Moto GP – Malaysian GP – Race
Only 3 rounds to go, championship on the line, 2 riders on the final stretch of the 2023 championship, separated by just 13 points, with the Malaysian GP sprint race being the first task of the 18th round coming up, at the Sepang Circuit.
Qualy session saw the lap time record being demolished, as Ducati bikes were showing up their top speed at the big straights of the circuit. It looked like Martin was about to grab yet another consecutive pole, but a late attempt by the Factory Ducati rider saw Francesco Bagnaia taking the 6th pole of the season, leaving his championship rival, Jorge Martin just behind him at 2nd, with Enea Bastianini returning to a front row, after a rough season for the young rider.
1. Francesco Bagnaia /// 2. Jorge Martin /// 3. Enea Bastianini
4. Alex Marquez /// 5. Luca Marini /// 6. Marco Bezzecchi
7. Brad Binder /// 8. Fabio Quatararo ///9. Maverick Viñales
10. Jack Miller /// 11. Fabio Di Giannantonio /// 12. Johann Zarco
13. Aleix Espargaro /// 14. Augusto Fernandez /// 15. Franco Morbidelli
16. Joan Mir /// 17. Pol Espargaro /// 18. Raul Fernandez
19. Miguel Oliveira /// 20. Marc Marquez /// 21. Takaaki Nakagami
22. Alvaro Bautista /// 23. Iker Lecuona
With the lights turning off, sprint race was underway, big start for Bagnaia, who holds the lead on the first lap, as Alex Marquez quickly moved up to 2ns after a move on Bastianini on the starting lap, meanwhile Martin was on 3rd on the end of the first laps.
As Bagnaia holds the lead, he was on constant pressure from Alex Marquez, as the Spaniard attempted a move on the Ducati bike, the gressini rider went wide and was on a battle with Martin, as both spaniard exchange positions on the following turns, with the Gressini rider recovering 2nd and getting closer again to the race leader; Big battle for 4th in the meantime, as Miller, Bastianini and Binder were fighting for that position.
Half of the sprint and Bagnaia was leading the sprint, but the Gressini bike was turning and running better than the factory Ducati, as Alex Marquez was flying on track, it didn’t took him long enough to overtake the sprint leader, as Jorge Martin quickly take advantage of Bagnaia’s lack of pace, as the championship leader was now at 3rd, ahead of Enea Bastianini.
It was a big display for Alex Marquez, as he was now the sprint leader and away from any pressure that Jorge Martin could deliver, meanwhile it was a escort mission for Enea Bastianini, as he had to make sure that Bagnaia had to minimize the damage at the standings, for the sake of his seat on future seasons, as Binder and Miller were the closest theats for Ducati.
Chequered flag was shown and Alex Marquez gets his 2nd sprint win, as Martin cuts 2 points on the championship gap and Bagnaia minimize the damage with a podium finish, stellar job by Bastianini, who was able to hold the late attacks from Brad Binder at the final lap of the sprint.
1. Alex Marquez /// 2. Jorge Martin /// 3. Francesco Bagnaia
4. Enea Bastianini /// 5. Brad Binder/// 6. Jack Miller
7. Marco Bezzecchi /// 8. Johann Zarco/// 9. Luca Marini
10. Maverick Viñales /// 11. Franco Morbidelli /// 12. Aleix Espargaro
13. Fabio Di Giannantonio /// 14. Augusto Fernandez /// 15. Pol Espargaro
16. Fabio Quatararo /// 17. Rauk Fernandez /// 18. Miguel Oliveira
19. Takaaki Nakagami /// 20. Iker Lecuona /// 21. Marc Marquez
22. Alvaro Bautista /// 23. Joan Mir
A contested battle up front saw Alex Marquez with another win on a sprint race, as the championship keeps the intensity, with Bagnaia and Martin now separated by 11 points. A 20 lap thirller comes up next, at this dramatic championship battle.
MiniBikers – MotoGP
2023 Malaysian GP