Martin blames tyre pressure rule for lack of action in Italian MotoGP race

The Mugello race featured a limited number of position changes at the front after the opening lap, as the field circulated in formation behind race leader Francesco Bagnaia on a hot and sunny day in Italy.

With three laps to go it appeared that the race had finally come alive, with Martin closing within three tenths of factory Ducati rider Francesco Bagnaia after the latter suffered a sudden drop in pace.

But Bagnaia was able to pick up the speed once again and cruise to the finish in what was easily the least entertaining race of an otherwise thrilling 2024 season.

Polesitter Martin, who was unable to do much about Bagnaia up front despite staying within a second of the defending championship throughout the race, says the high tyre pressure levels meant there were very few overtaking opportunities for riders at Mugello.

Each rider is required to run above the stipulated tyre pressure for 50% of a grand prix distance or risk being penalised with a time penalty at the end of the race.

“I was really thinking about [passing Bagnaia for the lead],” said Martin. “But we are so on the limit with the front temperatures during the season, these last years, with the pressure limit.

“When you are three tenths or closer it’s impossible to get even closer. The rider in front [needs to] make a mistake or it’s impossible to make the move.

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“It’s a pity that we don’t have more show because I think without that rule I would have the chance to overtake.

“But second position was my place today, but with this mistake, it was third.”

Bagnaia’s team-mate Enea Bastianini was responsible for the only two overtakes inside the top five in the closing stages of the race, as he first repassed Gresini’s Marc Marquez for third before going past Martin at the final turn to steal second position.

Martin admitted that it was his error that cost him four points to title rival Bagnaia, as he had already eased off under the assumption that second place was secure.

“It was a big frustration after the finish line because to lose a position on the last corner hurt me quite a lot,” he said.

“It was more my mistake. I saw on the pitboard eight tenths of a second so I was relaxed. I was pushing but not on the limit. I didn’t want to crash because I knew Pecco was already far away.

“I thought nobody was there and then I hear his bike and I said no way this is happening to me. Trust me this mistake won’t happen to me again.”

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