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REPORT: Pecco holds off Marquez in an epic Jerez duel

Matt Clayton
Monday, 29 April 2024

Two-time world champion Pecco Bagnaia took arguably his greatest MotoGP™ win yet in the Spanish Grand Prix, holding off a rampaging Marc Marquez to taste victory at Jerez for the third year in succession.

Pecco Bagnaia won the Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix for the third year in a row after a no-holds-barred battle with Marc Marquez, the reigning world champion resisting the six-time MotoGP™ title-winner in a Jerez race on Sunday that will go down as an instant classic.

Bagnaia’s brilliant victory came as a double win for the Italian, the 25 points even more valuable after race leader Jorge Martin (Ducati) dramatically crashed out on lap 11 of the 25-lap race, Martin squandering the chance to increase his championship lead to a whopping 47 points.


Martin and Bagnaia had duelled from the start after Bagnaia used a decisive first lap to muscle his way into the fight at the front from seventh on the grid, the pair – along with pole-sitter Marquez and fellow Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi – clearing off from the rest of the field.

After Martin’s off and with Bagnaia easing away, Marquez steeled himself and stormed up to the back of the Italian, and they traded places and paintwork on lap 21 and 22 in Jerez’s famous ‘stadium’ section at Turns 9-10 as the crowd – which neared 300,000 over the three days of the event – roared.

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Bagnaia’s response was one from the top shelf, breaking away with three laps to go to set the fastest-ever race lap of the Jerez circuit (1min 37.449secs on lap 23), and while Marquez threw the kitchen sink at Bagnaia in response on the last lap, he wasn’t close enough for a desperate last-corner lunge.

Bezzecchi took his first podium of the year, comfortably ahead of an impressive Alex Marquez as Ducati riders locked out the first five positions, while rookie sensation Pedro Acosta’s bubble burst after the teenager fell to 18th from 10th on the grid on lap one, the GasGas rider recovering to finish where he started.

A miserable Jerez weekend for Australia’s Jack Miller ended in fury and controversy after he was taken out by Ducati’s Franco Morbidelli at Turn 5 on lap 18 while running in 11th, the KTM rider leaving Jerez with no points and in 14th place in the championship after falling in Saturday’s Sprint, remounting to finish 14th.

Surprise packet

Surprise? Saturday’s Sprint at Jerez was downright shocking, with early-morning rain leaving the track slick in some corners and dry in others by the 3pm start, ensuring 12 laps of complete chaos that left Martin as the winner, the Spaniard largely oblivious to the mayhem behind him.

In all, 15 of the 25 riders crashed during the 20-minute dash, six remounting and finishing, with storylines everywhere you looked.

Marc Marquez crashing from the lead before recovering to sixth, Fabio Quartararo charging from 23rd to third before losing his podium for a post-race tyre pressure penalty that elevated wildcard Dani Pedrosa to the rostrum, Bagnaia being squeezed at the first corner on lap three by Brad Binder and Bezzecchi and falling, three riders (Alex Marquez, Enea Bastianini and Binder) slipping off at a treacherously-damp Turn 5 in a synchronised crash with four laps left – it was wild.

Of the 24 Sprints we’ve had since the format was first introduced at the start of 2023, Jerez was comfortably the craziest.

Number to know

4: Sunday’s race was the 50th straight Grand Prix with at least one Ducati rider on the podium – the Ducati clean sweep sees the Italian manufacturer become the fourth marque (with Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha) to achieve the feat.


“You fight with Marc, you know perfectly that you have to put your elbows out because the fight is intense. When you fight like this, you put on the list you can have a contact … it was contact, in a smart way.”
Pecco Bagnaia

Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix: top 10

1. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 40mins 58.053secs
2. Marc Marquez (Ducati) +0.372secs
3. Marco Bezzecchi (Ducati) +3.903secs
4. Alex Marquez (Ducati) +7.205secs
5. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) +7.253secs
6. Brad Binder (KTM) +7.801secs
7. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Ducati) +10.063secs
8. Miguel Oliveira (Aprilia) +10.979secs
9. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) +11.217secs
10. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) +20.762secs

Riders' championship standings (top 5)

1. Jorge Martin (Ducati) 92 points
2. Pecco Bagnaia (Ducati) 75
3. Enea Bastianini (Ducati) 70
4. Pedro Acosta (GasGas) 69
5. Maverick Vinales (Aprilia) 63

What's next?

Round 5: France (Le Mans), May 10-12