Bittersweet MotoGP Saturday following Ducati’s injury

Ducati one-two in Portimão. Bagnaia wins the Sprint Race in Portugal ahead of Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing)

Enea Bastianini, involved in a crash on the second lap, will have to sit out tomorrow’s race and the Argentina GP due to a fracture in his right shoulder blade

Francesco Bagnaia wrote another page of history today at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal, stage of this weekend’s opening Grand Prix for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship. The Ducati Lenovo Team rider was the first to win the new sprint race, introduced this year, thus taking the lead in the overall standings.

As he was starting with the second fastest time, Bagnaia took the lead soon after the lights went out. Overtaken first by the Desmosedici GP machine of Jorge Martín (Pramac Racing) and then by former teammate Jack Miller, Pecco managed to regain the lead on the last lap and win the first Sprint Race in MotoGP history. With Martín second, today was Ducati’s first one-two for the 2023 season.

For the Ducati Lenovo Team, however, this was a bittersweet Saturday following Enea Bastianini’s injury. Starting with the sixth fastest time, Enea had managed to stay in the fight for the top positions after the start, but on the second lap, he was involved in Luca Marini’s (VR46 Racing Team) crash, suffering a fracture of his right shoulder blade. Bastianini will therefore be forced to miss tomorrow’s race and the Argentina GP scheduled for next week.

Francesco Bagnaia (#1 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“Today, we had to adopt a completely different strategy than in a traditional race. Normally you have to wait for a few laps before starting to push and manage the tyres well, but in the Sprint Race, you must push right away. I struggled a bit in the first few laps because of the wind, but I saw that my rivals were also suffering, so I waited for a few laps to attack. When I saw that my front-end feeling was better than Martín’s, I tried to close the gap and then pass him on the last lap. Now we have to stay focused on tomorrow’s race. I am very sorry for Enea’s injury, and I wish him a speedy recovery, hoping he will be back with us soon!”

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Pecco did an incredible race, and I am happy that he took this win in the first Sprint Race of the season. Now we must stay focused and work to be just as ready for tomorrow’s race. Unfortunately, with Enea’s injury, it was a bittersweet day for us. We hope he can recover soon and get back on track with us as soon as possible.”

The Ducati Lenovo Team will be back on track tomorrow at 9:45am for the warm-up, while the Portuguese GP will start at 2pm local time, over a 25-lap distance.

About Michael Le Pard 10409 Articles
"Mr. Totalmotorcycle". Owner and Founder of Total Motorcycle, the World’s Largest Motorcycle Site with over 425 million readers since 1999. Total Motorcycle is my pride and joy and being able to reach 425 million people has been incredible and I could not have done it without the support of my visitors, readers and members...thank you so much! We are all making a difference to millions of riders worldwide.