MotoGP: Jorge Martin Dominates the Sprint Race in Le Mans
Pramac Racing’s Jorge Martin takes his first sprint victory in stunning fashion
Francesco Bagnaia started from pole position but struggled in Friday’s P2 session so there were question marks over his pace. Marc Marquez on his return qualified second place on the grid with Luca Marini rounding out the front row despite going through Q1. Home favourites Johann Zarco and Fabio Quartararo had some work to do, starting from ninth and 13th places.
The lights went out and it was Pecco Bagnaia who took the holeshot into turn one with Jorge Martin and Jack Miller behind him, Marini and Marquez made contact at turn seven for fourth place.
Brad Binder gained four positions off the start and it was six riders who broke out at the front. Miller lost the front at turn seven, a disappointing result for the Australian.
Martin attacked Pecco at turn three and made the move stick, the Italian was forced to sit behind the Spaniard, Binder was putting Marquez under pressure looking for every option to find a way through into third.
Pecco was struggling for pace, Martin pulled over a second in just one lap, Marquez tried to go up the inside, Pecco held it off around the outside, the battle allowed Binder to get great acceleration out of turn four to take the pair of them.
Marquez tried for a second time at turn three and slammed the door on the world champion allowing Marini into fourth, however Pecco immediately took the place back at turn eight.
Marco Bezzecchi after a poor start was fighting for seventh place, taking a unique line to pass Aleix Espargaro into turn three.
After sitting behind the Repsol Honda for a few laps, Pecco used the power of the Ducati to pass Marquez into turn one and immediately began to pull a gap over the eight time world champion.
Fabio Quartararo crashed out at turn ten! On the tenth lap the home rider lost the front of his M1 Yamaha, a bitter disappointment for the former world champion.
Marini pulled off a textbook move on Marquez into turn three to move into fourth place, meanwhile Pecco had pulled over a second on those two and was the fastest rider on the circuit.
Onto the final lap Martin had a 2.2 second lead over Binder who was beginning to fall into the clutches of Pecco, but time looked to be on his side.
Jorge Martin crossed the line to take his first sprint race victory, a dominant performance by the Martinator! Brad Binder took his third top two finish in a row, great progress from the South African through the field. Pecco Bagnaia finished third, his fourth sprint race podium.
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