Jorge Martin feels he missed out on a podium chance at the Circuit of the Americas due to a “not fair” long-lap for using the run-off area at Turn 5.
The Pramac Ducati rookie progressed well in the early stages to move ahead of both Francesco Bagnaia and Suzuki’s Alex Rins into third before attacking series leader Fabio Quartararo for the runners-up spot, though ultimately was unable to make a move stick and settled in behind the Yamaha man.
He managed to keep a consistent gap of just over a second to Quartararo for the bulk of the contest, though started to struggle with physical problems around the demanding Texan venue in the closing stages, thus soon coming under pressure from a resurgent Bagnaia.
After nearly high-siding at Turn 5 he was forced to cut across the run-off on the inside of the bend, though due to not giving away enough time after re-joining was awarded a long-lap punishment which would drop him to his eventual finishing position of fifth as Rins also took profit.
Martin aired his frustrations over his penalty post-race as he reckoned he could have re-overtaken Bagnaia on the last lap to regain his rostrum result, though accepted he “didn’t even try” knowing he still had to serve his “not fair” sanction.
“I started quite well and was feeling confident and the pace was really good, but then I nearly high-sided (at Turn 5 before running off track) and I lost time but then got the long-lap, which I think is not fair,” explained Martin.
“The rules are like this and I had to lose the position, but the first 15 laps were amazing and I was super strong but in the end my physical condition was not 100% so I was struggling a lot.
“I’m happy for me and the team as we are going in the correct way to keep growing, today was a nice race overall and probably the toughest of the year physically so nearly finishing on the podium is amazing.
“When I saw it was (Francesco) Bagnaia behind it was better because I can fight more effectively with the Ducati compared to other bikes.
“I was close to him but I had the long-lap so I didn’t even try, for sure if I didn’t have the long-lap I would try and overtake him back but he’s also battling for the championship and it would have maybe been risky if I had.”
Martin says his task of making it to the end of the Grand Prix of the Americas wasn’t helped by his still sub-optimal physical condition that stems from his nasty crash at Portimao back in April, in which he suffered fractures to his hand and foot.
The 2018 Moto3 world champion still holds out hope that Ducati can make further progress in making the Desmosedici easier to ride after revealing that title contender Bagnaia was also “destroyed” after the race, though conceded he was satisfied to rescue a top five finish despite his challenges across the event.
“I’ve never been 100% (physically) since Qatar, I’m used to being in this condition but I would prefer to be at a higher level and not get so tired, but also the bike is (tiring) because Pecco is also destroyed, so we need to try and work on that,” continued Martin.
“I am satisfied because before the race I didn’t expect to be in the top five.
“I just need to make sure I continue this way so I can fight for the rookie of the year.”