#IndianGP Saturday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
History was made on Saturday at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India as Jorge Martin(Prima Pramac Racing) won the first Tissot Sprint on Indian soil, making it three victories in a row for the Spaniard – two Sprints and one GP. The Pramac rider put on a dominant display to deny Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), but the Italian showed his almost customary ability to bounce back from what seemed like a tougher Friday to bank another big haul of points. Still, the gap was cut once more. Meanwhile in third, it was a welcome return to the Sprint rostrum and a continuation of the positive form so far in India for Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as the eight-time World Champion held off Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) for P3.
It was a lightning start for Martin, who took the holeshot into Turn 1 and almost unbothered by the chasing pack. There was big dram for Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), however, as he lost buckets of time – dropping through the order due to Turn 1 contact from Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) which saw the number 10 crash out. The comeback charge, for Bezzecchi, was on.
Meanwhile, at the front, Martin had Bagnaia for company as the reigning champ was eager to latch himself onto the rear wheel of his title rival. Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) also got a brilliant start from 5th on the grid to put himself into P3 on lap 1. It wasn’t long before he fell into the clutches of teammate Marc Marquez however as the eight-time champ put himself into the top three.
Binder was a man on a mission in the opening stages too as the South African flew his way from 13th to 5th to latch himself onto the Repsol Honda duo, who were shadowing Bagnaia’s every move.
Disaster then came for Mir after his early charge, as a mistake saw him drop it at the same slow, slow Turn 3 that had bitten teammate Marc Marquez earlier in the day. Rider ok, but chance lost on Saturday.
Martin had the bit between his teeth in the lead as he flew away from reigning Champion Bagnaia, stretching the gap to two seconds and controlling his lead to the chequered flag.
Bagnaia tried all he could to chase down the Spaniard and subsequently pulled away from the clutches of Marc Marquez to bring home crucial points in P2. Behind them, there was plenty yet to be decided.
Marquez vs Binder
With the laps ticking away, Marc Marquez had plenty on his hands as Binder was breathing down the his neck. With the chequered flag drawing nearer and nearer it felt as if it was only a matter of time before South African was going to make a move…
And yet. The number 93 dug in and said his later Sprint pace was positive, and it was certainly positive enough as he managed to hold off Binder. A good recovery from the South African, but a seriously needed return to the top three for both Marc Marquez and the Repsol Honda squad.
Bezzecchi on the charge…
After it seemed all could be lost following that Turn 1 drama, Bezzecchi put together an incredible recovery after dropping down the order. With six laps to go the Italian had already pushed his way into the top 10, and by the end of his awesome scything through the field he managed to pip Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) for a top five finish. Bezzecchi also put in the fastest lap of the race on the final lap – beating his own previous best. His pace will raise eyebrows for Sunday.
Quartararo himself enjoyed a positive Indian Sprint. The Frenchman finished just 4.327s back from the victory and was under two seconds away from the top three as he brought home P6.
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) moved well up the order to snap up 7th place ahead of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), with Raul Fernandez(CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) taking the final point in P9.
Marini was subsequently passed unfit due to a collarbone fracture sustained in the Turn 1 crash, and to add – metaphorically speaking – insult to injury, the Italian will also have a Long Lap to serve on his return.
A damp Buddh International Circuit played into the hands of Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) as an exchange of fast laps with Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) saw the Brit come out on top with a 2:01.924, taking pole by just 0.032s. Sergio Garcia (Pons Wegow Los40) was also setting red sectors after fighting his way up from Q1. Getting those extra laps in the earlier session helped the Spanish rookie take his first Moto2™ front row.
Zonta van den Goorbergh (Fieten OlieGP) was another who came through Q1 and put his extra track time to good use as he took P4, joined by Darryn Binder (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) and Alonso Lopez (GT Trevisan SpeedUp) who took 5th and 6th. Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) didn’t show the wet-weather form we know he’s capable as the Italian finished a second off the pace in P7. He’ll want a lot more on Sunday after topping the timesheets on Friday.
Arbolino is joined on row three by Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), with Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing) rounding out the top 10.
Saturday at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India saw torrential conditions delay proceedings ahead of Moto3™ Q2, after right after Q1 had taken place largely in the dry. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) excelled in the rain as the Spaniard put on a dominant display and got to grips with the conditions to set the fastest lap of the session on his final tour with a 2:09.336. Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) bagged 2nd place, 0.727s back from the polesitter, with Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) taking a much-welcomed front row.
It wasn’t a great day in the office for Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as the Championship Leader failed to fight his way through Q1 and will have to start the Grand Prix of India from P19 – and after passing a medical review ahead of the race.
On the second row, it’s Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing) leading the way in P4, with Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) joining him in 5th and 6th. Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) had a decent wet-weather showing and snapped up P7. Joining the Italian on the third row will be Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) and Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) in 8th and 9th, with David Salvador (CIP Green Power) rounding out the top 10.
As well as Holgado’s crash in P3 and then subsequent check up, there was also drama for Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the morning. He didn’t follow the protocol after a crash at Pit Entry and then ignored a black flag, so he was given a back of the grid start and a Long Lap penalty to create a real mountain to climb on Sunday.