Mooney VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi is ecstatic after winning the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit yesterday. Pics/AFP
Pole-starter Marco Bezzecchi won India's inaugural MotoGP in a near-flawless race on Sunday, but world champion Francesco Bagnaia crashed out after slipping on a turn. Jorge Martin, who won Saturday's sprint race, just held on for second spot with Fabio Quartararo a close third at the Buddh International Circuit (BIC).
Italy's Bezzecchi, on a Ducati-VR46, won his third race of the season in 36 minutes, 59.157 seconds and punched the air in celebration in front of a raucous grandstand. But it was heartbreak for Bagnaia, who lost control of his Ducati and the bike went for a somersault. The Italian still leads the world championship with 292 points but saw his lead cut in the 13th race of the 20-race season. Martin is on 279 points followed by Bezzecchi on 248.
Marco Bezzecchi celebrates on the podium in Greater Noida
"Wasn't easy for sure because of the heat and everything. But I felt good on the bike," Bezzecchi told reporters. Bezzecchi crashed out in the first lap of Saturday's sprint race before finishing fifth and said the incident motivated him to come up trumps. "After yesterday I was really motivated to bounce back because I think, yesterday also I could have done a bit better than fifth," he said.
Bezzecchi said winning the first MotoGP in India was "fantastic" because he "liked the place and people" and the track from the moment he landed. The track hosted Formula One for three years from 2011. Fairstreet Sports now has a seven-year deal with MotoGP's commercial rights holder Dorna Sports to hold a race in India for seven years.
Spain's Martin, Bagnaia's nearest challenger in the title tussle, was given a scare by Quartararo in a dramatic last lap that had the number two and three fighting hard. Martin, who had some problems with his jacket's zipper during the final few laps, was left exhausted after the duel with Quartararo and did not turn up for the post-race conference. "Really difficult to be honest, especially the last lap," Quartararo, a Yamaha rider, said.
"During the race I was always a 1 or 1.5 second gap from the front guys... Last lap I could clearly see our weak point. We have to work on that part as we can hold the pace but not fight with them." Martin had a strong start to the race, jumping into the lead from his second position on the grid, with Bagnaia second and Bezzecchi third.
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