until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


Bagnaia narrowly denies Marquez first Ducati MotoGP win in Jerez epic

by Valentin Khorounzhiy
4 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Reigning MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia defeated Marc Marquez in a spellbinding duel for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix, after points leader Jorge Martin crashed out.

Bagnaia, who had exited the sprint in a collision with Brad Binder, clawed back 25 points against Martin thanks to rebuffing a tour-de-force late charge from Marquez, who celebrated his first grand prix race podium as a Ducati rider.

Starting from pole, Marquez managed to stay ahead of Martin this time - albeit the championship leader did take second by sliding up the inside of Marco Bezzecchi and Binder at Turn 1.

That also played into the hands of Bagnaia, who then mugged off both Martin and Bezzecchi with an audacious overtake braking down the outside into the hairpin, then getting into the lead at the end of the lap.

But Marquez counter-attacking at Turn 1 pushed both of them wide, opening the door for Martin to make it a three-abreast moment.

Bagnaia stayed ahead, only to surrender the lead to Martin by botching the braking at the final corner on the next tour. But he did keep second, and the 2023 title rivals soon began to break away from the chasing pack.

And on the 11th lap of 25, as he soaked up the pressure from Bagnaia, Martin hit the deck while braking into the hairpin, dealing instant damage to his championship lead.

The crash left Bagnaia with a lead of a second over his nearest rival - this at that point being Bezzecchi, who had overtaken his fellow GP23 rider Marquez.

But a Bezzecchi error at the final corner opened the door for Marquez to attack later in the lap, slamming the brakes coming into the hairpin to get ahead.

What followed was Marquez eroding Bagnaia's lead lap by lap, arriving at the champion's back with five laps to go, and soon sending it down Bagnaia's inside at Turn 9.

The move looked done but Bagnaia kept his front wheel alongside Marquez into Turn 10, nudging him just wide and outdragging him out of the corner to stay ahead. The following lap, Marquez tried at Turn 9 again, but this time went wider, requiring no contact for Bagnaia to reclaim the spot.

An audacious 1m37.4s from Bagnaia, the fastest lap of the race, decisively swung the momentum in his favour in the third-to-last lap, and Marquez could only get to 0.372s off the Italian at the finish.

It means Bagnaia now sits just 17 points off Martin, with Marquez 32 off the lead in sixth.

Bezzecchi settled for a first podium with the Ducati GP23 he hasn't particularly gelled with, while Alex Marquez soaked up late pressure from Enea Bastianini to make it two Gresini riders (and two Marquez brothers) in the top four.

Bastianini, by overtaking Binder for fifth on the final lap before attacking the younger Marquez, made it a Ducati 1-2-3-4-5.

Bezzecchi's VR46 team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio dispatched Trackhouse Aprilia's Miguel Oliveira late on for seventh, though Oliveira still had a hugely positive race in finishing eighth - fending off Maverick Vinales for lead Aprilia honours.

Vinales had made it through from 13th after a difficult opening lap, but at least made more progress than Aleix Espargaro - whose race ended in ignominy as he lost his bike while trying to work his way past Johann Zarco, triggering a high-speed crash between the pair.

Rookie Pedro Acosta had the worst race of his young MotoGP career so far, conditioned by a poor start and early contact with Zarco.

He did ultimately fight through to 10th from 18th before settling for the position.

Joan Mir was the lead Honda in 12th - 0.076s behind Raul Fernandez's Trackhouse Aprilia - while Alex Rins headed the Yamaha contingent in 13th.

There were fewer crashes and retirements than in the Saturday sprint, but still a notable amount.

In addition to Espargaro/Zarco, there was also race-ending contact between Jack Miller and Franco Morbidelli as they went for the same bit of track shortly after Miller had been overtaken by Acosta for 10th.

KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa, who had inherited a podium yesterday, crashed out while in 12th, while Aprilia tester Lorenzo Savadori parked up in the pits.

Race Results

PosNameCarLapsLaps LedTotal TimeFastest LapPitstopsPts
1Francesco BagnaiaDucati251640m58.053s1m37.449s025
2Marc MarquezDucati250+0.372s1m37.637s024
3Marco BezzecchiDucati250+3.903s1m37.910s016
4Alex MarquezDucati250+7.205s1m37.982s013
5Enea BastianiniDucati250+7.253s1m38.048s011
6Brad BinderKTM250+7.801s1m38.001s010
7Fabio Di GiannantonioDucati250+10.063s1m37.967s09
8Miguel OliveiraAprilia250+10.979s1m38.105s010
9Maverick ViñalesAprilia250+11.217s1m37.999s07
10Pedro AcostaKTM250+20.762s1m38.318s015
11Raul FernandezAprilia250+23.508s1m38.253s05
12Joan MirHonda250+23.584s1m38.484s05
13Alex RinsYamaha250+28.452s1m38.648s03
14Takaaki NakagamiHonda250+29.049s1m38.819s02
15Fabio QuartararoYamaha250+32.015s1m38.641s06
16Stefan BradlHonda250+41.433s1m39.227s00
17Luca MariniHonda250+43.323s1m39.210s00
Augusto FernandezKTM190DNF1m38.918s03
Franco MorbidelliDucati170DNF1m37.943s06
Jack MillerKTM170DNF1m38.350s00
Lorenzo SavadoriAprilia110DNF1m39.542s00
Jorge MartinDucati109DNF1m37.884s012
Aleix EspargaróAprilia90DNF1m38.415s00
Johann ZarcoHonda90DNF1m38.433s00
Dani PedrosaKTM30DNF1m38.767s07
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