Motor Sports

Martin holds off Bagnaia to win German MotoGP

SACHSENRING, Germany: Jorge Martin edged world champion Francesco Bagnaia after a cut-and-thrust battle over the last 10 laps to win Sunday's German MotoGP, to trim the Italian's lead in the standings.

It was Martin's second Grand Prix victory. His last was in the Styria Grand Prix in Austria in 2021.

"Emotional moment after almost two years fighting for it, finally it arrived," said. Martin in the winner's enclosure. "It was a tough, tough race. Peco (Bagnaia) was pushing so hard."

After beating Bagnaia in Saturday's sprint race, Martin, a Spaniard who rides for the Pramac Ducati team, this time resisted late counter-attacks to win. Frenchman Johann Zarco, on another Pramac, completed the podium.

On Saturday, Martin, starting from the second row of the grid, overtook pole-sitter Bagnaia, on a factory Ducati, on the fourth lap. On Sunday, he made his move even earlier and took first on the third lap.

Bagnaia gave chase and overtook with 10 laps to go but Martin hit back and regained the lead.

Bagnaia pressed hard and the bikes touched on the second-last lap, but both riders remained upright. Martin stayed ahead to close out the win.

The Spaniard had built a large lead by the middle of the race before Bagnaia started clawing back his advantage.

"I had some issues at the middle of the race with the rear tyre so I didn't strain too much."

He responded aggressively when Bagnaia grabbed back the lead.

"To be in front was my target so when he passed me I tried to keep the front," said Martin.

"The last two laps I was just trying to push the maximum."

Bagnaia said he had been outfought in the final laps.

"I was gaining and gaining but wasn't enough. I tried in second-last lap but I touch him and then to recover was a bit on the limit and he was too fast.

Martin picked up a maximum 37 points by winning both the weekend's races and with 144 overall, Martin, has cut Bagnaia's championship lead to 16.

"Happy with the second position," Bagnaia said. "I gave my maximum."

Marco Bezzecchi was fourth and Luca Marini fifth, both on Mooney Ducatis, giving the Italian manufacturer the top five places and eight of the top nine, with only Australian Jack Miller on a KTM in sixth breaking their domination.

Last year's winner and former world champion, Frenchman Fabio Quartararo trailed in 13th on his Yamaha.

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez withdrew an hour before the start after breaking a thumb in a crash in the morning warm-up session.

The Spaniard, who went over the handlebars of his Honda at full speed shortly before 10:00 am (0800 GMT), appeared to be completely stunned. He took several minutes to recover before limping away and heading back to the pits.

Marquez missed three races earlier this season after undergoing hand surgery following a spill in the season-opener in Portugal. It was his fifth operation since crashing in Jerez in 2020.

Marquez had been enduring a nightmare weekend, with no less than five crashes.

The next race is at Assen in the Netherlands on June 25 before a six-week summer break. -- AFP

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