In 2022 he was rookie of the year and in Portimao he started the season by immediately climbing onto the podium: after surprising in his debut season, Marco Bezzecchi proved to be a confirmation in the Portuguese Grand Prix, which inaugurated the 2023 MotoGP season. The Mooney VR46 rider conquered the third position, which allowed him to get on the third step of the podium behind the winner Pecco Bagnaia and Maverick Vinales.
The three form the same podium in Assen (with Maverick and Bez in reverse order), giving Italy a hat-trick of Italian excellence, two Ducatis and an Aprilia in fact uncorking the sparkling wine in the Algarve. The Inno de’ Mameli plays for Bagnaia, but Bezzecchi also listens to it with his hand on his heart, who with today’s third position redeems himself from the disappointment of yesterday’s Sprint Race.
In the long race comes the second podium in the premier class for the rider of the Mooney VR46 team, who concludes the weekend with a flicker after the crash that took place on Saturday afternoon in Portugal. Bezzecchi didn’t want to remain with a bitter taste in his mouth and gave a great show of strength, especially when in the second half of the race it seemed he had enough to go and get Vinales, firmly in second position.
Bez was unable to get the better of the Spaniard, but he can be said to be really satisfied with the great Sunday: “It was really tight. Initially I was already in good shape, but behind Miller I was struggling a bit and had to risk a bit to pass him at Turn 1. I was a bit far away but I felt good, so I dived in so I had more fresh air ahead for the rubber because I was going a bit in difficulty. From there it was all a little better, I tried to manage a little. Then when Marquez attacked me I gave the last throw and luckily managed to go away. I’m happy!”.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team, Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team
Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images
Marco was able to take advantage of the frightening accident that occurred between Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira (in which Jorge Martin was also indirectly involved), immediately recovering positions that he never lost again, with a job involving little strategy but great power. In fact, Bezzecchi revealed that he hadn’t thought too much about safeguarding the tyre, yet he never showed signs of letting up in terms of pace.
“In the end, in a few laps, I obviously paid attention for a moment. But let’s say that I spent three quarters of the race pushing really hard because I had to run away from those behind me. In my opinion we did a really good job with the setting, because the tire was a little tired but I was still able to go fast. Indeed, towards the middle of the race, as soon as a little petrol went down, I even made a small step. So it’s all down to my team,” he explained of his handling of the race.
On the Italian Sunday, however, it is Bagnaia who triumphs. Although it seemed at one point that Vinales could hook him up, the reigning champion never hesitated. Bezzecchi believes that, even starting further up, he would not have been able to undermine the primacy of his compatriot and Academy mate: “I don’t think I would have played with Pecco, in my opinion he had a little something in his pocket. This is demonstrated by the fact that he managed to go so fast by managing, while I pushed hard. But it’s always tiring, because when you’re close by, if you manage not to let the front tire go into trouble, it could be another race. But in this case I don’t think so.”
This concludes Bezzecchi’s weekend with a great result, starting the season on the right foot, despite the stumbling block on Saturday: “I simply managed to start a bit better and positioned myself better in the first three, four corners. From there it was another race. Yesterday, however, I ended up a little behind and when you have to recover, maybe it’s a little easier to make mistakes”.
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