Martin wins Qatar MotoGP Sprint
Sunday 19th November, 2023 - 7:47am
Jorge Martin has cut Francesco Bagnaia’s MotoGP championship lead to seven points with victory in the Sprint at Qatar’s Lusail.
The Pramac Racing rider had an early scrap with Bagnaia for the minor placings before hitting the front on Lap 5 and then surviving late pressure from Gresini Racing’s Fabio Di Giannantonio in the closing stages of the 11-lap contest.
VR46 Racing Team’s Luca Marini finished third in an all-Ducati top five, from Gresini’s Alex Marquez and the factory Ducati Team’s Francesco Bagnaia.
Aprilia Racing’s Maverick Viñales got home in sixth, from Red Bull KTM’s Brad Binder and Monster Energy Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo.
GasGas Tech3’s Augusto Fernandez scored the final championship point on offer and Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco rounded out the top 10, one position ahead of Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.
Marini had qualified on pole position and led the field away, from Alex Marquez, while Martin and Bagnaia made contact as the former of the title contenders took third place going into Turn 1.
Alex Marquez and Martin both ran wide and Turn 4 and the title contender dropped from third to fifth, behind Bagnaia and Marc Marquez.
Martin used his superior Ducati engine to blaze back past the #93 Honda of Marquez when they reached pit straight again, before Di Giannantonio passed the rider who is replacing him at Gresini at Turn 2.
Half a lap later, Martin squeezed down the inside of Bagnaia at Turn 10 to reclaim third position from his main rival.
Alex Marquez went down the inside of Marini at Turn 12 but could not make the move stick, although Di Giannantonio had more luck when he overtook Bagnaia for fourth at Turn 15.
On Lap 3, Binder dived past Marc Marquez at Turn 4, with #93 also losing position to Viñales and Zarco as he tried to regroup after being forced well wide.
Alex Marquez used a slipstream to try and pass Marini into Turn 1 on Lap 5 but, again, could not pull up in time to complete the pass.
Instead, he would lose second position to Maritn at Turn 10, then third position to team-mate Di Giannantonio before Lap 5 was done.
Just up the road, Martin overtook Marini at Turn 16 to take the lead for the first time, just before the halfway mark.
Viñales got through on Binder for sixth at the start of Lap 6, and Di Giannantonio had taken second place from Marini by the end of it, at Turn 15.
At the very front of the field, Martin was trying to clear out, his lead 0.458s with six laps down and five to go.
Bagnaia, on the other hand, began to come under pressure from Viñales in the battle for fifth position, behind Martin, Di Giannantonio, Marini, and Alex Marquez.
Di Giannantonio was able to respond to Martin’s pace and catch back up to #89, the two nose-to-tail with two laps to go.
However, ‘The Martinator’ held firm to bank a crucial 12 points and guarantee that it will be a live title fight in the Valencia season finale next weekend.
Bagnaia was at least able to stave off Viñales and salvage fifth position.
It was an entertaining scrap for the final championship points on offer, with Marquez ultimately pushed out of the top 10 in the closing stages.
Red Bull KTM rider Jack Miller finished 12th after qualifying his RC16 16th on the grid.
The Ducati Team’s Enea Bastianini was classified a finisher in 20th after he was in an ugly opening lap crash.
The other parties involved, Aprilia Racing’s Aleix Espargaro and RNF Aprilia’s Miguel Oliveira, did not see the chequered flag.
Race results: Sprint race
|1||89||Jorge MARTIN||ESP||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||20:52.634|
|2||49||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+0.391|
|3||10||Luca MARINI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+2.875|
|4||73||Alex MARQUEZ||ESP||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||+3.370|
|5||1||Francesco BAGNAIA||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+3.957|
|6||12||Maverick VIÑALES||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+4.239|
|7||33||Brad BINDER||RSA||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+5.761|
|8||20||Fabio QUARTARARO||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+6.454|
|9||37||Augusto FERNANDEZ||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+8.285|
|10||5||Johann ZARCO||FRA||Prima Pramac Racing||Ducati||+8.314|
|11||93||Marc MARQUEZ||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+9.596|
|12||43||Jack MILLER||AUS||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||+10.173|
|13||72||Marco BEZZECCHI||ITA||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||+10.646|
|14||25||Raul FERNANDEZ||ESP||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia||+11.117|
|15||21||Franco MORBIDELLI||ITA||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+12.163|
|16||44||Pol ESPARGARO||ESP||GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3||KTM||+12.745|
|17||27||Iker LECUONA||ESP||LCR Honda CASTROL||Honda||+19.285|
|18||30||Takaaki NAKAGAMI||JPN||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||+26.238|
|19||36||Joan MIR||ESP||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+28.446|
|20||23||Enea BASTIANINI||ITA||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||+35.553|
|DNF||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||ESP||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||+10 laps|
|DNF||88||Miguel OLIVEIRA||POR||CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team||Aprilia|
Race winner: 11 laps
|12||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO||ITA||109|