'Super' Martin wins fourth straight sprint in Indonesia

Pramac Racing rider roars to top of MotoGP standings after Bagnaia finishes eighth

REUTERS October 15, 2023
SPECTACULAR: Martin, who started on the second row in sixth place, held off a late charge by pole-sitter Marini, with Marini's VR46 Racing teammate Bezzecchi coming in third. PHOTO: REUTERS


Pramac Racing's Jorge Martin won his fourth straight sprint with a spectacular showing at the Indonesia Grand Prix in Mandalika on Saturday to roar to the top of the championship standings after Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia ended in eighth.

Martin, who started on the second row in sixth place, held off a late charge by pole-sitter Luca Marini, with Marini's VR46 Racing teammate Marco Bezzecchi coming in third.

"I feel super! Starting from sixth place maybe was not the best, it's definitely not the best for tomorrow's race," Martin said.

"But I was able to overtake on this track, where normally it's so difficult. Winning was tough, because Luca was coming up really fast in the end, but leading the championship at this point feels great. It's a dream. I'm so, so happy to be in the front, hopefully tomorrow we can finish the weekend in the same way."

The Spaniard turned on the aggression as soon as he shot off the mark, moving into fourth place before systematically and ruthlessly barrelling past Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha), Luca Marini and Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) into first.

Martin is now top of the riders' standings for the first time in his career with 328 points, with Bagnaia (321) in second and Bezzecchi (272) in third. VR46 Racing also had cause to celebrate, with their two riders putting in heroic performances to claim podium finishes despite having both suffered collarbone injuries in recent weeks.

"Until Wednesday morning, I didn't even know whether I start or not," said Bezzecchi, who underwent surgery earlier this month on a broken collarbone. "It's fantastic to be here. I was a bit lucky in the race but I was very fast. After the operation, the team did an unbelievable job. I really want to thank my trainer, my doctor and my team, because they made it possible for me to come here."

World champion Bagnaia, who started in 13th after failing to qualify from Q1, finished in eighth place behind teammate Enea Bastianini. There was some consolation for Ducati, however, as they retained the constructor's championship on Saturday.

Honda's six-times MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez, who confirmed earlier this week that he will be joining Gresini Racing for the 2024 season, crashed out in the first lap. Aprilia's Aleix Espargaro also crashed out early in the race, also taking out Brad Binder, though the Red Bull KTM rider was able to get back on his bike and end the race in 19th.


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