until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Martin wins, Marquez and Bagnaia among 15 sprint crashers

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin won a surreal sprint race  at Jerez, with reigning champion Pecco Bagnaia and race favourite Marc Marquez among a double-digit number of riders to crash.

After a wet qualifying, the track dried plenty enough for slicks, yet the conditions would prove by the end to be so much more precarious - with 15 separate riders recording crashes, some of them retiring on the spot but others continuing on.

Martin overtook poleman Marquez off the line, but both were leapfrogged by the traditionally strong-starting KTM of Brad Binder - who Martin then caught and re-passed later in the lap.

Marquez lunged his way past Binder a lap later, but Binder responded with an ultra-aggressive move of his own into the final corner, running both of them wide and allowing Alex Marquez to have a look down the inside.

Alex's attempt compromised Binder's exit further, allowing his brother Marc back ahead of the South African - and it also created the conditions for Bagnaia's crash.

Because as both Bagnaia and his good friend Marco Bezzecchi looked to have outdragged Binder on the run to Turn 1, with Bezzecchi bidding for fourth place and Bagnaia trying to cut back on his inside, an attempt from Binder to also occupy that inside line led to a collision, taking the works Ducati out of the race.

Moments prior in that same spot Marc Marquez had overtaken his brother Alex - and though Martin had established a lead of a second, it was quickly eroded and a Martin error at Turn 7 set up a Marquez overtake for the lead at Turn 9.

This was on lap 7 out of 12, and immediately after that riders began to suddenly and inexplicably crash en masse.

It began with an innocuous-looking fall for Yamaha rider Alex Rins, but that proved a harbinger of things to come. The following lap, coming through Turn 5, Alex Marquez, Binder and Enea Bastianini all fell off in tandem - with no contact to explain it.

Bezzecchi then suddenly fell off a handful of corners later, and the elder Marquez crashed from the lead, allowing Martin to retake first place.

The mass crashes promoted Pedro Acosta and Maverick Vinales into podium positions behind him, except Vinales then crashed, too, also caught out by Turn 5.

It meant that Yamaha's Fabio Quartararo - who had started all the way down in 23rd - was suddenly in position to capitalise with an unimaginable podium finish, which he duly delivered on track by holding off KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa by 0.050s.

But shortly after the race Pedrosa was elevated to his first top-three MotoGP finish since 2017 when a tyre pressure infringement dropped Quartararo to fifth.

Pramac Ducati rider Franco Morbidelli overtook LCR Honda's Johann Zarco at the final corner for what became fourth, with Zarco then crashing out moments later, so close to the chequered flag and a big result for Honda.

The remounting Marquez - who fought his way through despite at one point being forced to drop a position for unceremoniously pushing former Honda team-mate Joan Mir out of the way at the final corner - finished close behind Trackhouse Aprilia's Raul Fernandez, initially claiming an on-the-road seventh.

Tech3 Gas Gas rider Augusto Fernandez, nursing a fractured finger this weekend, and Trackhouse Aprilia's Miguel Oliveira followed behind Marquez.

But another twist was still to follow as Raul Fernandez joined Quartararo (and three other riders out of the points) in being sanctioned, dropping all the way down to 13th and promoting Marquez into sixth and Mir into the final points-scoring position.

Two of Mir's fellow Hondas had exited the race simultaneously - Luca Marini and tester Stefan Bradl getting caught out without making contact.

There had also been crashes for Fabio Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati), Jack Miller (KTM) and tester Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia), who all did remount to finish the race (as did Rins) - while Aleix Espargaro had been the first to fall off on lap two.

The nonsensical events of the 12-lap showdown mean Martin now leads his nearest rival Acosta by 29 points in the standings.

Sprint results

1Jorge Martin
2Pedro Acosta
3Fabio Quartararo
4Dani Pedrosa
5Franco Morbidelli
6Raul Fernandez
7Marc Marquez
8Augusto Fernandez
9Miguel Oliveira
10Joan Mir
11Takaaki Nakagami
12Johann Zarco
13Fabio Di Giannantonio
14Jack Miller
15Alex Rins
16Lorenzo Savadori
Stefan Bradl
Luca Marini
Maverick Viñales
Marco Bezzecchi
Enea Bastianini
Brad Binder
Alex Marquez
Francesco Bagnaia
Aleix Espargaró
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