Pecco Bagnaia brings order, Marc Márquez remains on the verge of the podium | Motorcycling | Sports

Pecco Bagnaia begins the new MotoGP season where he left off in 2023, establishing himself as an absolute and indisputable reference in the competition. Although Jorge Martín, the king of Saturdays, put the fly behind his ear with his pole and victory in the race sprint, the two-time world champion and Ducati mainstay responded with a signature Sunday. He has been the great dominator of long races these last two years, an infallible calculator, and in the Qatar GP he showed that he keeps intact his ability to manage the pace and pull in front better than anyone.

The Turin native, who started fifth, left like a man possessed when the traffic lights went out and in just three corners he took the lead of the race, a position he did not abandon until he crossed the finish line. Neither Brad Binder, second with the KTM, nor Martín, third after an intense give and take with the South African, could replicate his speed under the desert lights. “We work in silence, and we know our potential well,” Bagnaia boasted in the parc ferme. Methodical and studious like few others, his mind has already gone to the next event in Portugal, two weeks from now. “We are going to Portimao after having taken another big step forward,” he commented on the adjustments made to the Desmosedici GP24, a machine that threatens to once again devastate the rest of the competitors and that, apparently, still has a lot of room for improvement.

While Bagnaia hit the table, Marc Márquez was not so far from finishing on the podium in his first grand prix with the Bologna factory. The Catalan was received with applause in the Gresini garage, and he did not hide his smile. Penalized by the lower top speed of the GP23, the bike that was champion less than five months ago, the eight-time world champion made a great start, allowed himself a couple of overtakes in the initial stretch of the race and then knew how to settle for a fourth position that tastes like glory after starting sixth. With the mania of 11 years riding the indomitable Honda, instinct still forces him to think more than necessary about his new machine.

“I tried to have the podium in sight, managing the tires, and when I wanted to go on the attack I had nothing else,” the eight-time world champion commented on DAZN. More mature, at 31 years old, he seems to have found the necessary calm not to force himself and want to do everything at the first opportunity. “I feel like I still have room with the bike, but until then I have to be patient,” he added.

Pedro Acosta fascinates, but pays for the hazing

The other great protagonist of the weekend, the one who gave the most spectacle on the long track, was Pedro Acosta. The irreverent 19-year-old rookie from GasGas, in his debut, gave a recital of aggressive driving and made more overtakes than anyone else throughout the race. After starting eighth and falling to tenth position at the start, he managed to climb back to fourth place halfway through the race. The excessive ambition of the Moto3 and Moto2 champion, who in just 30 months has completed the training cycle to reach the top category, made him pay for the hazing.

After climbing like foam, Acosta melted like a sugar, but not before unceremoniously putting the bike into Marc Márquez, with whom everyone compares him. The brutal wear of the tires and a certain physical tension caused him to suddenly lose track of the race when he began to think about the podium. He finished ninth, although no one in Lusail stayed with the result, but with the sensations. “Olé, you learn that way, giving it your all. He has very aggressive and spectacular driving,” Márquez applauded him. The kid will have a lot to talk about in 2024.

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