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MotoGP Valencia GP

Martin "had big balls" to win vital Valencia MotoGP sprint

Pramac's Jorge Martin says he "had big balls" to win a vital Valencia Grand Prix sprint to keep his MotoGP title hopes alive, as his "feeling was so bad".

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Martin came from sixth on the grid to score his ninth sprint win of the 2023 season.

With title rival Francesco Bagnaia only fifth after struggling on his medium rear tyre, Martin has cut the championship deficit down from 21 points to 14 ahead of Sunday's grand prix finale.

When asked by Autosport if this was the ride of a champion, Martin said: "No, no, I don't think so.

"I think I did an amazing job and I had big balls today because my feeling was so bad with the front, with the rear.

"But I pushed to the limit every corner to fight for that victory, so that's what I was so, so happy.

"I need to be happy about the result again and be proud about our job, because tomorrow we don't know what's going to happen."

Explaining why he felt bad on the bike, Martin said: "I think I was riding alone all morning, so I was feeling I could manage to understand how to ride, being really smooth with the tyres and I was making really good pace.

"But when you are behind and you have to push more than you think and change the lines, it becomes really complicated.

"I think also behind people, everything gets hot and nothing works. But when I was in front it was much easier. I don't feel 100% confident, but when I was behind I felt much worse."

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

The championship permutations now are such that works Ducati rider Bagnaia only needs to finish fifth to win his second world championship, regardless of where Martin ends up.

As such, the Spaniard says there is no choice but to go for victory and notes that Bagnaia simply finishing fifth won't be easy for him.

"I have to go for the win, 100%," he added. "But tomorrow it's not easy to finish fifth because everyone is fast.

"If they stop behind him, it's complicated. But if you are slow, your pressure will go low also and he will get penalised.

"And if you have three or four riders behind it's a big problem. So, we have to wait till tomorrow after the race."

Martin is also anticipating that other Ducati riders if they find themselves behind Bagnaia "won't enter the battle with him", but he "cannot control" this.

The Pramac rider endured a difficult qualifying, in which he could only manage sixth while Bagnaia came through Q1 to put his Ducati second.

Martin later revealed that his qualifying was compromised by another Michelin tyre issue – this time on the front – just a week after his Qatar GP was hindered by a rear issue.

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