Even without Bagnaia problems, MotoGP sprint winner in Le Mans!

After the mistake in the Spanish Grand Prix two weeks ago, Jorge Martin made an impressive return to MotoGP Saturday in Le Mans. In qualifying, he initially thundered into pole position with a record lap and then safely converted this into his third sprint victory of the current 2024 season. It is already clear that the Pramac driver will still be the world championship leader after the French GP on Sunday will – regardless of the result. But the truth is also: the competition made it easy for the Spaniard on Saturday.

Marc Marquez had already put himself in a bad starting position on Friday when he missed the direct jump into Q2. In qualifying itself, he failed in Q1 after he almost crashed in the final phase and was then no longer allowed to attack due to yellow flags. With 13th place on the grid, the Gresini driver had essentially taken himself out of the race for victory before the sprint started. And the same applies to Francesco Bagnaia, who started from second place but had to do so on his spare bike. He had previously destroyed the first machine in qualifying. Nothing went right from the start on the second Ducati and the reigning world champion gave up after just three laps.

Jorge Martin confident of victory: I was the ‘man to beat’!

Bagnaia had previously shown strong pace in training and was the only driver who could keep up with Martin in qualifying. At the time of his crash in Turn 9, he was actually on course for the best time. Could he have endangered Martin in the sprint? “We’ll never know,” he says Pramac pilot. “I think he would have been the strongest next to me today. I expected a little more from myself in the first few laps. If he had passed me there, I don’t know if I would have been able to catch up with him again. If I had stayed in front “If I had, I would certainly have been the man to beat.”

A decent announcement from the World Championship leader, who not only boosted his self-confidence with the sprint victory, but was also able to extend his lead over the competition to 28 points. “It can always be my year, I have the potential for it,” says Martin, looking at the World Cup standings. He learned from the mistake in Jerez: “I have to stay focused. I’m doing good work at the moment and have to keep it up. But it’s still too early to think about whether it can be my year or not. I’ll just keep fighting and do my best. Then we’ll see what happens.”

Jorge Martin had everything under control at all times during the sprint, Photo: LAT Images
Jorge Martin had everything under control at all times during the sprint, Photo: LAT Images

Rain worries before the French GP: Could be a lottery!

After all, Martin knows from his own experience that everything can change from one day to the next in the world of MotoGP. The weather could also contribute to this on Sunday, as the warm early summer temperatures in Le Mans could give way to a rain shower in the midday hours, just in time for the start of the French Grand Prix. It would be the first wet session of the weekend and therefore a journey into the unknown for all pilots.

“If it rains tomorrow, it will be a lottery,” says Martin, who has had no experience in the wet on a MotoGP bike at Le Mans. At the last flag-to-flag race on the Bugatti Circuit in 2021, he had to watch from home due to an injury as Jack Miller took his second Ducati victory in a row. Certainly not an advantage for Martin, who is hoping for a dry race. Then he can also prove whether he was actually the “man to beat”.

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