Jorge Martín was clear that this could be a great weekend. When he was little he always wanted to compete in MotoGP and win a race. It was his great dream and he achieved it relatively soon, when he was a rookie in the category, at the age of 23, in the 2021 Styrian GP. Something he never imagined was the possibility of leading the world championship, not at least until these last weeks. With a resounding victory in the race to sprint In the Indonesian GP, the Madrid native completed his lightning comeback over Pecco Bagnaia, current world champion, to lead the drivers’ table for the first time.
At the Catalunya GP, Martín was 66 points behind Bagnaia in the championship standings. Four grand prizes later, he is seven points ahead of him in the table. Full of joy, at the best moment of his career, the man from Madrid was once again the fastest, most ambitious and strongest man on the court when the goals were distributed. Although a mistake in qualifying undermined his confidence and placed him in sixth place on the grid, still ahead of his rivals for the title, the Pramac Ducati rider left with the conviction of going for the head of the race. and finally become the main reference.
At the start, Martín avoided problems in the middle of the pack and emerged from the first corners in fourth position. He then fought with Fabio Quartararo for the podium position, and on the fifth lap he scored the first blow of the weekend, surpassing the poleman Luca Marini. Valentino Rossi’s brother, who like his teammate Marco Bezzecchi returned to competition after suffering a broken collarbone in the Indian GP, started in first position on the grid and endured the pain to finish second. Bezzecchi, six days after his operation, completed the podium with full Ducatis, manufacturers’ world champion for the fourth consecutive year.
Maverick Viñales, who came out strong with the Aprilia, led the race until the eighth lap. There he encountered Martín’s devastating rhythm. The man from Madrid, once again, was determined and aggressive to unceremoniously put the bike into him, overtake him and ride towards victory and the lead. “It has been a complicated day, but in the end we came out winners,” explained the driver from San Sebastián de los Reyes, who admitted that he got lost looking at the circuit screens when he crashed in qualifying. “It was a rookie mistake. Starting sixth was not the best, but I have been able to overtake on a circuit where it is normally difficult for me and I have managed to keep the rest at bay,” he later summarized.
The frustration of Bagnaia, Ducati’s number one
Bagnaia lived through hell at the Mandalika circuit. Uncomfortable and stiff on the bike, a couple of mistakes on Friday forced him to go through the first qualifying session on Saturday. There he met several brand mates who surpassed him, first Marini and then Enea Bastianini, his teammate on the official Ducati team. However, he was left without the opportunity to fight for pole and had to settle for thirteenth place on the grid.
“We have to understand Pecco’s problems in braking and corner entry, his always strong point,” said Davide Tardozzi, team leader, to the DAZN microphones. The number one’s body language did not hide his frustration with the results of recent weeks. He did not meet Gigi Dall’Igna, head of the brand, and went straight to the truck without speaking to his technicians after the disappointment in qualifying. The policy of let it happen among the eight drivers of the brand took its toll on the world champion, who saw how two riders who had nothing at stake – and would also have to serve a long penalty lap in Sunday’s race (at 9:00 a.m., DAZN) – They went over it.
In the race to sprint, the factory leader was stranded behind his teammate and only managed to finish eighth while watching how Martín and Bezzecchi, his great rivals, excelled ahead. The fall of Aleix Espargaró, who overtook Brad Binder in the front positions in the second lap, allowed the Turin native to score points in the race. The VR46 driver, who started ninth, achieved a worthy comeback despite his recent collarbone injury (he had surgery a week ago). The third candidate for the title is now 49 points off the lead after enduring pain to get on the podium in Indonesia.
Ducati won a title this Saturday, but the long faces in the official team garage made it clear that the lack of team orders is beginning to irritate the world champion, as well as some of the brand’s top managers. A satellite bike tops the table on the day the Desmosedici have emerged as the best machine on the grid.
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