Jorge Martin put in a commanding performance on Saturday at Misano to secure victory in the San Marino Grand Prix sprint contest ahead of VR46’s Marco Bezzecchi.
The Pramac Ducati pilot made a strong start from pole position to hold the lead into the opening corner ahead of series leader Francesco Bagnaia, who pulled off a bold move around the outside of Turn 1 to claim second from Bezzecchi.
The factory Ducati rider soon began to struggle to hang onto the back of the flying Martin though and soon came under pressure from a re-grouped Bezzecchi, Bagnaia ceding the spot to his countryman after running wide at Turn 2.
Bezzecchi then banged in the fastest lap of the race as he tried to cut down Martin’s lead, though the leader held firm as he continued to set a searing and consistent pace.
His advantage was then helped by a couple of wide moments from Bezzecchi as he tried in vain to further close in, Martin eventually pulling clear to take the chequered flag 1.445s ahead of Bezzecchi to secure his third sprint success of the season.
The battle for third went down to the wire as a fading Bagnaia desperately tried to hold off the advances of the impressive Dani Pedrosa, the KTM test rider rolling back the years as he looked left and right to try and secure his first premier class podium finish since 2017.
Bagnaia’s late-braking prowess ultimately saved him though as he claimed the final spot on the rostrum ahead of the Spaniard, who narrowly held off full-time KTM pilot Brad Binder, the South African completing the top five.
Maverick Vinales was sixth for Aprilia as the RS-GP seemed to lack the outright speed of the Ducati and KTM machines on Saturday, with Luca Marini claiming seventh for VR46 just ahead of the sister Aprilia of Aleix Espargaro.
Alex Marquez ended up securing the final point for ninth just over two seconds clear of brother Marc Marquez, who rounded off the top ten on his factory Honda.
RNF Aprilia duo Raul Fernandez and Miguel Oliveira failed to make the impression they would have liked as they claimed 11th and 12th respectively just ahead of Pramac’s Johann Zarco, who got the better of fellow Frenchman Fabio Quartararo’s Yamaha for 13th.
Jack Miller could only take 17th after making a poor start that saw him drop to 20th, the factory KTM pilot coming home behind GasGas’ Pol Espargaro – who took 15th having started 23rd and last – and the other Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli.
Honda and Ducati testing duo Stefan Bradl and Michele Pirro meanwhile fell back from their decent top 15 qualifying positions to 20th and 21st respectively, though still ended up ahead of full-time pilots Takaaki Nakagami and Joan Mir who finished off the 23-man field.