Bagnaia beats Bezzecchi in Italy MotoGP Sprint
Saturday 10th June, 2023 - 11:35pm
Francesco Bagnaia has marginally extended his MotoGP championship lead with victory over Marco Bezzecchi in the Sprint at Italy’s Mugello.
The top two in the title race also finished top two after 11 laps through the Tuscan hills, with Prima Pramac Racing team-mates Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, followed by Bezzecchi’s Mooney VR46 team-mate Luca Marini, making for an all-Ducati top five.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jack Miller was best of the rest, one position ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez, after they had early-race contact.
Bagnaia had qualified his Ducati Team entry on pole position and led the field up the hill to San Donato (Turn 1) for the first time, ahead of Marc Marquez and Martin.
Alex Marquez had also started on the front row but the #73 Gresini Ducati was down at the first corner due to contact with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM), who would be issued a Long Lap Penalty over the incident.
A flag-to-flag encounter was declared as a brief, isolated shower began to fall on Lap 2, causing the leading group to bunch right up.
Martin took the lead from Bagnaia at Scarperia (Turn 10) and Miller tried to dive under the #1 Ducati at Correntaio (Turn 12) but could not make the pass stick.
Miller ceded third back to Marc Marquez when he was wide at San Donato on the next lap but barged his way back past the #93 Honda when they arrived at Scarperia again.
However, that contact took both wide, allowing both of the VR46 Desmosedicis past.
Bagnaia reclaimed first position from Martin as they exited San Donato on Lap 4 while, just behind, Bezzecchi passed VR46 team-mate Marini for third.
When Martin was wide at the top of the main straight on Lap 5, he was relegated to third by Bezzecchi, while Zarco soon moved up to fourth, from Miller and Marini.
Bezzecchi was already riding under a track limits warning but continued to tail Bagnaia as they tried to break free from the rest of the field.
Marini overtook Miller, who thus found himself with Marc Marquez right behind, while Binder was back outside the top 10 having served his penalty.
Bagnaia started to edge away with three laps to go, stretching his lead to four tenths of a second, and Zarco in fourth had gapped Marini in fifth to the tune of a full second.
Bezzecchi tried to respond but finished 0.369s behind in the end.
Eighth went to Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), with Enea Bastianini (Ducati Team) scoring the last point, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) ending up 10th, and Binder crossing the finish line in 11th.
Earlier, Marini was reclassified in fourth in Qualifying 2, meaning it is he, rather than Miller, who will inherit a place on the front row when Alex Marquez’s grid penalty takes effect on Sunday afternoon.
Following the morning Warm Up, the Grand Prix race takes place at 22:00 AEST.
Race results: Sprint race
|1||1||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||19:41.183|
|2||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+0.369|
|3||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+0.952|
|4||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+1.009|
|5||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+3.668|
|6||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+3.772|
|7||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+3.905|
|8||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+6.062|
|9||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+6.431|
|10||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+6.458|
|11||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+6.672|
|12||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+7.930|
|13||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+9.022|
|14||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+11.508|
|15||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Aruba.it Racing||Ducati||+14.344|
|16||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+16.666|
|17||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+16.725|
|18||32||Lorenzo SAVADORI||ITA||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+17.247|
|19||25||Raul FERNANDEZ||ESP||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+21.596|
|20||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+35.212|
|21||94||Jonas FOLGER||GER||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+46.189|
|DNF||42||Alex RINS||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+8 laps|
|DNF||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati|
Race winner: 11 laps
|15||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||25|