until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


First-corner calamity again as Martin wins India sprint

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
2 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Pramac Ducati rider Jorge Martin dominated the MotoGP's first-ever race in India, a delayed Saturday sprint that again began with calamity in the first corner.

Martin's sprint win took three more points out of the championship leader Pecco Bagnaia's advantage, which now stands at 33 points.

The 11-lap race - shortened due to concerns over the heat - started 90 minutes later than scheduled, after heavy rain during Moto3 qualifying postponed the day's schedule and the start of the sprint was then held back further due to apparent concerns over the starting grid being partially wet.

After several recent races in which Turn 1 had played host to accidents and a whole weekend of riders struggling with this particular Turn 1, it then came as little surprise when, once the race did get going, multiple riders again found themselves in the gravel.

Poleman Marco Bezzecchi had bogged down off the line, immediately jumped by Martin, and was then clobbered into by VR46 team-mate Luca Marini - who couldn't get stopped in time for the corner as the rear of his Desmosedici lifted up under braking.

That team-mate collision removed Marini from the race on the spot, while Bezzecchi continued, having been effectively relegated to last - though his recovery from there on would prove something to behold.

Behind the all-VR46 accident, Honda tester Stefan Bradl on the special-liveried LCR-run RC213V was caught out by the line Tech3 Gas Gas rookie Augusto Fernandez was taking into Turn 1 and ended up slamming into Fernandez's team-mate Pol Espargaro, the pair joining Marini in recording immediate DNFs.

Out front, Martin finding himself in clean air effectively ended the intrigue as far as the race win was concerned, the Pramac man swiftly pulling away from second-placed Bagnaia - who instead found himself towing along the two factory Hondas and KTM's Brad Binder.

Joan Mir, desperate for a good result in his abysmal first year with Honda so far, ran third on the opening lap, although he yielded the position at the final corner when team-mate Marc Marquez launched an audacious sliding overtake down the inside.

Mir than ran wide at Turn 1 on lap four, before then immediately crashing out two corners later.

Marquez briefly threatened Bagnaia after being released into third, but soon had to switch his focus to keeping Binder at bay - which he succeeded at by half a second, in his and Honda's best showing in a long, long while.

In fact, at the chequered flag he had more of a gap over Binder than Binder had over Bezzecchi - who was lightning-fast after that early accident and capped off a stellar recovery ride by picking off Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo under braking after the long back straight on the final lap.

Bezzecchi finished a remarkable three seconds behind winner Martin, but now trails Bagnaia by 69 points.

Quartararo, KTM's Jack Miller, Aprilia's Maverick Vinales and RNF Aprilia's Raul Fernandez completed the points-scoring top nine.

In addition to the first-corner exits and Mir, there were crashes for Pramac Ducati's Johann Zarco, while running seventh, and Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro, when already outside the points.

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