Here he is, a member of a very exclusive club. Since the creation of the MotoGP category in 2002, replacing the 500 cc, only the Italian Valentino Rossi and the Spaniard Marc Marquez before him had managed to retain their world champion title. Sunday November 26, in Valencia (Spain), Turinese Francesco Bagnaia managed to keep his crown in the premier speed category.

The rider from the official Ducati team won the last Grand Prix of the year. He finished the season with a 39-point lead in the championship standings over Spaniard Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac), the only man able to challenge him for the world title before the last laps of the season.

Before the Valencia Grand Prix, 26-year-old Francesco Bagnaia was 14 lengths ahead of 25-year-old Martin, and motorsport fans took out their calculators to imagine all the possible scenarios. In summary, the Italian was assured of the world title if he finished the race among the first five and the Spaniard had to finish the event on the podium and count on a poor performance from his competitor (6th if Jorge Martin ranked 1st, 11th if Jorge Martin ranked 2nd, and 15th if Jorge Martin ranked 3rd).

Johann Zarco third

All these projections were shattered on the 6th lap of the Grand Prix when Jorge Martin clashed with his compatriot Marc Marquez in a long right turn and had to shoot straight into the gravel before falling. Three laps earlier, the Spaniard had already come close to elimination by hitting Francesco Bagnaia at the end of a long straight, while the two men occupied the first two places in the Grand Prix.

After the retirement of Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia, assured of the world title, however, did not relax his efforts. Following him, the Italian Fabio Di Giannantonio and the Frenchman Johann Zarco pushed hard, until the last corner, to challenge him for victory. Like his season, where he was able to remain calm when Jorge Martin had a string of successes, Francesco Bagnaia nevertheless kept a few tens of centimeters ahead of his runners-up of the day.

The Italian only had to celebrate this second world title with the members of his team and the spectators of the Valencian circuit, in a very different atmosphere from the stand of the Ducati-Pramac team, where Jorge Martin crushed him, a few tears.

On the French side, Johann Zarco therefore ranked 3rd for his last Grand Prix contested with Ducati-Pramac. This is the 6th podium of his season, which was marked by his first success in MotoGP, in Australia. Fabio Quartarao finished 11th, having never been able to play the leading role on his Yamaha during the race.