#SanMarinoGP Misano, Sunday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Pole position, Tissot Sprint win and a Sunday race victory. Jorge Martin’s (Prima Pramac Racing) weekend at the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini couldn’t have gone any better as the Spaniard made no mistakes to take maximum points on his title rivals’ stomping ground. The winning margin over second place Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was just 1.3s as Bez homed in though, with reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) fighting through the pain to claim an important third. And Pecco was only just ahead of some familiar company at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli: wildcard Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).
Martin untouchable again as Pecco fends off Pedrosa
Just like he did in the Tissot Sprint, Martin got a perfect launch and pocketed the holeshot as Bezzecchi and Bagnaia slotted in behind. Pedrosa got away well again and was up to P4, and the MotoGP™ Legend held on after a moment between Turn 1 and 2 looking for a way through on Bagnaia. But Bagnaia then picked his way past Bezzecchi at Turn 3 as the #1 immediately began to hound Martin.
Unlike yesterday, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) made good progress off the start and at the beginning of Lap 2, the South African was up to P4 and began to chase Martin, Bagnaia and Bezzecchi.
A fascinating early race fight was unfolding at the front. Martin, Bagnaia and Bezzecchi were locked together, with Binder 0.7s adrift heading onto Lap 5. On Lap 6, Bezzecchi passed Pecco for P6 down at Turn 8 but just like he did a lap previous, the Italian was wide at Turn 10 to allow the Champion back through. That gave Martin a little bit of breathing room – if you can call 0.3s that – as Binder went quicker than the trio in front of him.
Disaster then struck for Binder at Turn 14 on Lap 8. The KTM star was down at the tight right-hand hairpin as his podium hopes ended, handing Pedrosa the lead KTM baton. The #26 was 1.5s off the leaders, as KTM’s afternoon then got worse as Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed out of contention after being involved in an incident with Michele Pirro (Aruba.it Racing).
Elsewhere, on Lap 12 of 27, it was time to cue the jaws music. Who for? Pedrosa. The wildcard was beginning to close at a vast rate of knots and with 15 laps left, Pedrosa was just 0.6s off Bezzecchi’s rear wheel. Unbelievable. The Little Samurai was the only rider lapping in the 1:31s at this stage of the race.
Pedrosa’s pace dropped off soon after but the gap remained at just over a second. At the front, with 10 laps to go, Martin’s lead grew to over a second for the first time as the #89 began to get the hammer down. Were the injuries to Bagnaia and Bezzecchi starting to take their toll or was Martin’s pace just too good? Bezzecchi was looking impatient behind VR46 compatriot Bagnaia, and a move came at Turn 8. By now though, Martin’s advantage was 2.2s.
Bagnaia was fading. Pedrosa was coming. 0.7s split the double World Champion from the three-time World Champion, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) and an extremely classy ride for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) putting him a further four seconds back after initially closing on the number 12. A huge six laps beckoned, could Bagnaia hold on to what would be a very valuable and hard-earned 16 points?
With four laps to go, Bagnaia was holding Pedrosa at bay by 0.6s. Bezzecchi was now under two seconds away from Martin but it was too little too late, with the latter controlling his advantage nicely as he powered towards completing the perfect weekend.
With two to go, Pedrosa was right on Bagnaia’s coattails. Catching the Ducati rider was one thing but as he found out in the Sprint, passing was a whole different kettle of fish. In the end, Bagnaia did hold on to a crucial P3 as Martin made no mistake to cap off a sensational weekend. Bezzecchi bagged P2 despite his injured hand to gain ground in the title chase.
The points scorers in Misano
Just off the podium of Martin, Bezzecchi and Bagnaia, Pedrosa took the chequered flag just 0.6s away from the rostrum as the Little Samurai again demonstrates why he’s a three-time World Champion and a MotoGP™ Legend. Unreal from the popular Spaniard, who finished six seconds up the road from fifth place Viñales.
Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) was sixth ahead of Marc Marquez, who somehow bags a brilliant P7 after racing with a soft rear tyre. Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) takes home his best MotoGP™ finish in P8, as the Ducatis of Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) andJohann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) complete the top 10.
Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), Catalan GP winner Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), a recovering Binder and Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) closed out the points in San Marino.
Pol Espargaro (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) and Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) joined Miller and Pirro as the riders to notch up DNFs.
36 points in it heading to India
A brand-new challenge awaits us next time out as India hosts MotoGP™ for the very first time. Martin’s perfect weekend sees the gap between him and Championship leader Pecco sit at 36 points as the flyaway tour of the season begins… for the first time in some time, it’s back below the 37 points on offer in one weekend.
Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was back in business at Misano, putting in an inch-perfect performance to take victory The Spaniard controlled the race perfectly at the front as he edged away from home hero Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) pilling on the pressure mid race. The Italian brought home an important second place, with Alonso Lopez (+Ego SpeedUp) keeping Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) at bay to round out the podium.
Acosta came out the gates with fire in his belly as he took the holeshot from the polesitter Vietti. Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Mastercamp) tried to hold on from his front row start, but the Spaniard quickly fell victim to Lopez and Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) who charged their way through on the first lap.
The front three then began to break away as Lopez dropped off the back of the group, with a few bike lengths back to Gonzalez in fifth. Acosta was pushing on at the front and was asking big questions of Vietti, who was keeping the Spaniard in his sights. Still, the Championship leader’s pace began to stretch out the field and it wasn’t long before the Red Bull KTM Ajo machine was almost a second up the road.
With the pace getting hotter and hotter, Canet then cracked as a tiny mistake at Carro corner saw him crash out of a podium position with 14 laps to go, promoting Lopez to P3. That left Vietti in a lonely 2nd place and with some ground to cover to Acosta out the front. Vietti responded to the Spaniard’s hot pace however as he began to reel in the Championship leader tenth by tenth.
The Italian was throwing absolutely everything he had at it with the prospect of a home Grand Prix victory dangling before his eyes. Vietti’s bike was making all sorts of shapes as the Italian had no choice but to push the limits to try and match Acosta’s pace.
After a couple of big moments, that was all she wrote in terms of the Italian’s charge for the win though. With five laps remaining Acosta had stretched the gap back out to over two seconds, and it was game set and match from there going forward as Acosta had done all the hard work and cruised to victory by 6.3s, extending his Championship lead.
Whilst the battle for victory had been decided the battle for third was raging on. Arbolino had been carving his way through the field from the moment the lights went out. The Italian desperately needed a good result to keep his Championship hopes alive and after charging from ninth on the grid to fourth, with five laps to go he had just under a second to Lopez in the final rostrum position…
Arbolino had the bit between his teeth as he proceeded to hit his markers in a valiant attempt to reel in the Boscoscuro machine. Lopez had it covered however as the Spaniard’s pace just made it too difficult for the Italian to bridge the gap. The SpeedUp rider took his first podium since Le Mans, with Arbolino forced to settle for P4.
A late charge from Idemitsu Honda Team Asia’s Ai Ogura and Somkiat Chantrasaw them pip Gonzalez as the Spaniard dropped to P7, with Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Filip Salač (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) and wildcard home hero Mattia Pasini (Fieten Olie Racing GP) completing the top ten.
David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team), take a bow. The young Colombian takes his third victory in four races after beating Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in a phenomenal Moto3™ battle at the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini. The top three crossed the line 0.2s apart as World Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) struggled to P16, blowing the title race wide open.
It was Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) who got the best launch from the middle of the front row as the Japanese star grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, but Masia immediately responded to take the lead at Turn 4. Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) lost ground on the first lap, he was shoved down to P5 as Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) and Alonso made forward progress.
Masia held a 0.6s advantage on Lap 2 as Sasaki and Moreira squabbled for second place. The lead was up to a second heading onto Lap 3, with the chasing pack needing to settle down and work together to try and reel in the early runaway leader. However, settling down isn’t something Öncü can do. The Turk shoved his way past Moreira and set his sights on catching Masia.
By Lap 6 of 20, Öncü and Moreira had bridged the gap. Sasaki, David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports), Alonso and Toba were a further 0.7s adrift, with World Championship leader Holgado battling outside the top 10.
With 12 laps left, a lead group of seven had formed with Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) tagging onto the back of the battle in P8 and P9. Lap 11 of 20 saw the lead change for the first time as Masia went from P1 to P3 in the blink of an eye, with Öncü now at the front.
With seven laps remaining, a top four of Öncü, Masia, Muñoz and Alonso had gapped Moreira, Sasaki, Toba, Veijer and Rueda. The front quartet were two seconds up the road, with Holgado still P11 and over a second off tenth place Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team).
It was bubbling up nicely for a final lap spectacular in Misano. The top four was as you were for a few laps before Muñoz had a big front-end moment at Turn 2 – the Spaniard did well to keep it upright but lost P3 to Alonso.
Heading onto the final lap, Öncü led from Masia and Alonso, with Muñoz 0.6s adrift in P4. Alonso slammed in the fastest lap of the race as we strapped in for a last-lap thriller. It stayed the same through the first half of the lap before Alonso grabbed P2 at Turn 10. Then on the run into Turn 14, Masia pocketed a two-for-one deal. It was a cracking move but Alonso returned the favour on the cutback and managed to hold onto the lead all the way to the flag. The Colombian beat Masia by 0.036s to P1 with Öncü settling for P3 having led for most of the second half of the race.
Muñoz bounced back from his Catalan GP disappointment with a solid P4, as Veijer takes home a top five after showing great late race pace. Japan’s Toba and Sasaki crossed the line in P6 and P7 respectively, with Ortola doing well to claim P8 after being shoved well wide in the early exchanges. Rueda and Romano Fenati (Rivacold Snipers Team) rounded out the top 10, as Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia), Moreira, Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) and Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) rounded out the points.
For Holgado, P16 is what the Spaniard has to swallow in Misano. The #96 remains the title leader, but his gap has been cut to just four points ahead of the inaugural Grand Prix of India. The top six – Holgado, Sasaki, Masia, Öncü, Alonso and Ortola – are split by just 29 points now.