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Martin ‘wouldn’t be here’ if COTA MotoGP qualifying crash was a highside

MotoGP championship leader Jorge Martin says he wouldn’t have been able to continue the Americas Grand Prix had his second qualifying crash been a highside.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Having smashed the lap record in Friday practice, Pramac’s Martin was expected to challenge for pole at the Circuit of the Americas on Saturday.

But two crashes left him sixth on the grid, with the latter a fast rear-end off going through Turn 18 on his second flying lap after his first fall.

Explaining his qualifying crashes after the sprint, in which he was third, Martin admitted he was “lucky” to walk away from his Turn 18 spill.

“I was coming really hot in the first lap, improving already the lap from yesterday by three tenths in the first sector,” he said. “It was going to be a good lap, but then I was losing [time] during all the weekend in Turn 11.

“I tried a bit too much in a place where I was already over the limit. Then I picked up the bike and I thought, ‘Ok, the bike is ok, let’s try for another try’.

“I was coming good, improving also the lap time from yesterday – not that much, but it was a good lap, to be maybe in the top three.

“But I was too aggressive to the throttle in that corner. I was lucky because if I highsided in that moment I wouldn’t be here today talking to you.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, after his qualifying crash

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing, after his qualifying crash

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“With the second bike with the soft front, for me it was impossible to be the same competitiveness. So, I was happy with that sixth position. I take that, it was ok.”

Martin didn’t get the best of starts in the 10-lap sprint but recovered to finish third to extend his championship lead to 24 points.

He feels had he been able to clear the riders ahead of him quicker, he could have got on terms with eventual winner Maverick Vinales on the Aprilia.

“I think I was late into the moves because I think if I maybe didn’t lose two, three positions in the first corner with Enea [Bastianini] and Aleix [Espargaro], then I would have gone a bit further,” he added.

“But overtaking them I think everything went a bit hot with the front and I struggled to stop the bike.

“Pedro [Acosta] was braking really late, so it was difficult to make a move and finally as soon as I was making moves I was pulling a gap to the guy behind.

“Tomorrow if I can focus a bit more on the start I can be maybe battling with Maverick. Hopefully.”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

While Martin struggled with the lack of rear grip his factory Ducati counterparts Bastianini and Francesco Bagnaia did, he says the rear vibration issues that have plagued him at various stages this year were his biggest issue.

“Yeah, it was a bit less than normal,” he said of the grip. “But also we had a lot of vibrations. From the second lap I was struggling a lot with the vibrations in a lot of corners.

“So, we need to, together with Ducati, understand how to improve because I think we are losing opportunities to make better results.”

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