More, from a press release issued by Dorna:
Martin escapes Bezzecchi, Bagnaia fends off Pedrosa in blockbuster Sprint at Misano
The number 89 is unmatched to deny Bezzecchi a home win as the reigning Champion fights off a Legend and Binder throws down with… everyone else
Saturday, 09 September 2023
Pole position was converted into a Tissot Sprint victory for Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) at the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini, with Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) the only rider able to run the Spaniard close on Saturday. Reigning World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) picked up his 10th Saturday podium of the season – and his most hard-fought yet – as the #1 fended off the two Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines of MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and a charging Brad Binder for P3.
Martin unmatched as a magical podium fight unfolds
Martin got the exact launch he’d have wanted from pole as he grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, as Bagnaia powered his way around the outside of Bezzecchi to grab an early P2. Pedrosa went P5 to P4 to get the better of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) as Binder didn’t get away well – the South African was outside the top 10.
Martin immediately began to pull the pin. On Lap 2 his lead was up to 0.9s as Bagnaia made a small mistake to relinquish P2 to Bezzecchi. Meanwhile, Binder was responding in the only way he knows how: full attack mode. Midway around Lap 3 Binder was up to P6 and hounding Viñales, who by then was already nearly two seconds back from Pedrosa.
At the front, it quickly became Martin vs Bezzecchi. Lap 3 belonged to the latter, the Italian cut the gap by a sizeable 0.5s, with Bagnaia dropping to two seconds off the P1 fight. Binder vs Viñales was raging on and on Lap 6 of 13, a move finally stuck for the #33. Next on his radar: KTM stablemate Pedrosa.
With five laps to go, Martin’s gap to Bezzecchi was up to 0.8s as Pedrosa reeled in Bagnaia in by 0.4s. Binder was making ground but he wasn’t taking chunks out of the pair just up the road, the gap to try and bridge was hovering at around one second.
With two laps left in the Tissot Sprint, a two-horse race for P3 became a three-horse race. Binder was right with Bagnaia and Pedrosa, knowing gaining points on Pecco is absolutely crucial. Considering what happened less than a week ago, however, the reigning Champion was riding unbelievably to keep the KTMs behind as the last lap began.
Martin led by a second over Bezzecchi as we strapped in for a KTM vs Bagnaia scrap for the final podium place. Halfway around the lap, Pecco was holding on. Binder was out of shape; Pedrosa was waiting to pounce. A headshake down the back straight cost Pedrosa time and despite the efforts of the orange bikes, Pecco just held on to claim P3 behind Martin and Bezzecchi taking the chequered flag in P1 and P2 respectively.
The points scorers on Saturday
Behind the rostrum lock out for the top three in the title fight, a dream podium wasn’t to be on Saturday but Pedrosa rolled back the years again to claim a wonderful P4, with Binder crossing the line 0.159s off the ‘Little Samurai’ in P5 after a belting comeback. Viñales grabbed P6 ahead of Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), the latter in P9 picking up the final Sprint point in Misano. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) initially got his elbows out in that fight but came home in P10, just missing out on a point.
Will Martin complete the perfect weekend on Sunday?
Bagnaia’s heroic efforts haven’t stopped his title lead dropping to 45 points ahead of Sunday’s main event in Misano, with Martin eyeing up a pole-Sprint-race triple to bring himself right back into title contention. And what about Pedrosa? Tune in for more stunning action as the Grand Prix race goes green at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).