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Qatar MotoGP, Lusail Sprint Race | Jorge Martin holds firm as he dishes out desert masterclass

Gold & Goose

Jorge Martin has opened up his 2024 MotoGP World Championship account in fine style with a faultless pole-to-flag victory in the Qatar MotoGP Sprint Race over Brad Binder and Aleix Espargaro.

The 2023 MotoGP runner-up mirrored his Sprint Race win around the Lusail International Circuit from November by producing a typically commanding performance over the shorter distance, a trait that saw him dominate the format last season with nine wins.

Even so, it took a peerless performance from Martin to hold out for victory after being given no opportunity to breathe from a close-following lead group headed up by Binder, who never strayed more than +0.6s adrift of the Prima Pramac Ducati rider.


The South African began his season with a bang by employing his KTM RC16’s notoriously effective ride-height start device system to propel himself from fourth to second before hounding Martin thereafter.

However, save for getting very close at the start of lap three when a lunge for the lead nearly ended with him clipping the back of the Ducati ahead, Binder was forced to retain a watching brief and protect second across the line.

In third place, Aleix Espargaro delivered much of the entertainment to recover back to third place after looking as though he would be run out of contention when he was dumped to fifth at a late stage.

The Spaniard was initially demoted to fourth behind defending champion Pecco Bagnaia before getting gobbled on the straight by a fired up Marc Marquez, the Spaniard clearly relishing his first outing on the Ducati as he regrouped following a bad getaway that initially had him down in eighth.

Indeed, the six-time World Champion looked his usual frisky self as he dispatched of Fabio di Giannantonio, Jack Miller and Enea Bastianini on his way back up to fifth place, before leaving the Aprilia of Espargaro all-but-standing when he overtook on the home straight for fourth with five laps to go.

However, just as Marquez appeared to be sizing up a bold pass on Bagnaia, he ran wide on the exit of Turn 13, scrubbing off enough speed to invite Espargaro through as they rounded Turn 15. From here, Espargaro - having seemingly preserved his rubber more effectively than those around him - carried forward momentum onto the tail of Bagnaia, getting the job done around the final corner ahead of the final lap having already made a failed attempt earlier at Turn 4.

He’d run out of time to reel in Binder though, despite making up a margin of almost a second on the KTM rider on the final lap in a performance that will likely breed confidence for Sunday’s full-length encounter.

In fourth, Bagnaia stayed in the lead fight without ever really looking capable of getting to the front of it, the Italian kicking off his title defence with a solid handful of points.

Marquez slipped into the clutches of Bastianini after losing his gusto following his wide moment with four laps remaining, but had enough in hand to get the better of the former Gresini alumni.


In seventh, Alex Marquez held off the race-long attentions of Pedro Acosta, the young Spaniard recovering from getting somewhat beaten up in the first few corners to assure himself of points in his first MotoGP race in eighth. 

The pair ran the pace of the leaders for much of the 11-lap race, but crucially lost touch with the front pack on lap three when di Giannatonio suffered a curious crash on the exit of Turn 10.

In what appeared to be a painful high-side for the Italian, di Giannantonio seemed to get wrapped up in his own VR46 Ducati on the way down, the GP23 managing to stay upright before wobbling rider-less across the racing line. Though it sent those running directly behind scattering, the riders mercifully remained out of the way of both bike and stricken man.

In ninth, Maverick Vinales picked up the final point for Aprilia, denying Miller, the Aussie unable to make the most of his strong start that had him as high as sixth initially from 11th on the grid before fading to tenth.


Outside the points, Marco Bezzecchi in 11th meant it was a scoreless start to the year for VR46 Racing, same too for Yamaha and Honda, its best representatives coming in 12th for Fabio Quartararo and 15th for Joan Mir.

🇶🇦 🏁 2024 Qatar MotoGP, Lusail | SPRINT RACE Results

Saturday | Conditions - Dry

🇶🇦 🏁 2024 Qatar MotoGP Results | Lusail International Circuit, Qatar | SPRINT RACE Results | Round 1 of 21
Pos.NameNat.TeamMotorcycleLap Time
1Jorge Martin🇪🇦Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP2411 Laps
2Brad Binder🇿🇦Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+0.548
3Aleix Espargaro🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+0.729
4Pecco Bagnaia🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP24+1.625
5Marc Marquez🇪🇦Gresini RacingDucati GP23+1.872
6Enea Bastianini🇮🇹Ducati Leonovo TeamDucati GP24+2.322
7Alex Marquez🇪🇦Gresini RacingDucati GP23+3.154
8Pedro Acosta🇪🇦Red Bull GasGas Factory Tech3KTM RC16+4.431
9Maverick Vinales🇪🇦Aprilia RacingAprilia RS-GP+6.738
10Jack Miller🇦🇺Red Bull KTM Factory RacingKTM RC16+12.670
11Marco Bezzecchi🇮🇹Pertamina Enduro VR46 RacingDucati GP23+12.835
12Fabio Quartararo🇫🇷Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+12.863
13Miguel Oliveira🇵🇹Trackhouse RacingAprilia RS-GP+13.095
14Raul Fernandez 🇪🇦Trackhouse RacingAprilia RS-GP+13.795
15Joan Mir🇪🇦Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+14.096
16Johann Zarco🇫🇷LCR HondaHonda RC213V+14.840
17Alex Rins🇪🇦Monster Energy YamahaYamaha M1+15.629
18Augusto Fernandez🇪🇦Red Bull GasGas Factory Tech3KTM RC16+17.711
19Takaaki Nakagami🇯🇵LCR HondaHonda RC213V+22.733
20Franco Morbidelli🇮🇹Prima Pramac RacingDucati GP24+23.267
21Luca Marini🇮🇹Repsol Honda TeamHonda RC213V+25.553
DNFFabio di Giannantonio🇮🇹Pertamina Enduro VR46 RacingDucati GP23

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