History was made on Saturday at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) won the first Tissot Sprint on Indian soil, making it three victories in a row for the Spaniard – two Sprints and one GP. The Pramac rider put on a dominant display to deny Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), but the Italian showed his almost customary ability to bounce back from what seemed like a tougher Friday to bank another big haul of points. Still, the gap was cut once more. Meanwhile in third, it was a welcome return to the Sprint rostrum and a continuation of the positive form so far in India for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the eight-time World Champion held off Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) for P3.
Martin hits the ground running
It was a lightning start for Martin, who took the holeshot into Turn 1 and almost unbothered by the chasing pack. There was big dram for Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), however, as he lost buckets of time – dropping through the order due to Turn 1 contact from Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) which saw the number 10 crash out. The comeback charge, for Bezzecchi, was on.
Meanwhile, at the front, Martin had Bagnaia for company as the reigning champ was eager to latch himself onto the rear wheel of his title rival. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) also got a brilliant start from 5th on the grid to put himself into P3 on lap 1. It wasn't long before he fell into the clutches of teammate Marc Marquez however as the eight-time champ put himself into the top three.
Binder was a man on a mission in the opening stages too as the South African flew his way from 13th to 5th to latch himself onto the Repsol Honda duo, who were shadowing Bagnaia's every move.
Disaster then came for Mir after his early charge, as a mistake saw him drop it at the same slow, slow Turn 3 that had bitten teammate Marc Marquez earlier in the day. Rider ok, but chance lost on Saturday.
Just up the road, Martin had the bit between his teeth in the lead as he flew away from reigning Champion Bagnaia, stretching the gap to two seconds and controlling his lead to the chequered flag.
Bagnaia tried all he could to chase down the Spaniard and subsequently pulled away from the clutches of Marc Marquez to bring home crucial points in P2. Behind them, there was plenty yet to be decided.
Marquez vs Binder
With the laps ticking away, Marc Marquez had plenty on his hands as Binder was breathing down the his neck. With the chequered flag drawing nearer and nearer it felt as if it was only a matter of time before South African was going to make a move…
And yet. The number 93 dug in and said his later Sprint pace was positive, and it was certainly positive enough as he managed to hold off Binder. A good recovery from the South African, but a seriously needed return to the top three for both Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda squad.
Bezzecchi on the charge…
After it seemed all could be lost following that Turn 1 drama, Bezzecchi put together an incredible recovery after dropping down the order. With six laps to go the Italian had already pushed his way into the top 10, and by the end of his awesome scything through the field he managed to pip Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) for a top five finish. Bezzecchi also put in the fastest lap of the race on the final lap - beating his own previous best. His pace will raise eyebrows for Sunday.
Quartararo himself enjoyed a very positive Indian Sprint. The Frenchman finished just 4.327s back from the victory and was under 2 seconds away from the top three as he brought home P6.
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) moved well up the order to snap up 7th place ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), with Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) taking the final point in P9.
Marini was subsequently passed unfit due to a collarbone fracture sustained in the Turn 1 crash, and to add – metaphorically speaking – insult to injury, the Italian will also have a Long Lap to serve on his return.
If Saturday's action at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India is anything to go by, you do not want to miss any of the action on Sunday's billing! Can Martin double up once again, or is Bezzecchi’s pace just too hot to handle? Find out at 15:30 local time (GMT +5:30)!
|1||Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing)|
|2||Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team)||+1.389|
|3||Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)||+2.405|
|4||Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)||+2.904|
|5||Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)||+3.266|
|6||Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™)||+4.327|
|7||Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)||+7.712|
|8||Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing)||+8.798|
|9||Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team)||+10.530|
|10||Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™)||+10.826|