Following a long delay to help dry up the starting grid, the 11-lap sprint got underway just after 5pm local time at the Buddh International Circuit, with VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi starting from pole ahead of Pramac’s Martin and team-mate Luca Marini.
Martin got the best launch of the trio and immediately grabbed the lead, while Bezzecchi was trying to consolidate second when his team-mate Marini got the braking wrong for the tricky Turn 1, slamming into the back of his Ducati and sending him off the track.
This gave Martin some clear air as he navigated the opening right-hander, with championship leader Francesco Bagnaia moving to second on the factory Ducati ahead of factory Honda duo Joan Mir and Marc Marquez.
Martin was already a second clear of the chasing pack by the end of lap 2, with his Pramac-run Ducati clearly quicker than the works-entered GP22 of Bagnaia.
Martin would pull out a lead of nearly three seconds by the middle part of the race but eased off on the final lap to take the chequered flag by 1.4s.
It was Martin’s second consecutive sprint race win following his victory at Misano earlier this month and helps him make further inroads into Bagnaia’s championship lead.
Bagnaia initially came under pressure from the Honda of Marquez, who had cleared his team-mate Mir early on, but the Spaniard couldn’t keep up the pace in the second half of the race, allowing the Ducati rider to hold on to second position.
Third place nevertheless represented Marquez’s second sprint podium of the year after finishing third in the first-ever sprint in Portugal.
Marquez’s team-mate Mir crashed out of the race at Turn 3 on lap 4, allowing Binder to claim a respectable fourth for KTM. Binder had closed in on Marquez during the middle parts of the race, but the Honda rider was able to fend off his advances, forcing Binder to settle for fourth.
After being hit by team-mate Marini at the start and dropping to the rear of the pack, Bezzecchi pulled off a heroic comeback, getting back into the points on lap 6 and passing the lead Yamaha of Fabio Quartararo late on to grab an incredible fifth.
Behind Quartararo, Jack Miller also recovered from a poor qualifying like his team-mate Binder to claim seventh, while Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales and RNF rider Raul Fernandez completed the list of points scorers in eighth and ninth respectively.
Vinales’ team-mate Aleix Espargaro endured a nightmare race, dropping to 13th on the opening lap before slumping to 18th with another error. His race came to an early end when he suffered a crash at the final corner with just a few laps to run.
Pramac’s Johann Zarco also couldn’t finish the race after a slow crash at Turn 3, while Stefan Bradl (LCR) and Pol Espargaro (Tech3) were among the first to retire, with Bradl slamming into the back of Espargaro at the start in a crash that was nearly identical to that of the VR46 duo.
Source: Boxing News 24