Inch-perfect Pedrosa unrivaled in 3000th race

08 May 2017

Repsol Honda rider makes history once again – with a first podium for Lorenzo at Ducati

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) took an impervious victory in his home Gran Premio Red Bull de España, storming away from his first pole position since Sepang 2015 and never looking back. The MotoGP™ race in Jerez was race number 3000 in the World Championship and one of the riders equal third on all-time podiums proved a fitting winner. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) made inroads in the points battle in second, ahead of a stunning home ride from another five-time World Champion – Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), sharing the podium with Pedrosa to keep the parity at 146 rostrum finishes apiece for the former nemeses.

Pedrosa got the holeshot from a great start off pole position, with Marquez slotting in behind ahead of an almighty tousle for third. LCR Honda rider Crutchlow was initially ahead of that battle – with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) warring Championship leader Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) once again until the flying Frenchman set off on a charge, taking bike after bike in now-signature style.

Arriving behind reigning Champion Marquez into third, the rookie held station for a lap as Lorenzo fought back in a tight midfield, getting past Rossi and then Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Zarco then took Marquez at the final corner, heading off after Pedrosa in the lead until the reigning Champion hit back.

Drama struck further back as Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) and Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) collided and slid out, before Cal Crutchlow then lowsided into the gravel at Criville – followed shortly by the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machine of Pol Espargaro. After a short tousle with Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also tumbled out with 17 laps to go.

The gap fluctuated at the front but Marquez was unable to make any real impression on Pedrosa’s lead, with the three-time World Champion pulling the pin in the final laps to cross the line in clear air for another stunning win – making it 16 years in a row the Spaniard has taken at least one victory in the World Championship.

Lorenzo had an incredible race on home soil for a first podium with Ducati, moving past Zarco after a positive weekend all round and pulling away to jubilation for the ‘Spartan’ as he pulled into parc ferme. Zarco took fourth in another scintillating performance for the reigning Moto2™ World Champion, ahead of an impressive fight back for Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) to get past Viñales after the Spaniard made a mistake.

Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) stormed back through from P13 on the grid to follow Viñales over the line, with Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) solid once again in the top ten to take eighth.

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was another who moved through the field, incredibly taking 2016 Jerez winner and Championship leader Valentino Rossi for ninth. The ‘Doctor’ found his pace in freefall in the latter laps of the race, struggling with tyre life in the hot temperatures to complete the top ten – but retaining the Championship lead.

Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing) had a much improved race in 2017 to take P11, ahead of Hector Barbera and teammate Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing). Bradley Smith took more points for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in P14 after an awesome show for the Austrian factory in Jerez, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) locking out the top fifteen.

After Pedrosa’s stunning domination on home turf, the Championship is game on in Le Mans with Rossi now two points clear of Viñales, Marquez just behind and Pedrosa now fourth in the standings – only ten points back.

MotoGP Race Results
1 – Dani Pedrosa (SPA – Honda) 45’26.827
2 – Marc Márquez (SPA – Honda) +6.136
3 – Jorge Lorenzo (SPA – Ducati) +14.767

1st Independent Team Rider:
Pos 4 – Johann Zarco (FRA – Yamaha) +17.601

Maiden Moto2™ win for Alex Marquez: ‘Pistolas’ shoots back

First intermediate class win for the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion – and in some style

Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took a stunning maiden win at the Spanish GP, crossing the line three and a half seconds clear of an impressive first intermediate class podium for Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46). The rider from Cervera was back on the top step for the first time since the Moto3™ race in Motegi in 2014, the year he took the lightweight class crown. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took another podium for KTM in third, as Championship leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) slid out of contention early on.

Marquez took the lead out of Turn 1 after a good start, with Morbidelli taking the apex first and then running a little wide – but it was an EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1-2 streaking away at the front as Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing), Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) squabbled for third – with Bagnaia then getting up into the fight.

There was drama soon after as Simone Corsi (Speed Up Racing) lost control and slid out, taking Vierge and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) out of contention with him – and the drama wasn’t over.

That incident left Pasini and Bagnaia fighting for third, ahead of Aegerter, Oliveira, Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) and an impressive start for Khairul Idham Pawi (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in the top ten – and a four second gap to the EG 0,0 Marc VDS pair up in the lead.

Back at the front, a small mistake from Marquez left Morbidelli to come through with 18 laps to go – before the unexpected suddenly hit the lead as the Championship leader slid out and Marquez found himself 4 and a half seconds ahead of Bagnaia on the chase. Keeping it calm and collected at the head of the race, the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion crossed the line in clear air to take his maiden Moto2™ win – and in front of the home crowd.

With the final laps approaching, Bagnaia had moved through into a more secure second to secure a stunning rookie podium, with Oliveira then hunting down Pasini to take third – the second rostrum for the KTM intermediate class chassis in four races. Veteran Italian Pasini crossed the line in fourth, ahead of Marini and Schrötter.

Dominique Aegerter followed up his top five in Texas with a seventh in Jerez, ahead of a good day in the points standings for Lüthi as the 2016 runner up came home eighth to cut some of the gap to Championship leader Franco Morbidelli.

Axel Pons (RW Racing GP) just lost ninth on the final lap to an impressive race from Yonny Hernandez (AGR Team), as the Colombian took a good points finish in the fourth race of the year.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Team) was eleventh ahead of rookie Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), with Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) in thirteenth ahead of a solid ride from Red Bull KTM Ajo’ Ricky Cardus, standing in for injured reigning Moto3™ World Champion Brad Binder. Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru SAG Team) locked out the points back on more familiar turf for the former FIM CEV Repsol Moto2™ frontrunner.

Le Mans now awaits as the Championship closes up – with Morbidelli looking for a comeback and Marquez fired up to stop him.

Moto2 Race Results
1 – Álex Márquez (SPA – Kalex) 43’24.350
2 – Francesco Bagnaia (ITA – Kalex) + 3.442
3 – Miguel Oliveira (PORKTM) + 4.958

Canet takes first win in final corner fireworks

EG 0,0 rider hits back after disappointment in Austin

Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) took his first ever Grand Prix win in his home Gran Premio Red Bull de España, with everything coming down to a three-rider battle in the final corner against Texas winner Romano Fenati (Marinello Rivacold Snipers) and Championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing). Canet’s move saw him go third to first in the “Jorge Lorenzo” corner on the final lap, holding onto it over the line in a tight win by only 0.031.

It was a classic Moto3™ contest under the Spanish sun, with a long lead group fighting it out from lights out. Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) got a great start from pole, before the early laps of the race saw the Platinum Bay Real Estate team of Marcos Ramirez and Darryn Binder emerge as the early superstars – heading the battle at the front in a stunning fight for the lead.

Pushing hard to stay in the fight for victory, the battle sadly ended early for Darryn Binder after attempting to go round the outside of Fenati and sliding out, although the South African remounted and kept up some impressive pace to end the race in P20. The payoff tasted better for teammate Ramirez, who stayed in contention for the podium until the final few corners of the last lap and crossed the line for an impressive fourth – a best ever for the rider and equaling the best result for the team.

After the first tousles at the front, an initial top group of twelve had become 10 as the laps ticked down – with the quartet of Fenati, Mir, Canet and Ramirez keeping a small gap back to a chasing group of Del Conca Gresini Moto3’s Fabio Di Giannantonio, Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Juanfran Guevara (RBA BOE Racing Team) and Sky Racing Team VR46 duo Andrea Migno and Nicolo Bulega.

By the flag it was ‘Diggia’ who took the honours in the group to finish fifth, ahead of Migno and an incredibly tight finish between Bulega and Bastianini. Jorge Martin crossed the line in ninth after struggling to find the same pace as his pole lap, with Guevara completing the top ten.

Bo Bendsneyder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took P11 in a lonely ride by the flag, fighting through the second freight train and then able to pull away. John McPhee (British Talent Team) staged a stunning comeback from P25 on the grid to get up into twelfth, before then suffering a crash in Turn 1 and retiring from the race.

Jules Danilo (Marinello Rivacold Snipers) bested Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOA Racing Team) by only 0.07 over the line for P12, ahead of some well-earned points for Mahindra Northgate Aspar rider Albert Arenas after a solid weekend from the Spaniard.

Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team) was top rookie once again, and in the points in P15 – with track knowledge now beginning to pay off for the Japanese Asia Talent Cup and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner.

Next stop? Le Mans, another classic venue and another awesome Moto3™ showdown – with Mir still leading the Championship and Fenati closing in.

Moto3 Race Results
1 – Aron Canet (SPA – Honda) 41’25.706
2 – Romano Fenati (ITA – Honda) +0.031
3 – Joan Mir (SPA – Honda) +0.155

Photos courtesy of motogp.com