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Pecco Bagnaia defends MotoGP World Championship title after Jorge Martin crash

Gold & Goose

Pecco Bagnaia has clinched the 2023 MotoGP World Champion after holding his nerve in a tense Valencia MotoGP finale, while title rival Jorge Martin crashed out after a tangle with Marc Marquez.

Completing his coronation and the 2023 MotoGP season in style with a seventh full-length MotoGP win of the year, Bagnaia was nonetheless confirmed title winner just eight laps into the race after Martin barrelled out of contention after tangling with Marc Marquez.

The Spaniard was already on the back foot at the time of his exit after contact with Bagnaia on lap three sent him out wide at Turn 1 and down to eighth.


Despite mounting an immediate fightback in an effort to get back on terms with his rival out front, Martin’s race would last just three more laps when an attempt to pass Marc Marquez at Turn 4 instead led to contact that forced both off track and out of the race.

With Martin out, Bagnaia’s title was confirmed, an assurance he’d go on to consolidate in style with his first trip to the top of the podium since the Indonesian MotoGP.

The first rider to secure back-to-back MotoGP World Championships since Marquez, whereas Bagnaia came from a long way back to clinch his 2022 MotoGP title, in 2023 he was in command for much of the season.

While the rise of Martin tested him - particularly in the heat of direct combat - during the second-half of the season, Bagnaia was the only rider to maintain the best of his form over an entire campaign.

It’s therefore fitting that Bagnaia would bookend the year with victory in Valencia, the Italian holding firm - quite literally - when it mattered as Martin began to launch his waves of attack during the opening laps, culminating in the Spaniard’s error on lap three that almost took both riders down.

Despite the strike from behind, Bagnaia was undisturbed to resume in the lead, leaving Martin to begin the - ultimately unsuccessful - process of clawing his way back up the order.

Indeed, his was a rate of progress that might have achieved just that, but having already seen off a tricky test in passing Maverick Vinales, a stubborn Marquez would pose an equally difficult challenge. 

In the end, Martin’s attempt to slither through at Turn 4 was met with a closed door from Marquez, the Pramac Ducati tipping Marquez and his Honda into a nasty high-side as they made for the gravel trap and into retirement.

With the pressure off, the drama behind coincided with Bagnaia being eased out of the lead by Brad Binder, a move his KTM Factory Racing team-mate Jack Miller repeated himself a lap later to secure second.


With the duo holding formation coming into the second-half of the race, the prospect of a KTM 1-2 appeared on the cards, only for Binder to drop back on lap 15 with a run through the long lap penalty loop, before Miller’s inheritance of the position ended entirely on lap 19 with a crash at Turn 11.

Promoting Bagnaia back into the lead, despite coming under pressure in the final stages - first by Johann Zarco and then Fabio di Giannantonio - he’d dig deep to ensure the perfect conclusion to another title-winning season.

Shadowing him across the line was di Giannantonio, though a penalty for an infraction would later demote him to fourth. That promoted Zarco back into second place, a final podium for Pramac Ducati before his move to LCR Honda for 2024.

Binder made some amends by picking his way back through to third place ahead of the penalised di Giannantonio, leading Raul Fernandez, who enjoyed the honour of top Aprilia status with a career-best fifth place finish on the RNF Aprilia.


In a race of high attrition, only 13 riders would make it to the flag on the lead lap, the top ten completed by Alex Marquez in sixth, followed by Franco Morbidelli, Aleix Espargaro, Luca Marini and Vinales in tenth.

Among those failing to finish, Marco Bezzecchi’s 2023 MotoGP season ended in a hail of gravel on the opening lap after an incident involving Marquez too, while Augusto Fernandez, Enea Bastianini and Alex Rins also ended their campaigns sunny side down.

2023 Valencia MotoGP - Circuit Ricardo Tormo - RACE Results - Round 20 of 20
1Francesco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP2327 Laps
2Johann Zarco🇨🇵Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP23+0.360
3Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+2.347
4Fabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22Penalty
5Raul Fernandez🇪🇦CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+4.636
6Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini Racing MotoGPDucati GP22+4.708
7Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+4.736
8Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+8.014
9Luca Marini🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22+9.486
10Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+10.556
11Fabio Quartararo🇨🇵Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+12.001
12Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR Honda IDEMITSUHonda RC213V+21.695
13Lorenzo Savadori🇮🇹CryptoData RNF RacingAprilia RS-GP+43.297
14Pol Espargaro🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16+2 Laps
DNFAlex Rins🇪🇦LCR Honda CastrolHonda RC213V
DNFJack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16
DNFEnea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Lenovo TeamDucati GP23
DNFAugusto Fernandez🇪🇦GasGas Factory Racing Tech3KTM RC16
DNFMarc Marquez🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V
DNFJorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP23
DNFMarco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Mooney VR46 RacingDucati GP22
WJoan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V

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