MotoGP 2023: Martin triumphs in crucial Qatar sprint, Bagnaia only fifth – Times of India

In a crucial Qatar MotoGP sprint at Losail Circuit on Saturday, Jorge Martin forcefully overtook his title rival Francesco Bagnaia early in the race and went on to secure the victory. Di Giannantonio, who’s looking for a seat in the premier class championship next season and has produced his career-best results after the announcement of his departure, claimed an impressive second place from the second grid position, while Luca Marini, starting from pole, settled for third after leading a significant portion of the sprint.
Bagnaia, who finished fifth, saw his championship lead shrink to half at seven points as the title race now heads to the finale in Valencia, where the ultimate champion will be determined.

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The race witnessed a tense moment at Turn 1 when Martin and Bagnaia made contact, with the Pramac rider aggressively moving into third place ahead of the reigning champion. Despite this, both riders managed to pass a slow-starting Di Giannantonio, and Martin initially chased the leading duo of Luca Marini and Alex Marquez. However, a mistake by Martin let both Bagnaia and Marc Marquez through.
Martin, still aggressive on the charge, successfully overtook Marquez on the main straight and aggressively passed Bagnaia at Turn 10 on lap two, allowing Di Giannantonio to also pass the championship leader.
Despite Di Giannantonio being hot on the heels of the Pramac rider, Martin managed to secure the win by 0.391s at the chequered flag.
In the remainder of the scoring positions, Alex Marquez finished fourth, followed by Bagnaia, who narrowly held off Maverick Vinales. KTM’s Brad Binder claimed seventh, with Fabio Quartararo and Augusto Fernandez in eighth and ninth, respectively. Johann Zarco of Pramac missed the points in 10th place.
With this crucial sprint win, Martin is still in contention for the coveted riders’ championship. At the start of the weekend in Qatar, it looked like that the title would be sealed this weekend if Bagnaia prevails but with the Italian struggling and Martin picking up the important win, the title race now goes down to the wire, just like it did last year.

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