Alex Marquez wins Sepang MotoGP Sprint, Martin edges Bagnaia
Saturday 11th November, 2023 - 6:31pm
Alex Marquez has won the MotoGP Sprint in Malaysia while Jorge Martin trimmed two points from Francesco Bagnaia’s championship lead.
In an all-Ducati top four, it was Gresini Racing’s Marquez who took the lead on Lap 6 of 10 around Sepang and was not headed again.
Martin finished second on his Pramac Racing entry, ahead of Ducati Team duo Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini, and hence he is now 11 points off the summit of the riders’ championship standings.
Red Bull KTM team-mates Brad Binder and Jack Miller got home fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati), Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati), Luca Marini (VR46 Ducati), and Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing).
Martin had issues before he even lined up on the grid when his Ducati shed a winglet on his lap out of the pits, although the Pramac crew was able to make repairs before he set off for the formation lap.
Bagnaia jumped well from pole position and retained the lead through Turn 1 despite a challenge from Bastianini on the other factory-entered Desmosedici.
The latter slotted into second but was relegated to third on the run to Turn 4 by Alex Marquez, with Martin fourth from KTM duo Miller and Binder.
Martin and Miller also got by Bastianini late on the opening lap, before he became embroiled in a battle over fifth position with Binder.
Alex Marquez was aggressive, outbraking Bagnaia at Turn 15 on Lap 2, but also outbraking himself and in fact emerging third, behind Martin.
He immediately tried to regain second place from Martin at the other end of the main straight and, while he could not make the move stick at Turn 1, he did at Turn 4.
Marc Marquez was running just inside the top 15 when he washed out the front of his Repsol Honda at Turn 14 on Lap 3 and resumed outside the top 20, before his team-mate Joan Mir went down one lap and one corner later.
Meanwhile, Bastianini had moved back ahead of Binder, then passed Miller for fourth on Lap 5 at Turn 6.
Alex Marquez continued to tail Bagnaia at the front of the field and then outbraked the #1 Ducati to nab the lead on Lap 6 at Turn 9.
Martin wasted little time in also passing Bagnaia, moments later at the Turn 13/Turn 14 complex, by which time Binder had moved ahead of Miller into fifth spot.
Bagnaia was perhaps being hindered by what appeared to be a piece of paper which had wrapped itself around the right-hand side of the fairing of his Desmosedici, as team-mate Bastianini shadowed him around the Sepang International Circuit.
It soon disappeared, and so was Alex Marquez as he stretched his margin over Martin beyond a full second on Lap 8.
He would go on to win by 1.589s from a relatively lonely Martin, but the battle for the final podium place went down to the wire.
Bagnaia had Bastianini and Binder right behind him on the final lap, but his team-mate did well enough as a rear gunner.
Bastianini in fact very nearly lost fourth position as he played the team game, but just pipped Binder to the stripe.
All 23 starters were classified finishers, including Marc Marquez in 21st and Mir in 23rd.
Race results: Sprint race
|1||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||19:58.7130|
|2||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+1.589|
|3||1||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+3.034|
|4||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+3.242|
|5||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+3.310|
|6||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+4.318|
|7||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+5.307|
|8||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+5.501|
|9||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+6.420|
|10||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+7.241|
|11||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+8.775|
|12||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+9.995|
|13||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+10.067|
|14||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+10.643|
|15||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+11.005|
|16||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+11.911|
|17||25||Raul FERNANDEZ||ESP||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+13.591|
|18||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+15.058|
|19||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda||Honda||+16.015|
|20||27||Iker LECUONA||ESP||LCR Honda||Honda||+23.484|
|21||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+24.930|
|22||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||ESP||Aruba.it Racing||Ducati||+36.501|
|23||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+40.594|
Race winner: 10 laps