Jorge Martin: Marco was strong, I had to push a bit too much!

Jorge Martin soaked up pressure from Marco Bezzecchi until the VR46 rider crashed out of the Le Mans Sprint.

Jorge Martin, Marco Bezzecchi, French MotoGP 2024
Jorge Martin, Marco Bezzecchi, French MotoGP 2024

Jorge Martin pushed his MotoGP title lead back up to 28 points by leading Saturday’s Le Mans Sprint from start to finish.

The Pramac star’s third Sprint win of the season was the perfect response to his race-leading accident at Jerez and came on a day when reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia – starting second on the grid - retired with a technical issue.

Bagnaia has now slipped to third in the standings, with his factory Ducati team-mate Enea Bastianini re-emerging as Martin’s nearest challenger.

Martin was shadowed by last year’s Le Mans winner Marco Bezzecchi for most of the Sprint, but soaked up the pressure and the VR46 rider fell with four laps to go.

“It was a really nice race,” Martin told “I did a great start and then I tried to push a lot. I tried to put all my pace out there on the track. But Marco was quite strong, he was trying to keep that gap [close], so I had to push a bit too much!

“And then finally he forced the crash. From that point, I just tried to manage the distance with the Marc and make it to the end. It wasn’t easy making those lap times.

“I think the pace [tomorrow] won't be the same because today was a bit too much. I think I cannot make 27 laps in this pace, but if we manage to be in first we can do a really strong race and really fast race.”

Martin's hopes of claiming a first double victory since Buriram last year could also depend on the weather, with rain forecast for Sunday.

“We have to understand the forecast and be prepared for every situation, for whatever comes. Try to make it to the end and get some points.”

Nearest rival Marc Marquez finished 2.280s behind Martin on Saturday. Maverick Vinales completed the podium in third, ahead of Bastianini.

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