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As MotoGP got its first ever full race in the scrorching heat of India, the championship got a big swing, with main protagonist Francesco Bagnaia leaving with no points and much unwanted pressure.
MotoGP India 2023: Huge championship implications in hot conditions
Once again the MotoGP field lined up in Buddh International Circuit, this time to start the main race of MotoGP. Poleman Marco Bezzechi got off to another bad start, as he did in Saturday’s sprint, with Jorge Martin once again taking the lead after the first corner and Francesco Bagnaia in second. But Martin relished the lead soon, as he ran wide and Bagnaia got into P1, with Bezzechi second. Just before the start of Lap 2, Bezzechi got into the lead, passing Bagnaia, never to be overthrown in the remaining 21 laps.
But, behind them the race was shapping as a good one for the Repsol Hondas and the Yamahas. On Lap 5 Martin jumped aggressively in the side of Bagnaia for P2, not wanting to lose touch with Bezzechi. A lap later, Marc Marquez, who was running in 4th had a slow crash in the first corner, but managed to remount in P16. By Lap 7, Bezzechi had a 3 second gap to Martin in second, who was hoping for his harder tyre choice to help him come the later stages of the race.
The race was a quiet one, until Lap 10, with the only events being Marquez’s attempts of a comeback ride with overtakes and Augusto Fernandez’s and Aleix’s Espargaro’s retirements with mechanical issues. Aleix was running in 7th at the time. On Lap 14, though, the fight for second place reignited with Bagnaia overtaking Martin again, but only some corners later the championship leader fell off his bike under braking. This had significant implications on his lead, but a couple of laps later his championship rival Martin had issues of his own, with his leathers opening up, causing him to lose time in order to tie them up. This brought him into the clutches of Fabio Quartaro.
On Lap 18 Joan Mir, who had a stellar ride, suffered a wayward moment, under pressure from Brad Binder, relinquishing 4th place to the South African. Two laps later Fabio Di Giannantonio became the third rider to retire with mechanincal issues. The last two laps were dramatic too, as Mir chased down Binder for 4th place again without success and on the last lap Quartararo took advantage of Martin running wide to overtake him, only to lose the position some corners later again.
At the end of the race, Bezzechi got his third win of the season comfortably, with Jorge Martin collapsing in his pit box, after suffering with exhaustion from the Indian heat.
MotoGP India 2023: Results and Championship Standings
So, Marco Bezzechi won with relative ease in India, with Jorge Martin in second and Fabio Quartararo managing to grab only his second Sunday podium of the year with third. KTM’s Brad Binder ended up fourth, after beating Joan Mir. The 2020 champion got his best ever race on a Repsol Honda in a much needed result for the Japanese manufacturer and the Spaniard himself. Johan Zarco had a quiet race in 6th, while Franco Morbidelli got the second Yamaha in the top 7 after a long time. Maverick Vinales got 8th place, in a race that the Aprilia stuff and riders will want to forget soon.
Marc Marquez completed a decent comeback, after his crash, with 9th. 10th was Raul Fernandez and 11th was Takaaki Nakagami. Pol Espargaro got P13, with Jack Miller having a miserable race in 14th, ahead of LCR Honda’s replacement driver and HRC test rider Stefan Bradl, the last of the point scorers. Michelle Pirro in the works Ducati wildcard, completed the finishers in 16th.
As for the championship standings, Martin trimmed a further 20 points of Bagnaia’s 33 point lead, with the Spaniard looking a real contender for the title now. Winner Bezzechi still has an good chance of a title hunt, 44 points behind Bagnaia, as the Top4 is completed with Brad Binder on 192 points, 100 less than Bagnaia.
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