#IndonesianGP Saturday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) is the new MotoGP™ Championship leader! The number 89 pulled another momentous performance out the bag to keep that momentum rolling in style, coming through from sixth on the grid to take a fourth Tissot Sprint win in a row and with it securing a fourth Constructors’ Crown in a row for Ducati.
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) gave it a serious go though, coming home second from his maiden premier class pole, with teammate Marco Bezzecchialso seriously impressing as he took third after a late scrap with Maverick Viñales(Aprilia Racing). The tougher weekend continued for reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) as he came home in P8, leaving him seven points off the top after earlier in the season having been 66 points clear.
Marini made a stellar start to take holeshot but it didn’t take long for Viñales to grab the lead and immediately put the hammer down, the number 12 streaking away in a matter of apexes. The front two were absolutely flying on Lap 1, with Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) in third at the head of a Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)-Martin train.
The first drama then saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) slide out on Lap 1, rider perfectly ok but losing his chance at grabbing some Saturday glory. Meanwhile, into Turn 1 next time around Martin chose his moment to attack Quartararo – but the Frenchman wasn’t for rolling over and hit back immediately. And then again further round the lap. Martin got it done on the third time of asking, but Marini in second was a fair few tenths gone.
Then, more drama. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) went for a move on Binder for fifth and got it all sorts of wrong, losing the front and collecting the South African as both slid out across the gravel. They rejoined and Binder took P19, but the Aprilia was forced to retire.
Viñaes led Marini by eight tenths with 10 to go, with Martin starting to creep closer to the Mooney VR46 rider and Quartararo left with a little breathing room behind after the Aleix Espargaro-Binder incident. The rider next up by then was Bezzecchi as he dispatched Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and started to harry the Frenchman.
Martin then arrived at Marini and wasted no time with a clinical pickpocket on the Italian, taking over in second and left to chase the one rabbit left up ahead: Viñales. The Aprilia was nearly a second up the road and there were eight laps to go. But the gap started to come down, down, and down – and Marini was right with Martin too as the duo homed in.
Five to go saw Martin strike for gold and take the lead, and just as Viñales did early doors, the number 89 got the hammer absolutely down as soon as he was past. It seemed the Aprilia was struggling and soon enough, Marini was lining up an attack – with Bezzecchi now arriving on the scene too. Marini got past with a carbon copy of Martin’s manoeuvre and the number 72 was next up to have a go at the Aprilia. He had a nibble not long after but overcooked it as Viñales hit back, but how long could the Aprilia hold on?
Viñales held on until the very last lap, but Bezzecchi had it nailed on the final time of asking. The Mooney VR46 machine pulled alongside and pitched it perfectly, moving through for an incredible rostrum finish on Saturday, less than a week after that collarbone break and surgery.
Martin, up ahead, was unbothered to the flag. Marini made a charge but by the final lap the number 10 was forced to settle for second, coming home a second and a half off the Pramac. Bezzecchi completes the Sprint podium ahead of Viñales, with Quartararo taking a no-mean-feat fifth.
Di Giannantonio took his best Sprint result in sixth, ahead of Enea Bastianini(Ducati Lenovo Team). And then came Bagnaia. It was a tough day at the office for the reigning Champion as he lost that lead and failed to make it out of Q1, and he’s got it all to do tomorrow too. What can he pull out the hat?
Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), meanwhile, took the final point in P9 but it wasn’t quite enough, after Binder’s incident, to keep the Austrian marque in the Constructors’ fight.
As ever, it was a close affair in Moto2™ as the riders took to the Mandalika Circuit to decide the grid ahead of Sunday’s racing action. But this time around, it was CLOSE. Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) put himself in the perfect position as he still seeks to take his first victory in the class. The Spaniard’s 1:34.155 put him just +0.003s clear of his compatriot Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46) who was lighting up the timing screens in the closing moments. Just +0.019s covered the top three in Q2 as Filip Salač (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) put in a stellar performance to take the final front-row spot, and it’s 0.071 covering the top FIVE.
Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) missed out on a front-row start by just +0.024s as he took P4. The newly signed 2024 MotoGP™ rider will be joined by Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools SpeedUp) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) on row two. Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) bagged 7th place to head row three in front of his fellow Brit Sam Lowes (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) and Zonta Van Den Goorbergh (Fieten Olie Racing GP), with title challenger Tony Arbolino (Elf MarcVDS Racing Team) taking a trip to the gravel trap and only rounding out the top ten.
Qualifying at the Pertamina Grand Prix of Indonesia went the way of Diogo Moreira(MT Helmets – MSI) as the number 10 put down a 1:39.085 to top Q2 and take his first pole of the season. Championship leader Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) put in a clinical performance to bag another front row as he looks to increase his lead, however, and rounding out the front row will be David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) who ended the session +0.225s away from pole position in 3rd.
From one rookie to another, Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) just missed out on the front row by 0.053s as he’s set to head row two ahead of Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia). Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) fronts row three in 7th place as he’s joined by Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team), with David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) rounding out the top 10.
So where’s Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui oly Husqvarna Intact GP)? It was a tougher day at the office for the Japanese rider, currently second in the standings, and he’ll be looking to move forward from P11.