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Martin’s MotoGP win was a masterplan forged in adversity

by Simon Patterson
6 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

The incredible scenes that played out at Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix when MotoGP rookie Jorge Martin took his first ever premier class victory might have been unexpected to many fans.

But in reality, the stunning victory for the Pramac Ducati rider at the Austrian race – under constant pressure from reigning champion Joan Mir – is the culmination of a journey from the lowest of lows to an incredible high for a man who has been tipped by many as the series’ next big thing.

Aug 10 : Styrian GP: The incredible comeback story of MotoGP's newest winner

Martin’s MotoGP career began spectacularly with pole and a podium at just his second race.

Then two weeks later came a vicious practice crash at the Portuguese Grand Prix that left him with multiple injuries that would sideline him from four races and hamper him for three more.

With his overall season so badly compromised, Martin set a target while recovering: to make the most of the two August races at the Ducati-friendly Red Bull Ring.

“I just wanted to improve every race,” he said of his pre-season goals.

“For sure the start in Qatar was great and there was a possibility for the win, but I wasn’t confident or strong enough to do it.

“After the crash, all my focus was on this race [in Austria], this one and next week.

“I knew that it would be a strong race for Ducati, our best track of the year. Here was the place to do it, and I was fully focused on the target.

“Before the race I didn’t expect I could do it, but finally I could.

“Next week for sure we have another chance, and there’s still some margin, some points of the track where we can improve one or two tenths.”

Martin has succeeded at every level from the Red Bull Rookies Cup in 2012 (pictured below) to the top step of the MotoGP podium at the Red Bull Ring but it hasn’t been an easy journey for the 23-year-old, who admitted after Sunday’s win that there were times when his entire career has hung in the balance.

Jorge Martin 2012

“It would be impossible to repay what my parents did for me in the past,” said Martin after the win.

“Before I moved to the Rookies Cup, there was a moment when we had no money and things were difficult.

“We were thinking about stopping, when I was 12 years old, and now I’m here winning a MotoGP race. I’ll try to repay them for all my life.

“It’s a big step, winning a race, one more dream coming true.

“But we all have the same dream, to be MotoGP world champion, and I hope that I can keep this progression, keep learning the bike, and maybe in the future I can battle for an entire season.”

While it hasn’t been an easy journey for him so far, it’s one that has left him as a resilient character, something he’s already demonstrated this year with not only how well he’s handled the long road back from serious injury this year but also how well he handled Sunday’s race and the immediate aftermath as a newly-minted race winner.

“I didn’t feel a lot of pressure,” Martin admitted after the race.

“In the past I’ve felt pressure when I wasn’t winning, or when I had to stay at home without a bike.

“Those moments are what matured me in the past.


“Sure there was some pressure from Joan.

“But I learned a lot from Moto2, because it’s so difficult to pull away there.

“I’ve always had riders like [Marco] Bezzecchi and [Luca] Marini close to me and still I was able to keep my concentration all race.

“It was another good race, another great battle, but it was more mental than on the track.

“Because I had this little gap of a few seconds at the end, I was already thinking about the victory!

“Maybe that’s why when I crossed the line I was happy, but maybe also tired.

“Maybe that’s why I was calm – if I had fought with Joan in the last corner and won it would be a different story, but I was calm.”


That confidence didn’t just come at the end of the race, instead being something of a fixture of Martin’s whole weekend.

Knowing from Friday that he had a good chance of a strong race come Sunday and implementing his plan to perfection, it shows not just the speed but also the analytical mind that he has brought to the Pramac team this year.

“I didn’t feel so confident on Friday but I knew I had a big margin for Saturday, “ he said afterwards, “and as soon as I went on the track I was super competitive.

“The good job I did in FP4 with used tyres meant I felt super confident, and I didn’t have the pace of Fabio [Quartararo] or Pecco [Bagnaia], but I was close.

“With some steps in the right direction, making the pole position was amazing.


“In the first start, I felt OK, but I had some moments with the front tyre. So luckily they stopped the race, and I could change both tyres and I felt super good in the second start.

“As soon as I could I took the lead, because I knew it was a race to be constant. I could keep this 1m24.3s pace for all the race.

“Joan was super strong, but when I saw the lead increasing on the lap board, I just tried to put a little more on the track, and making this gap was perfect.

“I wasn’t expecting to be the rider to win, but in the end I did it.

“When there were 15 laps remaining, I felt really bad physically. It was the worst moment of the race.

“Joan was still super close to me, and I could hear his bike every corner.


“But then when I saw the little gap I was a bit more relaxed, because I didn’t have to push so hard.

“I could be more smooth in the third sector, and I could keep the pace.

“The last two laps weren’t critical, but I had a gap and I could have slowed down if I needed to.”

Sunday’s success, off the back of his podium in the opening race of the year in Qatar, means that there’s already talk now of what the future might bring for Martin – who surely has a shot at being Ducati’s next world champion.


But if we’ve learned one thing from the young Spaniard, it’s that speculation is unlikely to unsettle him too much.

“It’s still only my sixth race, and I don’t know what the future will bring,” he replied when asked about future moves by The Race.

“For sure there’s potential there to do great things, but the level in MotoGP is so high and all the brands are working so hard you cannot stop.

“I know that Ducati are working hard too though, and I feel like I’m in the right place for my riding style and I’m happy and confident for the future.”

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