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MotoGP India - Race Report

Written by Owen Bradley

Credit: Steve Wobser


A Historic Inaugural Indian Grand Prix, a thrilling one which most certainly delivered on the excitement and hype around it, with Marco Bezzecchi taking a dominant victory.


FULL GRAND PRIX RESULTS


1st - Marco Bezzecchi, Team VR46 - WINNER

2nd - Jorge Martin, Pramac Ducati - +8.649s

3rd - Fabio Quartararo, Monster Yamaha - +8.855s

4th - Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM - +12.643s

5th - Joan Mir, Repsol Honda - +13.214s

6th - Johann Zarco, Pramac Ducati - +14.673s

7th - Franco Morbidelli, Monster Yamaha - +16.946s

8th - Maverick Vinales, Aprilia - +17.191s

9th - Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda - +19.118s

10th - Raul Fernandez, RNF Aprilia - +26.504s

11th - Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda - +28.521s

12th - Miguel Oliveira, RNF Aprilia - +29.088s

13th - Pol Espargaro, Tech3 GASGAS - +29.728s

14th - Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM - +31.324s

15th - Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda - +35.782s

16th - Michele Pirro, Ducati Lenovo - +49.242s

DNF - Fabio Di Giannantonio, Gresini Ducati - DNF

DNF - Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Lenovo - DNF

DNF - Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia - DNF

DNF - Augusto Fernandez, Tech3 GASGAS - DNF


Sprint:


MotoGP India started off with some complications with Visa's and team personnel not being able to make it into the country, however once we got to the circuit, it was clear that we were in for a great race.


In the Sprint, Jorge Martin took the victory with Francesco Bagnaia in P2. Marc Marquez returned to the podium, although a sprint podium. Marco Bezzecchi was hit by teammate Luca Marini, sending Bezzecchi wide at Turn 1 and on a recovery ride, after starting from pole. Bezzecchi managed to recover from 17th after Turn 1, to P5 at the end of the sprint, he was clearly the fastest rider this weekend.


It looked far more competitive aside from the Top 3, with Quartararo up there in P6, and the Honda's looking very fast as well.


Grand Prix:

Credit: Ajay Aggarwal


With the race shortened by a few laps, it opened the strategy options for the riders, with some opting for the Hard compound front tyres, where others were on the Medium tyre, which would be far quicker but also burn out far quicker too. Temperatures soared and so did the riders, who flew away at the start of the race, with our main three championship protagonists chasing after one another. Bagnaia and Martin beat Bezzecchi off the start, but Bezzecchi was in close pursuit.


Eventually, Bezzecchi managed to make a move on the front two, taking the lead and beginning to pull out an incredible lead of nearly 3 seconds, in just a couple of laps. Bagnaia and Martin began fighting, nearly losing the bike at Turn 4 in the heavy braking zones. It was interesting to see the two different lines they both took, with Martin taking a wide line and sweeping the momentum heading into the quick left-hander Turn 5, whereas Bagnaia took a more conventional line, tight to the apex and squirting the throttle out of Turn 4 in the short run to Turn 5.


Jorge Martin eventually managed to block-pass Bagnaia in a very aggressive move, and Marc Marquez began chasing after the two Ducati's in front, managing to stay with them in the fight for the podium for a number of laps. Unfortunately for Marquez, he went down at Turn 1 after pushing the Honda so hard in the opening laps, not a positive takeaway heading into his meeting with the Honda directors over the next week, where he may take a decision on his MotoGP career and potentially leave Repsol Honda.


Credit: Ajay Aggarwal


Bagnaia and Martin were locked in battle, constantly trying to overtake one another into Turn 4, and meanwhile, Marco Bezzecchi opened up an enormous lead by modern MotoGP standards, of 5 seconds. Eventually, Bagnaia went a little too deep on the brakes and very nearly clipped Jorge Martin, extremely lucky not to take each other out.


Jorge Martin's Medium tyres began struggling greatly at around the mid-point in the race, and you could see the rubber being flicked off the tyre. Francesco Bagnaia eventually did make a move on Jorge Martin, seemingly a permanent pass and he began trying to close the gap to Bezzecchi.


However, Bagnaia would go down mid-corner at Turn 5, after just pushing slightly too hard, which is incredibly easy to do when you've been in the wake and air of another bike, once you reach the fresh air it can disrupt the riding style and the bike, this was a major championship blow for Bagnaia.


Credit: Getty Images


With the championship absolutely WIDE-OPEN for both Bezzecchi and Martin, they were desperate to capitalise on Bagnaia's DNF, and Martin tried to chase Bezzecchi down. However, with little tyre left, it was actually the surprise of Fabio Quartararo, who began catching Jorge Martin with just a handful of laps remaining.


On the Final Lap, Martin made a huge mistake at Turn 4, running far too deep and allowing Fabio Quartararo a run on the inside to Turn 5. The pair went at it like a hammer and a nail in the following corners, so nearly colliding with each other. Quartararo was able to get greater traction coming out of some corners, with the extra grip in his tyres. However, with Martin riding aggressive at the final couple of corners, blocking the inside on the final corner, Quartararo couldn't do anything.


Credit: Steve Wobser


Bezzecchi climbed the scaffolding, waving to the crowd just as his mentor, Valentino Rossi, used to do a few years ago. Due to the soaring temperatures at the circuit, Jorge Martin needed a moment to go and cool down in the pit box, and was visited by the medical staff as well.


Well, an absolutely exceptional Indian Grand prix weekend, with a very popular result as well. It's safe to say, India is a country that many more racing series should be looking at.


With Marco Bezzecchi closing the championship gap to 44 points from Bagnaia, and Jorge Martin just 13 points away from Bagnaia - The Championship has been Re-Ignited.


But what did you make of the inaugural Indian Grand Prix? was it everything it shaped up to be? let us know in the comments below!


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