However, the six-time MotoGP King’s ambitions ended on lap three of the 25-lap race when he locked his front tire while braking for turn three. As a result, he bumped into Jorge Martin, causing a collision with Miguel Oliveira. Both Marquez and Oliveira fell badly. Oliveira was battered and injured but otherwise OK, while Marquez suffered a suspected first metacarpal on his right hand. He will undergo further checks before the next race, which takes place in Argentina next Sunday. After the accident, he immediately apologized to Oliveira and his team.

Marquez’s pole position was his 101st since his first in the 125cc World Championship at the French Grand Prix in May 2009. Yesterday afternoon he finished a brilliant third place in MotoGP’s first-ever sprint race to be held over the half Grand Prix distance.

After the 30-year-old Spaniard exited the main race, Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) became the first Honda rider to cross the checkered flag, finishing tenth in his 100th MotoGP start. This was the first MotoGP ride with Honda for the 27-year-old Spaniard, who made his premier-class debut at the 2017 Qatar Grand Prix.

Tenth place is far from Rin’s real ambition aboard his RC213V but this was a solid start to his 2023 season during which he gathered plenty of data and information with the LCR Honda team which will help him take further steps in to make Argentina and beyond. He knows he has to work on improving his straight line speed because if he can do that he will be able to get close enough to his rivals to overtake at the next corner. Still, his race pace wasn’t too bad today – his average lap time was just four tenths of a second slower than the winner, which bodes well that he’s working to further adapt to his RC213V and set the bike up to his liking.

Marquez’s new team-mate Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) should have finished higher, but the 25-year-old Spaniard suffered a lengthy lap penalty following an incident in the sprint race. The 2020 MotoGP World Champion had qualified 14th and had high hopes of improving that performance significantly this afternoon, but the time he lost from his penalty saw him drop to 11th at the finish. On the other hand, today’s race was the longest run he’s done on the RC213V, so he’s learned a lot that will help him improve his speed in the upcoming races.

One place and just half a second behind Mir was Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V), who improved his qualifying performance by six positions. The 31-year-old from Chiba opted for the soft rear tire and worked hard to find a good rhythm by mid-race, which he maintained until the end.

Despite a super busy first weekend in 2023 with an all new format, with the addition of the sprint race, drivers and teams have no chance to rest and are already embarking on a long flight south west heading to South America where they will be training for the Argentina Grand Prix begins Friday morning.


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