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22 days ago
By motogp.com

Bagnaia vs Marquez: will the battle continue in Jerez?

It was a duel at the Americas GP, and now the stakes get even higher

Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) took his second win of the season last time out at the Circuit of the Americas, but it was far from easy. Getting past Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took some doing, and now we could be ready for Round 2 at Jerez – where Bagnaia took his first Moto2™ podium, and Marquez took his first Moto2™ win.

Bagnaia did it as a rookie last season, and he’ll have that extra bounce in his step to add to his race wins and the fact he’s leading the Championship. But he won’t have the crowd behind him, with Marquez now racing on home turf for the first time this season. In 2017, too, Jerez was his first big statement of the year. Taking off from pole and uncatchably fast throughout the weekend and race, Marquez dominated the venue for his first win. Bagnaia arrives with good memories, but Marquez’s are even better.

Another rider coming to Jerez with good memories is 2016 Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo). His first ever win, in Moto3™, was at Jerez – riding from the back of the field through to catch and pass the leaders. The South African disappeared once he’d hit the front, too, in one of the most impressive performances in recent history. So far this season fellow Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Miguel Oliveira has taken the spoils, but could that change at Jerez? It could be a good battle, with Oliveira already on podium form this season – and taking a rostrum finish last year in the Spanish GP.

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), the Argentina GP winner, wasn’t far off that podium last year, however, and Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), the man he dueled at Termas de Rio Hondo, will want to get back in the fight at the front – and on home turf.

One confirmed absentee, however, will be Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), as the Swiss rider has been sidelined for the Spanish GP following a crash in training. He’ll be hoping to be back on track as soon as possible.

Back on track is the name of the game, and practice begins on Friday 4th May, before we race at 12:20 (GMT +2) on Sunday 6th.

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