Jorge Martin is new MotoGP points leader after Indonesian GP sprint win ahead of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi.
The tables have now turned as the 2023 championship baton has been snatched out of Franceso Bagnaia’s grasp following another inch-perfect perfect performance from Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing). The Spaniard fought his way through from 6th on the grid take his fourth Sprint victory on the trot and establish himself as the top dog with Ducati wrapping up the 2023 constructors title. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) put in an incredibly heroic performance to take 2nd place upon his return from injury. The Italian was in contention right until the end when a small mistake forced him to settle for P2. His teammate Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) is also nursing a recent collarbone injury and was well in the mix as well as he joined Marini inside the top three.
A hectic Sprint start
Tensions were high heading into the Tissot Sprint as the prospect of a new Championship was ever-present with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) down in 13th on the grid with his title rival Martin starting from P6. The lights went out and it was the polesitter Marini who led through turn 1 before Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) snatched the lead at turn 2. Meanwhile, Fabio Quartararo and Jorge Martin had moved ahead of Aleix Espargaro to sit in 3rd and 4th with Binder in 5th.
Viñales was putting the hammer down in the lead with his teammate having dropped down to P6 from the front row. Espargaro was eager to make up decisions and tried to make a move on Binder as his front tyre slid away from underneath him and both riders went down and out. Martin and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) were swapping paintwork for 3rd place before the Spaniard got the better of the Frenchman and pulled away from the Yamaha rider. Meanwhile, Bagnaia was on the move and with a couple of laps down had already fought his way up to 8th place.
Martin on the move
Martin was really putting the hammer down with nine laps to go as he reeled in Luca Marini in 2nd. It didn’t take the Spaniard long to make his move on the Italian as he dived up the inside to take 2nd place and take over the championship lead. With clear space ahead of him, the Pramac man was able to pull the pin as he edged closer and closer to the Aprilia in the lead.
As they came across the line with 5 laps to go Martin had clawed back the 1 second lead that Viñales had and wasted no time at all in getting past the #12. Martin checked out straight away as Viñales fell into the clutches of the Mooney VR46 duo of Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi. Marini made a move a lap later at Turn 9 with his teammate eager to join him in the top three.
Marini then had his sights set on the race leader and was catching the Spaniard. A small mistake from the Italian saw his race decided however as it was too much of a tall order to catch Martin who took victory by +1.131s with his title rival down in P8.
The battle for P3 and beyond
After Marini went through on the Aprilia, Bezzecchi had a go shortly after at Turn 1 but wasn’t able to pin it to the apex as Viñales got the cutback and retook P3. It was then de ja vu a lap later but this time with the Italian running much wider and losing touch of the RSGP ahead of him.
The Bezzecchi vs Viñales battle did end up going to the wire as a perfectly calculated pass at Turn 9 saw the Italian join his teammate on the Sprint podium in what was a heroic effort given his physical condition.
Quartararo himself enjoyed a very positive Indonesian Sprint. The Frenchman finished just 3.121s back from the victory and was just over one second away from the top three as he brought home P5 ahead of Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP). Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) snapped up 7th place ahead of his teammate Francesco Bagnaia who was unable to climb any higher than P8.
[Note: The story is as per press release]