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MotoGP Qatar GP: Martin controls sprint, Marquez fifth on Ducati debut

Pramac’s Jorge Martin opened his account for the 2024 MotoGP season with a controlled victory in the Qatar Grand Prix sprint, as Marc Marquez was fifth on his Ducati debut.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Just over 100 days after the 2023 championship – in which Martin finished runner-up – concluded, the 2024 campaign began under the Losail lights on Saturday with the sprint.

Starting from pole, Martin – last year’s most successful rider in the sprints – led all 11 laps of the half-distance race to win from KTM’s Brad Binder.

Aleix Espargaro rallied past reigning world champion Francesco Bagnaia in the closing stages to score Aprilia’s first Qatar podium in third.

On his Gresini Ducati debut, eight-time grand prix world champion Marc Marquez finished fifth after a late mistake dropped him out of the podium battle.

Martin aced his launch off the line when the lights went out at the start of the sprint, the Pramac rider getting his GP24 Ducati into Turn 1 ahead of Binder, who came from fourth.

Marquez found himself roughed up by VR46 Ducati rider Fabio Di Giannantonio in the early laps as they battled for seventh.

But the Gresini rider climbed into sixth on the second lap while Di Giannantonio suffered a bizarre crash rounding Turn 10 on the following tour.

Martin and Binder instantly broke away from the chasing pack, with the KTM rider getting extremely close to the rear of the Pramac Ducati into Turn 1 at the start of lap two.

This would end up being the closest Binder would get to Martin. The Spaniard quickly got his lead up to half a second and stabilised it there through to the chequered flag for his 10th sprint victory.

Binder crossed the line 0.548s behind in second, while Aprilia’s Espargaro rounded out the rostrum.

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Marc Marquez, Gresini Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Espargaro dropped behind Marquez at one point but, when the Gresini Ducati rider ran wide at Turn 14 on lap eight, Espargaro moved back into fourth.

The Aprilia rider then reeled in the factory Ducati of double world champion Bagnaia, who was powerless to stop Espargaro coming through to third at Turn 15 on lap 10.

Bagnaia held onto fourth but his patchy sprint form, certainly relative to Ducati rival Martin, seemingly continues from 2023.

Marquez kept the second factory team Ducati rider of Enea Bastianini at bay by 0.450s for fifth, while Alex Marquez was seventh on the sister Gresini-run bike.

Pedro Acosta scored points on his MotoGP debut with Tech3 GasGas in eighth, while Maverick Vinales took the last point in ninth for Aprilia.

This came at the expense of KTM’s Jack Miller, who plummeted down the order having been inside the top six early on.

Miller was 10th ahead of VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi, while Fabio Quartararo was the leading Yamaha in 12th.

Joan Mir led the Honda charge for the factory squad in 15th ahead of LCR Honda’s Johann Zarco, while Luca Marini was last of the classified runners in 21st.

MotoGP Qatar GP - Sprint race results:

Cla Rider # Bike Laps Time Interval km/h Retirement Points
1 Spain J. Martin Pramac Racing 89 Ducati 11


2 South Africa B. Binder Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 33 KTM 11



0.548     9
3 Spain A. Espargaro Aprilia Racing Team 41 Aprilia 11



0.181     7
4 Italy F. Bagnaia Ducati Team 1 Ducati 11



0.896     6
5 Spain M. Marquez Gresini Racing 93 Ducati 11



0.247     5
6 Italy E. Bastianini Ducati Team 23 Ducati 11



0.450     4
7 Spain A. Marquez Gresini Racing 73 Ducati 11



0.832     3
8 Spain P. Acosta Tech 3 31 KTM 11



1.277     2
9 Spain M. Viñales Aprilia Racing Team 12 Aprilia 11



2.307     1
10 Australia J. Miller Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 43 KTM 11



11 Italy M. Bezzecchi Team VR46 72 Ducati 11



12 France F. Quartararo Yamaha Factory Racing 20 Yamaha 11



13 Portugal M. Oliveira Trackhouse Racing Team 88 Aprilia 11



14 Spain R. Fernández Trackhouse Racing Team 25 Aprilia 11



15 Spain J. Mir Repsol Honda Team 36 Honda 11



16 France J. Zarco Team LCR 5 Honda 11



17 Spain A. Rins Yamaha Factory Racing 42 Yamaha 11



18 Spain A. Fernandez Tech 3 37 KTM 11



19 Japan T. Nakagami Team LCR 30 Honda 11



20 Italy F. Morbidelli Pramac Racing 21 Ducati 11



21 Italy L. Marini Repsol Honda Team 10 Honda 11



dnf Italy F. Di Giannantonio Team VR46 49 Ducati 2



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