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MotoGP

Alex Marquez gets first MotoGP win in sprint, Bagnaia flounders

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

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Gresini Ducati rider Alex Marquez took victory in MotoGP’s 10-lap sprint race at Silverstone.

All 22 bikes used wet tyres, but while qualifying on Saturday morning had been held on an absolutely drenched track, the rain stopped later on during Moto3 qualifying – and by the time MotoGP’s sprint rolled around the track looked close to dry.

Second on the grid, Jack Miller had a predictably good launch with his KTM yet polesitter Marco Bezzecchi held him off around the outside of Abbey – only to surrender the lead to Miller anyway at Village.

But though the KTM man would still lead at the conclusion of the opening lap, this came after a multi-corner back-and-forth battle with Jorge Martin – who had muscled his way up the order from seventh on the grid.

Once Miller got back through for good on the start-finish straight, Martin swiftly slipped behind fellow Ducati riders Bezzecchi and Marquez. And Marquez then in turn picked off Bezzecchi on approach to Maggots/Becketts.

And both of them then swiftly worked their way past Miller, Marquez doing so at Stowe and Bezzecchi following through at Vale.

A Ducati 1-2 was effectively crystallised from there, but an early push by Marquez established a one-second lead on the fourth lap and he managed it from there – responding almost immediately any time VR46 rider Bezzecchi made any sort of inroads.

Bezzecchi did close significantly on the final lap, but this was too little too late, Marquez taking the flag by a margin of 0.366s but Bezzecchi moving back past Martin to second in the championship.

Behind them, Miller’s time in the top three would not last, the Australian soon swallowed up by the pair of factory Aprilias working their way through.

Maverick Vinales secured third for Aprilia – and in doing so already guaranteed himself his best GP weekend points haul since the Circuit of the Americas back in April – and Aleix Espargaro looked on course to follow him home in fourth, before being pounced on by Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco on the final lap.

Zarco had before that forced Miller wide at Stowe, this opening the door for Martin to go through as well, Martin eventually consolidating the position.

Miller settled for seventh, followed by two fellow KTM RC16s – the Gas Gas-branded machine of rookie Augusto Fernandez, who had run as high as third on the opening lap, and the other works KTM bike of Brad Binder.

Championship leader Pecco Bagnaia, no lower than sixth in any sprint before this one and with seven sprint podiums from the first eight attempts, was only 14th this time.

Bagnaia got roughed up on the opening lap, particularly in going side by side with Zarco at Stowe, but just didn’t seem to have the pace for points anyway – but still retains a 27-point buffer over Bezzecchi and 31 points in hand over Martin.

For much of the race, the series’ six Japanese bikes – the two Yamahas and four Hondas – occupied the last six positions.

That didn’t quite hold, Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli fighting his way through to 15th after a battle against Tech3 Gas Gas returnee Pol Espargaro, while Joan Mir narrowly saw off Marc Marquez in the fight to be the lead Honda rider in 17th.

Still, Morbidelli and Mir were respectively around 17 and 19 seconds off picking up even a single point, and Morbidelli’s 2021 world champion team-mate Fabio Quartararo finished next-to-last in 21st.

Sprint Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Best Time
1 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati 2m10.415s
2 Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +0.366s 2m10.453s
3 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +3.374s 2m10.839s
4 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +5.671s 2m10.735s
5 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +6.068s 2m11.208s
6 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +7.294s 2m11.142s
7 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +9.415s 2m10.986s
8 Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +9.85s 2m11.555s
9 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +10.435s 2m11.481s
10 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +11.247s 2m10.752s
11 Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +17.365s 2m12.107s
12 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +20.063s 2m12.241s
13 Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +24.352s 2m12.656s
14 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +25.527s 2m12.607s
15 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +27.191s 2m13.127s
16 Pol Espargaró GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM +27.693s 2m13.04s
17 Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda +29.062s 2m13.79s
18 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda +29.326s 2m13.147s
19 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +29.627s 2m12.916s
20 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +29.909s 2m12.966s
21 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +30.326s 2m12.901s
22 Iker Lecuona Repsol Honda Team Honda +47.674s 2m15.07s
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