"Jorge will have to totally attack"

Delve into the biggest Talking Points from a cracker in Qatar!

Under the lights of Lusail, it was Fabio Di Giannantonio who shone brightest to secure his maiden win in MotoGP™, and ensure it was back-to-back wins for Gresini Racing in Qatar. Crossing the line second was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), who delivered a hammer blow to title rivals Jorge Martin’s (Prima Pramac Racing) Championship hopes, while Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) bagged himself another MotoGP™ podium.

A deluge of on track action kept us glued to our screens across the weekend, and these are some of the biggest Talking Point from the Qatar GP.

“Jorge will have to totally attack”

The title fight will indeed rumble onto the final round in Valencia, but there is now a 21 point difference between Bagnaia and Martin. The top two experienced very different fortunes on Sunday in Qatar, but will once again go wheel-to-wheel for glory at the season finale.

Bagnaia: “I never saw him. I thought he was fourth, but I didn’t see he was behind like this and my team didn’t say anything to me.”

“Last year I remember my feeling (going into the final round). Even if it was a 23-point gap, I was very much under pressure but this year is different. I think we can manage the situation better and Jorge will have to totally attack. We are in the best position.”

Martin: “You saw the start. I had a big spin and the rear tyre wasn’t working well. I’m really disappointed a Championship is decided by a bad tyre. It’s happened to me and it’s a pity but it is what it is. I struggled a lot, I didn’t have rear grip, I couldn’t turn, I couldn’t open the throttle but with my experience, I at least made some points which wasn’t easy.

“Anything can happen in Valencia. Pecco can make a mistake, I can for sure win both races but I can win if I don’t have a tyre like today. It’s not decided yet, but it’s not the same to arrive to Valencia close than in this condition.”

“I am speechless”

Di Giannantonio took an incredible maiden win in Qatar, in one of the very best feel good stories of the year. Despite taking a Grand Prix win, a Tissot Sprint podium plus an Australian GP podium, the Italian still hasn’t secured a seat for 2024, with just one round remaining. Post-race, the #49 reflected on the situation.

“I am speechless about this argument. I think I am doing everything on time. It’s just my second year in MotoGP™. If you look at the other riders, we are in the best Championship in the world, the highest level of motorbikes in the world. The guy who finished last today was a World Champion, so the level is super high! It takes time to make things work out, finally we made it, but I think we’re completely on time.”

Diggia also discussed his future after a brilliant Tissot Sprint podium on Saturday, labelling it strange that a rider of his quality has yet to secure a ride.

“I think it's quite strange this situation, that a rider like me does not have a seat with one week to the end of the season, and some other riders already have it. In the end, it is what it is, and I just have to be focused and just try to enjoy every moment of my bike.

Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti also weighed in with his opinion, believing it to be unforgivable if he doesn’t line up on next year’s grid.

“He doesn’t know if he has a ride for next year yet which to me is unacceptable because he has shown, in the last part of the Championship, he is one of the best riders here at the moment. It is what it is, I hope he gets a ride for next year.”

“He got mapping eight!? Fantastic!” 

It’s been a while, but MotoGP™ finally saw the return of mapping eight during a Grand Prix race! The last time it was between Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo, signalling the latter to roll off as the former challenged for title honours. We saw the return of the dashboard message on Sunday, but it had a slightly different meaning this time around!

Bagnaia: “I didn’t know! He got mapping eight!? Fantastic if it was the same as the last time! In any case, he was faster, I did the maximum with my pace and I did my best lap time the one before going wide.

Di Giannantonio: “We just planned to make the pass four to five laps from the end, so that mapping 8 was a ‘Hey, now is the moment!’ And it was a good thing because I couldn’t see my pit board and I couldn’t see how many laps till the end. Then I saw mapping eight and I started to find my pit board with four laps to go and I was like, ‘Oh man! I need to do it now!”

“We've seen him over-reacting many, many times”

Hitting the headlines for more controversial reasons were Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) after their FP2 clash. The Spaniard lashed out at his Italian counterpart, something which saw him handed a six-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race in addition to a hefty fine.

Morbidelli: “I was having my practice and then Alex Marquez crashed in turn 2 and there was a yellow flag. So Martin, in front of me, slowed down. I slowed down as well. But by the time we reached turn 4, Aleix overtook me. And then I overtook him back because I wanted to get back my original position. And then he overtook me like crazy into Turn 6 almost crashing and almost making me crash.

“Yes. And then when I was trying to tell him to take it easy because as always, after he banged on me, he got angry! And started to make bad gestures as he always does. When I was telling him to take it easy and to chill out. He did what you all saw. It’s a hugely disrespectful action towards me.

“We've seen him over-reacting many, many times in his career. He has much more episodes to be ashamed of, than episodes to be proud of. I guess he's what he is. I wonder what he will say to his kids.”

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