash, @PeccoBagnaia is still well placed to secure the runner-up spot! ????#ELD1ABLO ???? | #EmiliaRomagnaGP ???? pic.twitter.com/vQ2khgntao
However, this did not dampen Quartararo's celebrations, as the Frenchman basked in the adoration of the crowd, which lit blue flares to commemorate his victory as he danced on the track with the French flag draped around his shoulders.
In the first few laps, Ducati's Jack Miller pressed teammate Bagnaia, but the Australian made a mistake on turn 15, sliding off the track and losing second place.
Miller's crash allowed Marquez to move up to second after starting seventh on the grid, and the Spaniard piled pressure on Bagnaia before taking the lead.
Quartararo got off to a shaky start from 15th on the grid before putting his head down and reeling in the main group.
It was Marquez's third win of the season and his first on a clockwise circuit since the Japanese Grand Prix in 2019, but the six-time champion said it was Quartararo's day.
"Today is not my day, today is for Fabio. I want to congratulate him, he deserves this. He had an incredible season," Marquez said.
"Congrats to the Yamaha team, we will try to make things difficult next year."
The Grand Prix was also the final race on home soil for seven-time premier class champion Valentino Rossi, who finished 10th and will retire at the end of the season.