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Saturday, December 9, 2023

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Jorge Martin scorches lap record to bag pole at San Marino MotoGP pole

Pramac Racing's Spanish rider Jorge Martin rides during a qualifying session ahead of the Moto GP Grand Prix of Doha at the Losail International Circuit, in the city of Lusail

Pramac rider Jorge Martin (pictured) blazed round the Italian circuit in one minute, 30.390 seconds, chopping almost half a second off the record set by Marco Bezzecchi on Friday in the San Marino and Rimini Riviera MotoGP. Picture: Karim Jaafar/AFP

Published Sep 9, 2023


Jorge Martin will start the San Marino and Rimini Riviera MotoGP in pole position after smashing the lap record at Misano Adriatico in Saturday's qualifying.

Pramac rider Martin blazed round the Italian circuit in one minute, 30.390 seconds, chopping almost half a second off the record set by Marco Bezzecchi on Friday.

"For sure it was a great lap, a great weekend overall," said Spaniard Martin.

"I took a lot of risks to make that pole position, I am so proud of my team, of myself to be back in that position.”

Showing his mettle

The 25-year-old bested Bezzecchi's time twice over the course of qualifying, demonstrating that he can cut into the 50-point gap separating him from championship leader Francesco Bagnaia.

However reigning world champion Bagnaia finished in a hugely impressive third place, 0.436sec off the pace despite carrying injuries from last weekend's horror crash at the Catalunya MotoGP.

Bagnaia flew off his bike at high speed at Montmelo and was then run over by Brad Binder, but has been cleared to race on Sunday and looks good to collect points at his home track.

"I'm very happy. I wasn't guaranteed to be like this but for now the most important thing is to be here, and to be in the front row is a very good feeling for me," he said to Sky Sport in Italy.

Bagnaia said that he would take part in Saturday's Sprint race which takes place at 1300 GMT and gives 12 points to the winner.

"Let's see, I'm behind my main rivals so it will be interesting. I'm not sure how I am physically but I should have 13 laps in me," he added.

Bagnaia will be joined on the front row by countryman Bezzecchi who is 71 points back in the overall standings and was second fastest, 0.397sec behind Martin despite also being injured on Montmelo.

The VR46 rider suffered a hand injury in the multi-bike pile up which preceded Bagnaia's accident.

‘All worth it’

"I'm happy because it would have been very hard to give any more today. It was hard but it was worth it," said Bezzecchi to Sky.

"Let's hope I can stay with it over the course of all the laps. It won't be easy but I'll give it a go.”

Last weekend's winner Aleix Espargaro will start in sixth spot after reaching the second qualifying session by finishing second in the first earlier on Saturday morning.

Espargaro, who crashed in practice on Saturday, will be joined on the second row by his Aprilia teammate Maverick Vinales who finished 0.090sec behind Bagnaia in fourth place.

Marc Marquez will start ninth on the grid as rumours continue to circulate about the six-time MotoGP champion's potential move to Ducati's satellite Gresini team for next season.

Ducati's racing CEO Claudio Domenicali remained tight-lipped about the possibility, telling Sky simply that he was "interested and amused" by the reports and happy that the Italian manufacturer's bikes were so well regarded.


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