Bezzecchi thinks “real” MotoGP title fight in 2023 doesn’t involve him

VR46 Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi believes “the real fight” in the 2023 MotoGP championship race does not involve him and is between Francesco Bagnaia and Jorge Martin.

Marco Bezzecchi, VR46 Racing Team

Reigning world champion Bagnaia has bled points since the Catalan Grand Prix, having started that race with a 66-point lead over Pramac’s Martin.

But a crash on lap one of the Catalan GP, which compromised his physical condition for the San Marino GP, and then another Sunday crash in India, has allowed Martin to close the gap to 13 points coming to this weekend’s Japanese GP.

A dominant third grand prix victory of the 2023 season for Bezzecchi in India means he is only 44 points adrift of Bagnaia with seven rounds remaining.

But for the time being, he does not consider himself a true championship challenger.

“Well, I am relaxed because at the moment the real fight is between them,” Bezzecchi said on Thursday at Motegi, referring to Martin and Bagnaia.

“I’m just running close to them, but never close enough.

“Of course, if I can be close until the end I will try my best to fight for it. This is normal. I would lie if I said ‘no [I wouldn’t]’.

“But at the moment I just want to enjoy weekend by weekend, try to stay close at least for three, four weekends more and then we will see.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Bagnaia’s rapid loss of points echoes the problems he had at the start of 2022, in which he ended up 91 points down in the title fight at the midway stage before ultimately overturning that gap.

But he feels the pressure of last year’s situation in trying to end Ducati’s 15-year title drought was much greater than what he is going through right now.

“I’m the prey. Right now, we are missing 14 races still,” he said of his title defence.

“So, I’m not thinking and I’m not feeling that I have more pressure on me. Last year was more intense, for sure.

“It was a title that we [Ducati] were missing for 15 years and the things were different.

“Right now I know perfectly that if everything is ok we can fight for the win, or if we are in a bad moment we can finish second or third.

“This is something very important for us and we have to just focus on being perfect, on doing what we know how to do and I think we can be competitive always.

“I’m not too worried about it right now, I don’t want to feel that pressure right now.”

From Martin’s perspective, he added: “I feel like I need to enjoy the moment because I feel I’m in the best moment of my career.

“So, just trying to enjoy that, making good results, trying to win races, trying to be in front in practices. I think this is the way and by enjoying the moment, the other things come.”

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