MotoGP 2018 – Round Seven – Catalunya
Jorge Lorenzo hammered home the victory for Ducati at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya in flawless style, taking the win by over four seconds, his second dominant victory in a row.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line second at his home Grand Prix to extend his Championship lead over Rossi to 27-points.
Catalunya MotoGP Race Report
Just like it was in Mugello, Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was all about Lorenzo.
This time, however, the number 99 didn’t get the perfect launch from pole position, with Marquez out-dragging the Ducati into the first corner and the number 93 taking the holeshot.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also made a great start, slotting into second place on the opening laps, with Lorenzo pushed back to third.
The Spaniard wasn’t there for long, however, keeping his composure to get past Iannone and Marquez to lead into Turn 1 on the second lap. From there, it was hammer time.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was also tucked up behind the number 93 in third, but the Italian then crashed out at Turn 5 on lap 9, his third DNF of the season and another massive dent in his title aspirations as he slips to equal seventh with Lorenzo, both Ducati men on 66-points.
Back on track, Lorenzo and Marquez had pulled the pin, with Rossi picking up third position, 3.2 seconds back.
The gap between the two Spaniards at the front remained just under a second but Lorenzo was imperious with a metronic series of 1m40.0s laps that Marquez had no answer for.
Jorge Lorenzo – P1
“Today’s win was really fantastic! We showed that we can win not only by entering the first turn in first place, but also by recovering and overtaking the others. It was actually a complicated race because I got off to a bad start and lost a lot of metres to Marquez, but I told myself that the race was long and I had to keep calm. It wasn’t too difficult to take Marc, because I had that little bit extra under braking, but he stayed pretty close to me right down to the flag. Now we’ve got a very competitive package and I think that this is the most complete Ducati bike of all time: both Dovi and I this weekend have always been competitive. We must capitalize on this situation because the Desmosedici works well at virtually every track, it doesn’t consume the tyres too much, and this is a big advantage. Now let’s enjoy this win and then we’ll think about the next race.”
Championship lead Marquez eventually crossed the line 4.479-seconds back from Lorenzo after backing his pace off in the closing laps.
Marc Marquez – P2
“Today was a race where we had to manage as best as possible and I tried to be smart. Of course in the first laps I pushed hard because it was important to follow Jorge and to open a gap on the chasers. When we built a comfortable advantage I just managed the pace. I even slowed down a bit in the final part of the race as it was impossible to catch Lorenzo. I saw many crashes, which made me think more than I did in other races. Sometimes the tyre choice you make doesn’t result in the exact feeling you were hoping for, but I think that second is very good for the Championship because we arrived here with a 23-point lead and go to Assen with 27. It’s time to understand how the situation is and try and manage it as best as possible. We made a mistake in Mugello and that had me thinking a lot. Of course, when you don’t win the feeling that you were missing something remains, but a podium is a good result! Maybe other challenging races will arrive but the good thing for us is that so far in every race we have been in good shape.”
Rossi was a lonely third at the chequered flag but put another podium finish in the bag to remain second in the standings.
Valentino Rossi – P3
“Yesterday, after the practice sessions, I saw that my rivals were a bit faster than I was. I was very close to the second group, but this morning we improved the settings with my team, together with Silvano, and then I had better turning and could go a bit faster. After that I wasn‘t far off, but unfortunately just not close enough. Later Dovi made a mistake and I arrived on the podium. I‘m happy because last year at this race track we struggled a lot – it was a disaster – while this year I was able to keep up the pace until the last lap, in a good way. These are also important points for the championship, because I’ve gained a small advantage to defend second place and we have to continue like this.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) enjoyed a fantastic ride to finish as top Independent Team rider in fourth. The Brit was locked in a battle with Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa in the latter stages of the race before getting the better of the Spaniard down into Turn 4 and Pedrosa rounded out the top five.
Maverick Viñales’ (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) opening lap woes continued, with the home rider finishing the first lap down in P10 after starting fourth. The Spaniard managed to salvage sixth at the flag, holding off Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with the two locked together throughout the race.
Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) crossed the line eighth, with fellow Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) seven-seconds further back in ninth.
Iannone slipped right back after a fantastic start, and the Italian rounded out the top ten. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) picking up his fourth straight P11 finish, with Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) the only other riders to finish the race in P12 and P13 respectively.
Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), after being as high as eighth on the opening laps, was taken out by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at Turn 5 on lap 14.
Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Sylvain Guintoli (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Tom Luthi (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing) also crashed out early in the race.
Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had a nasty crash on the exit of Turn 4 after it looked like he could earn a top ten finish.
Alex Rins’ (Team Suzuki Ecstar) difficult weekend continued in the race, the Spaniard retired on lap 12.
Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was another retirement on lap 18, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avinita Racing) having to leap off his Ducati after it caught fire heading into Turn 1 – rider ok.
It was another mesmerising display from five-time World Champion Lorenzo at the Catalan GP, who will be aiming for his third consecutive victory as the premier class head to the classic Assen circuit.
MotoGP 2018 – Round Seven – Catalunya – Results
- Jorge LORENZO Ducati Team 40’13.566
- Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team +4.479
- Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +6.098
- Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda CASTROL +9.805
- Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team +10.640
- Maverick VIÑALES Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +10.798
- Johann ZARCO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 +13.432
- Danilo PETRUCCI Alma Pramac Racing Ducati +15.055
- Alvaro BAUTISTA Angel Nieto Team Ducati +22.057
- Andrea IANNONE Team SUZUKI ECSTAR+24.141
- Pol ESPARGARO Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +36.560
- Scott REDDING Aprilia Racing Team Gresini +38.229
- Karel ABRAHAM Angel Nieto Team Ducati +1’21.526
- Franco MORBIDELLI EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 3 Laps
The MotoGP Championship
Marquez extended his Championship lead to 27-points, but Rossi remains his closest challenger – and the ‘Doctor’ has often been the master of the TT Circuit Assen.
Despite a lack-lustre start to the season Maverick Vinales has still been racking up points and lies third in the standings ahead of Zarco and leading Ducati contender Danilo Petrucci.
MotoGP World Championship Points
- Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 115
- Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 88
- Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha SPA 77
- Johann ZARCO Yamaha FRA 73
- Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati ITA 71
- Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda GBR 69
- Jorge LORENZO Ducati SPA 66
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 66
- Andrea IANNONE Suzuki ITA 66
- Jack MILLER Ducati AUS 49
- Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 40
- Alex RINS Suzuki SPA 33
- Pol ESPARGARO KTM SPA 28
- Tito RABAT Ducati SPA 27
- Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati SPA 26
- Franco MORBIDELLI Honda ITA 19
- Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha MAL 17
- Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia SPA 13
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda JPN 10
- Scott REDDING Aprilia GBR 9
- Bradley SMITH KTM GBR 7
- Mika KALLIO KTM FIN 6
- Karel ABRAHAM Ducati CZE 4
Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing) stormed to a stunning first Grand Prix victory at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya.
It was Quartararo’s first podium finish since Assen 2015 in Moto3, with the Frenchman finishing 2.492 seconds ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) after his dominant display.
Oliveira came through from P17 on the grid to his stunning P2 finish, with home rider and last year’s race winner Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking the final step on the podium in third.
It wasn’t the start the Frenchman would have wanted from pole position, dropping down to fourth on the opening lap as Marquez grabbed the holeshot going down into Turn 1, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) slotting in behind.
Oliveira again produced a lightning start to get into the top six on the first lap after starting 17th, and by lap 6 the Portuguese rider was shadowing Marquez in second.
The number 44 hit the front a lap later, but Quatararo was on the move. The double FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Champion passed Marquez into Turn 10, and set his sights on Oliveira, making his move at Turn 4 on lap 9 after the KTM rider ran slightly wide.
From there, it was an exhibition job for the 19-year-old. Quartararo was consistently the only rider to dip into the 1:43s, setting new lap records lap after lap to create a 2.2 second gap to Oliveira by lap 18.
Meanwhile, the second-place man had pulled away from Marquez, with the Spaniard holding off the chasing Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and the recovering teammate Schrötter, who ran wide at Turn 1 on lap 6 after setting the fastest lap of the race.
Quartararo took the checkered flag 2.492 seconds ahead, getting himself onto the top step of the podium for the first time since 2014. Marquez held off Schrötter to earn a home turf podium, and he now sits 20 points behind Bagnaia heading to Assen.
Vierge was a solid fifth at his home GP, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) holding off a late charge from Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) to finish 6th, the Italian 0.087 behind in 7th.
Championship leader Bagnaia had a disappointing day in eighth, seeing his overall standings lead cut to just one point over Oliveira.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) had a phenomenal ride in ninth after being forced to start from the back of the grid with a fuel pump issue, with teammate Iker Lecuona rounding out the top ten. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) picked up points again in P11, with Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) crossing the line 12th.
Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was a solid 13th, with replacement rider Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP 40) topping off a very good weekend in P14.
Hero of the day was undoubtedly Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), who returned to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after breaking two legs in a motocross accident – the Australian took the last point in P15.
“On one hand I am happy to be back racing and happy to show that both me and the team are able to fight in the points but on the other hand I am disappointed as I really felt I could have got 14th. I was struggling a bit but it’s good to get another World Championship point and I should be in much better shape for Assen. It was definitely a long hard race and I’m proud to have even finished given the injury. Big thanks to the team and to all of my supporters around the world who have sent so many encouraging messages during my recovery. On to Assen!”
Remy Gardner is now 17th in the championship with 15-points in his account.
Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) were big name fallers in the race.
Moto2 Race Results
- Fabio Quartararo (FRA) SPEED UP 38’22.059
- Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM +2.492
- Alex Márquez (SPA) KALEX +3.48
Moto2 Championship Points
- Francesco BAGNAIA Kalex ITA 119
- Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM POR 118
- Alex MARQUEZ Kalex SPA 94
- Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex ITA 93
- Xavi VIERGE Kalex SPA 70
- Joan MIR Kalex SPA 64
- Mattia PASINI Kalex ITA 58
- Brad BINDER KTM RSA 57
- Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex GER 50
- Fabio QUARTARARO Speed Up FRA 45
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) took his first victory since Motegi 2016 in a dramatic Moto3 race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrüstelGP) taking second by just 0.003 from Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), who secured his first Grand Prix podium and Argentina’s first GP podium since Sebastian Porto in 2005.
The lightweight class race in Barcelona was full of drama for two World Championship protagonists. Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) crashed out of the lead on lap 9 at Turn 9, and fellow Championship challenger Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was also involved in a crash – going down at Turn 5 on lap 16 after contact with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team), and Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) also involved in the incident.
Then, on lap 18 of 21, there was more drama as Jaume Masia (Besta Capital Dubai) collided with Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team) down into Turn 1.
Before the drama and back the start, Martin got the perfect getaway, taking the hole shot and immediately breaking away – with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) the only rider able to shadow the Spaniard. The gap was consistent at two seconds, but when the number 88 went down, Bastianini and co closed down Suzuki to create a leading group of 11 riders.
An almighty battle at the front developed, with John McPhee (CIP Green Power), Bastianini, Bezzecchi, Rodrigo and Suzuki the five riders left at the front in the final three laps. McPhee led over the line onto the final lap, but it was ‘The Beast’ who expertly slipstreamed his way to the front, with Rodrigo and Bezzecchi also getting past the Scot. Bastianini rode a flawless last lap to take a much-needed victory, with Championship leader Bezzecchi pipping Rodrigo on the line to grab second place. McPhee had to settle for fourth, but it’s his best result of the season so far.
Suzuki was an excellent fifth by the flag, with the top rookie another top performance from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) to grab sixth over the line, but was demoted two places for exceeding track limits, promoting Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) into P6 and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) picking up what looked like an impossible top ten finish in seventh – the Italian having dropped down to 26th on lap four after running wide at Turn 5.
Reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Champion Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) picked up his best result of the season in ninth, with wild card, current FIM CEV Repsol Moto3 Junior World Championship leader Raul Fernandez (Angel Nieto Team), getting a fantastic top ten finish.
Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider), Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) all crashed out – riders ok.
It was a breathless Moto3 race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Bezzecchi taking a substantial 23-point lead into Assen. Can Martin, Canet and Di Giannantonio bounce back in the Netherlands?
Moto3 Race Results
- Enea Bastianini (ITA) Honda 38’36.883
- Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) KTM +0.167
- Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG) Honda +0.170
Moto3 Championship Points
- Marco BEZZECCHI KTM ITA 103
- Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda ITA 84
- Jorge MARTIN Honda SPA 80
- Enea BASTIANINI Honda ITA 68
- Aron CANET Honda SPA 61
- Gabriel RODRIGO KTM ARG 57
- Andrea MIGNO KTM ITA 56
- Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda ITA 44
- Jakub KORNFEIL KTM CZE 41
- Marcos RAMIREZ KTM SPA 38