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Why “mature” Martin will start to cause headaches in 2024 MotoGP title race

Pramac’s Jorge Martin described his victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix last month as a “really mature win”.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

The Spaniard holds a lead in the championship after the opening two rounds of the season of 18 points, marking the first time ever he has headed the standings for more than 24 hours.

Prior to Portugal, he led the championship on two occasions: once after the sprint race in Indonesia last year, before crashing while dominantly leading in the grand prix, and again after the Qatar GP sprint in 2024 before Francesco Bagnaia won on Sunday.

Branding his Portugal GP win as “really mature”, that maturity was borne out in the way he managed the race and was a key lesson he had learned from last year in action.

He reflected on his Indonesia defeat in 2023 as altering his approach to the Portuguese GP three weeks ago, two races that in many ways were identical.

In both, Martin was utterly dominant as the leader, controlling the pace and keeping enough in hand to stave off any assault the riders behind may have threatened.

In Indonesia, this gained him a lead of over three seconds before he crashed out in the latter stages – handing a crucial 25 points to title rival Bagnaia at the time.

There was no repeat of this in Portugal at the end of March this year, with Martin managing things better to inflict maximum damage on reigning champion Bagnaia after his controversial tangle with Marc Marquez.

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

“For sure, when they were three, two-tenths [behind] it wasn’t easy,” he said when speaking about Portuguese GP rivals Maverick Vinales and Enea Bastianini.

“But when I got that gap to seven-tenths, then I said ‘Ok, now it’s time to keep this gap [stable]’. I remember Indonesia, and I thought it’s the same winning with eight-tenths as with three seconds.

“Today it was enough. If they caught me one-tenth, I would push one-tenth. I had that margin to push a little bit more. I’m super happy because I think it’s a super mature one.”

Already after two rounds of the 2024 season, Martin is on 60 points and is at a 30-point per weekend pace following a GP win and a third in the sprint, and a sprint win in Qatar and third in the GP.

After two rounds last year, Martin had only scored 22 points – though his incident with Marc Marquez in the Portuguese GP has a hand in this tally. Regardless, there was no bounce back in Argentina, where he was only eighth in the sprint and fifth in the GP having been second in the Portugal sprint.

The king of the sprint format in 2023, winning nine of them, Martin feels the GP24 is working better in the longer distance races than in the short Saturday contests.

But if the damage limitation is podiums every time, the consistency that ultimately stopped him short of the title last year looks to be eradicated.

While this weekend’s Americas Grand Prix will have all eyes on Marc Marquez at a circuit he is typically guaranteed to win at, it is Martin who looks like the most dangerous threat coming into the third round of the year. 

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