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Martin: Alex Marquez’s Malaysia MotoGP sprint pace “difficult to believe”

Pramac’s Jorge Martin says Gresini Ducati counterpart Alex Marquez’s pace on his way to victory in the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix sprint was “difficult to believe”.

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Marquez jumped from fourth on the grid to secure his second sprint win of the season, beating Martin by over 1.5s on his year-old Ducati.

The Spaniard fought hard with early race leader Francesco Bagnaia, as well as Martin, on his way to the front of the pack and proved no match for either with his speed.

Martin felt he could have won the sprint, but admits Marquez’s pace was too good for him and he’s not sure how.

“Was complicated, because I saw he [Bagnaia] had half a second [gap],” he said about racing Marquez.

“So, it was too much to recover again because I already recovered a little bit, but then losing again so quick.

“But Alex was unbelievably fast today, I couldn’t even follow him. When they [Alex and Pecco] fight, I arrived to Pecco and I tried the move and it went well.

“And afterwards I tried to recover to Alex but he was too fast.

“The important thing was we were faster than Pecco.

“We need to understand what Alex has on his bike because with the same bike and making such a difference, it’s difficult to believe. But he’s riding so good.”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, Alex Marquez, Gresini Racing

Martin has cut Bagnaia’s championship lead down from 13 points to 11 after the latter struggled to third in the sprint from pole.

Asked by Autosport if this was an important race for his title aspirations, given Bagnaia’s speed to take pole in qualifying with a new lap record, Martin said: “It’s not about the championship. I thought I could win today.

“When I overtook Alex, because he did a mistake, he was then kind of aggressive. But I thought I was faster than Pecco at that point, and I was.

“So, I thought I was going to overtake him and pull away. But finally Alex had something more today. He was faster than us.

“But I was able to recover, starting from the beginning my front pressure went crazy, so high, because we expected to be first and second and I was fourth, and everything was so complicated.

“And when I got used to that riding in a different way, I was able to recover the gap to Pecco and pull away.

“That was the most important thing. I thought he was going to stay so close to me and he didn’t. So, I am happy about this and let’s see tomorrow if we can also make the gap.”

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Alex Marquez plays no part in this championship battle and told the media on Friday at Sepang that there had been no orders from Ducati to not race its title contenders.

The Gresini rider, despite his aggressive riding in the sprint, does have sympathy for Bagnaia and Martin, as he is aware from his Moto2 and Moto3 days what it is like to race an “outsider” while you are fighting for a championship.

“It’s really difficult because always we are on the limit, so we never have margin when you overtake somebody,” Marquez said.

“So, I just tried to overtake them in corners that I know if I make a mistake or something I can just release the brakes and go a little bit wide, like in Turn 15 when I tried to overtake Pecco.

“And in that corner I was able maybe to go in and stop the bike on the inside, but it was too risky for the lap that it was.

“So, I preferred to go a little bit straight [and avoid him]. It’s not easy because I was on the other side playing for a championship in Moto3 and Moto2, and it’s not nice that an ‘outsider’ comes and brakes a little bit [hard].”

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