Jorge Martín makes a mistake in the Australian GP and finishes fifth after dominating the race; Zarco wins | Motorcycling | Sports

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Johann Zarco saw the opportunity of his life when his teammate Jorge Martín, who had escaped the entire race, suddenly ran out of rear tire and lost his risky bet to take a shot at the World Championship. The French rider, in his 120th MotoGP career, was finally proclaimed the winner after a heart-stopping last lap in the Australian GP brought forward to Saturday. At 33 years old, the Pramac Ducati rider unleashed mixed emotions in the team garage, delighted with a more than deserved victory after 19 podiums in the premier category without winning the big prize.

Disappointment was also present box, since Martín fell flat after dominating the test with an iron fist and finished fifth after having led all the laps. Pecco Bagnaia, his great rival for the title, knew how to overcome the bad feelings on the bike and held on ready to finish second on a podium full of joy. Fabio DiGiannantonio, currently without a motorcycle for the next season, also signed his first place in the category with the seat that Marc Márquez will occupy next year. . “Where is he going?”, thought the Honda rider, another who also chose soft rubber, when he saw the title contender escaping at full speed.

The soft rear rubber worn by the Madrid candidate suffered wear and tear from the 27 laps on the track and came to rest on the canvas in the final turn. Martinator He was once again the main protagonist of the weekend until he suddenly lost, like in Indonesia a week ago, his opportunity to confirm his excellent form and position himself as a reference in the championship. When it seemed that he was going to become the big winner and shave a good handful of points off the reigning champion, it was the drop in tire performance that deprived him of the cheers and caused him another disappointment.

In the hard braking of turn four, Zarco, unceremoniously despite sharing a garage, put the bike in front of him and Bagnaia took advantage of his confusion to overtake him and take another nine points from him in the table. “I have only tried to get hooked on Johann, and I have taken advantage of his overtaking Martín to sneak in,” the number one later acknowledged. DiGiannantonio and Binder also reported on the Spanish. DiGiannantonio and Binder, behind, also noticed him after being almost three and a half seconds behind throughout the test. Phillip Island, historically a tight racing circuit, bowed until the last breath to Martín’s will on an intense Saturday. The one from San Sebastián de los Reyes took the pole position with a record, half a second faster than the rest, and showed that he had much more than his rivals.

The man from Madrid put soft rubber on the rear axle to gain grip and try to escape, the script he expected for the test. He did so and after maintaining first place at the start, he soon escaped by more than a second from the rest. At the halfway point of the grand prix, he was ahead of Binder and the rest of the pursuers by three seconds. “Jorge has a little more than the rest,” acknowledged Paolo Ciabatti, Ducati sports director, before the start. The fastest, however, is the one who reaches the finish line first. “We have not made the right decision, now it is easy to see it from the outside. I didn’t expect that drop in the rubber,” Martín analyzed. “It is clear that from now on we will have to use the same weapons without exceptions,” he added. Lesson learned.

With five laps to go, Martín was 2.5 seconds ahead of the pursuers, but it was evident that the bike was increasingly fighting. The rest smelled blood, and on the penultimate lap Zarco seemed to give his teammate a run for his money, placing second and keeping Bagnaia at bay. The Frenchman had another idea and saw very clearly the drop in Martinator. He did not hesitate to go all out towards his first victory and in one turn he shaved more than a second off to get within range and embrace glory.

“It’s a good feeling. It’s hard to believe, but this first victory is finally here,” Zarco declared in the parc ferme. Now that he leaves Ducati and goes to the satellite Honda, the Cannes rider gave himself a true tribute on one of the most complex and beautiful MotoGP circuits. The Italian constructor had not won here since 2010 with Casey Stoner. Moto2 Champion in 2016, it had been seven years since he had tasted the joys of victory. “I needed at least one win with the best MotoGP bike. When the rest of my teammates came to congratulate me, I was really moved,” commented the veteran driver, the fifth Frenchman to win in the premier class.

On an atypical weekend, since competition had not been held on a Saturday since 2015, the outcome was shocking. Bagnaia, who was up to his neck in water and needed to go through the first qualifying round towards his third place on the grid, managed wisely and increased his advantage over Martín at the head of the World Championship. “We are always there, in the good and bad times,” he celebrated. The Italian now has 27 points over the Spaniard, who had one lap left and another crash, this time due to the performance of his rear tire, to take the lead. Márquez decided to enjoy 10 laps to the maximum, finishing fifth, knowing that the pace imposed by each head of the race was going to destroy his rubber. He finished 15th, discounting the days he has left on the back of the Japanese turtle.

Dorna took advantage of the better precision of the weather report on Sunday to advance the three remaining races of the weekend by one hour with the intention of weathering the storm. The Moto3 test will be held at one in the morning on the peninsula, the Moto2 test at 2:15 a.m. and the sprint MotoGP at 4:00 a.m. Strong gusts of wind are expected with the possibility of rain, which is why it was decided to exchange the dispute of the long race with the sprint Exceptionally.

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