Portugal MotoGP win “amazing” at a track “where I almost lost everything”

The 2023 championship runner-up put in a controlled performance last Sunday in Portugal to score his first grand prix win since last year’s Thailand GP.

With erstwhile championship leader Francesco Bagnaia crashing out in a controversial tangle with Marc Marquez, Martin now leads the standings by 18 points.

Martin says defending the lead he took from third on the grid at Turn 3 on the opening lap was “key” to a win that proved to be somewhat emotional for the Spaniard.

In his rookie year in 2021, he suffered a violent incident in practice at Turn 7 at the Algarve track in which he sustained multiple fractures that almost curtailed his career.

“I think this consistency is the most important thing and today the key thing was the start,” Martin told MotoGP’s After the Flag on Sunday.

“I was really committed to take the lead in the first corner and then I tried to close a lot on the third corner because I knew it was my key to win.

“I tried to manage a bit at the beginning, taking those two, three tenths to maintain the lead.

“And as soon as I started to push I saw nobody, they weren’t able to close that gap. As soon as they closed a little bit, I pulled again. So, it was a really mature Sunday, mature win.

“I’m really happy and proud of the team and the job we’re doing. The new Ducati is better on Sundays than Saturdays.

“To win here, at a track where I almost lost everything, I almost stopped racing and now I’m here in first place. 

“This is amazing and I’m so grateful to this track because I learned a lot.”

Marshals and Mediacal team at Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing after the crash

Marshals and Mediacal team at Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing after the crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

After the collision between Marquez and Bagnaia, which he saw on the big screens around the track, Martin says he knew he had to win the grand prix.

“About the incident, I saw it on the screen,” Martin said.

“And at that point I said ‘Jorge, you need to finish, 100%’. So, for two corners I was really blocked and then I said to myself ‘ok, today you need to win’. I didn’t care about finishing, just winning.”

Martin didn’t suffer from the rear chatter problems that plagued him in Qatar, but notes that the GP24 struggles more in sprints than it does in grands prix now.

“I think for us now, we need to understand why we suffer much more when we push from the beginning than when we can be smooth on the first laps,” Martin, who has the most sprint wins of anyone with 11, said when asked about rear chatter.

“So, in the beginning [of the grand prix] I was smooth even if we push in the first laps.

“I was really relaxed and as soon as I started pushing I had that thought in my mind that maybe the vibrations were arriving.

“But finally they didn’t. Now we need to check for Saturdays because the sprint now is our weak point. So, let’s be focused on that and try to fix that.”

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