Marc Marquez lauded for genius overtake but Jorge Martin is a big problem for him

“I actually don’t know how he turned that bike. He was coming in so fast, and from so far back…

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez secured a P2 finish at the French MotoGP by brilliantly passing Francesco Bagnaia on the last lap but his title hopes might be edging further away.

The Gresini Ducati rider repeated his Saturday sprint result in Sunday’s grand prix, by going from 13th on the grid to runner-up.

But, Jorge Martin’s victory in both races at Le Mans have given him an iron grip on the championship chase.

Marquez entered Le Mans 32 points behind championship leader Martin, but departs 40 points behind him.

Still, his breathtaking overtake of Bagnaia which earned him P2 was a show-stealer.

“He had to dig into his reserves, both physically and in his tyres,” Michael Laverty assessed on TNT Sports.

“He had to work hard to get across the gap, but once there was a sniff of it…

“He was two-and-a-half seconds back. He said it was difficult to pick off the best riders in the world, so he had to strategise and figure out their weak areas.

“Any open door, he was straight in.

“The back-and-forth with Fabio di Giannantonio cost him six tenths at the wrong part of the race.

“When Diggia attacked, it hurt Marc’s forward momentum.

“The extra work to get across probably hampered his chances at victory.

“He still brought it back for two second-places this weekend, from 13th on the grid. That is a bit special!”

Sylvain Guintoli added about Marquez’s overtake: “There, were the old instincts. He saw the gap and went for it!

“I actually don’t know how he turned that bike. He was coming in so fast, and from so far back…

“Normally you just run wide, and do what Enea Bastianini did. But he made it stick and got his revenge from Jerez.”

Marquez on a year-old Ducati is scrapping with Bagnaia and Martin who ride GP24s.

“The bike is quite close, in terms of performance, but it’s a 2023 bike,” Guintoli said.

“His adaptation is definitely done now.

“How confident was he in the braking zone?

“He said that he had to be careful in how he handles the bike in corner entry, because it’s the biggest difference to the Honda.

“With the Honda his riding style was generating the lap time. He can’t do that with the Ducati.”

Jorge Martin - 'that's what champions do...'

While Marquez is frequently fighting at the front and earning podiums since swapping Honda for Ducati, he is yet to win for the first time this year.

The form of Pramac’s Martin, last year’s runner-up in the championship, is the biggest obstacle between Marquez and a dream title.

Martin is demonstrating the form of this season’s eventual champion, Marquez has been warned.

“100%, even more so after the mistake he made in the Jerez Sunday race,” Guintoli said about Martin.

“When you come to the next race, that will be in the back of your mind. Especially battling with the same guy.

“The pressure was on. He knew he was the strongest. That’s what champions do.

“This year he is putting a title [challenge] together from the start which is something he did not do last year.

“He is going to be difficult to beat…”

Laverty added after watching pole-sitter Martin reclaim the lead after a fierce battle with Bagnaia: “It was hard-fought, the back-and-forth with Pecco.

“Pecco is such a strong braker that there weren’t many opportunities for Martin.

“He set it up. He chased him all race long and figured out where the opportunities would arise.

“The roll around the outside at Turn 1, through 2, then late braking into 3.

“You know Pecco will cut it back and try to out-brake you, under the Dunlop Bridge.

“On this occasion, Martin was smart. He didn’t allow the cut-back from Pecco.

“Pecco responded with the class of a world champion. It wasn’t easy for Martin, he had to dig deep.”

Martin leads the championship with 129 points after five rounds.

Bagnaia is second with 91 points, Marquez and Enea Bastianini are joint-third with 89.

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