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Watch: Jorge Martin wins season-opening Qatar MotoGP sprint

Prima Pramac Racing rider Jorge Martin. Photo: Karim Jaafar/AFP

Jorge Martin won the season-opening Qatar MotoGP sprint on Saturday with defending double world champion Francesco Bagnaia in fourth.

Pole-sitter Martin, narrowly beaten by Bagnaia for the title last year, led from the flag under lights at the Lusail International circuit.

The Ducati-Pramac rider was followed across the line by South African Brad Binder (KTM) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia).

Martin, who had claimed the front of the grid with a record lap time in qualifying earlier, led Binder into the first corner.

The two front runners quickly built up a half second gap from the rest of the pack led by Aleix Espargaro.

Bagnaia, who set off from fifth, was up a place by the end of ther first lap.

Fabio di Giannantonio, winner of the grand prix in Qatar last year, took a thumping fall from his VR46 Ducati bike on lap eight.

Bagnaia was up into a podium place with seven laps to go, with Marc Marquez up to fourth on his first outing since switching from Honda to Ducati’s satellite Gresini team.

Running wide at a corner a few laps later left the door open for Espargaro to nip past the former six time MotoGP world champion.

And Espargaro got the measure of Bagnaia with one lap left to knock ‘Pecco’ off the first of 21 sprint podiums in 2024.

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