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Indian MotoGP, Qualifying | Fourth pole of season for Bezzecchi as Honda chases Ducati

Gold & Goose
Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing, Ducati GP22, 2023 MotoGP, Indian MotoGP, Buddh, action [Gold & Goose]

Marco Bezzecchi scored a confidence-boosting fourth MotoGP World Championship pole position of the season ahead of the inaugural Indian MotoGP at the Buddh International Circuit.

The Italian won out in a back-and-forth dice with fellow Ducati rider and title rival Jorge Martin, the pair swapping the top spot multiple times before Bezzecchi got the nod with a 1m 43.947secs lap.

Indeed, it was a close run thing between the pair - who lead the chase to overall points’ leader Pecco Bagnaia - as they posted new benchmarks for the other to try and beat.


However, while the money might have been on Martin to produce one of his signature rapid fast single laps at the final time of asking, it was Bezzecchi edging him out on the year-old GP22 by just +0.043s.

To his credit, Martin came into qualifying having suffered a fast crash on the run into Turn 8 towards the end of the preceding FP2 session, while he also fluffed his final sector on a lap good enough to undercut Bezzecchi’s.

Nonetheless, with Bagnaia completing an all-Ducati front row in third, the stage is set for the top three riders in the overall standings to resume battle after their Misano tug-of-war a fortnight ago.

Though his momentum for pole position faded towards the end of the session, Luca Marini made it a top four lockout for Ducati as he heads up row two, where he will be joined - perhaps surprisingly - by both Repsol Hondas, Joan Mir leading Marc Marquez.

A huge upturn in form for Mir, who has struggled to even get close to a Q2 spot prior to making it through automatically on Friday afternoon, the 2020 MotoGP World Champion backed it up with a stellar run to fifth place, just ahead of team-mate Marquez.

Like Martin, Pramac Ducati team-mate Johann Zarco was on the ground during FP2 but would go on to recover to seventh on the grid, just ahead of fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo, while three Aprilias - Maverick Vinales, Aleix Espargaro and Q1 qualifier Raul Fernandez - line astern in ninth, tenth and 11th.

Q2 ran with only 11 riders after Alex Marquez - who was supposed to join Fernandez in progressing from Q1 - was taken to the medical centre after hurting his chest in a heavy thump during the final seconds of the first qualifying session.

Ironically, Marquez’s incident did its bit to both assure his passage to Q2 - even if he couldn’t make the most of it - and deploy yellow flags long enough to prevent other riders from challenging him.

As such, KTM faces an uphill task in both the Sprint and Main races with Brad Binder and Jack Miller winding up 14th and 16th respectively.

2023 Indian MotoGP | Buddh International Circuit, India | Qualifying Results | Round 13 of 20
Pos.NameNat.TeamBikeLap Time
1Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 43.947
2Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 43.990
3Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 44.203
4Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP221m 44.215
5Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 44.454
6Marc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V1m 44.469
7Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP231m 44.515
8Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 44.724
9Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 44.741
10Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 44.750
11Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 45.194
12Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22No Time
13Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP221m 44.529
14Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 44.651
15Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 44.735
16Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC161m 45.030
17Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M11m 45.037
18Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 45.066
19Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP1m 45.375
20Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC161m 45.452
21Stefan Bradl🇩🇪LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V1m 45.517
22Michele Pirro🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP231m 46.147

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