Bagnaia wins inaugural Sprint Race as Bastianini is ruled out of the #PortugueseGP following crash
Francesco Bagnaia wrote another page of history today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal, stage of this weekend’s opening Grand Prix for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship. The Ducati Lenovo Team rider was the first to win the new sprint race, introduced this year, thus taking the lead in the overall standings.
As he was starting with the second fastest time, Bagnaia took the lead soon after the lights went out. Overtaken first by the Desmosedici GP machine of Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing) and then by former teammate Jack Miller, Pecco managed to regain the lead on the last lap and win the first Sprint Race in MotoGP history. With Martín second, today was Ducati’s first one-two for the 2023 season.
For the Ducati Lenovo Team, however, this was a bittersweet Saturday following Enea Bastianini’s injury. Starting with the sixth fastest time, Enea had managed to stay in the fight for the top positions after the start, but on the second lap, he was involved in Luca Marini’s (VR46 Racing Team) crash, suffering a fracture of his right shoulder blade. Bastianini will therefore be forced to miss tomorrow’s race and the Argentina GP scheduled for next week.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
Today, we had to adopt a completely different strategy than in a traditional race. Normally you have to wait for a few laps before starting to push and manage the tyres well, but in the Sprint Race, you must push right away. I struggled a bit in the first few laps because of the wind, but I saw that my rivals were also suffering, so I waited for a few laps to attack. When I saw that my front-end feeling was better than Martín’s, I tried to close the gap and then pass him on the last lap. Now we have to stay focused on tomorrow’s race. I am very sorry for Enea’s injury, and I wish him a speedy recovery, hoping he will be back with us soon!
The Ducati Lenovo Team will be back on track tomorrow at 9:45am for the warm-up, while the Portuguese GP will start at 2pm local time, over a 25-lap distance.