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MotoGP Valencia: Martin takes podium against odds

Pramac’s Jorge Martin claimed ‘Rookie of the Year’ and his fourth podium of 2021 at Valencia’s finale against the odds.

The Ducati rising star battled not just a pair of factory Ducatis to achieve second in Sunday’s 27-lap race, but his own physical condition after the 23-year-old was struck down by sickness on Saturday afternoon. Martin had spent seven hours being ill throughout the night - from 10pm to 5am - and been unable to eat since the previous evening. Grit, determination and a little help from Clinica Mobile, getting him through the final race of the year and in some style.

The Pramac rider was only outdone by Pecco Bagnaia, with the Italian in his recent run of form a formidable opposition. Jack Miller put up a late-race challenge of his own on the second Ducati Lenovo machine but the rookie defended to the line, to pick up the spoils.


While unable to make the press conference due to his condition, the praise was quickly forthcoming from his colleagues in red.

“I think he has done a good job this year, more than good,” Bagnaia said when questioned on Martin’s first year as a MotoGP rider. “Because starting like a rookie and already in the second race have a pole and the podium. Win in the first year in Austria, losing a lot of races for his incident in Portimao. I think he have done a really great season.

“He must be happy for what he did. Today also was very competitive. As a rookie, for sure our bike is not the easiest one when you start but he, from the start, was learning very quickly things where I needed more time. This is the first year that I feel so great with this bike. It’s also, okay that now our bike is very competitive but also last year was competitive and sometimes I was fast but more of the time I was behind.

“He was very competitive but I think also [Enea] Bastianini did an enormous job as a rookie and maybe [Luca] Marini has worked a lot during the sessions - always in the race he’s struggling a bit more but I think that all the riders in Ducati are very, very fast and competitive.”

“Today, he was strong,” Miller added. “I had to follow him for a long time - 27 laps in general! I think this bike ain’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. It’s got its characters and everything like that and all the rookies have really, it made me nervous really! Because they just keep getting faster and faster and faster.

“Even him,” he continued, looking to his teammate, Bagnaia. “As a rookie, come in, topped the test in Malaysia, so him saying ‘Oh, I took time, this that and the other’ that’s bullshit because he didn’t!

“Jorge has done a fantastic job, missed a few races this year, but he’s come in with a professionalism that maybe I was missing when I came in for sure. He’s really stepped up to the plate in that sort of department, has done a fantastic job in his race craft. It’s a lot of things that took me a long time to learn and I think he’s a very complete rider. And yeah, it makes me nervous, like I said. I mean him and Bastianini, when you get passed by a year old bike - I know how Dovi and Petrucci felt before when I used to do it to them and it ain’t a good feeling that’s for certain!

“I wish these rookies would slow down a little bit but it makes me more and more keen to try and improve myself and become a better rider myself because it’s amazing to see how well they’re doing at such a young age, and how well they’re gonna keep doing.”

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