Marquez wins Sepang Sprint as Martin cuts Bagnaia’s lead

Marquez wins Sepang Sprint as Martin cuts Bagnaia's lead

Alex Marquez won the Malaysian MotoGP Sprint race at Sepang, while Jorge Martin narrowed Francesco Bagnaia’s championship lead.

Gresini’s Alex Marquez delivered a dominant ride to win the Malaysian MotoGP Sprint race, while Jorge Martin further reduced Francesco Bagnaia’s lead in the battle for the MotoGP championship.

Following a thrilling qualifying session, Factory Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia secured the pole position as Ducati locked out the first two rows, with Pramac’s Jorge Martin coming in second. Ahead of the Sprint, there was a possibility of rain due to heavy clouds hanging over the Sepang circuit.

Marquez made an impressive start from fourth on the grid to take third as the field came out of the first corner as Martin dropped to fourth place. However, Martin immediately pulled past Enea Bastianini for second, finishing the first lap in second place.

Marquez battled hard to take the lead with his Ducati appearing to be quicker than Bagnaia’s. He attempted to pass Martin, who had by now also moved clear on Bastianini at the last bend, but he ran wide and let the Pramac Ducati pass.

Not long after Marquez dived through on Bagnaia at Turn 10, barely past mid-distance, and the Gresini rider evened the odds and resumed his quest to secure the lead.

A few turns later, a tactical Martin took the opportunity to knock down Bagnaia to third, but the Pramac rider was unable to catch up to Marquez ahead as he began to drift away.

Marquez secured his second sprint race victory of the year by extending the gap to Martin by more than a second in just two laps. He eventually crossed the finish line 1.589 seconds ahead of Martin.

While Bastianini looked faster and probably played the team strategy by fending off a charging Brad Binder on the last lap, Bagnaia managed to hold onto third place, just behind his title rival. In light of this, Bagnaia’s lead over Martin has shrunk to 11 points heading into Sunday’s full-length Malaysian MotoGP race.

Binder was able to get by Bastianini at the last bend on the last lap after the Italian went wide. However, as a result, the Italian had a much better exit and surged past the KTM by the time the two passed the finish line to regain fourth place.

Brad Binder’s teammate Jack Miller appeared fast in the opening laps but eventually faded to sixth place, ahead of VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi. Pramac’s Johann Zarco and Luca Marini on the sister VR46’s Ducati rounded out the points scorers.

Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales was the first to lose out on points as he finished tenth barely ahead of Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli. Meanwhile, a poor start sent Fabio Quartararo to the rear of the pack, where he struggled to gain ground on GasGas duo Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro. As a result, the 2021 MotoGP champion was forced to settle for sixteenth place.

The Repsol Honda duo were the only riders that suffered crashes during the race. A few laps into the race, Marc Marquez lost it at Turn 14, and a few laps later, Joan Mir also met his downfall at Turn 15.

After remounting their RC213Vs, they crossed the finish line in 21st and 23rd place respectively. Marquez prevailed over Ducati wildcard Alvaro Bautista, who ran into problems near the end of the race.

2023 Malaysian MotoGP Sprint Race Results

1Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP2210 Laps
2Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP23+1.589
3Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP23+3.034
4Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP23+3.242
5Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+3.310
6Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+4.318
7Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+5.307
8Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP23+5.501
9Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+6.420
10Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+7.241
11Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+8.775
12Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+9.995
13Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22+10.067
14Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+10.643
15Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+11.005
16Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+11.911
17Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+13.591
18Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+15.058
19Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V+16.015
20Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V+23.484
21Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+24.930
22Alvaro Bautista🇪🇦Aruba RacingDucati GP23+36.501
23Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+40.594

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