Motorcycling-Bagnaia wins Italian GP sprint, Marquez second after Martin crashes


  • Cycling
  • Saturday, 01 Jun 2024

FILE PHOTO: MotoGP - Catalunya Grand Prix - Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain - May 26, 2024 Ducati Lenovo Team's Francesco Bagnaia celebrates with a trophy on the podium after winning the Catalunya Grand Prix REUTERS/Bruna Casas/File Photo

(Reuters) -Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia won the Italian motorcycle Grand Prix sprint on Saturday and closed in on championship leader Jorge Martin in the standings after the Pramac Racing rider crashed at the Mugello circuit.

Gresini Racing's Marc Marquez finished second for the fifth time in a sprint this season while Tech3 rookie Pedro Acosta came third after Martin lost control and slid into the gravel with four laps to go.

Bagnaia's first sprint victory of the season helped the Italian to close the gap to Martin to 27 points heading into Sunday's race, where the Ducati rider will start on the second row after receiving a three-place penalty on Friday.

"I enjoyed every single lap. The last part of the race was tough but the bike is working perfectly. I'm very happy, winning here again is incredible," said Bagnaia, who also won the sprint and race at Mugello last year.

The factory Ducatis had a dream start when Bagnaia and Enea Bastianini moved up to first and second but polesitter Martin quickly took back second place.

Bastianini, who is in danger of losing his seat on the factory team, attempted to overtake Martin once again but this time they collided on turn one when the Pramac rider tried to take the place back, leading to the red Ducati crashing out.

But before Martin could focus on reeling in Bagnaia, he had Marquez breathing down his neck and although the Gresini rider failed to make his first attempt stick, he took second place with six laps to go when he dived inside the San Donato bend.

Martin struggled to match Marquez's pace and as he tried to give chase, he lost control on turn one and slid into the gravel -- a gift for Acosta who moved up to the third and final podium spot.

With three laps to go, the top three riders were too far apart to battle for position as Bagnaia took the chequered flag -- a week after he crashed while leading the Catalan Grand Prix sprint on the final lap.

"The pace is super good. Looks like Pecco (Bagnaia) is a bit faster than us," said Marquez, who is chasing his first victory on a Ducati machine and sits third in the championship -- five points behind Bagnaia.

"I started fourth (on the grid) and the start was not so good... But the race pace was there, I feel good. Let's see if we can get a podium in the race tomorrow."

(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)

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