Jorge Martin says the lead he managed to pull over Joan Mir in the latter stages of the Styrian Grand Prix was “necessary” as he ran into physical issues.
The Pramac rider was forced to miss four races after fracturing his leg and hand in a horror crash during practice for the Portuguese GP at Portimao back in April, just days after scoring a debut pole and rostrum in the Doha GP in Qatar, the Spaniard having struggled to regain his form after returning due to his long lay-off time.
Martin sustained race-long pressure from reigning MotoGP world champion Mir en-route to taking his first ever premier class victory in only the sixth start of his rookie campaign at the Red Bull Ring, though admitted post-race he started to suffer physically in the final stages of the encounter.
He said post-race that his physical condition in the final stanza of the contest “wasn’t great” and that the gap of just over a second he had been able to pull over Mir shortly prior was “necessary” to bring home the debut win for him as well as Pramac, the Italian squad finally getting its debut success after two decades of trying.
“It feels great (winning first race), I still can’t believe it for sure because in this sport everything goes so quickly and I haven’t had the time to process everything,” said Martin.
“It was a great race because before the start I wasn’t feeling that confident but on the first start because I felt good and could manage the tyres well behind Pecco (Bagnaia), and then the second start was even better.
“I was a bit scared because I saw Jack (Miller) close and I know how good he is under braking so I thought he’d be a contender for victory here, so I overtook him as soon as I could and then just tried to run at my own pace.
“I saw Joan (Mir) was close but I wasn’t too nervous and just focussed on running my race, but then when I saw the gap come down to two-tenths I tried a bit more and was risking in areas, I got the track limits warning which made me nervous but I could stretch the gap to a second.
“This was necessary for me because my physical condition wasn’t great so I could slow a bit in the last laps and then finish in the first position, it’s great because it’s also the first victory for the team (Pramac) so we’ll try to celebrate a bit before next weekend.”
Martin added that he reckoned the experience of leading the bulk of the laps in the Doha GP was crucial towards him getting the job done in the Styrian event, explaining that he was able to focus more on his own race than he did in Qatar back in April.
“The experience of Doha (leading most of race) helped because this time I was confident, then I was happy but wasn’t really sure what to do, but today I was able to focus more on everything and was racing with myself more than worrying about the others,” continued the ’18 Moto3 world champion.
“When you see him (Mir) behind you know he’s the world champion, but really he’s just the guy I know from the (Red Bull) rookies cup, we are pretty much the same age and we’ve battled since we were young so I just focussed on myself and doing the job.”