Bezzecchi wins Indian MotoGP

Pole-starter produces near-flawless race as world champion Bagnaia crashes out

AFP September 24, 2023


Pole-starter Marco Bezzecchi won India's inaugural MotoGP in a near-flawless race on Sunday, but world champion Francesco Bagnaia crashed out after slipping on a turn.

Jorge Martin, who won Saturday's sprint race, just held on for second spot with Fabio Quartararo a close third at the Buddh International Circuit.

Italy's Bezzecchi, on a Ducati-VR46, won his third race of the season and punched the air in celebration.

But it was heartbreak for Bagnaia, who lost control of his Ducati and the bike went for a somersault.

The Italian still leads the world championship but saw his lead cut at the top.

Spain's Martin, his nearest challenger in the title tussle, was given a scare by Quartararo in a dramatic last lap that had the number two and three fighting hard.

Martin had a strong start to the race, jumping into the lead from his second position on the grid, with Bagnaia and Bezzecchi second and third.

Bezzecchi soon went past Bagnaia with a clean overtake at a corner and kept up the pace to increase the gap to over three seconds in the first five laps.

Martin edged out Bagnaia as the competition for second and third spot remained tight, while fourth-placed Marc Marquez slipped on turn one of the sixth lap to slide down the order.

Bagnaia, known as "Pecco", found space on lap 13 and squeezed past Martin, before his race met a premature and painful end.

The race belonged after that to Bezzecchi, who came in as one of the favourites after he scorched the track in qualifying.

The race was trimmed by three laps to 21 after riders complained about heat and humidity in Friday's practice sessions.


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