Indian GP winner Bezzecchi ‘not thinking about world title’
By Kyle White
Monday 25th September, 2023 - 8:45am
Marco Bezzecchi isn’t allowing himself to think about the possibility of fighting for the MotoGP world title after he blitzed his rivals to win the first-ever Indian Grand Prix.
Bezzecchi put the disappointment of Saturday’s Sprint race behind him, when his prospects of winning were thwarted after he was hit from behind by VR46 Ducati team-mate Luca Marini, who sustained a fractured collarbone in the incident and was handed a Long Lap Penalty as a result.
Despite the early setback, pole man Bezzecchi re-joined the Sprint race at the rear of the field and showed his pace as he battled through to finish fifth at the Buddh International Circuit.
In Sunday’s Grand Prix, Bezzecchi passed the Ducati Team’s Francesco Bagnaia at the final corner at the end of the first lap and never looked back, pulling clear to seal an emphatic victory by over eight seconds.
He is now 44 points behind world champion Bagnaia, who crashed out of second place as the title race took a dramatic twist.
Bezzecchi, third in the standings behind Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin, said: “When I went to parc ferme they told me [that Bagnaia had crashed] and I’m sorry for him, but I’m not thinking too much about the championship, I have to be honest.
“But it’s always nice to be close to have the possibility to fight with Jorge and him who are very strong, so for me it’s an honour and I will try to give my all until the end of the season.
“Now it is Japan, which is a track that I really like, so I can’t wait.”
Bezzecchi was in a hurry to get to the front on the opening lap and admitted his overtake on Bagnaia’s inside at the last corner had been ‘a bit aggressive’.
“I feel amazing, I’m very happy for this race,” he said. “Yesterday [in the Sprint] I was strong, I was fast, but unfortunately in the start I lost a lot of time.
“To bounce back like this was amazing. I tried to keep myself calm as soon as Jorge and Pecco passed me at the start because I knew that they had something more.
“I tried to stay close and then I tried to pass Pecco; I knew this was important for the front tyre [pressure], so to put myself in front I was a bit aggressive but I needed to do it because it was smarter [or] like the first races, I would have been in trouble.
“I felt very good with my bike, I rode very well and I had a good pace.”
The 24-year-old said he concentrated primarily on finding the limit in the hard braking zones during practice and qualifying, which may have been the key to his superior pace.
“I like the track a lot but I don’t know [why he was so strong]. I focused myself on braking because this track was tough for that,” said Bezzecchi.
“It was difficult conditions to set the bike, the front lock was a lot, so I focused myself a lot on braking because normally Pecco and Jorge, in the last period they make the difference on every track.
“On Friday I made a lot of mistakes and went wide many times, but it was just to find the limit and once I found it, I was able to move it a little bit forward and this gave me the possibility to be fast.
“On Saturday, I felt amazing with the bike and I started to see I was making a bit more difference than the other riders, but Jorge was impressive so today it wasn’t easy and I’m very happy,” he added.
“My pit board on the last lap was six seconds, so I didn’t expect to win by eight – I don’t know what happened. To win is always difficult, but to win by eight or nine seconds is even better.”
The Japanese Grand Prix takes place next weekend (September 29-October 1) at Motegi.