News 1 May 2023

Defending MotoGP champion Bagnaia edges Binder at Jerez

Dominant Lowes charges to Moto2 win, as Ortola repeats in Moto3.

Image: Supplied.

MotoGP number one Francesco Bagnaia edged Sprint race winner Brad Binder in style to win at Jerez on Sunday, as Jack Miller joined them on the podium, while Sam Lowes won Moto2 and Ivan Ortola in Moto3.

A hard-fought 24-lap affair eventually saw Ducati Lenevo Team’s Bagnaia cross the finish just 0.221s ahead of Binder, with Miller making it a Red Bull KTM podium double for the second day in a row.

The first start was red flagged after a crash for Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team), with Quartararo able to restart and receiving a long lap penalty.

As it had been on take one, take two was another KTM show from lights out as they slotted into a 1-2, with Binder leading Miller as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) slotting into third. Polesitter Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) lost out once again, with Bagnaia also past and into fourth, and he didn’t waste time attacking Martin either.

It didn’t take long for Miller to decide he was heading through either, sliding down the inside of teammate Binder at the final corner on his mission for Sunday glory. The KTMs then got the hammer down in tandem too, starting to pull away, before Binder returned the favour and Bagnaia set the fastest lap so far to start reeling them in.

Once on the scene, Bagnaia wasted no time in getting past the Aussie, putting his factory Ducati in the tiniest of gaps at Pedrosa corner to sit up the KTM and making a little contact in the process. The number 43 was then under attack from Martin as well, but snapped straight back at the final corner. That pushed the Pramac well well wide, but no contact there as he slotted back in just behind Aleix Espargaro into fifth.

One lap later, and more penalty drama. Bagnaia was forced to drop one position after that earlier contact though, and the Italian dropped anchor to let Miller back past. It was a KTM 1-2 once again, but Martin soon got back past Espargaro to start bothering Miller again.

Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) then crashed out from behind Martin, joining earlier faller Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) as a DNF. And Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) was just about to join them, the Italian sliding out at Pedrosa, rider okay, but losing the points lead.

Back at the front, Binder was now six tenths ahead of Bagnaia, but as the final few laps dawned the Ducati was gaining, gaining and gaining. At the final corner with four to go, Pecco pounced to perfection and headed over the line with three to go in the lead.

Binder closed back in, and by the final lap it looked plausible – if not likely – that Binder would get close enough. By the final sector it looked like one motorcycle in the lead, and the last Lorenzo corner was coming. The stage was set for a lunge, but Bagnaia was having none of it.

The reigning champion was incredibly strong on the brakes and shut the door to perfection, leaving Binder to have a brief look but find no way through. Split by just two tenths over the line, it was fitting it went to the wire after a stunning race. Miller took third place and that’s now premier class podiums with three different bikes in his first GP rostrum with KTM.

Martin took fourth place and was fuming at the Australian for his move, and Aleix Espargaro completed the top five. Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took sixth in a close, close finish with KTM wildcard Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing).

Behind them, Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP) took eighth, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). One bit of late drama saw Maverick Vinales (Aprilia Racing) lose out on that as a technical problem caused him a last lap DNF. On Quartararo watch, the Frenchman was classified 10th after even more drama.

Image: Supplied.

In Moto2, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) smashed it out the park in Spain, back on top for the first time since 2021.

No one had an answer for his pace, pulling away once in the lead and coming home with time for a huge wheelie over the line.

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) came home in second after initially leading the way, now equal with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) on points at the top of the championship.

It was Alonso Lopez (CAG Speed Up) who rode back up onto the podium in third, while highly-rated Australian teenager Senna Agius was 21st in his fill-in appearance with Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP.

Image: Supplied.

Moto3 saw Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) repeat for victory. After taking a maiden win at the Americas GP, the Spaniard doubled down on home turf with another impressive charge to win at Jerez.

It went to the wire in another classic, with Ortola followed home by some close company from rookie David Alonso (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar) and veteran home hero Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing).

Championship leader Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) crossed the line in P6, with Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) 18th on return.

Australian Jacob Roulstone impressed in finishing runner-up to Angel Piqueras in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race on Saturday, before on Sunday it was Maximo Quiles who crossed the line in P1 and Roulstone finished sixth. Countryman Carter Thompson went 17-15 for the weekend.

Detailed results