Pole position, Tissot Sprint win and a Sunday race victory. Jorge Martin’s (Prima Pramac Racing) weekend at the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini couldn’t have gone any better as the Spaniard made no mistake to take maximum points on his title rival’s stomping ground. The winning margin over second place Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was 1.3s over the line as World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) fights through the pain to claim an important third.
Martin untouchable again as Pecco fends off Pedrosa
Just like he did in the Tissot Sprint, Martin got a perfect launch and pocketed the holeshot as Bezzecchi and Bagnaia slotted in behind. Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) got away well again and was up to P4, as the MotoGP™ Legend held on after a moment between Turn 1 and 2. Bagnaia then picked his way past Bezzecchi at Turn 3 as the #1 immediately began to hound Martin.
Unlike yesterday, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) made good progress off the start and at the beginning of Lap 2, the South African was up to P4 and began to chase Martin, Bagnaia and Bezzecchi.
A fascinating early race fight was unfolding at the front. Martin, Bagnaia and Bezzecchi were locked together, with Binder 0.7s adrift heading onto Lap 5. On Lap 6, Bezzecchi passed Pecco for P6 down at Turn 8 but just like he did a lap previous, the Italian was wide at Turn 10 to allow the Champion back through. That gave Martin a little bit of breathing room – if you can call 0.3s that – as Binder went quicker than the trio in front of him.
Disaster then struck for Binder at Turn 14 on Lap 8. The KTM star was down at the tight right-hand hairpin as his podium hopes ended, handing Pedrosa the lead KTM baton. The #26 was 1.5s off the leaders, as KTM’s afternoon then got worse as Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed out of contention after being involved in an incident with Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing).
Elsewhere, on Lap 12 of 27, it was time to cue the jaws music. Who for? Pedrosa. The wildcard was beginning to close at a vast rate of knots and with 15 laps left, Pedrosa was just 0.6s off Bezzecchi’s rear wheel. Unbelievable. Pedrosa was the only rider lapping in the 1:31s at this stage of the race.
Pedrosa’s pace dropped off soon after but the gap remained at just over a second. At the front, with 10 laps to go, Martin’s lead grew to over a second for the first time as the #89 began to get the hammer down. Were the injuries to Bagnaia and Bezzecchi starting to take their toll or was Martin’s pace just too good? Bezzecchi was looking impatient behind VR46 compatriot Bagnaia, and a move came at Turn 8. By now though, Martin’s advantage was 2.2s.
Bagnaia was fading. Pedrosa was coming. 0.7s split the double World Champion from the three-time World Champion, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and the classy Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) a further four seconds back. A huge six laps beckoned, could Bagnaia hold on to what would be a very valuable and hard-earned 16 points?
With four laps to go, Bagnaia was holding Pedrosa at bay by 0.6s. Bezzecchi was now under two seconds away from Martin but it was too little too late, with the latter controlling his advantage nicely as he powered towards completing the perfect weekend.
With two to go, Pedrosa was right on Bagnaia’s coattails. Catching the Ducati rider was one thing but as he found out in the Sprint, passing was a whole different kettle of fish. In the end, Bagnaia did hold on to a crucial P3 as Martin made no mistake to cap off a sensational weekend. Bezzecchi bagged P2 despite his injured hand to gain ground in the title chase.
Nothing more to give! 👊— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) September 10, 2023
7 days after his #CatalanGP crash, @PeccoBagnaia has finished third in the #TissotSprint, third in the race and got the fastest lap in the process 👏#SanMarinoGP 🇸🇲 pic.twitter.com/xrZYfp1oRm
The points scorers in Misano
Pedrosa took the chequered flag just 0.6s away from the podium as the Little Samurai again demonstrates why he’s a three-time World Champion and a MotoGP™ Legend. Unreal from the popular Spaniard, who finished six seconds up the road from fifth place Viñales.
Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) was sixth ahead of Marc Marquez, who somehow bags a brilliant P7 after racing with a soft rear tyre. Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) takes home his best MotoGP™ finish in P8, as the Ducati’s of Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) complete the top 10.
Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Catalan GP winner Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), a recovering Binder and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) closed out the points in San Marino.
Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) joined Miller and Pirro as the riders to notch up DNFs.
36 points in it heading to India
A brand-new challenge awaits us next time out as India hosts MotoGP™ for the very first time. Martin’s perfect weekend sees the gap between him and Championship leader Pecco sit at 36 points as the flyaway tour of the season begins.
|1||Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)|
|2||Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)||+ 1.350|
|3||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)||+ 3.812|
|4||Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)||+ 4.481|
|5||Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing)||+ 10.510|
|6||Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team)||+ 12.274|
|7||Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)||+ 13.576|
|8||Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team)||+ 14.091|
|9||Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)||+ 14.982|
|10||Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing)||+ 15.484|