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Friday June 14, 2024

Martin wins Qatar MotoGP sprint to trim Bagnaia’s lead

By AFP
November 20, 2023
Prima Pramacs Spanish rider Jorge Martin takes his position on the starting grid ahead of the Moto GP Grand Prix of Qatar at the Lusail International Circuit, in the city of Lusail on November 19, 2023. — AFP
Prima Pramac's Spanish rider Jorge Martin takes his position on the starting grid ahead of the Moto GP Grand Prix of Qatar at the Lusail International Circuit, in the city of Lusail on November 19, 2023. — AFP

LUSAIL: Jorge Martin barged past title rival Francesco Bagnaia early on in the MotoGP sprint at Lusail on Saturday, before he swept on to win the race.

Bagnaia finished fifth, allowing the Spaniard to cut the gap in the standings to seven points with Sunday´s race and the season-ending sprint and race in Valencia to come.

“I was thinking I had the potential to win but in a race you never know,” said Martin. “Tomorrow is the big day. Hopefully we can record more points.” Spaniard Martin of Ducati satellite team VR46 was followed home by Italians Fabio Di Giannantonio and Luca Marini.

Alex Marquez was fourth, as Ducatis occupied the top five places. Bagnaia, the reigning champion, and Martin started on the second row. They bumped at the first corner, but the Italian held off Martin, who then lost ground. “I went wide and found myself behind Pecco and Marc Marquez,” said Martin after the race. “I had to work my way past them.” On the second lap, Martin overtook Honda´s Marquez before attacking Bagnaia on the inside on the next lap, touching knees as he passed.