Jorge Martin triumphs in Indian MotoGP Sprint; Marco Bezzecchi stages remarkable comeback
Jorge Martin of Pramac Racing emerged as the triumphant rider in a chaotic and dramatic MotoGP sprint during the Indian Grand Prix. The race was highlighted by an incident between Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi of the Mooney VR46 Racing team early on in the race that ended in a collision. Notably, Marc Marquez has returned to the podium.
Due to sudden, heavy rain that interrupted the Moto3 qualifying session, this already shortened race—which was initially cut short by the heat—experienced an additional delay. As a result, the sprint race had its start delayed by almost three hours. Following a reconnaissance session to evaluate the track's conditions, the competitors decided to postpone the race until after early evening so that the circuit could completely dry. Francesco Bagnaia, the current world champion, and Ducati Pramac’s Jorge Martin started in close succession behind Mooney VR46's Marco Bezzecchi on the front row.
Jorge Martin had a fantastic start, surging ahead to take the lead, while Bezzecchi aimed for second place. However, chaos ensued when Bezzecchi's teammate, Luca Marini, miscalculated the braking point at the tricky Turn 1, colliding with Bezzecchi's Ducati. Marini was forced to withdraw from the race, and Bezzecchi was pushed to the back of the pack.
This blunder gave Jorge Martin a significant advantage as he navigated the opening right-hander. On his factory Ducati, championship leader Bagnaia moved into second place, followed by Joan Mir and Marc Marquez on Honda's factory team.
By the end of the second lap, Jorge Martin had a one-second advantage over Bagnaia. Jorge increased his lead to almost three seconds as the race progressed. On the last lap, he slowed down, but he still crossed the line with a comfortable lead of 1.4 seconds to win the race. The Spanish rider won his second sprint race in a row with this victory, following his earlier victory earlier this month at Misano. He was also able to close the points gap to Bagnaia from 36 to 33.
Jorge Martin expressed happiness over his victory in the Indian GP. He said, “The conditions of the track were good. I think with less temperature it was nice to ride and everything was working a bit better. And yeah, happy for sure for being also the first man to win in India. I really enjoyed this track. But hopefully tomorrow we can improve a little bit.” When asked if he is at his peak, the Spanish rider also said, “I think I am the best Jorge Martin that I have been so far in my career. So, I hope to keep improving.”
Initially, Marc Marquez's Honda put pressure on Bagnaia by passing his teammate Mir early in the race. In the latter stages of the race, Marquez was unable to keep up the pace, which allowed Bagnaia to win second place.
The second-place finisher, Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia, said, “I'm good (with the results). It's never frustrating when you finish on the podium, for sure. It's not the maximum result that made me, but more than this today was too difficult for me.”
Marc Marquez's third-place finish was his first on a podium since the season-opening sprint in Portugal. The Spaniard said, "It was a good race. I took advantage of the profit I had after the first corner. I saw the opportunity and in the last five laps, I took a massive risk, I was pushing for the front. It was a good day, but tomorrow is going to be more difficult.” When asked about racing for Ducati, he responded, "Nobody is inside my head. Only one or two people around me know what I am thinking. I know what I want and I am looking for the best for everybody.”
As a result of his crash at Turn 3 on the fourth lap, Joan Mir's race took an unfortunate turn. Brad Binder of KTM was able to secure a respectable fourth place as a result.
The Honda rider was within striking distance of Brad Binder during the middle stages of the race, but the American settled for fourth after starting in 13th.
Due to the earlier collision with his teammate, Marco Bezzecchi started at the back of the pack, but he mounted a valiant comeback. On the sixth lap, he returned to the points, and he miraculously finished fifth, even overtaking Fabio Quartararo's Yamaha late in the race.
Along with Quartararo, Jack Miller also made a remarkable comeback, moving up from 15th to seventh. In eighth and ninth place, respectively, on the list of point scorers, were Aprilia's Maverick Vinales and RNF's Raul Fernandez.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro had a difficult race, falling to 13th on the first lap before making another error that caused him to drop to 18th. A few laps from the finish, a crash at the last corner brought an early end to his race.
Following a slow collision at Turn 3, Stefan Bradl of LCR and Pol Espargaro of Tech3 were among the early retirees, and Johann Zarco of Pramac also failed to finish the race. At the start, Bradl crashed into Espargaro's back in a collision reminiscent of the one involving the Mooney VR46 duo.
After the sprint, however, Luca Marini was given a long lap penalty by the race officials for making contact at Turn 1. It will be served at the next Grand Prix race in which he competes, which will not be tomorrow because Luca has been declared unfit due to a broken left collarbone.