RACE REPORT | MotoGP Valencia 2023

Francesco Bagnaia successfully defended his MotoGP title in the final race of the season after his closest rival Jorge Martin failed to do so. 

Entering the race 14 points behind Bagnaia, Martin had to put up a tough fight, making Bagnaia the clear favourite for the title. The decisive moment came on lap 6 at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana, when Martin's crash consolidated Bagnaia's championship victory for the second consecutive year. Bagnaia's victory at the Valencia Grand Prix secured him the MotoGP World Championship title retrospectively. His path to victory was determined early on as Jorge Martin, his main rival, crashed during the sixth lap.

While his rivals struggled with mistakes, Bagnaia kept his cool and displayed expert defensive riding skills to secure the premier class title from the top step of the podium. Bagnaia started from pole position and led from the start of the race. Martin also made an impressive start, passing Brad Binder and Jack Miller to secure second place. The race took a dramatic turn on lap three when Martin tried to take advantage of a momentary lapse by Bagnaia, but found himself in turbulent air under braking and narrowly avoided a collision with the Ducati. Although Martin recovered, he lost a significant lead and dropped to sixth place.

While Bagnaia faced increasing pressure from Binder and Miller, Martin fought to regain positions between Maverick Vinales, Marc Marquez and Johann Zarco. However, a close encounter with Marquez on lap six sent both riders into the gravel and effectively ended Martin's race. Bagnaia did fall behind them briefly due to mistakes by Binder and then Miller, but eventually took the lead back. Despite a challenge from Zarco and Fabio Di Giannantonio, who were working their way through the ranks, Bagnaia defended his position fiercely.

However, there was an unexpected twist later in the race when Di Giannantonio received a retrospective three-second penalty for a tyre pressure infringement, which relegated him from a potential podium finish to fourth place. Zarco, who was fighting for the win at certain points, settled for third place and secured his sixth podium finish of the season after Di Giannantonio's penalty.

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