Poor start and ‘useless battle’ cost Bagnaia in Sprint race
By Kyle White
Sunday 29th October, 2023 - 7:22am
Francesco Bagnaia was left to rue a poor start and a ‘useless battle’ between Alex Marquez and Johann Zarco as the reigning champion’s MotoGP title lead was slashed to 18 points by Jorge Martin in Thailand.
Pramac Ducati’s Martin led all the way to win a fifth consecutive Sprint race while Bagnaia had to make do with seventh place after qualifying sixth on the Lenovo Ducati.
The Italian found himself down in ninth on the first lap and then got held up behind Marquez and Zarco, eventually finding his way past on lap five of 13 when the battling duo ran wide at the final corner.
Bagnaia will now look to respond in Sunday’s main race in Buriram at round 17 of the championship as he bids to prevent Martin from clawing back even more ground.
“When you miss the start then obviously everything will be worse,” he said. “I tried everything but the battle between Alex Marquez and Johann Zarco, because it was super-useless in this moment, made us lose a lot of time.
“Then my pace was maybe the strongest, one of the strongest, but I was not [close] enough to close the gap to the front group.
“I arrived on the last lap but it wasn’t enough to have a chance to overtake, but we have to take the positives from today that our pace was good; my tyre management was perfect and we have to just be focused on this,” added Bagnaia, who crossed the line in the wheel tracks of VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi.
“I think always we are the most prepared for the long race, so let’s race tomorrow.
“For sure, it would have been better today to finish more in the front but for tomorrow I’m not worried. I have just to improve my pace in the first laps to stay away from battles that make us lose too much time.”
After this weekend, only three rounds of the 2023 championship remain with Malaysia (10-12), Qatar (17-19) and finally Valencia in Spain (24-26) taking place on successive weekends in November.