In a sensational turn of events, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) emerged victorious at the Grand Prix of Indonesia, reclaiming his MotoGP Championship lead from Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing), who had stormed ahead in the Sprint race just a day before. Bagnaia’s journey was far from easy, as he had to overcome a significant setback.
Before the Grand Prix, Bagnaia’s comfortable 66-point lead over Martin had shrunk to a mere seven points. The number 1 rider had finished a disappointing eighth in the Sprint race, and from his starting position at P13 for the Grand Prix, things looked challenging. On the other hand, Jorge Martin was in scorching form, clinching his fourth consecutive Sprint victory.
However, race day brought a dramatic reversal of fortune. Bagnaia launched a determined assault from the moment the lights went out, swiftly moving up to third place.
While Martin surged ahead into the lead, the pivotal moment arrived when Martin unexpectedly slid out at Turn 11, handing Bagnaia a golden opportunity. The reigning champion seized it, battling his way past Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) before crossing the finish line. Despite intense pressure from Viñales and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), Bagnaia held on to secure victory, leaving Mandalika with an 18-point lead.
The race’s opening laps were full of action, with Martin taking the lead from sixth on the grid and Viñales close behind. Quartararo followed in third, while Bagnaia launched a spectacular charge from 13th on the grid to reach third place by Lap 3.
Meanwhile, elsewhere on the track, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crashed out, and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) collided with Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), sending the Italian sliding out. Martin, however, was dominating the race, consistently setting the fastest laps and building a substantial lead over Viñales.
In a surprising turn of events, Martin’s error at Turn 11 changed the course of the race. His Ducati went through the gravel, allowing Bagnaia to seize the opportunity with only Viñales ahead of him.
Bagnaia patiently closed the gap to Viñales and, with a perfectly calculated move at Turn 10, snatched the lead with eight laps remaining. From there, he posed challenging questions to Viñales, who was trying to keep up. Behind them, Quartararo was rapidly closing in, making the battle for victory all the more intense.
Although Quartararo caught up with Viñales, passing him proved to be a formidable challenge. The trio held their positions, setting the stage for a thrilling final lap. As the race concluded, Bagnaia managed to maintain his lead, becoming the first rider to win from outside the top four rows in a dry race since Marco Melandri at the 2006 Turkish GP.
Francesco Bagnaia’s victory was not just a race win; it was a remarkable comeback that solidified his championship lead in this unforgettable Grand Prix of Indonesia.
See the Championship standings after the race in Mandalika:
MotoGP returns on October 22nd with the Australian GP at the Philip Island circuit.