Jorge Martin cuts Bagnaia’s lead by half after winning Qatar MotoGP Sprint

Martin cuts Bagnaia's lead by half after winning Qatar Sprint

Jorge Martin cut Pecco Bagnaia’s points lead in half with a victory in Qatar MotoGP Sprint, taking a significant step towards the 2023 MotoGP championship win.

Pramac Ducati’s Jorge Martin cut the lead over his championship rival Pecco Bagnaia in half after winning the Qatar MotoGP Sprint Race at the Lusail International Circuit.

After putting in a determined effort to edge out the competition by the halfway mark, the Spaniard held off an intense challenge from Fabio di Giannantonio to win by three tenths of a second.

With only three races left in the season, the gap between the two has shrunk from 14 points to seven. Martin earned the full 12 points for his efforts, while Bagnaia could only manage fifth place.

At the outset, there was immediate aggression between the two title rivals with Bagnaia attempting to sidestep Martin as they approached the first corner, only for the Ducati getting forced to run wide.

However, in the interim the two passed a sluggish Di Giannantonio and Martin began to pursue the leading polesitter Luca Marini and Alex Marquez. But later in the lap, Martin made an error that allowed Marc Marquez and Bagnaia to get by.

However, Martin handled Alex Marquez on the main straight at the end of the first lap, and on the second, he practically bullied his way past Bagnaia at the right-hand turn at Turn 10, which allowed Di Giannantonio to make it past the championship leader as well.

By that point, the front-running pair had barely split from the trailing pack and on the second lap, Alex Marquez tried to pass Marini by moving to the inside but fell short.

After following Martin closely for three laps, the Gresini rider closed the gap on Marini going into Turn 1, but once more he was unable to hold onto a narrow line to secure the overtake on the inside.

That was the end of Marquez’s attempt to win the sprint as Martin passed him soon after, and the Gresini later fell behind teammate Di Giannantonio as well.

Marquez’s hopes of winning the sprint were dashed when Martin passed him soon after, and he later fell behind teammate Di Giannantonio as well.

However, Martin quickly overtook Marini after making a move at the last corner just after the halfway mark of the 11-lap battle, although the younger Marquez had found it difficult to pass.

From then on, however, things didn’t go smoothly as Di Giannantonio was back on the rise and quickly overcame the VR46 rider and went on to pressure Martin up to the finish. Martin managed to hang on for a final gap of 0.391s, marking his sixth victory in the preceding seven sprints.

Marini, who will be joining Honda the following year, held off Alex Marquez by 0.5 seconds to take third place.

Bagnaia was forced to defend fifth place from Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales after being completely annihilated by Martin, leaving him unable to do much as Alex Marquez followed closely behind. While he executed this successfully, it will come as a shock that he placed four seconds behind Martin in the 11-lap Sprint.

KTM’S Brad Binder, Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez secured the final sprint points. Fernandez held off Johann Zarco by 0.029 seconds to claim the crucial ninth position.

Marc Marquez finished in eleventh place after being shoved aside by Binder after making a costly error at Turn 1 that prevented him from scoring any points. Iker Lecuona, the stand-in at LCR Honda, was the next fastest Honda rider, but he was still six places and almost ten seconds behind.

Three riders were forced to withdraw from the action due to a single crash that happened during the first lap. Aleix Espargaro(Aprilia), Miguel Oliveira(RNF Aprilia) and Enea Bastianini(Ducati) were all involved in the incident.

Entering the Turn 6 left-hander, Oliveira got on too fast and collided with fellow Aprilia rider Espargaro, who unlucky Bastianini was eventually unable to steer clear of.

Both Oliveira and Espargaro suffered injuries as the Aprilia rider sustained a minor ankle fracture while the RNF rider sustained a shoulder injury.

2023 Qatar MotoGP Sprint Race Results

1Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP2311 Laps
2Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22+0.391
3Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+2.875
4Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22+3.370
5Francesco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP23+3.957
6Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+4.239
7Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+5.761
8Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+6.454
9Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+8.285
10Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP23+8.314
11Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+9.596
12Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+10.173
13Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+10.646
14Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+11.117
15Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+12.163
16Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+12.745
17Iker Lecuona🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V+19.285
18Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V+26.238
19Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+28.446
20Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP23+35.553
DNFAleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP
DNFMiguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP

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