Martin’s Portugal MotoGP Victory: “Amazing” at a Track Where He Nearly Quit

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Martin: Portugal MotoGP win “amazing” at a track “where I almost lost everything”

Last Sunday in Portugal, the 2023 championship runner-up delivered a composed performance, securing his first grand prix victory since last year’s Thailand GP.

With former championship leader Francesco Bagnaia involved in a contentious collision with Marc Marquez, Martin now commands the standings with an 18-point lead.

Reflecting on his triumph, Martin emphasized the importance of defending the lead he seized from third on the grid at Turn 3 on the opening lap, labeling it as “key” to his victory. The win held special significance for the Spaniard, evoking emotions stemming from his turbulent past at the Algarve track.

Martin’s rookie year in 2021 was marred by a severe incident during practice at Turn 7, resulting in multiple fractures that nearly derailed his career. “I think this consistency is the most important thing, and today the key thing was the start,” Martin shared with MotoGP’s After the Flag on Sunday.

Portugal MotoGP
Portugal MotoGP (Credits: Autosport)

He elaborated, “I was really committed to taking the lead in the first corner and then I tried to close a lot on the third corner because I knew it was my key to win.” Martin strategically managed his lead, maintaining a slight advantage in the initial stages before pushing further ahead when necessary.

Expressing gratitude towards his team and acknowledging the improved performance of the new Ducati on race days, Martin reflected on the significance of triumphing at a track where he had once faced adversity. “To win here, at a track where I almost lost everything, I almost stopped racing, and now I’m here in first place. This is amazing and I’m so grateful to this track because I learned a lot,” he said.

The collision between Marquez and Bagnaia, witnessed on the track’s large screens, spurred Martin’s determination to secure victory. “About the incident, I saw it on the screen,” Martin recounted. “And at that point, I said ‘Jorge, you need to finish, 100%’. So, for two corners I was really blocked and then I said to myself ‘ok, today you need to win’. I didn’t care about finishing, just winning.”

Despite avoiding the rear chatter issues that troubled him in Qatar, Martin acknowledged that the GP24 struggles more in sprints than in grands prix now. With 11 sprint wins under his belt, Martin emphasized the need to address this weakness and optimize performance for Saturdays. “So, let’s be focused on that and try to fix that,” he concluded.

Nathan Henderson

By Nathan Henderson

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