MotoGP: Pecco Takes the Win in Catalunya

Francesco Bagnaia wins the Catalan GP ahead of championship leader Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez. Yesterday’s birthday boy Pedro Acosta crashed out when fighting for the lead of the race.

All riders started the race on the medium tyres on the front and rear except for Acosta, M. Marquez and Jack Miller who made the decision to run a medium front tyre and a soft rear tyre. Rear tyre degradation was a large factor in races earlier in the day so the choice for a soft rear was an unexpected one.

Bagnaia had a great start from the front row, but Brad Binder also started well and was making moves around the outside of the track to gain some places. Alex Rins ran wide and accidentally took the long lap loop and fell to the rear of the field.

Acosta and Bagnaia started to break away from the rest of the field but further behind them, Martin made a huge lunge to get past Binder for third place to attempt to catch up with the leaders.

Miller ran deep at turn one on lap two and lost a spot to Raul Fernandez. Acosta kept close to the rear of Bagnaia and looked at making a move at turn ten but wasn’t able to make the move. Acosta continued to stay on the back of Bagnaia’s bike but struggled to find a way past on lap two.

On the third lap, Acosta made the move at turn ten but ran wide so that Bagnaia was able to cut back. At the same corner, Miller crashed.

Martin caught up the leading two riders and passed his countryman Acosta into turn 10 and on lap five, Binder also looked at making the same move on the rookie but was unable to do so. Martin made an impressive move to get past Bagnaia to lead the race.

On lap six, Augusto Fernandez crashed at turn ten.

Again, the front two started to break away from the rest of the field and Acosta set the fastest lap.

Aleix Espargaro, yesterday’s sprint winner, made his way past Binder on lap 11 across the start finish straight and R. Fernandez barged his way past the South African rider at turn one too.

After setting some fast laps, Acosta crashed out the race at turn 10. The champagne was on hold for the rookie rider as he looked to take his first win in MotoGP.

Marquez was able to pass Binder on lap twelve at turn seven as he continued his charge up the field after starting in fourteenth place.

Enea Bastianini received a long lap penalty for taking a short cut at turn two and then he received a double long lap penalty for not taking the initial penalty. He did not take the double long lap penalty and then received a 32 second penalty which was applied at the end of the race.

Martin continued to lead the race, but Bagnaia started to close the gap to the leader. The Italian rider made the move to take the lead on lap 19 at turn 5. Pecco slammed on the brakes to not allow Martin back through. The leading pair had over an eight second lead over the third-place rider Espargaro.

But Espargaro didn’t hold third position for much longer as M. Marquez made the move on him down the start finish straight on the following lap.

The final laps of the race were drama free which allowed Pecco to cross the line in first place ahead of fellow Ducati riders Martin and M. Marquez.  After yesterday’s heroics, Aleix Espargaro was only able to manage fourth place ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio. Raul Fernandez finished the race in sixth place ahead of Alex Marquez, Brad Binder, Fabio Quartararo and Miguel Olivera.

Feature Image Credit : Motorsport Images/Gold and Goose

2024 MotoGP Catalunya, Barcelona – Race Results
Pos Rider Nat Team Time/Diff
1 Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP24) 40m 11.726s
2 Jorge Martin SPA Pramac Ducati (GP24) +1.740s
3 Marc Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP23) +10.491s
4 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP24) +10.543s
5 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA VR46 Ducati (GP23) +15.441s
6 Raul Fernandez SPA Trackhouse Aprilia (RS-GP23) +15.916s
7 Alex Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP23) +16.882s
8 Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16) +18.578s
9 Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +20.477s
10 Miguel Oliveira POR Trackhouse Aprilia (RS-GP24) +20.889s
11 Marco Bezzecchi ITA VR46 Ducati (GP23) +21.023s
12 Maverick Viñales SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP24) +22.137s
13 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 (RC16) +31.967s
14 Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) +32.987s
15 Joan Mir SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +33.132s
16 Johann Zarco FRA LCR Honda (RC213V) +34.554s
17 Luca Marini ITA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +36.689s
18 Enea Bastianini ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP24) +50.615s
19 Stefan Bradl GER HRC Test Team (RC213V) +55.295s
20 Alex Rins SPA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +63.428s
  Franco Morbidelli ITA Pramac Ducati (GP24) DNF
  Augusto Fernandez SPA Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 (RC16) DNF
  Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM (RC16) DNF

 

MotoGP: Stunning Sprint Win For Aleix in Spain

After qualifying on pole position a day after announcing his retirement, Aleix Espargaro stood on the top step of the podium at the Catalan GP after three riders crashed out of the lead. He was joined on the podium by Marc Marquez who started the race in fourteenth and birthday boy Pedro Acosta.

Pecco Bagnaia had a brilliant start from the middle of the front row and was able to take the lead into turn one. Acosta strongarmed his way into second place and Brad Binder found a gap in the track to get through the first turn in third place. Raul Fernandez also joined in the party by getting past Binder a few corners later. Jack Miller made a move on Miguel Olivera at turn ten.

By the end of the first lap, M. Marquez had made it to eighth place after his poor qualifying effort earlier in the morning.

Acosta attacked Bagnaia on the brakes into turn one on the second lap to take the lead but the Italian pulled off a risky move into turn five to get bast the Spaniard. The battle continued into the following lap where Acosta made the same move at turn one to retake the lead. Fernandez and Binder were also able to get past in the next three corners. The factory Ducati rider lost three places in four corners.

Contact occurred between Acosta and Fernandez and this allowed Binder to get past the GASGAS Tech3 rider but not Fernandez who was now leading a MotoGP race for the first time in his career.

Acosta regained second position after making what was becoming his trademark move at the first corner but the gap to leader Fernandez continued to grow as he set the fastest lap.

On the fifth lap, Acosta went slightly deep in turn four but it didn’t affect his position and Bagnaia received a track limits warning. Race leader Fernandez crashed out of the lead at turn ten after carrying too much speed in the corner. This allowed Acosta to take the race lead.

Binder got past Acosta on the start finish straight to take the lead of the race and started to break away from the chasing pack. Franco Morbidelli received a long lap penalty for irresponsible riding on the sixth lap.

Bagnaia capitalised on lap six to take second place from Acosta after the Spaniard ran wide.

The classic Acosta move into turn one happened again on lap seven as he made the move back through on Bagnaia and M. Marquez made a similar move to get past championship leader Jorge Martin for fifth. Bagnaia made an aggressive move into turn three to take second place back.

Binder crashed out of the lead at turn five which allowed Bagnaia to take the race lead.

Espargaro made his way past Acosta at the start of lap eight and the younger rider did have a look at getting past once more bit couldn’t find a way.

Johann Zarco crashed following contact with Alex Marquez at the back of the field.

There were a few laps of calm before the madness resumed on the final lap where M. Marquez made the move that Acosta had been making on everyone else to take third place.

The third crash from the lead happened when Bagnaia crashed at turn five, allowing Espargaro to take over the front of the race with less than a lap to go.

No other riders went down before the chequered flag waved and after dropping down at the start of the race, Aleix Espargaro was able to clamber his way back through the field to win the race.

Championship leader Jorge Martin finished the sprint race in fourth place ahead of Enea Bastianini, Fabio Di Giannantonio, Jack Miller, Maverick Vinales, Marco Bezzechi and Fabio Quartararo, who rounded out the top ten.

Feature Image Credit: Motorsport Images/Gold and Goose

2024 MotoGP Catalunya, Barcelona – Sprint Race Results
Pos Rider Nat Team Time/Diff
1 Aleix Espargaro SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP24) 20m 1.478s
2 Marc Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP23) +0.892s
3 Pedro Acosta SPA Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 (RC16) +1.169s
4 Jorge Martin SPA Pramac Ducati (GP24) +2.147s
5 Enea Bastianini ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP24) +2.980s
6 Fabio Di Giannantonio ITA VR46 Ducati (GP23) +4.623s
7 Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM (RC16) +8.084s
8 Maverick Viñales SPA Aprilia Racing (RS-GP24) +8.245s
9 Marco Bezzecchi ITA VR46 Ducati (GP23) +8.643s
10 Fabio Quartararo FRA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +9.241s
11 Franco Morbidelli ITA Pramac Ducati (GP24) +9.537s
12 Alex Rins SPA Monster Yamaha (YZR-M1) +13.045s
13 Takaaki Nakagami JPN LCR Honda (RC213V) +13.199s
14 Alex Marquez SPA Gresini Ducati (GP23) +13.378s
15 Joan Mir SPA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +16.438s
16 Luca Marini ITA Repsol Honda (RC213V) +18.000s
17 Augusto Fernandez SPA Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 (RC16) +25.262s
18 Stefan Bradl GER HRC Test Team (RC213V) +33.751s
  Francesco Bagnaia ITA Ducati Lenovo (GP24) DNF
  Miguel Oliveira POR Trackhouse Aprilia (RS-GP24) DNF
  Johann Zarco FRA LCR Honda (RC213V) DNF
  Brad Binder RSA Red Bull KTM (RC16) DNF
  Raul Fernandez SPA Trackhouse Aprilia (RS-GP23) DNF

 

Formula E Monaco E-Prix: Jaguar make it a 1-2 finish as Barnard replaces Bird due to injury

Formula E kicked off again this weekend at Monaco, the motorsport city of the world. It was  a race in which Pascal Wehrlein took the bragging rights and pole position, there was also two safety cars and a 1-2 for Jaguar!

  • Wehrlein held the lead at the start.
  • Mueller got a bad start and fell behind Barnard.
  • Nato lost his front wing and it went under his car.
  • Buemi and Da Costa crashed at the hotel hairpin.
  • Mortara went into the barrier on lap four and brought out the safety car.
  • Sette Camara hit Buemi and Da Costa got caught between them.
  • Vandoorne held the lead from Evans in P2 at the restart.
  • Dennis had to pit due to front wing damage.
  • Evans and Jaguar played the team game as both Evans and Cassidy held up the pack behind them so their teammates could take attack mode.
  • Frijns’ front wing then went under his car.
  • Nico Mueller went into the wall near the end of the race. 
  • Once the safety car came in again, Rowland got ahead of Da Costa.
  • Mitch Evans managed to win the Monaco E-Prix. Nick Cassidy made it a Jaguar1-2 with Vandoorne P3.

Formula E Season 10 Monaco E-Prix Results

Position Driver Team Points
1st Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing 25
2nd Nick Cassidy(FL) Jaguar TCS Racing 19
3rd  Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 15
4th Jean-Eric Vergne DS Penske  12
5th Pascal Wehrlein (Pole) Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 13
6th Oliver Rowland

Nissan Formula E Team

8
7th Antonio Felix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 6
8th Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 4
9th Maximilian Guenther Maserati MSG Racing 2
10th Norman Nato Andretti Formula E 1
11th Lucas Di Grassi  Abt Cupra Formula E Team 0
12th Nyck De Vries Mahindra Racing 0
13th Dan Ticktum ERT Racing 0
14th Taylor Barnard Mahindra Racing 0
15th Sebastian Buemi Envision Racing 0
16th Jake Hughes Neom McLaren Formula E Team 0
17th Robin Frijns Envision Racing 0
18th Sergio Sette Camara ERT Formula E Team 0
19th Jake Dennis Andretti Formula E  0
20th Jehan Daruvala Maserati MSG Racing 0
DNF Edoardo Mortara  Mahindra Racing 0
DNF Nico Mueller Abt Cupra Formula E Team 0

Formula E Season 10 Standings after Round 8

Position Driver Team Points
1st Pascal Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 102
2nd Nick Cassidy Jaguar TCS Racing 95
3rd  Jake Dennis Andretti Formula E  89
4th Oliver Rowland Nissan Formula E Team 88
5th Mitch Evans(Pole) Jaguar TCS Racing 77
6th Maximilian Guenther Maserati MSG Racing 65
7th Jean-Eric Vergne DS Penske 65
8th Sam Bird Neom McLaren Formula E Team 28
9th Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 27
10th Antonio Felix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 26
11th Jake Hughes Neom McLaren Formula E Team 25
12th Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 24
13th Norman Nato Andretti Formula E 24
14th Robin Frijns Envision Racing 21
15th Sebastian Buemi Envision Racing 20
16th Nico Mueller Abt Cupra Formula E Team 18
17th Dan Ticktum ERT Formula E Team 12
18th Sergio Sette Camara ERT Formula E Team 11
19th Jehan Daruvala Maserati MSG Racing 2
20th Lucas Di Grassi Abt Cupra Formula E Team 1
21st Edoardo Mortara  Mahindra Racing 0
22nd Nyck De Vries Mahindra Racing 0
Norman Nato, Andretti Global, Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, leaves a trail of smoke as his damaged front wing rubs on his wheel

Most Impressive Race

The most impressive race has to be from Taylor Barnard. Now the youngest driver to start in Formula E, he jumped into Sam Bird’s car after Bird broke a bone in his hand during FP1. ,To go from P22 to P14 in his debut Formula E race is incredible.

Formula E Season 10 Milano E-Prix: Da Costa Loses Victory After Technical Infraction at Misano

Antonio Felix Da Costa managed to to make up positions in Milano after a disappointing qualifying to take the victory for Formula E’s first visit to Milano! However, disaster struck for the 2020 champion when he was disqualified  just to add to the chaos of this race. Rowland inherited the win BUT Porsche have announced an intention to appeal.

Key Moments Of The Race

 

  • Mitch Evans lead the field away from pole ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne in P2 and Pascal Wehrlein in P3.
  • This was a peneton style race from the early stages with Mitch Evans, Nick Cassidy, Jean-Eric Vergne and Oliver Rowland.
  • Dan Ticktum and Sergio Sette Camara were both near the back of the grid at the start.
  • Edoardo Mortara had to stop the car very early..
  • 6.5 seconds seperated the entire field at one point.
  • Multiple collisions, including Wehrlein receiving front wing damage.
  • Cassidy and Vergne collided, Cassidy pitted with Vergne receiving a 5 second time penalty.
  • Guenther went over the sausage kerbs and did a wheelie at one point.
  • Nato went over the Gravel
  • Multiple DNFs
  • Da Costa crossed the line first and was the provisional winner before being disqualified so Rowland wins, Dennis P2, Guenther P3.

Formula E Season 10 Round 6 Misano E-Prix Results

Position Driver Team Points
1st Oliver Rowland(FL)

Nissan Formula E Team

26
2nd Jake Dennis Andretti Formula E  18
3rd  Maximilian Guenther Maserati MSG Racing 15
4th Dan Ticktum ERT Racing 12
5th Mitch Evans(Pole) Jaguar TCS Racing 13
6th Jean-Eric Verge Pole DS Penske  18
7th Norman Nato Andretti Formula E 6
8th Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 4
9th Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 2
10th Lucas Di Grassi  Abt Cupra Formula E Team 1
11th Nico Mueller Abt Cupra Formula E Team 0
12th Sebastian Buemi Envision Racing 0
13th Jake Hughes Neom McLaren Formula E Team 0
14th Nyck De Veries Mahindra Racing 0
15th Sergio Sette Camara ERT Formula E Team 0
16th Pascal Wehrlein Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 0
17th Robin Frijns Envision Racing 0
DNF Jehan Daruvala Maserati MSG Racing 0
DNF Sam Bird Neom McLaren Formula E Team 0
DNF Nick Cassidy Jaguar TCS Racing 0
DNF Edoardo Mortara  Mahindra Racing 0
DSQ Antonio Felix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 0

Formula E Season 10 Championship After Round 6

Position Driver Team Points
1. Oliver Rowland Nissan Formula E Team 80
2. Jake Dennis Andretti Formula E 71
3. Maximilian Guenther Maserati MSG Racing 63
4. Pascal Wehrlein Andretti Formula E 63
5. Nick Cassidy Jaguar TCS Racing 61
6. Mitch Evans Jaguar TCS Racing 52
7. Jean-Eric Vergne DS Penske 47
8. Sam Bird Neom McLaren Formula E Team 37
9. Norman Nato Andretti Formula E 23
10. Stoffel Vandoorne DS Penske 22
11. Robin Frijns Envision Racing 21
12. Sebastian Buemi Envision Racing 20
13. Antonio Felix Da Costa Tag Heuer Porsche Formula E Team 20
14. Jake Hughes Neom McLaren Formula E Team 18
15. Dan Ticktum ERT Formula E Team 12
16. Sacha Fenestraz Nissan Formula E Team 10
17. Nico Mueller Abt Cupra Formula E Team 6
18. Sergio Sette Camara ERT Formula E Team 3
19. Lucas DiGrassi Abt Cupra Formula E Team 1
20. Edoardo Mortara Mahindra Racing 0
21. Nyck De Vries Mahindra Racing 0
22. Jehan Daruvala Maserati MSG Racing 0
Dan Ticktum, ERT Formula E Team, ERT X24, Jake Hughes, NEOM McLaren Formula E Team, e-4ORCE 04, Nyck de Vries, Mahindra Racing, Mahindra M9Electro, and Sergio Sette Camara, ERT Formula E Team, ERT X24, chase the pack at the start Image Credit: Formula E Media Bank

Most Impressive Race

My driver of the race has to be Antonio Felix Da Costa. Despite him losing his win due to outside circumstances, he still made incredible progress and took the victory for 5 hours.  He also managed to handle the energy perfectly.

Driver who needs to improve the most after this round

I think Vandoorne was a bit lackluster throughout the day. From qualifying out of position in comparison to his teammate to finishing P10 on the road (P9 after Da Costa’s DSQ), it was very underwhelming. While his teammate did finish a few places ahead of him due to receiving a 5 second penalty for causing a collision with Cassidy, qualifying was ulitimately Vandoorne’s downfall for this particular race.

Verstappen takes pole ahead of Japanese Grand Prix

Max Verstappen has taken pole ahead of tomorrow’s Japanese Grand Prix, with team-mate Sergio Perez making it Red Bull’s 27th front row lock-out.

It was perhaps closer than most were expecting between the duo, with just +0.066 separating them at the chequered flag. In comparison, the gap from Verstappen to P2 last year was over half a second.

Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) // Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

McLaren’s Lando Norris initially split the Red Bulls after the first runs in Q3, but Perez eeked out more of an improvement in the second runs to leapfrog the McLaren into second.

The top five was rounded out by Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso. The other Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, in contrast, missed out on advancing to Q2 by only +0.061 and will start tomorrow’s race down in P16.

Oscar Piastri will start P6 with Lewis Hamilton in P7, the Brit sounding more buoyant about the set-up of his Mercedes than he has in recent weeks.

Charles Leclerc ran out of sync with the rest of the top ten in Q3, setting his only lap of the session with the entire track to himself. His time initially put him P7, but with the rest of the field re-emerging a few minutes later for their second runs he slipped to P8 by the time the chequered flag was brought out.

George Russell qualified P9. He was released into the path of Piastri in the pits during Q1 but has escaped a grid drop, with Mercedes instead receiving a €5,000 fine for an unsafe release.

Home favourite Yuki Tsunoda rounds out the top ten.

Verstappen on another level in Bahrain.

Verstappen dominated the Bahrain Grand Prix, leading his teammate and Sainz as he crossed the line to take what could be the first of many wins this season.

The 2024 season has begun. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Lights out and Leclerc got a good start managing to get alongside Verstappen into turn 1. However, the Red Bull forced the Ferrari to take the outside line where Leclerc had to back out and let Verstappen go. Perez also got a great start as he gained a place in one lap. 

Further back, Stroll was spun round and went from P12 to last at turn 1. At the pinch point Bottas bumped into the back of Hulkenberg who then tapped the back of the Aston Martin. Hulkenberg and Bottas picked up front wing damage, causing Hulkenberg to pit while Bottas was able to cope with the damage for the rest of the race.

It didn’t take long for Norris to gain places as he made a move on Alonso into turn 1. This left the door open for Piastri who was able to take advantage just a few laps later.

Meanwhile, Russell spent the first few laps pressuring Leclerc and was able to make a move around the outside of turn 4 on lap three. Perez was not far behind but took his time to take on the Ferrari. Leclerc was suffering with some brake issues which haunted him all race, but on lap seven Leclerc locked up and went wide out of turn 10. This made the move easier for Perez, who took the place from Leclerc. 

The Monegasque problems didn’t end there, Leclerc had a big lock up out of turn 1 just a lap later, which gave Sainz hope to turn 4 but Leclerc was still inside the DRS of Perez meaning he just kept ahead. It didn’t take long though for Sainz to use DRS into turn 1 on lap 11, taking on his teammate in a very close wheel to wheel battle, no teams orders at play here.

It was then time for the first round of stops. Every car swapped for hard tyres, with Russell and Leclerc pitting at the same time and Perez choosing to stop one lap later. The undercut can be very powerful at Bahrain and it very nearly worked for Perez but he came out just behind Russell.

On new tyres though Perez had better grip up the hill after turn 1 and down into turn 4. Russell took a very defensive line but couldn’t make it work for him on the exit and the Red Bull completed the switch back with perfection.

Close racing. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Sainz was unable to make the undercut work for him, he stayed out a couple of laps but came out behind his teammate. Meaning another close fight was imminent. It therefore only took a couple of laps before Sainz lunged from very far back down the inside of turn 1, taking the place from Leclerc.

While Verstappen pitted without a single car around him, Russell was defending his podium position from Sainz but was unsuccessful as Sainz took the inside line into turn 4. The chase was now on for Sainz to take on the Red Bulls.

Leclerc wasn’t the only driver nursing issues. Both Mercedes were told to lift and coast around lap 24 to control the power unit temperatures. Albon was also experiencing similar issues with the Mercedes engines. However, when not in traffic all these problems improved and were much easier to manage.

During the second round of pit stops Bottas came in for a switch of tyres, however this was set to be his second slowest ever stop. This time it was less than a day but he was stationary for 52.4 seconds while the team had to get a new wheel nut as the one they had refused to go on the rim. 

As of lap 44 the unhealthy cars of Leclerc and Russell appeared to make a recovery, with Leclerc all over the back of Russell at every corner. Russell locked up under the pressure in turn 10 and went very wide. Side by side down to turn 11, Leclerc had enough confidence with his brakes to take the position from the Ferrari.

Tsunoda not happy with his team. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Further down the pack, the RBs asked for a driver swap despite Tsunoda being within DRS to Magnussen in front with his teammate behind in DRS. Despite protests Tsunoda complied on lap 53 but this hurt both drivers as Verstappen lapped them a few corners later. Ricciardo lost time to Magnussen and neither RB got past the Haas before the end of the race.

Verstappen ended the race as he began, in P1, with Perez in second and Sainz rounding out the podium. The Dutchman finished 20 seconds ahead of his teammate, which is six seconds less than 2023 but still a large gap to the rest of the grid. He is going to take some beating again this year.

A shoutout to Stroll who had solid performance to recover from the back of the pack after turn 1 lap one, to finish in P10 and gaining a point for his efforts.

The top 3 for the Bahrain Grand Prix 2024. Image courtesy of Red Bull Content Pool

Verstappen on pole in Bahrain but Ferrari not far behind.

Verstappen took pole in Bahrain but was closely followed by Leclerc and Russell in P2 and P3. The most exciting part, by the end of Q3, the top 9 were covered by just over half a second.

Starting with Q1, anticipation was high as each practice session produced a different fastest three so far. It was set to be unpredictable at both ends of the grid.

The Ferrari’s and Red Bull’s were swapping times at the time with the odd lap from the McLaren’s. Stroll put in a stunning lap to make it to P2 just behind Sainz at the very end of qualifying.

Bottas not able to make it out of Q1. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Area

After looking slow in testing, Haas picked up pace in practice and showed their true colours during qualifying were able to make it into Q2 just beating both Sauber’s who qualified in P16 and P17 respectively. Sargent followed this pair, not able to make any improvement on his lap.

The story for Alpine is very different. After struggling all weekend, they couldn’t make it out of Q1, qualifying last and second last on the grid. Over the radio Ocon had some words of encouragement for his team despite only getting one proper run in Q1. 

Out in Q1 – Bottas, Zhou, Sargent, Ocon, Gasly.

Q2 gave us hope for a tight battle for pole in Q3. Verstappen topped the times after the first runs with a 1.29.374, closely followed by his teammate. However, on new tyres, there was a glimmer of hope for Norris, who was half a second back from the pair of them.

With the second runs being completed Sainz was only two tenths from Verstappen and Leclerc put in a stunning lap to go P1 with a 1.29.165. Hulkenberg was also enjoying his Haas by placing it in P6 and making it to Q3.

Lewis Hamilton trying to improve in Q2. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Area

The Mercedes looked in trouble as they couldn’t compete with Ferrari, RedBull but were able to get P4 and P7 to get into Q3. They were competing with the RB’s who were quick in FP1 but both couldn’t get any further in qualifying. Tsunoda was just out qualified by the McLaren’s by 0.007s but importantly for him, beat his teammate. 

Despite putting in some strong laps earlier, Stroll couldn’t improve during Q2 and was eliminated while Alonso put in a solid lap to put himself between Hamilton and Hulkenberg. The other Haas driver, Magnussen rounded out those completing qualifying in Q2.

Out in Q2 – Tsunoda, Stroll, Albon, Ricciardo and Magnussen.

It was all to play for in Q3. After the first runs the gap was only 0.059 between Verstappen and Leclerc, meaning the fight was on. Russell was in P3 and driving well, beating Sainz to that top 3 spot. 

Alonso heading out on new tyres. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Area

Hope was alive as we waited for the second run with the clock counting down. Keeping us entertained was Alonso, who put on new tyres in the gap and went for his quick lap. With the track to himself he moved up into P3 with a 1.29.542.

Alonso headed back in, everyone else came out of the pits to start their last flying laps. Russell improved his time to take back P3 while his teammate finished down in P8 but has said his car is set up more towards race pace. At the very top Verstappen improved his time to a 1.29.179 which was slower than the lap Leclerc completed in Q2. 

It was down to Ferrari to take pole, however, Leclerc improved but not enough to take pole from Verstappen. Sainz couldn’t get any closer either but moving up into P4, pushing Alonso down to P5. The McLaren’s followed behind, Norris ahead of Piastri and Perez finished down in P9, despite his teammate taking pole. Hulkenberg rounded out the top 10 but only completed laps on used tyres in Q3, saving a new set for the race.

The top 3 in tomorrows race. Image courtesy of Pirelli F1 Press Area

The grid is set for the first race of the season. RedBull don’t look to have completely run away with qualifying but the race could be a completely different story. The race starts at 3pm GMT, don’t miss it.

Moto3: Pole for Masia in Misano

Image Credit: MotoGP

Jaume Masia stormed to pole position today in Misano, increasing pressure on championship leader Daniel Holgado, with the championship lead halved to just 13 points after last weekend in Catalunya.

Ayumu Sasaki managed to rescue his qualifying and starts alongside Masia on the front row in 2nd. The Husqvarna rider crashed at the start of the Q2 session. Kaito Toba had the qualifying session of his season, as the Squadra Corse rider qualified in 3rd completing the front row of the grid.

With main title contenders Masia, Sasaki and Deniz Öncü all starting in front of Holgado. Everything is in place for another crazy Moto3 classic on Sunday.

Image Credit: Leopard Racing

Image Credit: Leopard Racing

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

Championship leader Daniel Holgado was in the Q1 session after being unable to string a good lap time together so far this weekend.

David Munoz lit up sector 2 and crashed out at the start of the session. Munoz went up the inside of Ogden and into a high side crash. Fortunately Munoz seemed ok and we know Munoz doesn’t mind racing from the back. In the race on a Sunday, you can guarantee to see Munoz fighting his way through the pack.

Early leaders in the Q1 session were Holgado top with Matteo Bertelle 2nd, Xavi Artigas 3rd and David Salvador in 4th.

Riccardo Rossi breaking into the top 4 just before everyone headed back into the pits for new tyres for the remainder of the session.

Holgado keen to get on with it and now on track putting in the work to get through to Q2. Holgado going over half a second clear to the rest of the field on his second go at getting through to Q2. A time of 1:42.467 to top the session, a fantastic time set from Holgado.

Munoz back on his spare bike at the end of the session managed to scrape 4th and get into Q2. Heroic from Munoz getting into Q2, after toppling over only moments before.

Qualifying 2

After being quickest this morning KTM rider Deniz Öncü will be gunning for pole in this Q2 session.

Ayumu Sasaki crashed out in sector 4 on his out lap. A disastrous start for Sasaki to this session. Sasaki ok in the crash but this was the last thing Sasaki need with the fight for the championship heating up at the minute.

Toba the first to cross the line and set the first flying lap of the session. Quickly topped by Munoz and then followed by Masia. Masia quickest in both of the Friday practice sessions, only just to be topped by Öncü in this mornings session.

10mins remaining of the session and the next set of flying laps are coming through. Masia tops the session followed by Munoz and Holgado currently locking out the front row.

Öncü now with red sectors in 2 and 3 and comes through to set the quickest time of the session only to be pipped straight away by Diogo Moreira. Moreira clearly on a high and full of confidence after his deal this week promoting him to Moto2 for next season.

As both GASGAS Aspar team riders Ryusei Yamanaka and David Alonso head back into the pits, Masia comes across the line but unable to knock Moreira off the top spot. Moreira sitting at the top a tenth clear to Masia in 2nd with Öncü 3rd. Holgado dropped down to 6th at this stage with 6mins remaining of the qualifying session.

Sasaki back out onto the track now and with the spare bike, managed to get up to 6th place on his first flying lap. Sasaki determined to recover as much as possible after crashing only a few mins earlier in the session.

The last flying laps now Toba out of nowhere topped Moreira at the top. Sasaki then quickest but only for a few moments as Masia come by and blown Sasaki’s time away by over 2 tenths of a second.  The rest of the swarm of riders still come through but didn’t look like the rest of the field will be challenging for pole position.

Pole position for Masia for the San Marino Grand Prix. Exactly what Masia would of dreamt of last night as the championship battle is heating up in Moto3.

Classification 

Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Martin Misano Masterclass

Image Credit: MotoGP

Jorge Martin was on fire today in Misano. Not only setting a new all time lap record around this Misano circuit but annihilating the field in a fantastic qualifying session. A session that sent a clear message to title rivals Pecco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi that The Martinator is doing all he can in the fight for the world championship this season.

The top 3 title rivals all on the front row for the Tissot Sprint race and main Grand Prix tomorrow. Both Pecco and Bezzecchi are still suffering from injuries this weekend. Can Martin now take advantage of this and win both races this weekend?

 

Image Credit: MotoGP

Image Credit: MotoGP

AS IT HAPPENED

Qualifying 1

Last weekends winner in Catalunya, Aleix Espargaro was a surprise name in Q1 and was keen to get going. KTMs Jack Miller after a shocking practice session was also in Q1 with a lot of work to do.

Both factory Yamaha’s Quartararo and Morbidelli swapped places at the top of the timings early on in the session and just as Pol Espargaro on the GASGAS split them at the top of the timings, Pol’s left front tucked underneath him and crashed out at turn 2. Pol ok though and sprinted back to the pits for the spare bike.

10mins left of the session and the riders come through setting their next set of flying laps. Miguel Oliveira now at the top with Fabio 2nd. Aleix still yet to set a fast time on the factory Aprilia.

The riders headed back into the pits to make some last minute adjustments and got some fresh boots on for the remaining few mins of the session. Aleix and Miller still with a lot of work to do here and under a lot of pressure to get through to Q2.

With 2mins remaining we had a 2nd crash of the session for Pol Espargaro at turn 13, Miguel top of the timings and a stunning lap from Stefan Bradl pushes himself up to 2nd.

Aleix Espargaro plucks a time out of nowhere and puts himself fastest. Zarco unable to get through but had one last lap to get to get a time crossing the line with a few seconds left in the session

Fabio on the factory Yamaha just missed out on a Q2 place, with Miguel topping the timings at the end of the session. Both Aprilia’s 1-2 in Q1 with Oliveira and Espargaro going through to Q2.

Jack Miller will be starting way down in 18th place for the Tissot Sprint and the main race tomorrow. A disastrous weekend here for Miller in Misano so far.

Qualifying 2

As the riders head out for Q2 its VR46s Bezzecchi leading the way to start the first flying lap of the session.

As the lap times started to come through in the early stages of the Q2 session, KTMs Brad Binder sat atop the timings with Martin 2nd, followed closely by this weekends wildcard and legend Dani Pedrosa. Pedrosa showing everyone that class is permanent.

The next set of flying laps come through and after setting the all time lap record yesterday, Bezzecchi now sits on provisional pole with Martin moving to 2nd. Both pushing as hard as they can to take pole position here in for the San Marino Grand Prix.

Reigning world champion Pecco Bagnaia, after round the clock physio and treatment from last weekend’s horrific crash, moves up to 4th. Pecco used every ounce of grit and determination, with a dash of adrenaline, to drag himself through this weekend’s qualifying session.

Martin now back to the top with a 1:30.832 setting a new all time lap record beating the time set by Bezzecchi yesterday in practice.

Riders headed back to the pits for the last minute changes for the last 6mins of the session. Pecco was the first out of the pits, leading the pack onto the track to battle for pole position.

The riders then come through setting the times and Jorge Martin smashes his all time lap record now with provisional pole time set at 1:30.390. Pedrosa clearly a Misano specialist, put himself onto the front row briefly, but in the end topped by championship protagonists Bezzecchi and Pecco as they come through taking to 2nd and 3rd. Pecco at one point had everyone watching in disbelief as at one point he was on target during his last flying lap to take pole position.

An incredible qualifying session here in Misano. One of the best pole position laps we have witnessed for some time. A masterclass in Misano from the The Martinator Martin!

Starting Grid 

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

MotoGP: The Martinator Sprints to victory in Misano

Jorge Martin continued his great form from this morning with a dominant win in this afternoon’s Tissot Sprint race. Championship rival Marco Bezzecchi finished 2nd and reigning world champ Pecco Bagnaia finished in 3rd.

Both Bezzecchi and Pecco carrying injuries into this weekend from last weekend in Barcelona, both using all of the painkillers and adrenaline they could get a hold of to get through the sprint race today. Heroic performances from both riders.

Pecco fended off legend Dani Pedrosa and late charging Brad Binder at the end of the sprint, both KTM riders tried all they could to get by Pecco in the closing laps of the race. With his title rivals not at 100%, can Martin capitalise on this and win the main grand prix tomorrow? When Martin is in this kind of form, its hard to imagine any rider being able to stop The Martinator. 

Image Credit: MotoGP

Image Credit: MotoGP

AS IT HAPPENED

Martin got off the line and off to a great start leading into turn 1. Pecco close in behind Martin through turns 2 and 3 with a gap already to Bezzecchi 3rd who was leading the rest of the group behind.

Pedrosa managing to get up the inside of Maverick Viñales into4th with Pol Espargaro up 6 places on the opening lap. A great start given the KTM GASGAS rider crashed twice this morning.

 

Onto the second lap the stand out overtake of the race happened as Binder went up the inside of both Luca Marini and Aleix Espargaro in one corner, up into 6th place. Binder was determined to catch those in front before its too late. The lead group of 4 already pulling away from the rest of the field now forming a gap at the front. Martin leading from Bezzecchi now up to 2nd pulling away from Pecco and Pedrosa 3rd and 4th.

 

Over the next few laps, the VR46 star Bezzecchi tried all he could to catch Martin ahead, losing it at one point at turn 16, gifting half a second back to Martin who controlled the race at the front throughout.

Binder eager to carry on the charge to the front was in a great battle for 5th place with Viñales and Marini. Eventually Binder coming out on top and keen to press on to catch the wildcard Pedrosa and Pecco battling for 3rd ahead of him.

Aleix Espargaro at this point was unable to keep pace with the battle in front eventually settling in 8th place. Aleix will be hoping for better tomorrow given he won the race last time out in Catalunya.

Moving into the final stages of the Tissot Sprint and Martin maintained his gap to Bezzecchi controlling the race from the front. Pedrosa was closing up behind the injured Pecco , ever keen to try and get onto the podium with only a few laps to go.

Just as Pedrosa was closing onto the back wheel of Pecco, Pecco responded putting his personal best lap time of the race so far. An incredible performance here with the pain he must be suffering after the horrific crash last weekend in Barcelona. Its nothing short of a miracle that Pecco is here competing this weekend.

Lap 11 of 13 now and as Pecco runs wide Pedrosa is right up behind Pecco with 2 laps to go. The first two places were sown up at this point, as Martin was over a second ahead of Bezzecchi in 2nd. Almost every rider in the field was on the brink of a long lap penalty, as Binder closed in on the Pedrosa and Pecco battle for 3rd.

Last lap now and the KTMs of Pedrosa and Binder are right up behind Pecco as Pecco is still resisting this charge hanging onto 3rd.

Into turns 11, 12 and 13 the factory Ducati just glides through with ease as Pecco creates just enough of a gap to keep 3rd place.

Jorge Martin takes the chequered flag and wins the Tissot Sprint with a commanding and faultless performance. VR46 star man Bezzecchi takes a well deserved 2nd and a superb performance given the pain Bezzecchi must be in with the carrying hand injury.

Race Classification

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

Image Credit: MotoGP

 

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