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Race report
MotoGP Italian GP

MotoGP Italian GP: Bagnaia sees off Bezzecchi for sprint victory

Francesco Bagnaia beat MotoGP title rival Marco Bezzecchi to win the Italian Grand Prix sprint race and extend his championship lead. 

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team, Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Bagnaia blasted clear from pole position but briefly lost the lead when spots of rain fell at the end of lap two, which saw Jorge Martin take the initiative as riders tentatively judged the conditions. 

But the rain spots relented and at the start of the lap four Bagnaia charged back into the lead at the first corner, and a lap later Bezzecchi repeated the trick on Martin to take second place. 

Bagnaia was able to keep clear of any late attacks from the VR46 Ducati rider to clinch his third sprint race win of the season, taking victory by 0.369 seconds, with Martin defending from Pramac Ducati team-mate Johann Zarco to complete the top three. 

Bagnaia converted his pole position into the holeshot, while behind him Brad Binder clattered into slow-starting Alex Marquez at the first corner, which sent down the Gresini Ducati rider and earned the South African a long lap penalty. 

At the start of the second lap Martin nipped by Marc Marquez to take second, but moments later the rain flags were displayed which appeared to spook the pack that was uncertain about the track conditions. 

The result saw a chopping and changing of the order for the following two laps, until the spots of rain drifted away and calm was restored. Bagnaia reasserted himself at the front into Turn 1 on lap four and at the start of lap five title rival Bezzecchi nipped into second place ahead of Martin.  

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With both conditions and the order stabilising, Bagnaia maintained his advantage over the closing laps to keep out of reach of a late attack from Bezzecchi to take the win. 

Martin fended off Pramac Ducati team-mate Zarco on the final lap to complete the sprint race top three, with VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini fighting through an injury to take fifth ahead of the squabbling KTM's Jack Miller and Honda's Marc Marquez. 

Aleix Espargaro, another nursing an injury, took eighth place for Aprilia as Ducati factory rider Enea Bastianini saw the chequered flag for the first time this season after an injury in the opening sprint race back in Portugal. The Italian took ninth to round out the points-paying positions. 

Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo just missed out in 10th, as Binder’s long lap penalty saw him only able to recover to 11th – but he did set a new top-speed record in MotoGP when he blasted to 227.48mph on his factory KTM. 

Bagnaia’s sprint race win sees him extend his MotoGP world championship lead to four points over Bezzecchi ahead of Sunday’s Italian GP at Mugello.

Italian GP - Sprint race results:

Cla # Rider Bike Gap
1 1 Italy Francesco Bagnaia
Ducati
2 72 Italy Marco Bezzecchi
Ducati 0.369
3 89 Spain Jorge Martin
Ducati 0.952
4 5 France Johann Zarco
Ducati 1.009
5 10 Italy Luca Marini
Ducati 3.668
6 43 Australia Jack Miller
KTM 3.772
7 93 Spain Marc Marquez
Honda 3.905
8 41 Spain Aleix Espargaro
Aprilia 6.062
9 23 Italy Enea Bastianini
Ducati 6.431
10 20 France Fabio Quartararo
Yamaha 6.458
11 33 South Africa Brad Binder
KTM 6.672
12 88 Portugal Miguel Oliveira
Aprilia 7.930
13 12 Spain Maverick Viñales
Aprilia 9.022
14 49 Italy Fabio Di Giannantonio
Ducati 11.508
15 51 Italy Michele Pirro
Ducati 14.344
16 21 Italy Franco Morbidelli
Yamaha 16.666
17 30 Japan Takaaki Nakagami
Honda 16.725
18 32 Italy Lorenzo Savadori
Aprilia 17.247
19 25 Spain Raúl Fernández
Aprilia 21.596
20 37 Spain Augusto Fernandez
KTM 35.212
21 94 Germany Jonas Folger
KTM 46.189
42 Spain Alex Rins
Honda
73 Spain Alex Marquez
Ducati

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