MOTOGP – SPRINT: Bagnaia resists Marquez to claim first Sprint since 2023

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) is a Tissot Sprint winner for the first time since the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix! The reigning Champion redeemed his last lap crash a week ago in Barcelona to put in a stunning performance on Saturday at the Gran Premio d’Italia Brembo, taking off in the lead and then holding Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) at bay over a tense final few laps. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) completed the Sprint podium fresh from the news he’ll be in orange next season.

Championship leader Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), meanwhile, crashed out in the latter stages – and after a tangle with Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team).

Bagnaia got an almighty launch from second to take the holeshot, heading down into San Donato with metres to spare. Teammate Bastianini also launched it like a rocket to take the inside line and move into P2, denying polesitter Martin. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) shot up from P13 on the grid to challenge in the top five, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) losing out to the South African and Marc Marquez.

Binder vs Marquez was the first big move, with the #93 attacking the KTM next time round down the main straight. He just found room on the right, tight as anything, and just kept it into Turn 1. The Gresini then set off after the top three – but drama was already brewing up ahead.

Bagnaia held the lead as Martin barrelled back past Bastianini, but the Beast went for the move at Turn 1, heading slightly deep. Martin took the cutback and there was contact, with Bastianini sliding out of his home Sprint. Incident: under investigation by the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards, alongside another, that saw Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) collide.

The result was no further action regarding either incident, which was certainly positive for the #89’s hopes of taking some key points, as he now had Marc Marquez to deal with – and Bagnaia was starting to disappear up the road just as Acosta was starting to home in.

With four to go, there was yet more drama though, and at the front. This time alone, but once again for Martin. The #89 had passed Marquez once again then been passed back, and he was holding a fairly secure third just ahead of Acosta. But round San Donato the front said no more and the Championship leader slid off onto the sidelines.

That left a familiar chess match at the front: Bagnaia vs Marquez. Next time around too, the #93 took a huge chunk out of the lead, and it was down to seven tenths with two to go. But the reigning Champion found a response in the third sector of the penultimate lap, and with that, the deal was done. One more lap to right the wrong of the Barcelona Sprint – and with a second in hand. It was 1.469 as he crossed the line, and Marquez had put down his own burst of speed to leave Acosta a further two and a half seconds in arrears.

Taking his first Saturday victory since the 2023 Austrian Grand Prix is a big statement as Bagnaia cuts the gap to 27 points at the top of the Championship. He also once again escapes Marc Marquez, but the #93 once again banks some points, stays consistent, and this time starts Sunday ahead of the reigning Champion too. For Acosta, a podium is a nice dovetail to a day that also saw him confirmed as a Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider for 2025.

Martin, meanwhile, will be ruing his mistake, having not made too many at all so far in 2024. But 27 points remains sizeable as he looks to hit back on Sunday.

Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) equals his best result of the season so far, taking his second P4 in a Sprint after doing the same in Jerez, with Viñales completing the top five after getting past Binder. The South African held off Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team), Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), who completed the points in that order in a close-fought battle. Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) completed the top ten, just a tenth ahead of Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team).

MOTOGP – RACE: Bagnaia reigns as Bastianini charges past Martin and Marquez at Mugello

After a brilliant performance on Saturday, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) stormed to a triumphant victory at Mugello – completing a perfect weekend. The #1 took the maximum points available at every opportunity this weekend – adding 37 points to his tally. Straight off the line, Bagnaia charged from fifth to first by turn two, while Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) spent the race trying to match Bagnaia’s brilliant pace before an epic last lap move from Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) demoted the Spaniard to third.

With Martin rounding out the podium it drops his Championship advantage to 18 points leaving Italy. Meanwhile, behind the #89 at the line, and not by much was Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who narrowly missed out on a podium finish after starting in third – spending the majority of the Italian Grand Prix in the podium places.

As the light went out, it was a dash to San Donato, with Martin holding the lead briefly before Bagnaia instantly pounced on the entry to Turn 2. It was a dream start from the #1 with the Italian leading the Italian Grand Prix on a Ducati. Also launching strong on the opening lap was teammate Bastianini, who jumped to third on the last lap.

The first big move of the race came from Marc Marquez, passing Bastianini on the inside at San Donato before running wide and putting himself back towards Acosta. However, the rookie soon made his first mistake after running wide at the final corner and losing time to the #93.

At the front, Bagnaia put down the gauntlet early as the race leader set the fastest lap of the Grand Prix in an effort to stretch out the field. However, further back this pace would soon spell disaster for Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), who crashed at Turn 1. Things soon went from bad to worse for the Japanese manufacturer with Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda LCR), hitting the deck at Correntaio.

Further back there was a Ducati vs Aprilia battle for sixth, with Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) fending off Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) in a close battle for crucial points. However, Viñales would soon drop back as Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) began to claw his way through the field.

Martin was slowly chipping away at Bagnaia’s lead before the #1 responded with the laps ticking down as consistency proved to be key at Mugello with Bagnaia spending over 10 laps in the 1:46 bracket.

On Bastianini’s tailpipes for multiple laps was Marc Marquez, who continued to look for a way through on the Beast. Marquez soon found a way through on lap 18 – instantly stretching an advantage over Bastianini. With the #93 now in the podium positions all attention turned to if he could catch Martin.

However, Bastianini felt he deserved the right to respond slowly closing the gap with four laps remaining. Eventually, the Italian made the move stick on the penultimate lap after a brave pass on the entry to Scarperia.

Meanwhile, Martin closed the gap significantly on lap 21, with three tenths separating the top two riders in the world, heading onto the penultimate lap. This would not last long as the #1 reacted with a magnificent lap allowing Bagnaia to charge to complete a dream victory.

Behind the battle for second was not over yet, with Bastianini pulling off an unbelievable attack at the final corner to complete the Italian dream for Ducati at Mugello – crossing the line in second. Martin crossed the line in third, taking 16 crucial points after scoring zero points on Saturday.

Marc Marquez was fourth, finishing ahead of rookie Acosta, who continues to impress, showing great maturity in just his seventh weekend in the MotoGP™ class. Morbidelli ended what was an excellent result, finishing ahead of Di Giannantonio, and not by much after Di Giannantonio had great late race pace – charging hard from P14 on the grid.

Further back, Viñales took the honours as the top Aprilia at Mugello, losing time to Morbidelli and Di Giannantonio in the closing stages of the Grand Prix. Top Gun was ahead of Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), crossing the line to take ninth, as Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top 10 – the only factory KTM inside the points. Meanwhile, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing), Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team), Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing), and Alex Rins (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™ Team) took the final point scoring positions.

“This podium finish in front of our home crowd was incredible. Something hadn’t been working right in recent times, but we fixed the issues and today, we really pushed to the limit. I’m very happy: I had a little bit of a slip in terms of form in the middle of the race, but after being overtaken by Marc (Márquez) I realised the time had come to start pushing. During the final lap I saw that Jorge (Martín) was getting closer and closer and there I understood that second place was really possible. I managed to do so at the final corner and I’m very happy. I’d like to dedicate this win to my dog, who passed away last week. In a manner of speaking, she was my baby!”
Enea Bastianini – P2

Augusto Fernández

“A shame to finish the race so early but we broke the rear fender and these things can happen. We couldn’t try the things we wanted to in the race. My start was good but the end came too quick. We have the test to try again tomorrow. It’s a tough moment but we need to keep working and fighting. There are still a lot of races ahead.”
Augusto Fernández – NC

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