Pole position and victory in the sprint race: the Italian Marco Bezzecchi was a big hit on Saturday at the MotoGP Grand Prix of the Netherlands and advances as the big favorite for the eighth round of the season on Sunday at the Assen track .
The Ducati-VR46 rider, untenable since the start of the weekend both in qualifying and in the sprint, overtook Saturday afternoon in the “cathedral” of speed his compatriot Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), who retains the lead in the championship . Frenchman Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) completed the sprint podium after the downgrading of South African Brad Binder (KTM), penalized for a trajectory fault on the last lap.
“I’m sad for Brad, because I know it’s very frustrating to lose a podium on a penalty; it’s happened to me before,” commented the 2021 world champion who did not want to ostensibly celebrate this podium. , his second this season, the first in a sprint.
A third place acquired in pain for “El Diablo” who fractured the big toe of his left foot when he fell during a run this week and who visibly suffered at the end of the race. Bezzecchi was all smiles. In the morning, he had signed his first pole this season, the second of his career, with a time of 1 min 31 seconds 472/1000th, improving the absolute track record achieved last year by “Pecco” Bagnaia (1: 31.504).
“A Perfect Day”
And he materialized during the sprint. The native of Rimini (24) got off to a cautious start, doubled at the end of the straight by Bagnaia then Binder. But after recovering the lead during the second of thirteen laps, Bezzecchi then quickly created a sufficient gap to win without taking too many risks.
“I made a mistake at the first corner, which made me lose two places. But for the rest, it was really a perfect day”, welcomed Bezzecchi.
Bagnaia was satisfied with an “unexpected” second place after a “disastrous” Friday morning according to him: “Friday, I couldn’t adjust the bike. I was really upset. Fortunately, everything is much better , we managed to restore the situation. Frankly, I find it hard to believe,” welcomed the reigning world champion.
Bagnaia still leader of the championship
In the championship, Bagnaia is 21 points ahead of his runner-up, the Spaniard Jorge Martin (Ducati-Pramac), 6th on Saturday on the oldest circuit in the championship. The Italian is therefore on track to retain the lead in the standings before the long summer break and the next GP in early August at Silverstone.
Vacations that could be studious for Johann Zarco and Marc Marquez, the two beaten of the day on Saturday who should use the next few weeks to improve their bikes.
Zarco at the foot of the podium
The Frenchman failed in 13th position in the sprint after briefly occupying 5th place. Fourth in the championship and generally more comfortable on Sundays, the Ducati-Pramac rider will rely on the race to save his weekend.
The situation is more worrying for Marquez. The six-time world champion has no confidence in his Honda. Fell five times last weekend in Germany, the Spaniard found himself on the ground twice on Friday and Saturday in Assen and finished in 17th place in the sprint.