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MotoGP Misano: Epic inter-team scrap sees Marini edge Bezzecchi

Home pride was the order of the day for Sky VR46 as both riders claimed control of the front row and podium in this afternoon’s San Marino GP.

An epic battle saw Luca Marini victorious ahead of his friend and compatriot Marco Bezzecchi, delighting the small but enthusiastic local crowd.

Inheriting pole position from the injured Remy Gardner, championship-leader Marini lost no time in stamping his authority on the race, taking the holeshot as his teammate settled in behind.


Holding a half-second lead with just five laps completed it looked to be an easy ride for the 23-year-old as he continued to break free at the front, however, with seven laps to go Marini was forced wide after hitting a false neutral into turn 14.

Seeing his chance, Bezzecchi pounced, taking the lead at the end of lap 18 and making his chance count for the next four revolutions despite frequent and determined protests from his teammate.

Overtaking and counter-attacks ensued creating a dramatic and captivating battle as the two local heroes went to war before turn 14 again saw a false neutral from the race leader, this time Bezzecchi, the younger rider dropping behind and almost losing a further position as Enea Bastianini looked to capitalise.

The Rimini rider held fast from his latest threat to follow his teammate across the line for a double team celebration, Marini’s second win of the season strengthening his championship lead with 112 points, while Bezzecchi climbed to third in the standings with a tally of 85.

Reflecting on the race Marini claimed it was the best of his career so far. “I don’t know why but it felt like this at the end of the race.

“Sincerely I was not so fast with the race pace, I expected something more from me but the track is every time different so you can’t ride like in the other practices. Maybe due to the MotoGP tyres? So I tried to manage the gap with Bezzecchi until the end but then I hit neutral and lose one second.

“I had eight laps to try to overtake him. I saw that I was a little bit faster so I try to take the correct momentum to overtake him and then I push a little to create a gap to stay safe in the last corners in the last lap. I think it was a great race, a great weekend especially because we started very well from Friday morning.

We made some good overtakes and I think it was perfect with a lot of respect, so this is the most important thing between riders. I saw that I had something more so this helped me to stay calm and chose the right moment for overtaking.

“Misano is not an easy track for me but this year the feeling with the bike was good, I could ride with my style and everything was quite easy. Now we have to enjoy this moment, with the team, party tonight (with not so many people!) and from tomorrow morning stay focused for the next one because we have another one here.

“This year I have struggled with the second race at the same track, we don’t know why but the other riders do a bigger step compared to me, so we need to do a good job for next week. I think it will be more difficult, and it will be important.”


Bezzecchi shared his comrade’s enthusiasm:

“This is my very, very home grand prix because I live very close to here and today was a special day. My first time on the podium here and also with a very good race, a very good battle with my mate Maro [Marini] so I enjoyed it a lot.

“I was fast but not as fast as him but when he made a mistake in corner 13 I was in front and I tried to push a little bit. I was quite fast but I heard immediately him very close and then we start to fight.

I had strong braking but not enough grip on the edge so as soon as he passed me again we passed some times but then he was a bit faster and when I was behind him again I hit the neutral also. I had almost one second with Enea and in one moment it was zero so then the last lap I had to push a lot but fortunately I managed to finish second.

“I’m very happy for the team, it is important to make 1-2, and now I have to improve something for the next race because for sure the level will be higher but for the moment I am very happy.

“The win is possible. Today I was there but I miss something and Luca was a bit faster but if I improve a little bit with my riding and also the setting of the bike I can maybe be a little bit closer but in the race you never know. The target is always to fight for the win, for the podium and then we will see after the race.”

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