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Honda's Pol Espargaro and Stefan Bradl both picked up points at the red flagged Algarve GP in Portugal. While Espargaro finished in sixth claiming 10 points, Stefan Bradl, who was riding in place of the injured Marc Marquez, finished in 15th to claim the final point on offer. Honda's satellite team, LCR Honda, had a better day on track with Alex Marquez claiming 4th (13 points) to end up as the top independent team rider while his teammate Takaaki Nakagami finished sixth claiming 10 points.
Espargaro started the race on the second row of the grid. However, near contact with KTM's Iker Lecuona on the second lap of the race forced the Honda rider back from the leading pack. Espargaro fought his way back to finish sixth. Bradl on the other hand, continued his streak of scoring points in every one of his race starts. He spent most of the race battling Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Luca Marini eventually finishing 15th.
The penultimate race of the 2021 Moto GP season saw Ducati claim the Constructors Championship with a double podium finish. Italian Francesco Bagnaia, who crashed out of the previous race, finished in first place while his teammate Jack Miller took the final spot on the podium to deny Yamaha the Constructors Championship.
Speaking after the race, Honda's Pol Espargaro stated, "Overall we did a good race, the start was a pity because I was right with Alex and Jack but then Iker braked late and pushed me out. I lost some positions then and so I just had to focus on recovering. My rhythm in the race was good after this and I have to say I am happy with the pace, we were strong and performing well. At one stage of the race, I was catching Fabio and the Ducatis ahead quite quickly. Now we're in the top ten in the championship and we keep improving with each race, so let's end the season well. This is the target now."
His teammate, Stefan Bradl stated, "I am happy with our weekend overall, we made no mistakes and were able to post competitive times in what is probably the closest era of MotoGP. I was expecting a tough race switching from testing mode to racing mode, but in the end, I had a nice fight with Rossi and Dovi. I enjoyed the race even if I have not been fully focused on racing recently. These race weekends of course also help with testing so overall it has been a very profitable three days."
Honda and the rest of the teams will now head to Spain for the final round of the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship. The Teams Championship is yet t be decided with the Ducati Team leading the Yamaha Factory Racing team by just 32 points.
Thoughts On the Algarve Grand Prix
The Algarve Grand Prix saw Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia roar back to the top spot of the Podium to help Ducati clinch the Constructors Championship. While Honda may not be in the position they want to be, seeing the team steadily improve are sure signs that the outfit could be back at its best when the next season arrives.