MotoGP: Martin Takes Dominant Sprint Win in Thailand

Jorge Martin has enjoyed a strong Saturday at the Thai GP – he took pole in the morning and followed this up with a very dominant performance in the sprint race. He flew off the line, led every lap, and eventually crossed the line 0.9 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

After a difficult race in Phillip Island, Jorge Martin has quickly bounced back today at the Chang International Circuit to take his fifth consecutive sprint race win. It was a truly dominant ride after he flew off the line and quickly put clean air between him and the rest of the field. No one could come close to him as he enjoyed a 1+ second lead for the majority of the race.

Our championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia, had a much more difficult day – he arrived in Thailand with a 27 point lead in the championship. However, after coming home in 7th, this has dropped to just 18 points. With 136 points still up for grabs, the 2023 title could go to either rider!

Martin was joined on the podium by Brad Binder, in 2nd, and Luca Marini in 3rd. It was a strong race for both of them as they looked to have good pace and enjoyed a tussle for 2nd place.

Marc Marquez came home in 4th place, after an aggressive last lap fight with Aleix Espargaro. It was a final corner move from Marquez that forced Espargaro to have to settle for 5th.

Image Credit: MotoGP on X
AS IT HAPPENED

Despite rain being forecast for today, the sprint race took place under glorious sunshine. We started with Jorge Martin on pole and championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia starting in 6th.

As the lights went out, Luca Marini, who started in 2nd, did try to take the lead of the race. He pulled up alongside Martin off the line but Martin was clearly ahead by the first corner. By the end of the first lap, Martin was already leading by 0.6 seconds.

It was a very difficult start for Bagnaia who quickly dropped down the order. There was an aggressive early move from Johann Zarco to take 8th away from Bagnaia. A few corners later, Fabio Quartararo made a similar move and pushed Bagnaia down to 10th.

As everyone settled in to the race, we had Martin leading, with Marini in 2nd, Aleix Espargaro in 3rd, Brad Binder in 4th, Marc Marquez in 5th and Marco Bezzecchi in 6th. Just behind them were Alex Marquez, Zarco, Quartararo and Bagnaia who were all battling hard 7th.

On lap 2, Binder shoved his bike up the inside of Espargaro for 3rd. Marc Marquez made a similar move a few corners later and pushed Espargaro down further to 5th.

It was on this same lap that we had our first crash of the race, with Takaaki Nakagami going down at turn 12. He was able to rejoin the race but wasn’t able to make any moves up through the field.

On the following lap, at turn 15, Bezzecchi took 6th position back from Alex Marquez who had bested him on the lap before. This now left Marquez and Zarco battling hard for 7th. After losing a place to Zarco, Marquez came back past him, pushing his way up the inside at turn 12. This move sent both Marquez and Zarco wide, gifting a lucky 7th place to Bagnaia who flew past them both as they rejoined the racing line. This battle allows Marc Marquez, in 6th, to pull out a 1.5 second gap ahead.

Just ahead, on lap 5, Binder in 3rd was now hot on the tail of Marini in 2nd. Binder finally makes a move on the following lap but he goes wide and allows Marini to instantly come back through. It was lap 7 when Binder was finally able to take, and hold, 2nd place. He came through on the final corner in a very tight and aggressive move. All this battling has allowed Espargaro, behind them in 4th, to close the gap down to 0.2 seconds. However, ahead of them all, Martin was now leading by 1.6 seconds.

On the same lap, Augusto Fernandez became the first rider to retire. He went down at the final corner, turn 12, and was unable to rejoin the race. Then, on lap 10, Fabio Di Giannantonio faced a similar fate and was forced to head to the pits and retire the bike after a technical issue.

Meanwhile, on lap 5, Marquez takes 5th place away from Bezzecchi. A few laps later, the VR46 rider ten has Bagnaia all over the back of him too.

On the final lap of the race, and with Martin simply cruising to the line, the drama was still unfolding further down the field. At turn 3, Espargaro goes wide and lets Marquez through for 4th. As Espargaro attempts to regain the position, the pair bump into each other. Espargaro is only ahead for a short while as, on the final corner of the race, Marquez makes a stunning move up the inside to stead 4th as the pair cross the line – a fantastic photo finish!

Image Credit: MotoGP on X

Feature Image Credit: Prima Pramac on X

MotoGP: Martin Wins Sprint Race in Indonesia, Giving Him The Championship Lead

For the first time this season, Pecco Bagnaia is no longer leading the championship standings. After winning today’s Sprint Race, Jorge Martin now leads the title race by 7 points! He was joined on the podium by both VR46 riders, Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.

We have reached a crucial point in the season now – Indonesia is the first venue for the final 6 races of the season and marks the countdown to the end of the year. We have two triple-headers now, which can make or break a rider’s championship hopes.

Today’s Sprint Race was won by the rider who is currently riding high on momentum, and the points haul has given him the top spot in the championship standings. This is the first time in 2023 that Pecco Bagnaia has not topped the standings.

Jorge Martin showed his prowess today as he fought his way through from 6th on the grid to be leading the race by lap 5.

Joining him on the podium were both VR46 riders who have both had recent surgery on their collar bones, making their double podium even more impressive. Luca Marini, who started on pole, came home 2nd with Marco Bezzecchi less than a second behind him.

Image Credit: MotoGP

Maverick Vinales led the race in the early stages but eventually slipped back and ended the race in 4th. He looked to be struggling on his Aprilia machine, with the front of the bike not where he would want it to be. This saw him going wide in a number of corners and that’s what saw him ultimately miss out on a podium.

Fabio Quartararo came home in an promising 5th place, just ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio. This was the best race result of the season for the Gresini rider who is, at the moment, without a ride for the 2024 season.

The two Ducati riders were next to see the checkered flag, with Enea Bastianini in 7th, returning from his crash in Catalunya and Pecco Bagnaia in 8th, unable to make any significant moves in the race. Rounding out the points-finishing position, in 9th, was Jack Miller and his Red Bull KTM machine.

AS IT HAPPENED

As the lights went out it was Luca Marini, our pole sitter, who flew off the line and led the field off the grid. At turn 1, Maverick Vinales made an aggressive move up the inside of the leader to take over at the front.

It was a bad start for his teammate Aleix Espargaro, who quickly dropped from 3rd to 6th. This promoted Fabio Quartararo up to 3rd but it was clear he was lacking pace and that held up the rest of the field behind him. With clear air ahead of him, Vinales and Marini were able to break away from the pack.

On turn 11 of the first lap, Marc Marquez found himself in the kitty litter as the rear end let go and the bike just slid out from underneath him.

Jorge Martin quickly made his way past Quartararo and in to 3rd, with a move at turn 10 on lap 2. He quickly got his head down and began chasing down the leading pair.

A few corners later, whilst making a move up the inside of Brad Binder for 5th place, Espargaro’s bike slid out from underneath him and he took Binder down with him. The incident was under investigation for a short while, before the Stewards quickly decided there was no penalty necessary.

Image Credit: MotoGP

These two DNFs promoted Pecco Bagnaia up to 9th and in to the points. Meanwhile, Martin, his championship rival was setting fastest laps and getting ever closer to the leading two riders.

On lap 5, Martin was finally able to make a move past Marini and took over in 2nd place.

At the halfway point, Vinales continued to lead the race and was 0.8 seconds ahead of the rest. Martin was in 2nd, with Marini and Marco Bezzeccho in 3rd and 4th.

By lap 9, the gap at the front was down to 0.2s and that allowed Martin to throw his bike down the inside of Vinales to snatch the lead with a very risky and aggressive move.

Vinales seemed to be facing a few issues in the closing stages of the race and was going wide in multiple corners as the front of the bike seemed to get away from him. This left him vulnerable to the two VR46 riders.

Exactly one lap after he lost the lead to Martin, Vinales then lost 2nd place to Marini. The move was an exact mirror image on Martin’s move, with Marini throwing it up the inside at turn 10.

Across the line to start lap 11 and Bezzcchi was now dicing with Vinales as the Aprilia rider continued to slip backwards. However, it wasn’t until turn 10 of the final lap when he was able to get past and take the final podium position spot.

FULL RESULTS
1st Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
2nd Luca Marini Mooney VR46
3rd Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
4th Maverick Vinales Aprilia
5th Fabio Quartararo Yamaha
6th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
7th Enea Bastianini Ducati
8th Pecco Bagnaia Ducati
9th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
10th Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF
11th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
12th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
13th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
14th Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF
15th Franco Morbidelli Yamaha
16th Joan Mir Repsol Honda
17th Pol Espargaro GASGAS Tech3
18th Alex Rins LCR Honda
19th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM

DNF = Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda).

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

MotoGP: Bagnaia On Pole for FrenchGP; Disaster For Home Hero Quartararo

It was a session full of surprises today that included highs for our leading championing as well as a returning favourite but also heartache and disaster for a home hero.

After a challenging weekend in which he hasn’t shown a huge amount of pace, reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia came from nowhere to steal pole position in the dying moments of the session. He crossed the line and instantly punched the air, showing he knew just how good his lap time of 1:30.705.

He will be joined on the front row by Marc Marquez, who is returning to the action after missing the last 3 races thanks to breaking a metacarpal at the Portuguese GP. He took provisional pole with 1 minute remaining on the clock, setting, at that time, the fastest lap of the weekend so far. He clearly gave this lap everything he had as he ran out of fuel shortly after, delaying his return to the paddock to meet the media!

Having fought his way through from Q1, Luca Marini was able to snatch 3rd place away from Jack Miller shortly after the chequered flag fell, bumping the Australian down to 4th. On his final lap, Miller was following Augusto Fernandez as a marker but was sadly too close to him and this ended up slowing him down. He was unable to improve on his time and was forced to settle for 4th – a disappointing result given his impressive ride in Friday’s P1 and P2.

Maverick Vinales was an early leader in Q2 and spent time in provisional pole. This was until he left the garage for his second run, with 6 minutes remaining on the clock. He faced issues on the pit exit – the onboard shot seemed to suggest the bike was stuck on the pit limiter. He was twisting the throttle but nothing happened. He was met in the pit lane by Moto3 rider, Riccardo Rossi, who gave him a helpful push back to the garage whilst the team rushed to prepare the spare bike for him. He will line up in 7th for the sprint and main races.

As Vinales waited for his second bike to be readied, his teammate Aleix Espargaro had a huge off at the high-speed turn 1. He lost the front of the bike and slid, which some speed, out into the gravel trap. Thankfully, he was able to walk away and he will line up 11th on the grid.

Home hero, Fabio Quartararo had a disastrous session as he was unable to progress up from Q1. This means he will line up in gut-wrenching 13th place for his home sprint race later today and the main race tomorrow. The record-breaking crowds will undoubtedly be willing him on as the lights go out later today.

Full Starting Grid:
1st Pecco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo
2nd Marc Marquez Repsol Honda
3rd Luca Marini Mooney VR46
4th Jack Miller Red Bull KTM
5th Jorge Martin Prima Pramac
6th Maverick Vinales Aprilia
7th Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46
8th Alex Marquez Gresini
9th Johann Zarco Prima Pramac
10th Brad Binder Red Bull KTM
11th Aleix Espargaro Aprilia
12th Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Tech3
13th Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha
14th Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda
15th Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini
16th Joan Mir Repsol Honda
17th Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha
18th Alex Rins LCR Honda
19th Danilo Petrucci Ducati Lenovo
20th Lorenzo Savadori CryptoDATA RNF
21st Jonas Folger GASGAS Tech3

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

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