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Di Giannantonio wins Qatar MotoGP as Bagnaia closes in on title

Gresini Racing's Italian rider Fabio Di Giannantonio celebrates on the podium after winning the Moto GP Grand Prix of Qatar at the Lusail International Circuit, in the city of Lusail on 19 November 2023. (Photo by KARIM JAAFAR / AFP)

Fabio Di Giannantonio took his first MotoGP victory in Qatar on Sunday as Francesco Bagnaia survived a late scare to finish second while his only title rival Jorge Martin limped home 10th.

Defending champion Bagnaia swept into the lead from the start on his Ducati with only fellow Italian Di Giannantonio able to keep up. Bagnaia went off the track after the Ducati Gresini rider overtook with four laps to go, but recovered to finish second and build a 21-point lead over Martin.

Luca Marini was third on a VR46 Ducati.

Martin had cut Bagnaia’s lead in the standings to seven points by winning the sprint the day before. But in the main race, the Spaniard slipped to ninth after a bad start and struggled for pace throughout on his Ducati Pramac, eventually coming home 10th.

There is one event left this season, at Valencia next weekend, where Bagnaia could wrap up a second title in Saturday’s sprint race.

Di Giannantonio, who does not have a ride for next year, completed the best weekend of his MotoGP career after finishing second in the sprint race.

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