MotoGP Misano: Jorge Martin bags sensation double in San Marino

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Jorge Martin has closed the gap to Pecco Bagnaia in the MotoGP championship standings to just 36 points after completing the double at Misano.

The Spaniard dominated the entire weekend, breaking all-time lap record in qualifying to take pole with a 1:30.390. Martin then proceeded to cruise to victory in Saturday afternoon’s sprint race, crossing the line with an advantage of 1.445s over Marco Bezzecchi.

Bagnaia completed the podium on Saturday after fending off wildcard entrant Dani Pedrosa, who further cemented his position as one of MotoGP’s all-time greatest riders onboard the Red Bull KTM RC16.

Of course, Bagnaia had to battle through the pain barrier all weekend after his horrendous accident in Barcelona just a few days prior to the Misano race weekend. The reigning champion’s legs were run over by Binder and he’d highsided at turn two on the opening lap of the Grand Prix race in Catalunya.

Jorge Martin leads Pecco Bagnaia and Marco Bezzecchi at Misano

Sunday’s race was much of the same up front. Bagnaia pushed Martin hard in the early stages but was unable to put a move on the Pramac Racing Ducati man. Bagnaia was eager to get ahead and pull a gap knowing that he would, understandably, begin to tire later in the race.

The trio of Martin, Bezzecchi and Bagnaia was glued together for the majority of the race, until Martin decided enough was enough and began to pull the pin on lap 16. Martin eventually crossed the line with a gap of 1.350 over Bezzecchi.

Meanwhile, Bagnaia was once again kept on his toes by Pedrosa in the closing stages of the race but managed to clinch the final spot on the podium. For Pedrosa, it was another sensational fourth on his return to the grid.

Maverick Vinales was best of the rest on Sunday, improving from sixth in Saturday’s sprint race to fifth in the Grand Prix. Fellow Aprilia rider Miguel Oliveira came home in sixth, ahead of Marc Marquez, who enjoyed a positive day in comparison to recent race weekends.

His on-track exploits came at a time when his future has once again been thrown into the spotlight. Rumours began circulating within the Misano paddock that Marquez would join brother Alex at Gresini Ducati in 2024. That’s not all, some reports even suggested that he would buy into the Gresini team and bring top sponsors with him.

All of the above is unconfirmed and Marc’s future is still unclear despite the fact he has a 2024 contract with HRC and Repsol Honda.

It was an exhausting weekend for Pecco Bagnaia

Elsewhere, Sunday proved to be a dismal day for Red Bull KTM’s full-time riders. Brad Binder, who finished fifth in the sprint race, crashed whilst in fourth at turn 14 on the eighth lap. The South African re-joined the race and secured two points in 14th. Meanwhile, Jack Miller went down in a collision with Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro.

Back on the circuit, Raul Fernandez secured his best-ever premier class result in eighth, whilst Luca Marini and Johann Zarco completed the top 10.

Alex Marquez was 11th ahead of a disappointed Aleix Espargaro, who was unable to build upon his double race win in Barcelona. Fabio Quartararo came home in 13th, whilst Pol Espargaro claimed the final point in 15th.

Joan Mir’s miserable campaign with Repsol Honda continued. The 2020 World Champion finished Saturday’s sprint race 23rd and last before crashing out of the Grand Prix.

The MotoGP paddock now prepares itself for a seven flyaway races beginning with an all-new challenge at the Buddh International Circuit in India on September 22-24. Races in Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Qatar follow.