New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS): When Jorge Martin wheelied his way to the chequered flag at the Buddh International Circuit after bagging the 11-lap Tissot Sprint it turned out to be a teaser for Sunday’s Grand Prix of India.
Earlier in the day, Mooney VR46 Racing Team rider Marco Bezzecchi had set the qualifying time at one minute, 43.9470 becoming clear favourite for the Tissot Sprint and the marque event on Sunday.
Martin, however, had predicted the scenario after Saturday’s practice sessions. “First lap at the sprint will be interesting,” he had commented, further adding, “Turn one is a really tight corner. It looks a bit wider. The first gear corner we arrive is not easy. It’s difficult to find the reference, maybe I found mine so I’m quite confident,” he had said.
And it turned out as he predicted. Starting number one on the grid, Bezzecchi teammate Luca Marini’s erroneous braking on Turn 1, pushed the Italian off the track, and five others out of the race. While Bezzecchi was pushed down to the 17th position, Martin sped away maintaining the lead throughout the sprint.
“I didn’t need to put my 100% today. Just trying to concentrate on the turn. My main target was to increase the gap and understand the conditions. We have some margin to fight back with Marco tomorrow,” Martin said after winning the Tissot Sprint.
Torrential shower had changed the conditions of the track.
Jorge Martin had bagged the Sprint podium and 12 points. Meanwhile, championship leader Francesco Bagnaia finished second with 9 points and eight-time world champion Marc Marquez rode to third spot on the podium. This was former champion’s second podium of the season.
However, it was Marco Bezzecchi who defined the exhilarating speed associated with the sport. Bezzecchi rode like there was never tomorrow. From being push to 17th in the opening lap, he was fighting for the fifth place in the 10th lap. He successfully pipped Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo for the position.
Marco Bezzecchi set the qualifying time at one minute, 43.9470. In an evenly fought Qualifying 2 battle, the riders went full throttle hunting to grab the pole position in India’s first-ever MotoGP Grand Prix. Bezzecchi came out with flying colours registering the best time to grab his third pole of the season.
Jorge Martin astride Prima Pramac claimed the second spot on the grid finishing 0.043 seconds slower than Bezzecchi. Martin, who has five podium finishes in the last eight races, will look to keep his consistency intact on Sunday.
Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia with 283 points ended up third on the grid after clocking Qualifying 2 in one minute, 44.2030 seconds. While Bezzecchi’s teammate Luca Marini placed himself fourth on the starting grid after with the timing one minute, 44.2150 seconds.
Joan Mir and Marc Marquez, who rode relentlessly at the Buddh International Circuit, managed to enter Qualifying 2 for the first time this season. The factory Honda duo’s hard work paid off as they will settle themselves fifth and sixth on the grid.
Marc’s youngser brother Alex Marquez riding Gresini Racing could crashed out on turn 6 during Qualifying 1 leaving him with injuries to his right hand and ribs. He may start provisionally 12th on the grid. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up.
An error on the final sector, in the final lap cost Moto2 Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) the pole in Qualifying 2. Acosta was pipped by Jake Dixon (Inde GASGAS Aspar Team) to clinch the front position on the grid. Dixon’s two minutes, 01.9240 seconds was 0.032 seconds faster than Acosta. Sergio Garcia of Pons Wegow Los40 and Zonta Van Den Goorbergh completed the front row.
Leopard Racing’s Jaume Masia will start the Sunday’s Moto3 race from pole position. Masia clocked two minutes, 09.3360 seconds to top the position followed by Matteo Bertelle of Rivacold Snipers Team who recorded his time at two minutes, 10.0630 seconds. Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) settled for the third placed on the grid with two minutes, 10.1040 seconds. However, Moto3 championship leader Daniel Holgado of Red Bull KTM Tech3 did not to pass the Qualifying 2 and will start on the 19th position.