until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Bagnaia grabs last-lap win in first-ever MotoGP sprint

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia defeated Ducati stablemate Jorge Martin to win MotoGP’s first-ever sprint race at Portimao.

Bagnaia wasn’t the leader for most of the 12-lap sprint, but outduelled Martin on the final lap to pick up the full 12 points.

Surprise poleman Marc Marquez had kept the lead off the line by covering off Bagnaia, which opened the door for Enea Bastianini to leap up to second at his Ducati team-mate’s expense – albeit with Bagnaia then immediately retaliating at Turn 2, in a move that also allowed the Pramac-run Ducati of Martin through.

By the end of lap one, both Bagnaia and Martin were close enough to capitalise on the Ducati’s straightline speed and pass Marquez’s Honda on the main straight – while Bastianini was instead roughed up by local hero Miguel Oliveira. This then put him in the firing line when VR46 Ducati rider Luca Marini lunged down the inside of Turn 5, fell and took both down – with Bastianini having to go to the circuit medical centre for a check-up due to pain in his right arm. He was then sent onto hospital and has a shoulder injury that could rule him out of races.

Remarkably, that was already the second accident involving a title contender, with Honda newcomer Joan Mir having collided with a slumping Fabio Quartararo on the opening lap – falling off himself while relegating Quartararo to last.

All of that seemed to set up a big points day for Bagnaia in the title race, yet the reigning champion was made to really work for it. He was picked off by Martin at the start of lap four, and then got pounced on by former team-mate Jack Miller two laps later. A lap later, Miller launched his KTM down the inside of Martin at Turn 13, only for Martin to strike back on the main straight.

That tussling created a seven-bike lead group, with the leading trio trailed by Oliveira, Marquez and the suddenly caught-up works Aprilias. But this was shortlived – Martin soon began to break away again, and only Bagnaia managed to keep pace, having been able to clear Miller at the start of the third-to-last lap.

He then reeled in Martin, putting him under pressure and getting ahead when Martin ran wide at Turn 5 on the final tour.

Behind them, a lunge by Oliveira on Miller allowed Marquez to pass both, only for Oliveira to reclaim third place – and then get Turn 11 badly wrong on the final tour, taking him out of the podium battle.

Marquez completed the top three instead, followed by Miller – who managed to counter a late attack from Maverick Vinales. Vinales, team-mate Aleix Espargaro and Oliveira combined for an Aprilia 5-6-7.

The final points went to Pramac Ducati’s Johann Zarco and Gresini Ducati’s Alex Marquez. The recovering Quartararo came close to salvaging a point but was ultimately two tenths off in 10th – with only the top nine scoring.

Beyond Bastianini, Marini and Mir, crasher Marco Bezzecchi (VR46 Ducati) and Augusto Fernandez (Tech3 Gas Gas) were two other riders not to reach the finish.

Unlike in Formula 1, the sprint does not determine the Sunday grid – so Marquez will line up on pole for the main event.

Sprint Qualifying Results

Pos Name Team Bike Gap Best Time
1 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 1m38.685s
2 Jorge Martin Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +0.307s 1m38.687s
3 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team Honda +1.517s 1m38.956s
4 Jack Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +1.603s 1m38.539s
5 Maverick Viñales Aprilia Racing Aprilia +1.854s 1m38.741s
6 Aleix Espargaró Aprilia Racing Aprilia +2.106s 1m38.848s
7 Miguel Oliveira CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +2.94s 1m38.587s
8 Johann Zarco Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +5.595s 1m38.925s
9 Alex Marquez Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +5.711s 1m39.24s
10 Fabio Quartararo Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +5.924s 1m38.582s
11 Raul Fernandez CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team Aprilia +8.16s 1m39.091s
12 Brad Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +8.384s 1m39.222s
13 Alex Rins LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +11.288s 1m39.335s
14 Franco Morbidelli Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +17.138s 1m40.043s
15 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +18.128s 1m40.132s
16 Fabio Di Giannantonio Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +21.235s 1m40.063s
Marco Bezzecchi Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 1m39.454s
Enea Bastianini Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati 0s
Luca Marini Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati 0s
Joan Mir Repsol Honda Team Honda 0s
Augusto Fernandez GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 KTM 0s
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