Рубрика: Motosport News

Bastianini admits he deliberately ignored penalty orders in Catalan GP

The factory Ducati rider was battling with Gresini’s Alex Marquez at the outer reaches of the top 10 in Sunday’s 24-lap Catalan GP when he was forced wide at Turn 1.

Bastianini ran through the run-off area at Turns 1-2, with riders meant to demonstrate that they have lost at least a second in lap time to escape punishment.

The stewards handed Bastianini – who was expecting Marquez to have to drop the position he gained – a long lap penalty, though the Ducati rider ignored this.

He was hit with a second one for ignoring the first, which he also decided not to serve, and was then given a ride-through penalty before that was converted to a 32s time punishment for not complying with that order.

It dropped Bastianini from ninth to 18th, and the Italian claimed the stewards admitted they got their initial decision wrong – but they cannot reverse these calls after the fact.

Asked if he didn’t see the initial penalty notice, Bastianini said: “The dashboard was too clear. I didn’t agree with the dashboard.

“I overtook Alex on the straight and when we arrived on the brakes [into Turn 1] he braked later compared to me and that pushed me out onto the kerbs.

“For me it was impossible to remain on the brakes and the only solution was to cut the chicane. It was possible to come back, but where? On the kerb of Turn 2? No, impossible.

“Also, I have lost time because I followed the line of the long lap [to escape Turn 2].

“I waited for the drop of position [order] for Alex, but then arrived the long lap penalty for me.

“I didn’t agree and I decided to continue without doing the long lap.

“I know it’s not the correct choice, but we had to do something because nothing has changed. Every race there is something to explain with the stewards and it’s not correct.”

Bastianini’s race analysis shows he didn’t cede a second in that incident, going from a 1m40.589s on lap 11 to a 1m41.078s on lap 12 when the incident happened.

“Also, after the race I come with Davide [Tardozzi, team boss] to explain the problems and to see better the videos,” he added.

“For the stewards, at the start, the long lap penalty was correct. After, he said ‘Ok, no’.

“They saw the decision was wrong. I tried to get back my ninth position, but race direction can do nothing.

“Also, for the race direction I didn’t lose the [correct amount] of time when I entered back onto the track [at Turn 2]. I said ‘no, no, no, check the video better – I lost one second’.”

Bastianini noted that his Ducati team agreed with his decision to ignore the penalties.

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Bagnaia wanted to «bust a myth» with Turn 5 pass on Martin in Catalan GP

Bagnaia scored a key victory in Sunday’s race at Barcelona after coming on top in a close duel with title rival Martin, overtaking him on lap 19 of 24 with an impressive move on the inside at Turn 5.

It was the same corner at which he had slid off his factory GP24 on the final lap of Saturday’s half-distance contest, a crash that further widened his deficit to Pramac rider Martin in the championship standings.

Bagnaia was left «curious» by his fall on Saturday as he claimed he was circulating at a lower speed than before, but he found redemption in the grand prix by making the all-important pass going into that very left-hander.

After taking the chequered flag in first, Bagnaia gave a first bump while passing through Turn 5 on the cool-down lap, showing the significance of that corner to him in a topsy-turvy weekend.

Asked about his overtake on Martin, he said: «I decided to do it in corner five, a bit just for what happened yesterday.

«Because yesterday I crashed there in a very strange situation. So I just decided to bust a myth. Yeah, and it worked well.»

He added: «I lost 12 points in very…pfff! I take it slower and I crashed so this is something I will never accept.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

«And today I did it again but much much slower because the gap was more and I decided to do it very slowly and it worked but corner five is very, very tricky.

«We saw many, many crashes during the weekend and it was very important for me to finish the race.»

Bagnaia appeared to lose touch with Martin and then second-placed rider Pedro Acosta in the early stages of the race, dropping as much as a second behind the leading duo.

But the Italian revealed that he was saving his tyres to mount an attack later on, a strategy that paid dividends when not only was he able to reel in the Spaniard and take the lead but also build a buffer for himself in the closing laps.

«The pace, I just decided to remain [as] constant as possible and don’t push at the start like Martin and Pedro, and it was the correct choice because then in the last laps I was able to be very fast and controlling the pace, so I’m just very happy, just very happy

«When they overtook me I just tried to do one lap [with] a bit more push, but I saw the front tyres were a disaster, the consumption couldn’t be much aggressive on the rear and it was a disaster.

«So I decided to control it more. And after 10 laps I started to see that my strategy was working. I was a bit scared at the moment but it worked. And as soon as I arrived to Jorge it was important to overtake him for the pressure of the front.»

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Marquez “not proud” of recent MotoGP comebacks after latest podium

The Gresini Ducati rider failed to get out of Q1 two weeks ago at the French GP but managed to recover from 13th on the grid to finish second in both the sprint and grand prix at Le Mans.

At this weekend’s Catalan GP, Marquez qualified a lowly 14th due to difficulties in extracting the best from fresh soft rubber but recovered to second in the sprint and third on Sunday.

But speaking after the grand prix, Marquez says he is “not proud” of his recent fightbacks because it means it’s the result of “some mistakes”.

“I’m not proud about it, especially because if you make that comeback, it means that it’s coming from some mistakes,” he said.

“But apart from that, starting from that 14th position, I feel like it forced me to start on that soft rear option.

“I don’t know if it was better or worse, but in the end, I had that extra grip in the first laps to overtake the riders and in the end it was difficult, but even like this I caught the Aprilia guys on the medium and I had something more.”

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez was one of only four riders to gamble on the soft rear tyre but noted that he had some “guarantees” that it would go the 24-lap distance if he rode it correctly.

“I said to my team, ‘give me the medium from the warm-up to do the sighting lap, if I don’t have a good feeling I will put on the soft’,” he added.

“On that sighting lap, the feeling was not good and then I put the soft on.

“We know and we had some guarantees and we analysed that the soft rear was on the limit, but was able to finish the race. We managed in a good way.

“In the end, I suffered a lot to keep Aleix behind, but also he was suffering with that medium.”

Marquez sits third in the standings and is only 41 points behind Jorge Martin following the Catalan GP.

While he accepts he is a “contender” in the title race, it’s only because he sits third right now and this, he feels, is his “real position” on current form.

“Of course, we are a contender. Why? Because we are third in the championship after six races already,” Marquez said.

“But, we are third. And it’s our real position because there are two guys who are a bit faster.

“If we want to fight with them especially, we need to improve the qualifying.

“I know that being on the podium here in Montmelo is super special and super important because it’s one of those circuits that I hate.

“But apart from that, when I say it’s a difficult circuit for me I never give up and I try to do double work to work better.”

How many positions has Marquez made up in the last four races?

Starting from 13th at the French GP and 14th at Barcelona, Marquez has made up 45 positions.

Breaking this down further, Marquez’s race progression was:

French GP sprint – Starts 13th

Lap 1 – 13th to 4th

Lap 4 – 4th to 3rd

Lap 10 – 3rd to 2nd

French GP – Starts 13th

Lap 1 – 13th to 8th

Lap 3 – 8th to 6th

Lap 11 – 6th to 5th

Lap 14 – 5th to 4th

Lap 18 – 4th to 3rd

Lap 27 – 3rd to 2nd

Catalan GP sprint – Starts 14th

Lap 1 – 14th to 8th

Lap 3 – 8th to 7th

Lap 5 – 7th to 6th

Lap 7 – 6th to 4th

Lap 12 – 4th to 2nd

Catalan GP – Starts 14th

Lap 1 – 14th to 10th

Lap 3 – 10th to 8th

Lap 11- 8th to 6th

Lap 12 – 6th to 5th

Lap 18 — 5th to 4th

Lap 21 – 4th to 3rd

Watch: Pecco bounces back in Barcelona! | 2024 #CatalanGP

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Full Moto2 and Moto3 race results

The 18-lap Moto3 contest opened up Sunday’s race programme and proved to be another typical Barcelona slipstream fest.

Championship leader Alonso prevailed as he faced high pressure on the final lap to score a fourth win of the season.

The Aspar CFMoto rider was one of numerous names to take turns heading the field at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, but crucially led the pack onto the final lap.

Facing intense examination from Ivan Ortola, Jose Antonio Rueda and Collin Veijer, Alonso kept the chasing pack at arm’s length as he navigated the final tour.

The Colombian still led as he rounded the final few corners, ensuring there would be no attack on him on the run to the line, with Alonso taking the chequered flag 0.242 seconds in front.

Ortola held onto second on his MT Helmets – MSI KTM, with Rueda completing the podium on his Ajo KTM.

Rueda snatched third from Intact GP’s Veijer with a last lap overtake at Turn 4, while David Munoz navigated an earlier long lap penalty to finish fifth on the BOE Motorsports KTM.

Tech3 GasGas rider Dani Holgado faded to sixth having led at several stages, with SIC58 Honda’s Luca Lunetta seventh. The top 10 was completed by Jacob Roulstone (Tech3), Filippo Farioli (SIC58) and Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Honda).

Alonso has opened up a championship lead of 14 points over Holgado, with Veijer 43 adrift in third and five ahead of Ortola in fourth.

Moto3 Race Results


D. Alonso CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team

80 CF MOTO 18   155.1   25

I. Ortola MT Helmets — MSI

48 KTM 18 0.242 155.1   20

J. Antonio Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

99 KTM 18 0.271 155.1   16

C. Veijer Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP

95 Husqvarna 18 0.047 155.1   13
5 Spain D. Munoz BOE Motorsports 64 KTM 18 1.088 155.0   11
6 Spain D. Holgado Red Bull GASGAS Tech3 96 GASGAS 18 1.742 154.8   10

L. Lunetta SIC58 Squadra Corse

58 Honda 18 1.401 154.7   9

J. Roulstone Red Bull GASGAS Tech3

12 GASGAS 18 2.457 154.5   8

F. Farioli SIC58 Squadra Corse

7 Honda 18 0.201 154.5   7
10 Mexico A. Fernandez Leopard Racing 31 Honda 18 0.036 154.5   6
11 Japan R. Yamanaka MT Helmets — MSI 6 KTM 18 0.573 154.5   5

Á. Piqueras Leopard Racing

36 Honda 18 0.046 154.5   4
13 Italy S. Nepa LEVELUP — MTA 82 KTM 18 0.043 154.4   3

J. Esteban CFMOTO Gaviota Aspar Team

78 CF MOTO 18 0.013 154.4   2
15 Japan T. Suzuki Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP 24 Husqvarna 18 12.175 153.5   1
16 United Kingdom S. Ogden MLav Racing 19 Honda 18 0.962 153.4    
17 Italy M. Bertelle Kopron Rivacold Snipers Team 18 Honda 18 0.062 153.4    


10 KTM 18 0.059 153.4    

X. Zurutuza Red Bull KTM Factory Racing

85 KTM 18 0.909 153.3    
20 United Kingdom J. Whatley MLav Racing 70 Honda 18 18.206 151.9    

N. Dettwiler CIP

55 KTM 18 0.019 151.9    

T. Buasri Honda Team Asia

5 Honda 18 0.048 151.9    

F. Aditama Honda Team Asia

93 Honda 18 6.085 151.5    

D. Almansa Kopron Rivacold Snipers Team

22 Honda 12 6 Laps 146.9 Retirement  
dnf Japan T. Furusato Honda Team Asia 72 Honda 5 7 Laps 153.7 Accident  
dnf Australia J. Kelso BOE Motorsports 66 KTM 5 0.550 153.6 Accident  
dnf Italy R. Rossi CIP 54 KTM 5 3.140 152.7 Accident  

Ogura ends Moto2 drought

Ai Ogura, MT Helmets MSI

Ai Ogura, MT Helmets MSI

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

MT Helmets – MSI’s Ogura came from 10th on the grid to beat team-mate Sergio Garcia by 3.816s to end a 28-race victory drought.

The Japanese rider found great pace in the latter stages of chaotic race to overhaul Garcia into Turn 1 on lap 18 of 21.

Ogura then proceeded to dart away into the distance to secure his first win of the season and lead a team 1-2.

Garcia led from pole in the early stages before MotoGP-bound Fermin Aldeguer (Speed Up) overtook him on lap two.

Aldeguer pulled away from Garcia but was reeled in again midway through race, before the future Ducati MotoGP rider was handed a long lap penalty on lap 15 for exceeding track limits too many times.

As Aldeguer went to serve his long lap penalty at Turn 1, he crashed out.

This released Garcia into the lead, though he was battling fading rubber and succumbed to Ogura’s advances.

Aspar’s Jake Dixon completed the podium in third ahead of Yamaha VR46 Master Camp rider Jeremy Alcoba, who came from 22nd to fourth.

Senna Agius was fifth on his Intact GP-run bike ahead of Gresini rider Albert Arenas. Marcos Ramirez (American Racing), Alonso Lopez (Speed Up), Joe Roberts (American Racing) and Tony Arbolino (Marc VDS) completed the top 10.

Garcia leads the championship by 21 points from Roberts, with Ogura sitting third and Aldeguer holding fourth place. A crash for Aron Canet leaves him sixth in the standings.

Moto2 Race Results

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Why MotoGP comeback king Marquez is struggling in qualifying lately

The Gresini Ducati rider is quickly adapting himself from the Honda he rode for 11 years to the GP23 he has now, scoring podiums in four of the six sprints and twice in the previous two grands prix.

But his last three weekend podiums have come after being forced to fight back from poor qualifying results, with his brace of runner-up spots in France happening after he started 13th.

At Barcelona this weekend, Marquez once again fell into Q1 after Friday’s practice and again failed to break into Q2, this time qualifying 14th.

It’s the first time since Britain and Austria last year that he has missed Q2 on successive occasions.

Speaking to the media on Saturday after carving through to second in the Catalan GP sprint, Marquez says he is struggling for speed on new rubber and it’s been an issue since pre-season testing.

“I mean, just it’s that when I pass two, three laps on the tyre I feel better,” he began.

“And we need to understand why. In Le Mans I was a bit with the same feeling, and here [at Barcelona] again.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“I mean, when it’s completely new tyres I’m struggling. I was struggling a lot already in the pre-season.

“Then I was able to compensate a bit in the first races, but then again now I’m struggling with new tyres and it’s something that we need to work on very deeply because if we start on the first two rows, or first three rows, it’s another race.

“When you start 14th, you are very penalised on your race strategy. At the moment we are able to save, but it’s too much risk.”

Marquez added that his feeling on his new soft rear at the start of the 12-lap sprint on Saturday “was terrible” and felt close to crashing.

“First two laps, the feeling was terrible,” he said.

“And then I felt like I would lose the front in some areas. In fact, in the first two laps I was even struggling to follow [Enea] Bastianini who was in front of me.

“But then on the third lap I started to feel the potential and then I started to attack the others.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“The most important thing is that the race, if you struggle three laps you have 20 laps in front.

“But I don’t like this feeling, because in the qualifying practice, you need to have that potential.

“If not, you cannot do anything and it’s there where we need to improve.

“It’s true that we need to improve a lot the Fridays. Because with today’s lap time I was starting on the third row. Still, this is acceptable on a circuit where I struggle.”

Marquez noted that a considerable set-up change for Saturday led to his strong sprint race form, though he admitted the lack of familiarity on his altered bike contributed to his Q1 exit.

“I mean, bike set-up we changed quite a lot,” he explained.

“It’s one of the good things to have fast Ducati riders inside the group.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“You analyse, sometimes they analyse and go in my direction, and this time we analyse where we were, we analysed where they are and we went a bit on that direction and I started to feel better.

“The problem of Q1 was it was the first time attack with that set-up and it was very different.

“But on the race pace, I kept going and I understood how to ride that bike because it was a big change.

“Too late because tomorrow we start 14th, but the race is long and with the medium rear tyre let’s see how we can manage.”

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How Bagnaia “lost another great opportunity” in Barcelona MotoGP sprint crash

The reigning world champion enjoyed an eventful early part of the 12-lap sprint as he battled back from being shuffled down to fourth.

When KTM’s Brad Binder crashed out of the lead on lap seven, Bagnaia was released into first place and looked on course to score a first sprint win since the 2023 Austrian GP weekend.

But at Turn 5 on the final lap, he crashed and registered a third sprint DNF of the season.

Bagnaia called the crash “curious” as he entered into Turn 5 slower than he had previously, suggesting that he was not overriding at that point.

“It looks like entering slower [into a corner], with the same braking [as before] can make you crash,” he said.

“Normally, in normal conditions it can’t happen. But here, where the grip level is a disaster, it can happen.

«So, we need to analyse it, understand it, be more careful in this kind of situation for tomorrow because the race is longer, hotter, and will be important to finish because it’s already three weeks in a row that we are really strong for the sprint race but we are not finishing for problems or crashing.

“So, we lost another great opportunity. I was fastest, I was leading, I was cruising till the chequered flag, but it wasn’t enough.”

He added: “I was 100% focused. I know how to win, and it was my kind of win because I was controlling everything perfectly.

“I had more tyre, I had more pace, so I was doing everything perfect and it’s very curious when you look at my data when you see the moment of the crash it’s really strange to see a crash in that kind of situation.

“But it was really strange today that every rider that was leading crashed, so this is strange and we have to understand for tomorrow.”

The damage being done to Bagnaia’s 2024 title defence by Saturday malaise 

In a sprint race in which championship leader Jorge Martin struggled for pace – with the Pramac Ducati rider explaining that he overheated his rear tyre – Bagnaia was on course to cut down his 38-point deficit in the standings.

Instead, Bagnaia has dropped 44 points adrift in the championship while Martin has lost just one point to new second-placed standings occupant Marc Marquez.

Something of a sprint specialist in the first half of 2023, winning four times and scoring five other Saturday podiums, Bagnaia hasn’t fared well in 2024. In fact, not since last year’s Malaysian GP has Bagnaia had a sprint podium.

In Qatar he could do no more than fourth and the same again in Portugal, after a mistake while comfortably leading saw him throw away another podium.

A difficult Americas GP round saw him come away with just two points from the sprint there, while a collision in the Spanish GP sprint meant he scored nothing.

At Le Mans, an issue with his second bike (which he was forced to race with after crashing his number one GP24 in qualifying) forced him to retire.

By contrast, Martin has won three sprints, finished third in two more and salvaged fourth from a tough day in Barcelona. Marquez has had four sprint second-place finishes from six rounds on the 2023-spec Ducati run by Gresini Racing.

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Fernandez “crying like a baby” after “very stupid mistake” in Barcelona MotoGP sprint

The Trackhouse Racing rider qualified a career-best third for himself and the American team on Saturday morning at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Fernandez, riding the 2023-spec Aprilia that won last year’s sprint and GP at Barcelona, took the lead on lap three of 12 and quickly broke away from the pack by almost a second.

But on lap five, Fernandez crashed out at Turn 10, which he explained was down to him compensating for a mistake which cost him time at Turn 9.

“Now I feel a little bit better, but before arriving to the box I was crying like a baby,” he said on Saturday after the sprint.

“Honestly, I want to say sorry to the team. I did a very stupid mistake.

“I felt super comfortable today, I felt I had it all under control.

“I think the crash was for a mistake. I was trying to compensate for a mistake I did in the curve before the one I crashed at.”

He added: “I don’t know why; I had a lot of movement in Turn 9. I lost a little bit of time, I felt, but I tried to compensate on the brakes [at Turn 10] and I said ‘f**k, I go wide’.

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“But at the moment I tried to close the line and I crashed.

“Was 100% my mistake, I was maybe in that moment the ambition was too much because I didn’t want to lose too much time.

“But it’s part of the game. Honestly, I am happy because we saw we can be here. I saw that we are competitive. Just it’s a question of time.

“We need time. We need to put everything like I want and we are now on a correct way.”

Significant progress for underpressure youngster

Fernandez narrowly missed out on the Moto2 title in 2021 in a season in which he scored a record eight wins for a rookie in the class.

But his time in MotoGP has been lacking in results, with Fernandez scoring just 14 points in 2022 with Tech3 and KTM before moving to Aprilia’s satellite outfit last year – which was RNF Racing at the time.

He had just one grand prix top five all season, fifth at the finale in Valencia, while the start to 2024 has been even tougher.

Albeit not with machine parity to the rest of the Aprilia stable as he is on the 2023-spec (though is set to get the 2024 chassis at some point this season) Fernandez hasn’t breached into the top 10 on a Sunday yet.

With significant pressure being placed on him by Moto2 frontrunner and US-born racer Joe Roberts for his seat at the American Trackhouse squad, Fernandez faces an uncertain future.

But in Barcelona, after a tough Friday, he managed a first front row – beating a best of ninth in Qatar last year – and said Aprilia helped him to feel like he did in Moto2.

“It is not what we want, we don’t want to crash but we crashed when we were leading,” Fernandez said.

“So, I think we are working so well, day by day I feel more comfortable.

“Today I felt a very big change on the bike, I feel Aprilia helped me a lot. Yesterday was really difficult day, I didn’t feel comfortable on the bike, I felt it really difficult to manage the bike.

“But today I feel comfortable, I feel I can ride easy – I feel like when I was in Moto2, which was important.

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Raul Fernandez, Trackhouse Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“Ok, I did a mistake, I can’t go back, I have to be focused on what we did, I need to be focused on tomorrow and I will try to do the same tomorrow.

“I think we had the pace, it was super easy.

“The crash was not because I was trying to get the track record, just I crashed due to a mistake. But I was really calm on the bike and I feel super comfortable.”

On the biggest improvements made, Fernandez noted: “We worked a little bit on the set-up from yesterday.

“For me, the main thing is the electronics part. We changed the mind on the electronic, I tried to change also a little bit my style to adapt my style to this kind of track because for me it’s not super easy.

“But also, the big change was the electronics. It’s not [made the throttle delivery] soft, it’s something where I can drive and I don’t need to think about what to do to go fast.

“For me, the main thing is today I can ride like I want and I don’t have to think about what I’m doing. So, this is what we changed.”

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Espargaro wins crazy sprint after last-lap Bagnaia crash

Set to end a barren run without a sprint win since last year’s Austrian GP, Bagnaia fell off his factory Ducati at Turn 5 on the last lap of 12 while running eight tenths clear of Aprilia’s Espargaro.

Espargaro, who started from pole but got beaten up in the early laps, had recovered to second on lap eight and was promoted to the lead when Bagnaia crashed.

It marks his first sprint win of the season and comes just 48 hours after announcing ahead of his home race that he will retire from racing at the end of the 2024 season.

Marc Marquez came from 14th on the grid to finish second, besting Tech3 GasGas rookie Pedro Acosta on the final lap.

A tough race for championship leader Jorge Martin saw him salvage fourth from seventh on the grid, meaning his points lead has only shrunk by one to 37.

The 12-lap sprint had five riders leading it at various stages, three of whom crashing out while heading the pack.

Bagnaia nailed the launch off the line from second on the grid to take the holeshot at the start, with Acosta moving into second from third-place starter Raul Fernandez (Trackhouse Racing), KTM’s Brad Binder and Espargaro.

Martin moved up to sixth in the opening turns, while Marquez survived Turn 2 contact with KTM’s Jack Miller – which left the Gresini rider missing wings on the left side of his fairing – to sit eighth off the line.

Acosta put a challenge on Bagnaia for the lead on the run to Turn 1 at the start of lap two, though the Ducati rider carved past again at Turn 5.

Acosta repeated that move on lap 3, while Fernandez got opportunistic and scythed underneath Bagnaia at Turn 3, which then allowed Binder to overtake the Italian for third at Turn 4.

Fernandez then threw his 2023-spec Aprilia up the inside of Acosta at Turn 5, an aggressive move that opened the door for Binder to come through into second.

The Trackhouse rider proceeded to dart away from the pack, swelling his lead to eight tenths over Acosta come the end of lap four.

But Fernandez crashed at Turn 10 on the next tour, releasing Acosta into the lead before Binder jumped the Tech3 rider at Turn 1 on lap six.

Binder was breaking away on lap seven when he crashed at Turn 5 while leading, releasing Bagnaia to head the pack after the Ducati rider came out on top in a battle with Acosta on lap six and earlier on the seventh tour.

Bagnaia looked set to hold onto the lead as Espargaro, who moved ahead of Acosta for second on lap eight at Turn 1, couldn’t make any inroads into the Ducati rider.

But, on the final lap, Bagnaia slid off his GP24 at Turn 5, gifting Espargaro a lead of almost nine tenths to ensure victory.

Marquez’s march towards the front having gotten to eighth at the start continued on lap seven when he passed Martin for what was fifth at the time, before outbraking Acosta for third at Turn 1 on the final tour.

That became second when Bagnaia crashed, extending his strong run of Saturday rostrums to four for 2024 so far.

He held Acosta at bay by 0.277s, while Enea Bastianini came from 11th to fifth on the second factory team Ducati.

Fabio Di Giannantonio was seventh on the VR46 Ducati, with Miller, Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and Marco Bezzecchi (VR46) rounding out the top nine to take the last points.

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo came just 0.598s from a point in 10th, while Trackhouse Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and LCR Honda’s Johann Zarco crashed out.

MotoGP Catalan GP — Sprint race results:

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Espargaro snatches pole; Martin crashes and Marquez 14th

On Saturday ahead of this weekend’s sixth round of the 2024 season, Espargaro grabbed a first pole of the season with a new lap record of 1m38.190s at the end of a dramatic Q2.

For much of the session, it looked like reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia would take pole on the factory Ducati having set the best pace at the end of the first runs of Q2.

But a blistering final lap from Espargaro saw him snatch the position away by 0.031 seconds from Bagnaia, while Trackhouse Racing’s Raul Fernandez was third.

Championship leader Jorge Martin crashed his Pramac Ducati late on at Turn 2 and was left in seventh.

Failing to get out Q1 for the second round in a row, Gresini’s Marc Marquez will have to start from 14th for this weekend’s sprint and grand prix.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Ducati’s Enea Bastianini set the reference lap at the start of the 15-minute Q2 at 1m40.335s, though the lap record had already been bested in the preceding Q1 session by Fabio Di Giannantonio with the 1m38.208s that knocked Marquez out.

On his first flying lap, Martin put in a 1m38.401s to go 0.374s clear of the field, before Pedro Acosta bettered this with a 1m38.369s on his Tech3 GasGas.

Seconds later, Bagnaia put in a 1m38.221s with around nine minutes remaining to assume control of the session.

After a brief lull on track as the riders took on fresh rubber, Bagnaia’s pole was given a degree of comfort when Martin crashed at Turn 2 with just over two minutes to go.

The Pramac rider lost the front as he changed direction into the Turn 2 right-hander, while team-mate Franco Morbidelli slid off behind him – albeit later into the corner.

Bagnaia was unable to improve on his second run laps, while Espargaro leaped up to second on his penultimate tour before setting the best first sector of the session on his final lap.

Espargaro kept his sector split times up and came through to post a 1m39.190s to beat Bagnaia and Binder, who crashed twice on Friday.

However, Fernandez – who came through Q1 – had a lap good enough for third reinstated after it was initially cancelled for being set under yellow flags, giving both rider and Trackhouse Racing its first front row in MotoGP.

Binder now heads row two in fourth from Acosta and Q1 pacesetter Di Giannantonio (VR46 Ducati), while Jorge Martin is seventh.

Martin will start ahead of Yamaha’s Alex Rins and KTM’s Jack Miller.

The top 12 was completed by Morbidelli, Bastianini and the second factory team Aprilia of Maverick Vinales.

Alex Marquez put in a lap at the end of Q1 that put him ahead of his brother and Gresini team-mate Marc Marquez in 13th.

Fabio Quartararo struggled to 17th on his Yamaha, with Johann Zarco top Honda on his LCR-run bike despite a crash at the end of Q1.

Q2 results:

Q1 results:

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