Pecco Bagnaia is the 2023 MotoGP Champion

November 26, 2023Ray Milton

The Valencia Grand prix was set to be a showdown that would see Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia and Jorge Martin fight until the the final lap to decide the 2023 world championship. However, that epic finish did no come as Jorge Martin and Marc Marquez came together and crashed on lap 5 of the 27 lap race. Martin was attempting to fight through the pack from P7 while maintaining a 1.8 second gap to Bagnaia who was failing to pull away from the pack.

However, due to what the stewards deemed as a racing incident Marquez made contact with the front wheel of Martin’s Ducati which resulted in Martin running off track and Marquez high siding ending any championship hopes Martin had with 22 laps to go in the race. The incident denied MotoGP fans the closing lap show down we all hoped for. Martin was visibly distraught after the incident.

The Aftermath

Martin was clearly disappointed but offered his congratulations to Bagnaia after the race. Marquez had the following words:

“Of course it was a super emotional Sunday, honestly a super emotional week and it was hard at some points to contain the feelings. Sadly, we didn’t finish the race today, I was feeling really strong today and I honestly think a podium was possible today and even maybe more. It wasn’t our mistake, and I don’t push against Martin because he was in attack mode. It happens when you’re fighting for a championship.

But the most important thing today is to remember all of the incredible times I have had with HRC and the Repsol Honda Team, they will be the team of my life. We have written an incredible story together and they have become more than just my team, they have become my friends and my family. Thank you for everything since 2013, I will not forget any of you.”

Bagania is a Three Time World Champion

Francesco Bagnaia automatically secured the championship on lap 5 when Martin crashed out of the race. However, he ended up with a win in the final race of the season making it 2 MotoGP championships in a row that followed his first in Moto2 in 2018. Bagnaia had the following words:

Francesco Bagnaia (#1, Ducati Lenovo Team)
“I’m super happy, more than this is impossible, also because we won the race so it’s fantastic. I want to say a big thanks to all the team, they did an amazing job, from Barcelona, it was quite tough for us, but we deserved this title more than anyone. I didn’t see anything behind me, I was thinking Jorge was still in the race, and I was quite scared about that…I just was thinking of winning the race because it was the best way to finish the season.”

KTM Drops the Ball

After being notified of Martin’s exit during the race via his team pit board; Bagnaia appeared to relax and settle in on the moment on track. What he did not realize is that he’d being finishing the race in first place after both KTMs made catastrophic mistakes out front. First it was Brad Binder who ran wide in turn 10 and had to take an escape lane leading to Binder losing multiple positions on lap 16. Then on lap 19 Jack Miller crashed out of the race after a low side in the same turn from the lead. KTM was visibly gutted after giving up a potential 1-2 with two individual mistakes. However, Binder was able to fight back to secure a P3 finish to salvage a consolation on the day. Binder and Miller had the following words after the race.

VALENCIA CIRCUIT RICARDO TORMO, SPAIN – NOVEMBER 24: Jack Miller, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing crash during the Valencia GP at Valencia Circuit Ricardo Tormo on Friday November 24, 2023 in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images)

Comments from the Binder and Miller

Brad Binder, 3rd: “A 3rd place is a 3rd place, even if we didn’t actually go to the podium! I gave away a couple of podiums this year, so I know it’s not fun. Anyway, quite cool to finish in 3rd after coming close. I took an un-needed Long Lap but did well to save the crash because the front tire had been cooling down. A tricky day. I tried to fight my way back through but had no rear tire left at the end. We won two Sprints this year but it would have been good to sign off with a main victory. We just need a little bit more in this off-season to fight. Thanks to all my crew. We’ve made a big step this year and there’s more to come.”

Jack Miller, DNF: “Not much to say. I didn’t do much different compared to the previous lap. I’d had a few moments with the front so decided to take it easy and not do anything too savage and, yeah, she just got away from me. It could have been an amazing result…but we’ll take stock and bounce back. It has been a year of firsts in many ways and a bittersweet way to end because it’s nice to know we have pace and we’re heading in the right direction. We have been working our butts off. The rider is just one small part because there is so much going on behind the scenes. It’s a battle to better a MotoGP during a season like this and with the small window. Everyone has worked tirelessly, so I thank them all for that.”

Full Valencia Grand Prix Result are Below

Final MotoGP World Standings