MOTOGP – SPRINT: Martin strikes gold as M. Marquez crashes from the lead

Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) is back on top, winning an epic Tissot Sprint for the first time since the opening round! The #89 battled hard on the first lap to steal the lead and fought hard with Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) throughout the Sprint before crossing the line to claim victory with a comfortable gap after at the Gran Premio Estrella Galicia 0,0 de España on a Saturday which had many twists along the way.

The battle for the podium was intense, with Marc Marquez crashing out, promoting Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) to second, and Daniel Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) claiming third after a tyre pressure penalty for Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™).

There was potential for drama at turn one, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) claiming the holeshot after a sensation start for the South African. Martin soon found a gap on pole-sitter Marc Marquez, who tried to fight back at turn two but would abort the mission, sitting sights for a move later in the Sprint. Martin soon hit the front of the race, leaving Binder to fight with the Marquez brothers behind.

Reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) then suffered his Sprint drama, sandwiched with Binder and Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing) at turn one – bringing a premature end to the #1’s Sprint, with no further action to be taken on the collision but Bagnaia the only rider sidelined because of it.

At the front, Martin put the hammer down straight away, building a gap of one second to Marc Marquez, who was working hard to close the gap. The #93 clawed the gap back to half a second before Martin ran wide, allowing Marquez to pounce on lap seven of the race – causing the Jerez crowd to erupt.

Behind the race leaders was a great battle brewing for third between Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Binder, and Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), before suddenly all three riders lost the front at turn five. Seconds after, Marc Marquez would lose the front from the Sprint lead, crashing out and dropping down to ninth position. This promoted Martin back into the lead, Acosta into second, and Quartararo into third.

On the final lap of the race, Martin had a comfortable four-second lead and looked unbeatable on the final lap. The #89 held onto the victory, crossing the line to win the Tissot Sprint ahead of Acosta and Quartararo.

Pedrosa was unable to find a gap in Quartararo’s armour in the final lap, crossing the line to finish in fourth. However, Quartararo would be later handed a penalty promoting the returning #26 to third place ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing), who was promoted to fourth with Quartararo rounding out the top five after the eight-second tyre pressure penalty was applied. Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing) ended the race in sixth, but a penalty for him then promoted Marc Marquez, who remounted, to P6.

Marc Marquez was also forced to drop one position in the closing stages of the race after colliding with former Repsol Honda teammate Joan Mir, but completed the charge. Augusto Fernandez made it a double-point scoring finish for the Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 squad, classified seventh ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) and Mir, who was promoted to P9 by Raul Fernandez’ penalty.

There were a handful of other fallers throughout the race, including Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, who would also crash in the early stages at turn 13 before Bezzecchi would fall with four laps remaining. Both Aprilia Racing machines of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales would also DNF from the Sprint, and Luca Marini (Repsol Honda Team) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed out.

MOTOGP – RACE: Clash of the titans: Bagnaia defeats Marquez

It was yet another dramatic Spanish GP after a near fairy tale story for Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who was denied a first race win in 917 days by Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). The Italian showed why he is #1, defending from #93 all the way to the line – after a Grand Prix where they pushed each other to the limits with tactics, contact, and too many overtakes to count, all in 25 laps of yet another Jerez classic.

It was a record-breaking Spanish GP, with almost 300,000 fans flooding the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto – some arriving before 7 am. Those fans were treated to an absolute blockbuster after a dramatic Grand Prix, which will be spoken about for a long time.

Behind the reigning World Champion after a race-long duel was Marc Marquez, who was forced to settle for second and celebrated in style with the Spanish crowd – finishing just 0.372s adrift. Marco Bezzecchi (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) was third and was only able to watch the battle for the lead – a further 3.531s behind as the duel at the head of the race pulled clear. So where was Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)? The Championship leader crashed out of the lead of the race, only able to watch from the sidelines.

25 riders roared to the first corner, with pole-sitter Marc Marquez leading the field, to the delight of the Spanish fans. However, it was Martin who pounced to second before Bagnaia pulled off an unbelievable move around the outside to snatch second from the Spaniard. The battle was officially on.

Bagnaia’s aggressive start allowed the #1 to steal first place at the end of the first lap, dropping Marquez to third. The Italian soon made a mistake at the end of lap two, undoing all his hard work and allowing Martin to have a clear track ahead. It was the battle of Martin and Bagnaia for a handful of laps, with Bezzecchi soon getting the better of Marc Marquez.

Further down the order, it was a bad start for Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3), who had crashed in Warm Up and had now dropped to 17th in the race. Meanwhile Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) had a start that was too good to be true – receiving a double LLP and then a ride-through penalty for not serving the original penalty.

However, with 15 laps remaining, everything unfolded for Martin, who lost the front in the race lead – destroying hopes of a victory. This left Bagnaia at the front, who led from Marquez after the #93 was able to charge through at the turn six to overtake Bezzecchi – sending the Spanish fans to their feet.

The last five laps were incredible, as two Champions were locked together on track – fighting for the same piece of tarmac. Everything was on the line, shown by Marc Marquez, who tried to make a heroic pass at turn nine, with Bagnaia able to fight back instantly. Marc Marquez was on a mission and tried again one lap later before Bagnaia responded to smash the race lap record. Bagnaia continued to respond, however, riding the lap of his life, and fending off Marc Marquez to win by 0.372s after pinpoint precision on the last lap.

Behind the front trio was Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), who, after incredible pace, finished a mere 0.048s ahead of Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), adding to the celebrations in both camps on Sunday. Brad Binder brought the sole remaining Red Bull KTM Factory Racing RC16 to sixth place. The South African walks away from the Spanish GP in seventh position in the standings after finishing over two seconds ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) and Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) in seventh and eighth. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was unable to repeat the same success as Texas, finishing in ninth ahead of rookie Acosta, who claimed his worst finish since joining the premier class – crossing the line in 10th.

Daniel Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was the first rider to crash, losing the front at turn 8. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) crashed on lap 10, making contact with Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR). Franco Morbidelli (Prima Pramac Racing) and Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) were the next riders to go down, as their hopes of scoring good Championship points came crashing down.

“It was a difficult race as I couldn’t repeat the same type of start as in the sprint race, so I lost some ground. I tried to bounce back, but just like yesterday I didn’t manage to overtake Brad (Binder) throughout the race as he managed to hit the brakes later than me. Too bad, because I was expecting something more, but the result is still a good one. Surely I need to improve under braking, because I’ve been struggling a bit more compared to recent past and that makes my life a bit harder when it comes to try and overtake other riders. It’s a thing I’ve been noticing in most tracks this year. We were good about the rest and we improved throughout the weekend, so I’m quite happy.”
Enea Bastianini – P5

Augusto Fernández

“A bit of a disaster. I had a technical problem at the start and I could not stop the bike rolling. I wasn’t feeling great and then missed the Long Lap penalties: one to forget! Anyway, we have a test tomorrow where we really need to work to improve and to be more competitive and build the base we are missing.”
Augusto Fernández – NC

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