In the Qatar Airways Grand Prix of Qatar 2023, Fabio Di Giannantonio of Gresini Racing emerged victorious, outshining reigning champion Francesco Bagnaia at the Lusail International Circuit under the floodlights. Di Giannantonio secured his inaugural MotoGP win in a thrilling 22-lap race, where he strategically overtook Bagnaia with four laps remaining, marking a memorable triumph.
Bagnaia, facing a late challenge to regain the lead, ultimately finished as the runner-up. This secured his championship lead, extending it to 21 points over his title rival Jorge Martin. Unfortunately, Martin experienced a forgettable race, ending up in a season-worst 10th place.
Di Giannantonio, who secured second place in Saturday's sprint, demonstrated resilience by closely pursuing Bagnaia throughout the race, culminating in a successful campaign in Qatar. Expressing his elation, Di Giannantonio, who won't have a ride next season, stated, "It's been an incredible weekend. The race was unbelievable. I saw Pecco (Bagnaia) making little mistakes. This was revenge, first for myself, and others with me. Now we did it; now I'm a MotoGP winner."
Bagnaia, attempting to reclaim his top spot, went off the track but managed to secure second place. He reflected on the race, saying, "We managed to do a perfect start. I tried to create a gap, but Diggia [Di Giannantonio] was incredible. I got sucked into his slipstream at the first braking zone, and I went wide. But we've managed to open a gap on Jorge [Martin]." Bagnaia now eyes his second successive world crown at the season-ending Valencia Grand Prix.
Luca Marini claimed third place, continuing his strong performance at Lusail. Despite winning the sprint and narrowing Bagnaia's lead to seven points, Martin struggled in the Grand Prix, blaming a 'bad tire' for his challenging run. He remains hopeful for a comeback in Valencia, acknowledging the unpredictable nature of the championship.
The rider winning both the sprint and the main race in Valencia will earn 37 points. In other results, Maverick Vinales secured fourth place, followed by Brad Binder and Alex Marquez. Notably, Jaume Masia clinched the Moto3 world title, and Fermin Aldeguer won the Moto2 Grand Prix.
In a photo finish, Manuel Gonzalez outpaced Aron Canet on the all-Spanish podium, with Japan's Ai Ogura in fourth and British rider Jake Dixon in fifth. Pedro Acosta, who secured the title in Malaysia last week, finished in ninth place.