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Martin takes MotoGP points lead with Indonesia sprint win

 Pramac Ducati MotoGP rider Jorge Martin took the championship lead after charging through to victory in the Indonesian Grand Prix sprint  

Pramac Ducati MotoGP rider Jorge Martin took the championship lead after charging through to victory in the Indonesian Grand Prix sprint.

Despite the reduced points allocation available in the half-distance Saturday races, Martin still pulled off a points swing of 10 between himself and erstwhile championship leader Pecco Bagnaia, aided by the latter’s muted ride.

Starting from pole for the first time in his MotoGP career, Luca Marini had kept the lead into the opening corner – but was swiftly picked off by Maverick Vinales’ Aprilia accelerating out of it.

Vinales’ team-mate Aleix Espargaro had bogged down off the front row alongside them, while the traditionally fast-starting title contender duo of Martin and Bagnaia made relatively little progress.

But Martin swiftly went about making up ground after that. After getting back past Brad Binder’s KTM, he lunged at Fabio Quartararo’s Yamaha for third at Turn 1, only to wash out wide and let him back through. The same happened at Turn 10 – but Martin managed to finally complete the move at Turn 12.

Marini was next up, and it took Martin until lap five to work his way around the VR46 rider – with an aggressive but successful ‘send’ into the Turn 10 right-hander.

By the time Martin had cleared Marini Vinales was already nine tenths clear, but that buffer was nowhere near enough – and by lap 9 of 13 it was already gone, Martin easing past Vinales at Turn 10 after taking advantage of his struggles through the fast changes of direction at Turns 7, 8 and 9.

And instead of counter-attacking, Vinales then had Marini do the exact same thing to him a lap later.

Marini even briefly looked like coming back at Martin but ultimately followed the Spaniard home, 1.1 seconds behind.

Marini’s VR46 team-mate Marco Bezzecchi, who like Marini is back this weekend after a collarbone fracture, worked his way ahead of Vinales – again at Turn 10 – on the final lap to complete an all-Ducati podium.

Vinales settled for fourth, followed by Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Gresini Ducati’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, who will be replaced next year by Marc Marquez, in his best-ever premier-class finish.

Unlike Martin, Bagnaia didn’t just make limited progress at the start but struggled to overtake throughout the race.

He spent virtually the entirety of the sprint behind Ducati factory team-mate Enea Bastianini and just couldn’t find a way through, finishing eighth and picking up two points.

It means he is now suddenly seven points behind Martin in the championship standings, with another 13th-place start to reckon with tomorrow.

Bagnaia was at least helped out by attrition. Marquez crashed out on the opening lap while running sixth, having just taken the spot from Espargaro.

And Espargaro himself then took out KTM’s Brad Binder while trying to overtake him at Turn 16, tucking the front as he committed to the inside line and sending both of them to the ground, albeit with the stewards subsequently ruling no further action was warranted.

With Binder down in 19th after remounting, KTM did still score a point courtesy of Jack Miller in ninth.

A day on which the Ducatis accounted for six of the places in the points-scoring top nine also saw the Italian brand confirmed as the series’ manufacturer champion for the fourth year running, the title sealed with five sprints and six grand prix races to spare.

Only the highest-placed bike from each marque is eligible to score towards the manufacturers’ title race, but such has been Ducati’s might that it has accrued nearly double the points of its nearest rival KTM.

PosName1Jorge Martin2Luca Marini3Marco Bezzecchi4Maverick Viñales5Fabio Quartararo6Fabio Di Giannantonio7Enea Bastianini8Francesco Bagnaia9Jack Miller10Miguel Oliveira11Takaaki Nakagami12Johann Zarco13Augusto Fernandez14Raul Fernandez15Franco Morbidelli16Joan Mir17Pol Espargaró18Alex Rins19Brad BinderAleix EspargaróMarc Marquez

 

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