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Martin ‘had no chance to be first’ throughout Assen MotoGP weekend

MotoGP standings leader Jorge Martin feels his Dutch Grand Prix grid penalty had no impact on his ability to fight for victory, noting he had ‘no chance to be first’.

The Pramac Ducati rider struggled for feeling on his GP24 in Friday practice and admitted then that he was surprised he was even inside the top 10.

Martin was able to challenge for pole, but couldn’t outpace Bagnaia, and could do nothing to beat the factory Ducati team rider in both races.

The championship leader – who is now only 10 points clear of Bagnaia – was hit with a three-place grid penalty for the grand prix for an infringement in qualifying, dropping him from second to fifth.

Martin was able to get up to second in the opening few corners but doesn’t believe the penalty denied him a chance to fight Bagnaia, who beat him by 3.676 seconds.

“No, I don’t think so,” Martin said when asked if the penalty hurt his victory hopes.

“I don’t think today I had any chance, or this weekend, to be first.

“Maybe in qualifying, I was close. Maybe I could improve a little bit that lap time, but in the race it was impossible.

“Pecco was on another level. Maybe something would be different [without the penalty], maybe I would have tried a move at the beginning, I don’t know.

“But I got the penalty, so there’s no sense speaking about that.”

Martin added: “Was a difficult weekend, at least on Friday and Saturday morning.

“We were able to turn it around with yesterday’s podium. The feeling wasn’t fantastic, but today I have no excuse.

“I have to congratulate Pecco, because he was riding on another level.

“I felt perfect, I felt I was riding really good, I saw the lap times and it was amazing how fast we were going. And still, he was pulling away with some tenths every lap.”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia, who celebrated his fifth grand prix win of the campaign and matched Casey Stoner’s tally of 23 career Ducati victories, admits there was must-win pressure on his shoulders given his form all weekend at Assen.

However, he “didn’t care” about this, stating: “For sure, it’s a really great moment.

“But also in 2021, last part of the season, 2022 in the middle of the season, last year at the start.

“So, many times it happened to me that I was feeling fantastic with the bike.

“Any moment I think I know perfectly our potential, I know if we work well we can fight every time for a win, and we can have some race weekends like this.

“So, this is giving me a lot of motivation. When you start a race that everyone says you have to win, for the pace, for what you did all the weekend, a second position is already a loss.

“So, in terms of pressure, it’s more but I didn’t care and I just enjoyed everything. I love this track, I love going fast, and with this kind of feeling in this track, it wasn’t a problem. So, I just enjoyed everything.”

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