Bagnaia finishes #QatarGP Sprint in 5th place, Bastianini 20th after first lap incident

 In MotoGP, News

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) took the chequered flag in fifth place in the 11-lap Qatar GP Sprint race, held this evening at the Lusail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha.

Starting from row 2 of the grid after setting P4 in qualifying – in which six Ducatis locked out the first two rows – Bagnaia found himself boxed in as the riders went into Turn 1, losing out to Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) who had qualified alongside. Pecco was able to briefly put his Desmosedici in front of his title rival on the opening lap before Martin elbowed his way past and forced him slightly wide, which meant he was also overtaken for fourth by Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing).

Martin went on to win ahead of Di Giannantonio and pole man Luca Marini (VR46 Racing), with Alex Marquez finishing ahead of Bagnaia. The gap between the two title contenders is now 7 points in Pecco’s favour, with tomorrow’s GP of Qatar and the two races at Valencia still to come.

It was a very unfortunate race for his teammate Enea Bastianini. After he qualified 15th position, Enea was caught up in an incident with Aprilia riders Espargarò and Oliveira and he eventually re-joined the race at the back of the field to end the Sprint in twentieth place.

Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 5th

All weekend we worked well in one way without touching anything on the bike, today in the race I didn’t have the same feeling when it was important to do a good result, the only thing that we changed were the tyres, so it was a bit of a shame. We were just unlucky to have this situation in the race; I couldn’t push hard today, and I didn’t have traction. We will try to do better tomorrow and try to have more luck in the situation with what we will have in the race also because my pace is good enough to think about the victory. It was good today so it will be good tomorrow too. We know we are strong, it’s a shame to lose seven points like this but every now and then it can happen.

Enea Bastianini (#23 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 20th

It wasn’t our lucky day; obviously I was hoping for something more. Starting immediately this morning with Lecuona in Q1 and then in the afternoon with the crash of Espargarò and Oliveira which I couldn’t avoid, that’s just the way it went. Oliveira braked quite hard and those in front a bit too early so he couldn’t avoid contact with Aleix, and I was behind. I still managed to get the bike upright again and continue. I wanted to restart, and I lapped strongly, managing to do some laps in 1’53 so I’m happy with my pace but tomorrow we must make a step forward in terms of grip, especially edge grip, it seems like it’s giving us a bit of bother here.

On Sunday, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders will be out on track for ten minutes of warm-up at 15.40 local time (13.40 CEST), while the Grand Prix of Qatar, to be held over 22 laps, will start at 20.00 (18.00 CEST).

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