Pole position was converted into a Tissot Sprint victory for Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) at the Gran Premio Red Bull di San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini as Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) runs the Spaniard close to finish P2 on home turf.

World Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) picked up his 10th Saturday podium of the season – and his most hard-fought yet – as the #1 fended off MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa and the latter’s Red Bull KTM Factory Racing teammate Brad Binder for P3.

Martin unmatched as a magical podium fight unfolds

Martin got the exact launch he’d have wanted from pole as he grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, as Bagnaia powered his way around the outside of Bezzecchi to grab an early P2. Pedrosa went P5 to P4 to get the better of Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), as Binder didn’t get away well – the South African was outside the top 10.

Martin immediately began to pull the pin. On Lap 2 his lead was up to 0.9s as Bagnaia made a small mistake to relinquish P2 to Bezzecchi. Meanwhile, Binder was responding in the only way he knows how: full attack mode. Midway around Lap 3 Binder was up to P6 and hounding Viñales, who was nearly two seconds away from Pedrosa.

At the front, it quickly became Martin vs Bezzecchi. Lap 3 belonged to the latter, the Italian cut the gap by a sizeable 0.5s, with Bagnaia dropping to two seconds off the P1 fight. Binder vs Viñales was raging on and on Lap 6 of 13, a move finally stuck for the #33. Next on his radar: KTM stablemate Pedrosa.

With five laps to go, Martin’s gap was up to 0.8s as Pedrosa reeled Bagnaia in by 0.4s. Binder was making ground but he wasn’t taking chunks out of the pair just up the road, the gap to try and bridge was hovering at around one second.

Two laps left in the Tissot Sprint and a two-horse race for P3 became a three-horse race. Binder was right with Bagnaia and Pedrosa, knowing gaining points on Pecco is absolutely crucial. Considering what happened less than a week ago, Pecco was riding unbelievably to keep the KTMs behind as the last lap began.

Martin led by a second over Bezzecchi as we strapped in for a KTM vs Bagnaia scrap for the final podium place. Halfway around the lap, Pecco was holding on. Binder was out of shape; Pedrosa was waiting to pounce. A headshake down the back straight cost Pedrosa time and despite the efforts of the orange bikes, Pecco held on to claim P3 after Martin and Bezzecchi took the chequered flag in P1 and P2 respectively.

The points scorers on Saturday

A dream podium wasn’t to be on Saturday but Pedrosa rolled back the years again to claim a wonderful P4, with Binder crossing the line 0.159s off the ‘Little Samurai’ in P5 after a belting comeback. Viñales grabbed P6 ahead of Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) and Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), the latter in P9 picking up the final Tissot Sprint point in Misano.

Will Martin complete the perfect weekend on Sunday?

Bagnaia’s heroic efforts haven’t stopped his title lead dropping to 45 points ahead of Sunday’s main event in Misano, with Martin eyeing up a pole-Sprint-race triple to bring himself right back into title contention. What will unfold on Sunday? Find out at 14:00 local time (GMT+2).

Top 10:

2 Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 1.445
3 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 4.582
4 Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 4.772
5 Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 4.931
6 Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 6.062
7 Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)  + 6.519
8 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)  + 7.893
9 Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 9.264
10 Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)  + 11.318


- Advertisement -