World lead, I’m coming for you! There you have it, Jorge Martín won the Sprint race at the Qatar GP and “cut” the lead in the world championship considerably. Fabio Di Giannantonio had no arguments to take the lead and “help” Pecco Bagnaia who ended up in a “disastrous” fifth place.
Everything was in place for the start of the Sprint at Lusail, with a different first grid than usual: Luca Marini took pole position, Fabio Di Giannantonio was second fastest and Álex Márquez third, with the championship leaders – Pecco Bagnaia and Jorge Martín – fourth and fifth respectively, with Johann Zarco closing the second row.
The start went well for Marini, but Martín soon began to gain positions, as did Bagnaia, with both riders side by side. Martín ended up making a mistake and losing positions, before the first (joint) crash of the race involved three riders: Enea Bastianini, Aleix Espargaró and the unlucky Miguel Oliveira.
Start of the race:
Martín didn’t want to waste any time and forced his way past Bagnaia, with A. Márquez also passing briefly for the lead, with Marini responding and retaking the lead. Seconds later it was DiGia’s turn to beat Bagnaia.
After three laps Marini was leading by 0.101s over A. Márquez, with Martín in third at 0.296s off the leader. Bagnaia was fifth at 0.895s.
Of the riders who crashed, only Bastianini remained on the track.
Martín moved up to second place and was provisionally gaining four points on the reigning world champion, who remained in fifth.
Di Giannantonio was in good form and reached the top step of the podium after beating his team-mate, who, it should be remembered, still doesn’t have a confirmed place on the grid for 2024.
Halfway through the race, this was the top ten, just moments before Martín took the race lead!
DiGia was in attack mode, with the #49 rising to second shortly afterwards. Even so, the Gresini rider was 0.494s (!) behind Martín. Bagnaia remained fifth, more than 2s behind the leader.
DiGia was one of the fastest and was starting to gain time on Martín, with the latter now leading by 0.219s. The lead increased again, but it remained in the region of 3 tenths of a second and any mistake, no matter how small, could be crucial.
Going into the final lap Martín and DiGia were 0.171s apart.
The race ended shortly afterwards with Martín confirming the victory!