#IndianGP Sunday roundup : MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) made a statement and a half as he destroyed the field at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India. The Italian put in a true masterclass to escape in the lead, coming home over eight seconds clear to scythe right back into the title fight after some seriously hot pace.
The fight for the podium behind, if possible, was even hotter. Jorge Martin(Prima Pramac Racing) had to first contend with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as the reigning Champion stalked and passed him, but there was a shocking crash out of second place for Pecco not long after, rider ok. There was then some drama as Martin lost time re-doing his leather suit after a Dashboard Message to do so after it was open… and by the end of the race, he was being absolutely hounded by Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™). The Pramac rider just held on after a stunning last lap duel, in doing so cutting Bagnaia’s Championship lead to just 13 points.
Blink and you miss it
The top trio in the title fight led the way on Lap 1 as Martin and Bagnaia got lightning starts to jump polesitter Bezzecchi. Bagnaia was in full attack mode in to ensure Martin didn’t pull away.
When Pecco went for a move on the brakes, Martin tried to resist but ran wide and dropped back, gifting Bagnaia the lead. Bezzecchi then saw his opportunity to make a move, and once he hit the front, he truly did not look back. As he put in searing lap after searing lap, the fight behind began to light up.
Martin made a lunge with 17 laps to go, and it was a brutal one – sitting up the Italian. But Bagnaia regrouped, and just behind them, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was trying all he could to put himself in the mix as he watched on from fourth place.
The first crash drama at the front hit for the number 93 though as he suffered an agonisingly slow off at Turn 1, getting straight back on but dropping right down out the points.
Next stop: more drama
In the fight for second, Martin tried all he could to break away but Bagnaia wasn’t going anywhere. The Italian made his move with eight laps to go with a poetic sweep past the number 89, but it wouldn’t last long.
Soon after, the #1 machine suddenly slid out, with Pecco up and ok but remonstrating with himself in the gravel. And understandably so, with Bezzecchi leading Martin – the two closest in the title fight.
As the laps ticked down, Martin started to fade, lost time doing up his leathers, and then found himself right in the crosshairs of Quartararo on the last lap. The Frenchman struck and the battle was on, but Martin forced his way back past. Still, Quartararo tagged back onto the rear wheel and tried all he could to find a gap, running out of corners as the duo ultimately crossed the line split by almost nothing.
Last laps of the titans
We didn’t see much of the race leader Bezzecchi as he brought home an incredible victory, taking a 25-point chunk out of Bagnaia and his third win of the season. Behind, Martin held off Quartararo, and then came Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and another last lao scrap. He was embroiled in an epic battle with Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) for 4th place and the South African got the better of the Spaniard, or more didn’t enable Mir to get the better of him, after flying his way through the pack from 13th on the grid. For Mir, however, it’s still a best result by far with Honda, and a return to the top five for the factory.
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) bagged P6 ahead of Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), the latter of whom was sent well wide at Turn 1 and had to dig in. Teammate Aleix Espargaro suffered a technical DNF.
On Marc Marquez watch, the number 93 made an incredible recovery to take ninth place, slicing back through the pack to finish seven seconds up the road from Raul Fernandez (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team) who rounded out the top 10.
The Championship has been turned on its head once again in MotoGP™ as the first-ever IndianOil Grand Prix of India threw up an absolute treat. MotoGP™ now turns its attention to the Mobility Resort Motegi in Japan for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan from the 29th of September to the 1st of October.
Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) put in an inch-perfect performance to take victory at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India. The Spaniard controlled the race perfectly as he cleared off at the front, but there were still positives for title rival Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) as the Italian took his first podium since the German GP. Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) was embroiled in an epic last-lap scrap with rookie Sergio Garcia (Pons Wegow Los40), just coming out on top as the American made a return to the Moto2™ rostrum.
As the race got underway it was all-drama into Turn 1 with big moves being made. It all got a bit heated when paths crossed between a number of riders and a big pile-up saw the red flags come out. Riders ok, and the track was cleared for the race to get back underway. But Jeremy Alcoba (QJMotor Gresini Moto2™) got a Long Lap for his part in the incident, that he then didn’t serve on the restart, so it became a double.
It was all action on Lap 1 as Alonso Lopez (GT Trevisan SpeedUp) fired his way into Turn 1 to push Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) wide, paving the way for Garcia to take the lead. It all got very hectic as the elbows came out, and Acosta quickly pounced on Garcia, eager to hit the front as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Arbolino in 3rd was keen to get past the Pons machine as well. A couple of exchanges eventually saw the Italian get the better of the rookie. It was too little too late for the title contender however as Acosta had already stretched out over a second lead to break away from the chasing pack.
It was curtains early on for Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40), Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team), and Ai Ogura (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) who all went down at Turn 4.
The Lopez-Dixon needle then went one step further as the Brit tried to make a move on the Spaniard. The door was then left slightly ajar on the corner exit which excited the Spaniard a little too much as he powered into the side of the Brit seeing both riders hit the deck. Lopez was later given two Long Laps for the incident.
Meanwhile, Acosta had stretched out a two-second lead over Arbolino, who had also pulled away from Garcia in 3rd. That battle for the podium was then well and truly on though as Garcia had Roberts for very close company.
The American showed Garcia a wheel with two laps to go, and the gloves were off as Roberts pounced ahead of the last lap.
Onto that last lap though, Garcia made his intentions quicly known, shooting up the inside at Turn 1. The pair began to swap and change positions, absolutely glued together and with some spectacular moves including that instantly awesome Turn 8, until the Spaniard then went just slightly wide. That ensured the podium for the American, as he made an important return to the rostrum.
Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Mastercamp) got the better of Zonta van den Goorgbergh (Fieten Olie Racing GP) to round out the top five after the pair were swapping paintwork mid-race. The Dutchman took his first point-scoring finish in Moto2™ in P6. Darryn Binder ( Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) was next up in a notable P7, ahead of Barry Baltus (Fieten Olie Racing GP), Marcos Ramirez (OnlyFans American Racing) and Filip Salač (QJMotor Gresini Moto2™).
The gauntlet has been thrown down and the heat turned to the maximum in the 2023 Moto3™ title battle. After a dominant display from Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) at the IndianOil Grand Prix of India, the Spaniard is now equal on points with his title rival Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) with both riders on 174 points. Holgado, on win count, stays ahead. Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took his first podium since 2022 in second as he came out on top in a three-rider fight to complete the podium behind Holgado, with Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) sits just one point behind the Spanish duo as he took 3rd place in a dramatic last-lap scrap.
Masia got the perfect start from pole and took the holeshot, but he had Sasaki all over his rear wheel as the chasing pack scrapped it out behind. Masia put the hammer down right from the off though, beginning to stretch out the field in the opening stages. Sasaki wasn’t letting Masia out of his sights however as the Japanese rider latched himself onto the Leopard machine to pull away from the chasing pack.
That left an enthralling battle for third as a group of riders battled it and swapped paintwork for the final rostrum honours. David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Team), Toba, Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP), Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets MSI), and Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were all in the mix until Veijer found an extra gear and really began to motor on, taking Toba along for the ride.
Up at the front, Masia’s relentless pace proved too much for Sasaki and the Japanese rider, after a couple of moments, faded back into the Veijer-Toba battle for the two remaining places on the podium.
With 3 laps to go, Toba pushed his way past Veijer to slot himself in between the two Husqvarna machines. Toba’s sights were now set on Sasaki, and he made a move on his compatriot but it didn’t last long as the number 71 bit straight back.
The trio swapped and changed positions until it hit boiling point in the final sector. Sasaki attacked his teammate, Veijer tried to defend and the two made contact Dutchman out of the race.
Toba capitalised on the mayhem and got the better of Sasaki on the final lap, with the SIC58 rider taking his first podium of the season taking 2nd place ahead of his compatriot.
Holgado picked up the pieces to win the battle for 4th place after climbing his way up from 19th on the grid. The title contender got the better of Alonso, with David Muñoz(BOE Motorsports) getting the better of Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) for P6.
It could not get any closer in Moto3™ – Three riders in one single point mean it’s game on in the 2023 title race as attentions now turn to the next round. The Motul Grand Prix of Japan will take place in just one week’s time as the action continues at the Mobility Resort Motegi.