skip to Main Content


MEDIA RELEASE/MotoGP – Photos: supplied

Bagnaia bounces back, Binder keeps his roll, Martin escapes Marc Marquez and Acosta lands in MotoGP™ as Lusail delivers once again.

Statements, standouts, and surprises: the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar had it all. On Sunday, it was reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) whose performance laid down the gauntlet, with the #1 bouncing back from a Tissot Sprint off the podium to a perfectly-poised first Grand Prix win of the season. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) kept the pressure on to take another rostrum and equal KTM’s best result at the track in second, however, and the South African had to hold off Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) to the flag. The Sprint winner was forced to settle for third on Sunday.

The fight for the podium was quite a show too. Marc Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was in the thick of it for much of the race, and rookie Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3) most definitely made his mark on his debut, running as high as fourth as he got stuck in. 

There was drama even before the lights went out as Raul Fernandez‘ (Trackhouse Racing) hand went up to signal a problem on the grid, and the start was then delayed as he was wheeled off into pitlane. Unable to start his first bike, the Spaniard took off running up pitlane back to the garage for his second, able to get out on the Warm Up lap in time to line up at the back of the grid.

And so the quiet came down for a second time, with a 21-lap distance now on the table. The lights came on, went out, and Martin shot off the line to grab the holeshot, but he had close company as Binder stormed forward from fourth and Bagnaia the same from fifth. The reigning Champion was quick to attack too, first Binder and then Martin as he homed in, sliced through and then got the hammer down. 

Marc Marquez was also quick off the line to move into fourth, with the rider losing out most off the line Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing). Acosta had more or less held his ground off the line, but by Lap 2 the headline-maker was on the way.

Despite passing Fabio Di Giannantonio (Pertamina Enduro VR46 Racing Team) on Lap 2 to take over in seventh, Acosta set the fastest lap of the race and a new lap record as he got in the groove. Next up it was Enea Bastianini (Ducati Lenovo Team) in the crosshairs and he got past the number 23 at the final corner, keeping it into Turn 1 next time around. Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) was the target for sixth and Acosta made a dive at Turn 1, but he couldn’t get it stopped and the two went side-by-side towards Turn 2. The number 73 held his ground then, but Acosta attacked not long after and made it stick. 

By 15 to go, Bagnaia was in his rhythm. The chasers were close but closer to each other than the reigning Champion, with Martin, Binder, Marc Marquez and Acosta all line astern. Next time around, the first move came as Binder attacked Martin at Turn 1.

The South African was very slightly deep and Martin took the inside line, but on the switch back into Turn 1 Binder kept it pinned for that inside line. And he made it stick, moving into second, as Marc Marquez started to threaten the number 89. But not long after that the concertina changed again, and it was Martin taking Binder back and a little chaos added in for good measure. The Pramac got it done, the KTM headed slightly wide, the Gresini even wider and then Acosta even wider than that. All gathered it back together, but Bagnaia was now a second clear of the quartet.

Binder struck again with 11 to go, and again went a little wide as Martin then followed suit just behind. That allowed Marc Marquez to gain a few tenths on them again, and Acosta likewise just behind. But Binder had the hammer down and started to stretch away from the group as Acosta decided to get his elbows out once more.

The rookie attacked Marc Marquez into Turn 1 to take over in fourth, the RC16 more than holding its own in the main straight horsepower shootout. And he kept it for a few laps, homing in on Martin before the charge started to fade, grip getting used up. By Lap 8, Marc Marquez was back on the tail unit of the rookie, and with one small misjudgment Acosta was wide, letting the number 93 back through. 

At the front, Binder was keeping Bagnaia in check but he couldn’t reel him in, whereas Marc Marquez was now edging closer to Martin. But it wouldn’t pove enough, with Bagnaia staying just ahead of Binder to take a statement stunning first GP win of the season, the South African making his own statement in second. Martin was able to edge away from the number 93 towards Binder, but not enough to attack at the final corner. The Tissot Sprint winner was forced to settle for third.

Marc Marquez takes fourth on his Ducati debut, just off the podium, with a charge back up the order from Bastianini seeing him take fifth after fending off Alex Marquez in their own private showdown. Acosta had been in the thick of that before fading slightly to fall into the clutches of Diggia and Espargaro, with the rookie forced to settle for ninth behind the pair… but with a new best race lap record to show for it too.

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) takes P10 ahead of Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™), with Johann Zarco (CASTROL Honda LCR) just getting the better of Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) in the battle for P12. Marco Bezzecchi‘s (Pertamina Enduro VR46) tough first weekend of the season ended in P14, with Miguel Oliveira (Trackhouse Racing) taking the final point after also doing a Long Lap given for an incident at the 2023 Qatar GP, the most recent race weekend he’d taken part in. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) crashed out early on, rider ok.

And so that’s a wrap on the season opener. The reigning Champion becomes the first since Jorge Lorenzo in 2015-2016 to follow up a season finale win with season opener victory the next season, and after a first Sprint off the podium the Sunday showing said plenty to his rivals. Martin’s Sprint win and podium the same. And then there’s KTM.

Aprilia were closest to Ducati at the close of testing, but it’s the Austrian factory who leave Round 1 with Binder second in the Championship. Can they keep the roll going in Portugal? Can Aprilia strike back? And can Martin take the fight to Bagnaia on imperious turf for Pecco on previous visits?

Check out the full results from Qatar below and then join the world’s most exciting sport for more from the Grande Premio Tissot de Portugal in just under two weeks!


For all our news keep your eyes peeled on the Velocity Magazine website and social media, FacebookTwitter and Instagram for our daily updates and to get the latest edition of our glossy magazine subscribe here from just $55 for 12 months subscription.


This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top