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Martin "was crashing in all corners" in Malaysian MotoGP race

Martin fought with title rival Francesco Bagnaia in the early stages of the Malaysian GP, having dropped from second on the grid to fifth when he ran wide at Turn 1 at the start.

Bagnaia repelled this attack for the final podium place and eased away from Martin by over six seconds to extend his championship lead to 14 points.

Martin says he did have a higher front tyre pressure to start the grand prix, having already been given a warning for breaching the minimum pressure rule in Thailand, but this wasn’t what compromised his grand prix.

“No, no. For sure, higher than what I wanted but less than yesterday,” Martin said when asked if his tyre pressure was high for the start of the race.

“We tried to be a bit better in this situation, but for sure it was not enough and after six laps I was crashing all the corners.

“It was really difficult and frustrating that I couldn’t push for all the race. So, P4 was the maximum I could do.

“I think it was a little bit more than 2 bar, not like yesterday at 2.1.

“But I think it was more the temperature behind Pecco. I struggled and then it never came down. I tried to put pressure on him, but I felt I was crashing so I just slowed down.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team (Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images)

Martin came into the weekend trailing Bagnaia by 13 points and has only lost one by finishing fourth in the grand prix, so isn’t disheartened by the result.

“We lost one point at the end of the weekend, which is not that much,” he added.

“Sometimes I recover 15, so I’m confident that in the next races I can be fast.

“If there are some tracks that you can recover it’s Qatar and Valencia, because we are so tight and we can put a lot of riders between Pecco and me.

“For both sides, you can win and lose a lot of points. So, I’m confident and let’s try to recover and beat him in the next race.”

Bagnaia says it was “very important” to win his on-track battle with Martin at Sepang and isn’t getting ahead of himself in the championship race, with 37 points on offer per weekend in 2023.

“Jorge was very good on the entrance of corner 14 and he did the overtake, but was a bit wide,” he said.

“I just tried to cross the line and be in front because it was very important to not allow him to be in the front, also because I was not expecting that his pace was like it was.

“It was very important to win the battle with him and it was so, so fun.

“For sure, 14 points are more than nothing or being behind.

“So, it’s not too much. If it was a normal season with one race [per weekend], it’s a good gap to manage. But, with 37 points each weekend, it’s a very small gap.”

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