Jorge Martín wants to be the reference, Marc Márquez is not far away | Motorcycling | Sports

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It’s not that anyone had forgotten about him, but Jorge Martín took care of it with a pole position record and an indisputable victory in the first race of the year, the sprint of an intense Saturday at the Qatar GP, of establishing himself as the first protagonist of the year on the track. At the premiere of the 2024 MotoGP season in Lusail there were not lights for everyone. Most were looking for Marc Márquez, sixth on the grid and fifth in the race, his exact prediction before making his debut with the Ducati. Many others were looking at the two-time champion Pecco Bagnaia, fifth in the time trial and fourth in the test, where he did not confirm his good feelings in the preseason. There were also many who focused on the rookie Pedro Acosta, eighth and second KTM in his notable welcome.

The Pramac rider from Madrid, who dresses like sheep but has the same weapons as the official Ducati riders, began his new attempt to win the title with good humor and like a shot. Last year he managed to keep his hopes alive until the last race of the last grand prix, tightening the screws on number one without being able to finish the job in Valencia. Happy, proud of his level of driving, the most explosive on the grid, this course only required a strong start and a lead from the first moment. “From the beginning I have to start strong, which is where I failed last year and what later forced me to recover so many points. If I start the season like I finished the last one, everything will go smoothly,” he said during the presentation of his team. No sooner said than done.

After mastering the long day in the desert from start to finish, she was able to uncork her supermodel smile and even give herself a little pull to motivate herself. “We’re starting out as leaders, let’s see if it lasts longer than in Indonesia,” he joked as soon as he got off the bike. In Mandalika, last year, Martín became the leader of the contest for the first time in his life, although the joy lasted only 24 hours. Undisputed king of Saturdays since the introduction of the short race format, the 26-year-old rider already boasts ten victories per year. sprintalmost half of those disputed, and wins for the first time on the Qatari track in the premier category.

Martín kept Brad Binder at bay after the start, at the most critical moment of the sprint, and the KTM rider had to settle for second place. Third was Aleix Espargaró, who also presented the credentials of the Aprilia in the fight for the title. Both European alternatives are the only ones that seem prepared to compete with the Ducati, with the Japanese factories once again very far away. Marc Márquez, smiling and satisfied, very close to the leading positions, fulfilled his first objective on the Italian machine: to enjoy and have fun riding.

“It’s been a while since I overtook on a straight line, and it’s cool, cool,” he said into the DAZN microphone. And about the result, he was calm and honest: “I’m not lying, I already said that there were four or five faster than us.” For now. Although the result does not indicate it, only a small scare in the qualifying took him away from the poleand a scuffle at the start of the sprint It hurt him in the end when he was already thinking about putting the bike against the brand’s leader and current world champion in the middle of the fight for the podium.

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