Jorge Martin clinched victory in the MotoGP World Championship Sprint Race held at India’s Buddh International Circuit on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Riding his Prima Pramac Racing Ducati, the Spanish rider dominated the dry 11-lap race, securing his second consecutive Sprint Race triumph and his fourth of the 2023 season.
The top 3 finishers were Jorge Martin, Francesco Bagnaia and Marc Marquez
In a closely contested battle, defending World Champion Francesco Bagnaia finished in second place, while the six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez secured the third spot astride his Repsol Honda RC213V. The race, however, proved to be challenging for some riders, as six of them couldn’t finish the intense sprint.
After a slight delay to ensure optimal track conditions, the 11-lap showdown kicked off shortly after 5 pm local time at the Buddh International Circuit. VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi started from pole position, with Pramac’s Martin and teammate Luca Marini in close pursuit.
Martin launched off the line with exceptional speed, swiftly taking the lead. Meanwhile, Bezzecchi aimed to secure second place but faced misfortune when Marini miscalculated his braking for Turn 1, colliding with Bezzecchi’s Ducati and sending him off the track.
This incident provided Martin with valuable breathing room as he navigated the challenging opening turn. Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia moved into second place on his factory Ducati, followed closely by the factory Honda duo of Joan Mir and Marc Marquez.
Martin’s exceptional pace allowed him to build a lead of nearly three seconds by the race’s midpoint. However, he wisely eased off the throttle during the final lap, crossing the finish line with a comfortable 1.4-second lead.
This win marked Jorge Martin’s fourth sprint race victory of the year
This impressive win marked Martin’s second consecutive Sprint Race victory, following his triumph at Misano earlier in the month. It also allowed him to further narrow the gap between himself and Bagnaia in the championship standings.
While Bagnaia initially faced pressure from Marquez, who had overtaken his teammate Mir early in the race, the Spaniard couldn’t sustain his pace in the latter stages. As a result, Bagnaia successfully retained his second-place position. For Marquez, this third-place finish marked his second Sprint Race podium of the year.
In contrast, Marquez’s teammate Joan Mir endured a challenging race, crashing out at Turn 3 during lap 4. This opened the door for KTM’s Brad Binder, who secured a commendable fourth place.
The scary opening lap incident which left Marini with a broken collarbone
Marco Bezzecchi’s race saw a remarkable turnaround. After an early setback when his teammate Marini collided with him at the start, Bezzecchi staged a heroic comeback, rejoining the points battle on lap 6. He even managed to pass the Yamaha of Fabio Quartararo in a thrilling late-race manoeuvre, ultimately finishing in an impressive fifth place.
Behind Quartararo, Jack Miller, like his teammate Binder, rebounded from a poor qualifying performance to secure seventh place. Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and RNF rider Raul Fernandez rounded out the list of points scorers, finishing in eighth and ninth positions, respectively.
Unfortunately, Aleix Espargaro, Vinales’ teammate, experienced a challenging race, plummeting to 13th place on the opening lap and later dropping to 18th due to another error. His race came to an early end when he suffered a crash at the final corner with just a few laps remaining.
Pramac’s Johann Zarco was another racer who couldn’t complete the race, succumbing to a slow crash at Turn 3. Stefan Bradl of LCR and Pol Espargaro of Tech3 were among the first to retire from the race, with Bradl colliding with Espargaro at the start in a crash reminiscent of the VR46 duo’s earlier incident.