News 16 Oct 2023

Intense Indonesian MotoGP sees Bagnaia emerge on top

Acosta and Moreira win in Moto2 and Moto3 at Mandalika.

Image: Supplied.

Delivering what could be a pivotal performance in the 2023 MotoGP World Championship battle, Francesco Bagnaia charged from the fifth row of the grid to take victory at Mandalika while title-rival Jorge Martin crashed out, as Pedro Acosta won in Moto2 and Diogo Moreira took the spoils in Moto3.

A lowly qualifying performance of P13 left Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) with work to do, and after finishing eighth in the sprint while Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) won, he lost the lead in the world championship.

In Sunday’s Indonesian GP, Martin swiftly made his way to the front and began to stretch out his advantage. Disaster struck for the number 89 on lap 13, however, when he crashed out of the race with a roughly three-second lead, handing P1 to Aprilia Racing Team’s Maverick Vinales at that point.

Bagnaia wasted no time in making his way forward from 13th on the grid, and by lap three he was third and the defending champion moved into second following Martin’s mistake.

With seven laps to go, he took the lead from Vinales and started to stretch away, before a late charge from third-placed Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) pushed both him and the Aprilia rider back into contention.

Bagnaia withstood the pressure to take the checkers first, ahead of Vinales second and Quartararo third – the top three covered by just 0.433s at race-end. Gresini Racing’s Fabio Di Giannantonio finished a solid fourth, as ironman Marco Bezzecchi (Moonet VR46 Racing Team) completed a gutsy weekend in fifth after having surgery on a broken collarbone just days prior.

In sixth was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), serving two long lap penalties throughout the race, first for an incident bringing pole-setter Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) down and second for exceeding track limits.

Australia’s Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) finished P7, with the returning Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team), Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – who opted for the soft compound rear tyre against recommendation – completing the top 10.

Sunday’s outing in Indonesia saw only 14 finishers, with Martin, Marini, and Repsol Honda Team pair Marc Marquez and Joan Mir among the non-finishers.

Bagnaia’s success on Sunday means he again holds the advantage in terms of the championship lead, now with an advantage of 18 points in front of Martin as MotoGP moves to Phillip Island for its next round this weekend.

Image: Supplied.

It was another Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) clinic in Moto2, the championship leader overcoming an early fall in FP1 that ruled him out for the session to deliver another winning weekend.

The number 37’s advantage come race-end was ultimately 2.044s ahead of Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40), with Beta Tools SpeedUp’s Fermin Aldeguer completing the top three.

In fourth was Jake Dixon (Inde GasGas Aspar Team), while Manuel Gonzalez (Correos Prepago Yamaha VR46 Racing Team) completed the top five, ahead of Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in P6.

Entering Phillip Island, Acosta’s lead at the top of the standings is 65 points ahead of Arbolino, with Dixon third and a further 40 points back.

Image: Supplied.

Moto3 was another action-packed outing, with Moreira (MT Helmets -MSI) ultimately emerging with the victory just over a tenth of a second in front of Gaviota GasGas Aspar Team’s David Alonso.

The pair were part of a 14-rider lead group, with the hard-charging David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) completing the top three, leading Collin Veijer (Liqui Molu Husqvarna Intact GP) and Jose Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo) inside the top five.

Championship leader Jaume Masia finished P6, while a spirited performance from Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) unfortunately reaped little reward. Holgado exceeded track limits to make a move for the lead, which ultimately saw him receive a long lap penalty. In the final four laps, Holgado fought hard to bring himself back into contention, before he received another long lap penalty for track limits once more.

The number 96 didn’t serve this penalty on track and therefore was given a three-second penalty at the conclusion of the race, dropping him back to P14. Fellow title contender Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) endured a challenging Indonesian GP, crashing on the sighting lap and then limping to an 18th-place finish, two spots behind Australia’s Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP) was strong in the opening stages.

Ahead of the Australian GP this weekend, Masia leads the Moto3 standings by 209 points, ahead of Sasaki in second on 193 and Holgado third with 192.

The Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC) also competed at Mandalika, with Australia’s Marianos Nikolis going 7-9 across the outings, while Levi Russo notched a DNF-15 scorecard.

Detailed results