Connect with us

MotoGP

Catalan GP 2024: Bagnaia closes the gap to the top of the championship

At the track of Circuit de Barcelona- Catalunya, it was another showing of what Moto GP does best – CLOSE UNPREDICTABLE RACING.

Published

on

With Motogp riders arriving in the paddocks of the Catalunya circuit, it was understood that the championship leader would not change statistically. Still, the Catalan GP presented itself as an opportunity to close the gap to the table toppers. Here is a timeline of how the weekend unfolded-

Free practice 1

With Jorge Martin topping the first practice session on Friday closely followed by Marc Marquez in second position, the weekend already looked set for another great battle. They were followed by the KTM machines of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull GASGAS Tech3)

With Aleix Espargaro announcing that he’ll be hanging his boots come the season’s end, it was the last Catalan Gp he would be attending as a rider. He started his weekend by placing his bike in 5th position in free practice 1.

Here’s how the top 10 looked at the end of FP1:

Practice

With a 60-minute practice session presenting itself as an opportunity to have a direct entry into Q2, Riders were pushing their limits to have a position inside the top 10. With the factory KTMs keeping the top positions for themselves for the majority of the session, it was looking like a strong weekend for the KTM riders.

It was Aliex Espargaro however, who topped the session in a perfect start to the weekend. Brad Binder came in a very close second, only 0.072s adrift of the top step. With Pedro Acosta coming in 3rd place, it was yet another strong performance from the rookie.

Aleix Espargaro

The top 10 gaining a direct entry into Q2 were –

Free Practice 2

With Saturday providing the riders with a last 30-minute FP2, everyone was out on track to gather data to fine-tune their setups.

Aleix Espargaro continued his pace from Friday practice to top FP2 before the all-important Qualifying. Elsewhere it was Francesco Bagnaia who had a strong start to his Saturday from finishing P2 in FP2 followed by two fast Prima Pramacs, with Franco Morbidelli in 3rd and Jorge Martin in 4th. Pedro Acosta rounded up the top 5 positions.

Pedro Acosta

Qualifying

With 10 positions in Q2 already decided from Friday’s practice session, Q1 was ever important as it gave the riders entry into the final 2 positions in Q2. As a fast Q1 came to an end, Fabio Di Giannantonio topped the session with a time of 01:38.208. However, it was Raul Fernandes of Trackhouse Racing who gathered the most eyes as he outqualified both Alex Marquez and Marc Marquez, and entered Q2.

Come Q2, the competition was as fierce as ever. It was Aleix Espargaro at his home run, who broke the lap record and secured pole position for himself. Beside him was Francesco Bagnaia who posted a lap time 0.031s slower than the Spaniard. Coming in P3 was Raul Fernandes who got his lap time reinstated. However, it was a disaster for the Prima Pramac Racing garage as both Jorge Martin and Franco Morbidelli came down at the same corner barely moments apart. Jorge Martin eventually qualified in P7, with plenty of work to do. Elsewhere, Alex Rins pushed his Yamaha to a brilliant p8.

Here are the full results- Qualifying Results

Sprint

With the weekend hinting at a close race, we were not disappointed in the sprint. With 3 Riders crashing out of the lead, it was anybody’s win.

At the start, it was the world champion with the best of the starts followed closely by Pedro Acosta in his GASGAS machine. It didn’t take much time for the rookie to start attacking Bagnaia for the lead resulting in a back-and-forth battle between the two. Behind these two, a fast-charging Trackhouse Racing machine of Raul Fernandes was lurking.

As Acosta cleared Bagnaia at Lap 3 of the race, Fernandes too took his chance and overtook Pecco to slot into P2. Raul Fernandes made easy work of Acosta and was now leading the race. Behind them, Brad Binder too had arrived at the scene and started fighting with Acosta. Meanwhile, it was a disastrous end for Raul Fernandes as he slid off the track in turn 10, understandably dejected.

WATCH: Raul Fernandez crashes out of the Sprint lead!
Raul Fernandes dejected after crashing

Now the duel between Pedro and Brad looked like it would become one for the race lead, but KTM of Binder built a gap for himself, leaving Pedro Acosta to defend himself from Francesco Bagnaia in P3. But Binder’s race lead wasn’t long-lasting either, as he lost it in Turn 5.

With Pecco inheriting the lead, Acosta was again left to fend his position from Aleix Espargaro, with the Aprilia rider quickly clearing the GASGAS rider. It was now a match between Marc Marquez and Pedro Acosta for the final position on the podium.

The front of the sprint was looking sealed until the very last lap, when Francesco Bagnaia lost his Ducati in Turn 5, with Aleix Espargaro inheriting the lead in almost a fairytale end of the Sprint for the Spaniard.

Francesco Bagnaia fell off his bike on the last lap

A scrap for p2 on the grid between Marc Marquez and Pedro Acosta went all the way up to the final sector. Jorge Martin finished in P4, with Enea Bastianini finishing in P5 from outside the top 10.

Podium celebrations after Espargaro’s sprint win

Here are the top 10 –

Race

If anything could be made out of the Saturday sprint, it was a certainty that Sunday’s race would be a close-fought battle. And as the five lights went out, we fans were certainly not disappointed.

It was Francesco Bagnaia who got the best of the starts followed by Pedro Acosta in P2. Brad Binder slotted into 3rd as Aleix Espargaro being not so lucky, fell down the grid. Jorge Martin shot up from P7 to P4.

Martin looked determined to move up the grid as he cleared Brad Binder with an ambitious lunge into turn 10 of lap 1 itself. Further ahead Acosta had started his attack on Pecco, allowing Martin and Binder to close onto them. Martin eventually passed Acosta into turn 10.

Martin fighting with Pecco

Martin was looking very determined as he passed Pecco as well into turn 1. Next, it was Acosta who passed Pecco into turn 10. The rookie was looking very quick as he easily closed the gap to Martin and started attacking the Pramac Rider.

Behind Bagnaia, a fierce scrap ensued between Brad Binder, Raul Fernandes, and Aleix Esparago. Eventually, both Fernandes and Esparago passed Binder who got shuffled back into P6.

Further ahead, it all came crashing down for the rookie Pedro Acosta as he slid off the track into the gravel at turn 10.

Pedro Acosta crashed from P2

This promoted the #1 bike to P2. From there, Bagnaia drove on his toes to close the gap to P1 and eventually passed Jorge Martin for the lead of the race.

From then on, Pecco shot ahead in the distance, with Jorge dropping. Eventually, Jorge managed to maintain the status quo and maintain his second position until the chequered flag.

Further behind, Marc Marquez had clawed his way back to the front from all the way back in P14. It was now a battle between Aleix Espargaro and Marc Marquez for the final podium position. Marquez made the overtaking move on Esparago and made it stick. He just had to hold onto it till the end of the race. In a battle that happened until a drag race to the line, it was finally Marc Marquez who finished in third position.

Marc Marquez And Aleix Esparago race to the line.

Elsewhere, one of the heroes of the entire weekend was Raul Fernandes. From maiden front row start to leading the sprint to eventually finishing the race in P6, it was an overall great weekend for the Spanish rider.

Praise shall also be showered at Pedro Acosta who after falling off his back, managed to claw back into the points and finished p13

Championship Standings

After the CatalanGP, the championship looks like this:

Image

The next race takes place at the iconic Mugello circuit in Italy from 31st May to 2nd June.

MotoGP

The title fight flips on it’s head in Germany: DRC’s MotoGP German Grand Prix Review

Championship drama, epic comebacks and broken records headlined an absolute stunner in Sachsenring.

Published

on

The 2024 MotoGP World Championship added another exiting chapter in it’s thrilling story. Join us as DRC reviews a modern era masterpiece that took place in Sachsenring. This is the 2024 MotoGP German Grand Prix review.


Bagnaia stands tall after Martin’s Crash and Burn

Over the weekend, Francesco Bagnaia looked a shadow to Jorge Martin, the Martinator topping practice and then eventually securing pole. In contrast, Pecco qualified fourth behind the Trackhouse Aprilias of Miguel Oliveira and Raul Fernandez.

The hopes for a win looked slim as Martin pulled a breathtaking recovery to win the sprint, even after losing positions at the start. To put salt on the wounds, Pecco was unable to pass the Trackhouse Aprilia of Miguel Oliveira and finished third.

That did not stop Bagnaia however, as he snatched the lead of the German Grand Prix from Martin at the start. But soon enough, in an attempt to manage his tires, he fell back down to fourth. After the first fifteen laps though, Pecco pulled the trigger.

Lapping in the 1:20s Pecco picked off those ahead, eventually being just 0.8 seconds behind Martin in the race lead with 3 laps to go. It was looking like Martin would win, but the pressure of keeping Bagnaia behind got to him. With just two laps to go, Jorge Martin crashed out at turn 1, gifting Pecco the lead of the race and the championship.

With this win, Bagnaia surpassed Casey Stoner as the rider with most wins atop a Ducati desmosedici. His 24th win with Ducati also comes with his 200th start, and is Ducati’s 95th win overall.


Marquez brothers finish on the Podium as Marc climbs to second.

Marc Marquez, dubbed the “King of the Ring” was in poor shape on friday. After a heavy crash on friday, he suffered a broken index finger on his left hand, and a bruised ribcage. His situation worsened when he was impeded by Stefan Bradl on his flying lap in Q1, meaning he qualified P13 for the sprint. He eventually finish 6th only 0.003 seconds ahead of Maverick Vineales in a photo finish.

It was looking like Alex Marquez was going to be the lead Gresini and the lead Marquez overall. Alex qualified fifth and had strong pace in practice. He fell down to ninth in the sprint, but was still optimistic about Sunday.

As the lights went out, Marc Marquez picked up 8 places in the first seven laps to slot in 5th behind his brother, who passed Franky Morbidelli three laps after. Marc then caught up with Morbidelli and nearly passed him into turn 1, but the two collided, popping off Marquez’s airbag.

That incident forced Marc Marquez to pull the trigger, overtaking Morbidelli for fourth place which became third after Martin’s crash. He then passed Alex in the final lap to secure a 2-3 for Gresini Racing, and two brothers shared a podium in MotoGP for the first time since 1997.

Alex Marquez had a great weekend too, his pace in the sprint the only roadblock he faced to a P3 finish. His brother’s comeback may have overshadowed his performance, but his racing showed why Gresini trusted him for another two years.


Aprilia start off strong but suffer due to lack of Race Pace

Aprilia faced a challenge even before the weekend started. Aleix Espargaro withdrew to aid his recovery after a scary crash in the Sprint race at Assen. With test rider Lorenzo Savadori unavailable to stand in, Aprilia was forced to run only one rider in Maverick Vineales who qualified 7th. Things were better for the customer Trackhouse team though, with their riders qualifying 2nd and 3rd and Miguel Oliveira finishing second in the sprint come Saturday.

That was as good the things were going to get though. Maverick lost 6th place to Marc Marquez by 0.003 seconds, and Raul Fernandes slipped down to 14th in the sprint. Come sunday, all three Aprilias suffered from the lack of race pace against the Ducatis and even the KTMs. Miguel’s impressive sprint podium went to wain as Oliveira was the lead Aprilia in 6th, followed by Fernandes in 10th and Vineales in 12th as the chequred flag fell.


Morbidelli experiences a Renaissance but looses out due to poor tyre management.

Franky Morbidelli was having a decent weekend. The Prima Pramac rider qualifying sixth and gaining a place in the sprint. He even challenged Pecco and passed him in the opening stages of the main race. He briefly was on the tail-end of a Prima Pramac 1-2 as Martin hammered on.

But poor tyre management came back to haunt him, as he lost places left and right, to Bagnaia and then to the Marquez brothers later on. A better tyre management plan would have ensured atleast a top 4 finish for him, instead he limped home in fifth, getting passed by Bastianini on the final lap to add to the pain. As promising this weekend was for Franky, he will surely feel motivated to go for it in the races after the summer break.


Title Standings

The championship has a new leader as the German GP shakes up the order.

The 2024 MotoGP Standings after the German Grand Prix in Sachsenring.
The new MotoGP world Championship standings. Credit: MotoGP

With the German GP done and dusted, MotoGP heads to Silverstone next after a three week long summer break. The British Motorcycle Grand Prix weekend takes place August 2-4 at the famous Silverstone Circuit, which just hosted an amazing Formula One Grand Prix.

Make sure to follow DRC to keep up with the fast world of Motorsports.

Continue Reading

MotoGP

The Title battle intensifies as MotoGP heads to Germany

MotoGP now heads to Sachsenring in Germany, a place famous for close and unpredictable racing.

Published

on

The MotoGP caravan now pitches it’s tents in the Sachsenring for the 2024 German Motorcycle Grand Prix. With drama in Assen winding down long after the chequered flag had been flown, Germany is set to be highly entertaining. DRC now previews the upcoming weekend, what to expect, possible contenders and much more.

About the Sachsenring

The Sachsenring race track located about 8 kilometers west of the town of Chemnitz, in the Saxony province of Germany. Numerous tight corners make it one of the slower tracks on the calendar, however the second part of the lap is all but slow.

The Sachsenring Track Layout as seen on MotoGP website.
The Current Track Layout. Credits: MotoGP

A long start-finish straight provides opportunities to overtake into the first corner. The lap continues into a complex of challenging corners called “the Castrol Omega”. Out of turn 6 is a series of long winding lefts into turn 10, which leads to the long straight to 12. Turn 12 then leads to 13 through a short straight which feeds back into the start-finish line.

The track is one of the slower ones of MotoGP, with the first two sectors crucial for any good lap. The exit out of turn 6 is very important, because you carry the speed all the way to turn 10 and down the straights.


Bagnaia cuts down on Martin’s lead

Flawless was the word for Francesco Bagnaia, the world champion winning lights to flag in both the races in Assen. Furthermore, he has now chipped away Martin’s lead to just 10 points in his third championship charge. With Pecco having two impeccable weekends back to back, Martin undoubtedly needs to have a good weekend here.

Pecco's Impeccable weekend via MotoGP.
Perfect does not begin to describe Pecco’s weekend in Assen. Credits: MotoGP

With this win, Bagnaia winning in Assen, he has tied with Australian legend Casey Stoner for the most wins atop a Ducati Desmosedici with 23 wins each.


Pecco and Martin to fight it out as The King of the Ring looks to reclaim his throne

Talking about potential winners, the probability of another Bagnaia win is very high. However it will not be surprising to see Jorge Martin on the top step of the podium as well considering Martin and Bagnaia finished 1-2 here last year. But come the Sachsenring, another potential winner is added to the list.

Marc Marquez takes particular liking to Sachsenring, with 11 wins in Sachsenring over his career. He has only missed two wins here, in 2022 and 2023, when he was riding a struggling Repsol Honda.

The Spaniard has always liked anti-clock wise circuits and consequently his domination in places such as the CotA, Aragon and Valencia stand testament to his skill on such configurations.

Marquez's last win in Sachsenring via MotoGP
Marquez’s eleventh triumph of the ring came just after his return from injury in 2021. Credits: Autosport.com

Now riding the Ducati GP23, he looks to re-establish himself as the true King of the Ring. A first win as a Ducati rider will be the perfect rebound especially after the horrid weekend in Assen, a post race penalty dropping him down to P10 . A good weekend here will help solidify his chances for the title fight while also keep him motivated for the summer break which will follow. Marc Marquez cannot be ignored as a potential winner here.


From the rumor mill: Lewis Hamilton to buy Gresini

Yep, you heard it right here folks. Lewis Hamilton is planning to buy Gresini racing from it’s owner Nadia Padovani, right after Liberty Media acquired MotoGP.

This also comes right after Prima Pramac racing announced that they will go with Yamaha 2025 onwards. In any case, a tactful partnership with Hamilton will bring influence, money and the chance to get factory support from Ducati. Gresini aim to have a strong weekend here in a bid to impress a potential buyer, a very influential one at that.


Temporary Rides and the Rider’s Market

Former Moto2 champion Remy Gardner will stand in for the injured Alex Rins at the German Grand Prix for Yamaha. Rins suffered a massive highside going into the first corner in Assen, which was serious enough to require surgery. Gardner will look to impress Yamaha officials to secure an open ride in either Pramac or the factory team.

Meanwhile neither Aprilia nor Aleix Espargaro have issued any statements regarding his participation. Aleix suffered a massive crash on the final lap of the Sprint and took sunday off to aid his recovery. Should he be unable to compete, there is a real chance Aprilia may have to make do with a single rider as their test rider Lorenzo Savadori suffered a small vertebrae fractures in a crash in Assen.

In terms of Rider moves, a lot has occurred. Aprilia announced the arrival of Jorge Martin after Mugello and then they announced Marco Bezzecchi as his partner. Tech 3 KTM announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini and Maverick Vineales as they welcome in factory support for 2025.


Championship Standings

The championship looks like this heading into the weekend:

Image credits: MotoGP

Weekend Schedule

All sessions are available to watch at Eurosport India and Jio Cinema in India. The detailed schedule and timings in IST can be found below.

Make sure to follow DesiRacingCo. to be upto speed with the fast world of motorsports.

Continue Reading

MotoGP

TT Assen – Bagnaia’s masterclass in the Netherlands

Published

on

credits - Moto GP

Moto GP returns to TT Assen and Francesco Bagnaia shows us how its done. Here’s the DRC’s report for the Moto GP weekened.

The No. 1 still undefeated

Throughout the weekened, it was an absolute domination by the no. 1 bike of Francesco Bagnaia. His weekend started by topping the first free practice session by 0.065 seconds over Marc Marquez. He went further and topped every available session for the weekend. Everything from the practice session to the 2nd free practice, sprint and even the race, all went under the belt of the Italian.

With another TT Assen victory, Pecco has managed to win at this venue three years in a row. In an ongoing close contested championship, Bagnaia closed the gap to chart leader Jorge Martin to just 10 points.

Francesco Bagnaia; credits-Moto GP

Elsewhere, Jorge Martin started the weekend with qualifying directly for the Q2 from the friday practice. Come Q2 on Saturday, Martin was trading the lap record with Pecco. It was Pecco who broke the lap record first but Jorge fought back and posted a time of 1:30:877.

Pecco, however, wasn’t done yet. In the closing moments of Q2, he put up a time of 1:30:540 to have the lap record back under his name. Martin eventually qualified in P2 for the race and the sprint.

The next session, sprint, was relatively uneventful for Martin, as he finished where he started, 2nd.

Trouble came for him after the sprint, as he got awarded a 3 place grid penalty for sunday’s race for obstructing Raul Fernandes in Q2 on saturday.

This meant that Sunday’s race became a case of damage limitation for the spaniard. He, however, shot into P3 owing to a strong start and later passed Maveric Vinales on same lap. From then on, it was really cruise control for Martin as he couldn’t answer Bagnaia strong pace. He eventually crossed the line in P2, his highest result at this venue.

A weekend to forget for Marc Marquez

Marc Marquez would’ve went into this weekend hoping for a better result. With a crash and DNF in sprint and a penalty dropping him to P10 in race, it was a subpar weekend for Marquez.

Marc Marquez(R) and Fabio Di Gianntonio (L) ;credits-Moto GP

Fresh off the Ducati signing, Marquez started the weekend strong with a P2 by 0.065 seconds from the Ducati of Bagnaia in FP1. He ended up in P6 in the practice session, gaining a direct entry into Q2 for Saturday.

However, come Q2, Marquez crashed in the closing stages, and ended up only with a 7th place starting position for sprint and the race.

Come the Sprint on Saturday, it was disaster again for #93. He slid in the opening portion of the sprint on turn 2.

With only Sunday’s race left for Marquez to grab whatever points he can, he started the race strong and passed Vinales for P3. He would stay there for some laps before an incoming attack and pass from Fabio Di Giannantonio meant that Marquez slotted into P4. Some laps later the top 3 had changed as Vinales had passed both Marquez and Enea Bastianini to slot into 3rd.

Seeing this, #23 too tried his chances on Marquez and sent it down the inside.

Bastianini went ahead and came in P3 come the race end. Marquez later capitalized on a mistake of Vinales and crossed the line in P4.

However, all his work came undone as he got given a 16 second tyre pressure penalty post race.

This Penalty dropped Marquez all the way down to P10 and his points down to just 6 from the entire weekend.

Marquez now sits at 142 points in the championship, 58 points behind the table topper Jorge Martin. With the championship heating up, he will be looking forward to the German GP to come back in the title fight.

Aprilia on the up, but Espargaro down

Aprilia had an overall lukewarm weekend at the TT Assen. With Maverick Vinales finishing the sprint in P3 and the race in P5, it was strong showing from his side of the garage.

He was in P2 in friday’s practice and FP2 on saturday, less than a tenth away from P1 at both occasions. Come the end of qualifying, he was p3 by just 4 tenths. At the sprint start, Vinales lost P3 to Alex Marquez but managed to move back past him come the end of lap 2.

Maverick Vinales; credits-Moto GP

On the other side of the garage, it was not a happy place. Aleix Espargaro had to withdraw from the warm up and the race on sunday . He had crashed in the sprint on Saturday. Their test rider, Lorenzo Savadori also suffered small vertebrae lumbar fractures in sprint. He was declared unfit for the race on sunday.

Aleix Espargaro after crashing in the sprint.

New engine for Yamaha debuts at TT Assen

At the Dutch GP, we got to see what Yamaha had been working on behind the scenes.

At the start of the year, Yamaha brought about a new engine. It gave it’s riders more power to use, but also took away the bike nimbleness. This upgrade at Dutch GP was meant to solve exactly that.

Fabio Quatararo; credits- Moto GP

At the end of the friday practice, Quartararo had mixed reaction to his bike. He exclaimed that the bike is now better in slow corners but the fast corners remain the same.

This new engine comes in at a time when Prima PRAMAC Racing has announced to Yamaha machinery from 2025.

Fabio Quartararo had an overall good weekend. He finished in the points in P7 in the sprint from a P13 start. In the race however, he could only manage a P12 finish.

Alex Rins on the other hand, had a disasterous end to his weekend. He had a major highside on lap 1 turn 1 in the race and was taken into the medical centre.

Rins has had severe bruises in his right hand and fractures in his right foot. He has been taken to Madrid for further examination. His participation in German GP is yet to be confirmed.

Championship Standings

After the Dutch GP, here is how the championship looks like:

The next Moto GP race weekend takes place in Sachsenring from 5 July to 7 July.

Make sure to follow DesiRacinCo on Instagram to be up to speed with happenings in the motorsport world.

Continue Reading

Trending