Sprint victory in Mugello thanks to perfect MotoGP start

Francesco Bagnaia has reason to smile again. After the important Grand Prix victory in Barcelona six days ago, the two-time MotoGP world champion celebrated the first sprint victory of the current MotoGP season in Mugello. Although the competition confirmed his status as the favorite on Friday, things were not quite as dominant on Saturday as they had been 24 hours earlier. Bagnaia was put under heavy pressure in the sprint by Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez.

Francesco Bagnaia: Finally a sprint victory!

In the end, however, the Turin native was able to celebrate his fifth victory over half the race distance. Bagnaia had to wait a long time for such a success – the last one came at the Austrian Grand Prix in August 2023. Last weekend, he was also the strongest MotoGP rider in the sprint, but threw the victory into the gravel on the final lap.

On Saturday evening, Bagnaia was overjoyed. “Finally a victory in the sprint! I enjoyed every lap, it’s great to win here. The fans are incredible,” said the Italian enthusiastically about the home crowd. The key to victory was, as so often, the successful start. Bagnaia had taken the lead early on ahead of his teammate Enea Bastianini.

Francesco Bagnaia ahead of Marc Marquez in the sprint at Mugello
Photo: LAT Images

“The start was crucial and luckily we implemented it very well today. Today the temperature of the front tyre could have been a problem, so it was very important that we were in the lead early on. Tomorrow it will be even more difficult,” predicted the Ducati rider.

Francesco Bagnaia: Had some moments at the front

After his perfect start to the race, the 27-year-old benefited from Jorge Martin’s collision with Enea Bastianini, which caused the latter to fall. World Championship leader Martin then said goodbye to the race for the sprint podium himself and crashed in turn one. The leader had noticed little of the developments behind him. “I thought Martin and Marquez and another rider were behind me. I then slowed down a bit. But when I saw that Marquez was closing the gap, I picked up the pace again. That was a little dangerous for the front tire, I had a few moments at the front. But overall we managed it well.”

In the riders’ championship, Bagnaia was able to make up 12 points on Martin and is now 27 points behind his Ducati colleague. Marc Marquez is lurking just behind. Sunday will be the next opportunity to minimize the gap. The task of winning the start will be much more challenging for Bagnaia on Sunday, however. After the 3-place grid penalty imposed by the stewards, he will have to start the race from the second row in fifth place. World Championship rivals Martin and Marquez, on the other hand, will both start from the front row.

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