Martin: “Not what I want to do, but we need to pressure Pecco” | 500 Euro fine

Day one of the Valencia MotoGP title showdown played into Jorge Martin’s hands with world championship leader Francesco Bagnaia failing to make the top ten and being forced to take part in Qualifying 1.
Francesco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin, Valencia MotoGP, 24 November
Francesco Bagnaia, Jorge Martin, Valencia MotoGP, 24 November

The simmering contest between the Ducati riders began to heat up when Martin followed Bagnaia out of the pits for his final run, much to the obvious displeasure of factory team manager Davide Tardozzi.

Bagnaia looked back and gestured to Martin, who then clung to Bagnaia, Marc Marquez style, when the reigning champion dived down an escape road to try and shake off the queue of riders behind.

With Martin in his wheeltracks, Bagnaia failed to break the top ten on his penultimate lap then saw his chances of direct Q2 access scuppered by yellow flags for a Pol Espargaro fall.

Bagnaia, who starts this weekend 21 points clear of Martin and will have a chance to win the title in Saturday’s Sprint, will now need to fight for the top in Qualifying 1 to avoid starting outside the top 12 on the grid.

“Yeah, for sure I will sign [for this Friday result before the weekend],” Martin, who was second fastest to Maverick Vinales, told “It's nothing big, but at least he has some difficulties.”

The Spaniard insisted he had been following Bagnaia to understand his strengths rather than trying to harass him.

“I think it's important to be close to my rival, try to understand where he's fast, where we can improve,” Martin said. “I saw he was struggling a bit today. But it's just, for sure, we need to put some pressure in some ways and I think this was the way.

“I was just trying to be close [to him at the end]. I didn't know if I was even going into Q2 [myself]. I was ready to go to Q1, for me it wasn't a problem. But finally, we were inside [the top 10].

“But you know, it's not what I want to do, but sometimes you need to do difficult things…”

Martin, whose practice starts went much better than in Qatar last weekend, was later given a 500 Euro fine for ‘positioning in front of riders staged to do a practice start’.

In other words, riders reaching the practice start area should not pass a rider already waiting to drop the clutch.

Read More