MotoGP 2013 – Round Six – Catalunya – Lorenzo gets the hammer down for Catalunya victory

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has won the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya for the third time in four years, beating Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez on Sunday afternoon. Valentino Rossi rode a lonely race to fourth position while as many as eight riders retired, including Cal Crutchlow who crashed out on the sixth lap.

Two weeks ago, Lorenzo had sealed his second victory of the campaign in Italy, and he now becomes the first rider to win three times in 2013, moving to within seven points of championship-leading Pedrosa. This afternoon, the Mallorcan made the most of the battling Hondas to pull out a lead of over one second with four laps to go.

As he rode to victory, Pedrosa was forced to fight a rear-guard action even though Marquez had almost removed himself from the race on the penultimate lap. Heading into Turn 4 on the 24th of the 25 tours, Marquez suffered a significant scare and came perilously close to losing the front end of his bike. He would go on to reduce a six-tenth of a second margin to finish the race just six hundredths behind Pedrosa, although the key to his day had been a strong getaway from sixth on the grid.

Taking advantage of the dramas in front of him – such as accidents for Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, going out in separate solo incidents on the tenth lap – Stefan Bradl enjoyed a second consecutive top five finish as Tech 3’s Bradley Smith celebrated a personal best result of sixth.

The leading CRT rider for the sixth time in as many Grand Prix this season, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro, finished eighth for the second race in a row, while GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista was upset to have crashed on the opening lap following a near-miss with Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha.

Also in the gravel at the La Caixa corner were PBM’s Michael Laverty and Ignite Pramac Racing’s Michele Pirro, although the Italian went on to finish tenth. The high attrition allowed an assortment of riders to enjoy their best races of the season, including Australian newcomer Bryan Staring who finished 14th to score the first points for the Gresini CRT bike. Scoring on his debut was Avintia Blusens’ Javier del Amor, substituting for Hiroshi Aoyama who injured a finger in a crash on Saturday.

The majority of the MotoGP grid will stay on for a one-day test tomorrow at the Montmelo circuit.

MotoGP™ Race Classification
1 Jorge Lorenzo 43’06.479 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
2 Dani Pedrosa +1.763 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Marc Marquez +1.826 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino Rossi +5.874 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Stefan Bradl +26.756 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
6 Bradley Smith +32.228 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Andrea Dovizioso +32.692 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Aleix Espargaro +58.615 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
9 Colin Edwards +1’03.142 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
10 Michele Pirro +1’09.774 ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
11 Danilo Petrucci +1’24.377 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
12 Claudio Corti +1’33.679 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
13 Yonny Hernandez +1’45.355 COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
14 Bryan Staring +1’50.745 AUS FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
15 Javier Del Amor +1 lap SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Lukas Pesek +1 lap CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
17 Hector Barbera DNF SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
18 Karel Abraham DNF CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
19 Cal Crutchlow DNF GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
20 Nicky Hayden DNF USA DUCATI Ducati Team
21 Andrea Iannone DNF ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
22 Randy De Puniet DNF FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
23 Alvaro Bautista DNF SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
24 Michael Laverty DNF GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport

Championship standings
1 Dani Pedrosa 123 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 116 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Marc Marquez 93 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Cal Crutchlow 71 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Valentino Rossi 60 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
6 Andrea Dovizioso 59 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Nicky Hayden 45 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
8 Stefan Bradl 41 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Alvaro Bautista 38 pts SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
10 Aleix Espargaro 36 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Bradley Smith 34 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
12 Michele Pirro 28 pts ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
13 Andrea Iannone 21 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
14 Danilo Petrucci 13 pts ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
15 Hector Barbera 13 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
16 Randy De Puniet 11 pts FRA ART Power Electronics Aspar
17 Colin Edwards 10 pts USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
19 Yonny Hernandez 6 pts COL PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
20 Claudio Corti 4 pts ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
21 Michael Laverty 3 pts GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
22 Bryan Staring 2 pts AUS FTR Go & Fun Honda Gresini
23 Karel Abraham 2 pts CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing
24 Javier Del Amor 1 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
25 Hiroshi Aoyama 1 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
26 Lukas Pesek 0 pts CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
27 Blake Young 0 pts USA APR CRT Attack Performance

Pole Position: Dani PEDROSA 1’40.893 168.6 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’42.552 165.9 Km/h Lap 3
Circuit Record Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1’42.358 166.2 Km/h 2008
Circuit Best Lap: Dani PEDROSA 1’40.893 168.6 Km/h 2013

–  Moto 2

Pol Espargaro has claimed his second victory of the Moto2™ campaign, winning Sunday’s Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya after fending off teammate Esteve Rabat. In third place, Tom Luthi returned to the podium for the first time since Brno 2012.

It was a race of high attrition in which 11 of the 34 starters failed to make the finish on another warm afternoon in Catalunya. On Saturday, Espargaro had taken pole position and was only headed this afternoon when he allowed Tuenti HP 40 teammate Rabat through, only to retake the lead on Lap 17. Rabat mounted a strong attack on the final lap and would be less than one tenth of a second behind at the finish line.

Several riders ran into trouble, not least Blusens Avintia’s Toni Elias who was caught up in drama at the first corner. It was also a disappointing conclusion for Dynavolt Intact GP’s reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese, who pitted after going off at Turn 10, suffering from when Elias had collided with him, and Jordi Torres, who crashed his Aspar Team Moto2 bike out of the race in the middle of the first chicane on the 18th of the 23 laps.

Having demonstrated strong form in practice, Luthi was thrilled to claim his first podium finish of the season for Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing, despite being yet to fully recover from injuries sustained in a Valencia pre-season testing accident. Scott Redding maintains his championship lead courtesy of fourth place for Marc VDS Racing Team, with Takaaki Nakagami fifth for Italtrans Racing Team.

The top ten was completed by Technomag carXpert’s Randy Krummenacher, Came IodaRacing Project’s Johann Zarco, Krummenacher’s teammate Dominique Aegerter, Marc VDS’ Mika Kallio and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Simone Corsi.

Moto2™ Race Classification
1 / Pol ESPARGARO / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 41’17.307 / 157.9 /
2 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 41’17.388 / 157.9 / 0.081
3 / Thomas LUTHI / SWI / Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Rac / SUTER / 41’23.571 / 157.5 / 6.264
4 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 41’26.368 / 157.4 / 9.061
5 / Takaaki NAKAGAMI / JPN / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 41’27.904 / 157.3 / 10.597
6 / Randy KRUMMENACHE / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 41’28.884 / 157.2 / 11.577
7 / Johann ZARCO / FRA / Came Iodaracing Project / SUTER / 41’32.876 / 157 / 15.569
8 / Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 41’45.587 / 156.2 / 28.28
9 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 41’45.659 / 156.2 / 28.352
10 / Simone CORSI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 41’45.768 / 156.1 / 28.461
11 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 41’46.199 / 156.1 / 28.892
12 / Mike DI MEGLIO / FRA / JiR Moto2 / MOTOBI / 41’48.522 / 156 / 31.215
13 / Danny KENT / GBR / Tech 3 / TECH 3 / 41’48.625 / 156 / 31.318
14 / Axel PONS / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 41’49.064 / 155.9 / 31.757
15 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 41’50.497 / 155.9 / 33.19

Pole Position: Pol ESPARGARO 1’46.410 159.9 Km/h
Fastest Lap: Thomas LUTHI 1’46.960 159.0 Km/h Lap 5
Circuit Record Lap: Thomas LUTHI 1’46.631 159.5 Km/h 2012
Circuit Best Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’46.187 160.2 Km/h 2012

CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS TILL DATE:
1 REDDING 114, 2 ESPARGARO 79, 3 RABAT 75, 4 KALLIO 65, 5 AEGERTER 61, 6 TEROL 58, 7 ZARCO 53, 8 NAKAGAMI 40, 9 SIMEON 35, 10 CORSI 30, 11 DE ANGELIS 30, 12 LUTHI 28, 13 TORRES 26, 14 PASINI 23, 15 WEST 20.

–  Moto3

Luis Salom has won the Moto3™ Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya to take the lead in the World Championship. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider carried out a well-judged race, saving tyres before hitting the front in the closing stages. Alex Rins and Maverick Viñales completed the podium as the top five places were filled by Spaniards.

Salom’s second consecutive victory makes him the first rider to have won three races so far in 2013, also continuing his 100% podium record which helps him move ahead in the standings. In the opening stages he ran at the back of the front group to conserve his Dunlops, but elected to move ahead six laps from home and promptly pulled out enough of an advantage.

The race featured several leaders early on, including Estrella Galicia duo Rins and Alex Marquez as well as Team Calvo’s Viñales. Heading into the final two laps, Marquez and Mahindra Racing’s returning Efren Vazquez fell back which ensured a three-rider fight at the front; despite the best efforts of Viñales in the stadium section at the end of the lap, Salom had pulled out enough of a cushion on the back straight.

Behind what was the leading group for much of the afternoon, Miguel Oliveira rode the second Mahindra to sixth place as Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller finished seventh after running as high as third. The top ten was completed by Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou and Salom’s teammates Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Arthur Sissis. In 15th place, San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati finished in the points for the third time this year.

Six riders failed to make the finish. GO&FUN Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli made a mistake at Turn 4 whereas Marc VDS Racing Team’s Livio Loi and Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil collided at Turn 5, taking the former out of the race before the latter pulled into the pits several laps later. Loi was taken to hospital later for preliminary checks after suffering concussion. Three riders were removed in a multiple collision into the stadium section on the opening lap, as contact between RW Racing GP’s Jasper Iwema and Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo saw the pair collect Kiefer Racing’s Toni Finsterbusch who was approaching on the outside line.

Arthur Sissis – “The first few laps, with fresh tires, were tricky. I did not have the good feeling I had yesterday in the qualifying session and I could not push to stay with the leading group. I was left in the second group, where there was a great battle. That is why it was difficult to keep up with the pace. In the end I tried to do my best I could and we finished tenth. It is a very good position compared with the last few races, so we will continue on this path and fight to be closer to the first group.”

Moto3™ Race Classification
1 / Luis SALOM / SPA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 41’15.331 / 151.2 /
2 / Alex RINS / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 41’15.542 / 151.2 / 0.211
3 / Maverick VIÑALES / SPA / Team Calvo / KTM / 41’15.965 / 151.2 / 0.634
4 / Alex MARQUEZ / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 41’19.324 / 151 / 3.993
5 / Efren VAZQUEZ / SPA / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 41’21.574 / 150.8 / 6.243
6 / Miguel OLIVEIRA / POR / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 41’24.626 / 150.6 / 9.295
7 / Jack MILLER / AUS / Caretta Technology – RTG / FTR HONDA / 41’28.495 / 150.4 / 13.164
8 / Alexis MASBOU / FRA / Ongetta-Rivacold / FTR HONDA / 41’36.505 / 149.9 / 21.174
9 / Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN / MAL / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 41’36.571 / 149.9 / 21.24
10 / Arthur SISSIS / AUS / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 41’36.929 / 149.9 / 21.598
11 / Isaac VIÑALES / SPA / Ongetta-Centro Seta / FTR HONDA / 41’37.057 / 149.9 / 21.726
12 / Brad BINDER / RSA / Ambrogio Racing / SUTER HONDA / 41’37.087 / 149.9 / 21.756
13 / Alan TECHER / FRA / CIP Moto3 / TSR HONDA / 41’37.159 / 149.9 / 21.828
14 / Danny WEBB / GBR / Ambrogio Racing / SUTER HONDA / 41’37.210 / 149.9 / 21.879
15 / Romano FENATI / ITA / San Carlo Team Italia / FTR HONDA / 41’37.402 / 149.9 / 22.071

Pole Position: Luis SALOM 1’50.782 153.6 Km/h
Fastest Lap (New record): Maverick VIÑALES 1’51.475 152.6 Km/h Lap 20
Old Circuit Record Lap: Alex MARQUEZ 1’52.583 151.1 Km/h 2012
Circuit Best Lap: Luis SALOM 1’50.782 153.6 Km/h 2013

CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS TILL DATE:
1 SALOM 127, 2 VIÑALES 122, 3 RINS 101, 4 FOLGER 63, 5 MARQUEZ 48, 6 OLIVEIRA 43, 7 KHAIRUDDIN 40, 8 BINDER 38, 9 MASBOU 35, 10 MILLER 29, 11 KORNFEIL 27, 12 VAZQUEZ 27, 13 AJO 26, 14 SISSIS 25, 15 FENATI 18.

NEXT EVENT: ROUND06, JUNE 29, ASSEN, GRAND PRIX OF THE NETHERLANDS

– Yamaha Report

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo delivered a perfect performance today in the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya to take his second consecutive Grand Prix victory, his third of the 2013 season. A scorching start from third on the grid saw the local hero pass pole man Dani Pedrosa almost immediately for the hole shot into turn one. A classic Lorenzo master class followed with the reigning world champion maintaining a metronome precision over race distance to keep the two following Hondas of Pedrosa and Marc Marquez behind. The result closes the gap at the top of the championship standings with Lorenzo now on 116 points, just seven behind leader Pedrosa as they head for the Dutch TT in Assen in two weeks time.

Teammate Valentino Rossi made a good start on his YZR-M1, jumping two places to hold fifth going into turn one. The nine-time champion looked comfortable behind fellow Yamaha rider Cal Crutchlow until the young Brit crashed out, promoting Rossi to fourth. By this time a small gap had grown to the front three riders and despite at times lapping faster than the front he was unable to close the gap, riding a relatively lonely race to fourth at the line. The result gives Rossi 13 points and closes the gap to Crutchlow in fourth to just 11 points.

Jorge Lorenzo 1st
“A perfect day, to be honest I didn’t expect to win, I knew I had some chance but not like in Mugello where I was more convinced we could get the victory. It was really difficult physically as it was the hottest race of the year. I kept pushing 100% all race because any mistake would have been a disaster. I was surprised at the start as I expected to just pass Cal but I passed Dani also. I took profit from it and tried to open the gap but it was not enough to go away, Dani was there and we played some games, I was 0.5 ahead then 0.2; I was going then he was recovering me. Finally because I was tough mentally and never gave up I could open in the last five laps a little gap that was enough to win. The girl who designed my helmet, Anna Vives, is famous in Spain; she is a symbol that people with Down syndrome are capable of a lot more than some people think. I think it was very original and colourful so I was very proud and happy to have her on the podium to share the win with me.”

Valentino Rossi 4th
“We wanted to try and arrive on the podium, but anyway it was quite a good race. Race by race, apart form the unlucky times, especially like Mugello, we grow up and I am able to ride the bike in a better way. We still have some challenges, especially in the first part of the race where I still don’t have the right setting to push to the maximum. After some laps my pace was not so bad and we were not so far from the top guys. We did a good job and we will now go for two days of testing where we will try to improve further. We don’t give up, we will make another step and we will not be so far from the front.”

Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A fantastic day here in Barcelona, I think maybe one of his best races ever, maybe not the fastest as the circumstances were not good and the lap times were slow, but to ride on the limit every lap and push as he did to keep a little gap to Dani and Marc is very impressive. I’m very happy for the team and also Vale finished with good points which is good. The championship is close, there was a lot to lose and a little bit to win today, the five points extra we got are important. It’s always important to beat your competitors but it’s not always possible. Mugello and Catalunya are very smooth tracks and fit our bike quite well and Jorge loves them. For sure we will get some tracks where we struggle a bit more. We must think ahead, this one is done and there are still 12 races to go.”

Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Another super performance from Jorge. He has been really impressive. I think the whole team did a really good job as they were able to close the gap, improving the bike overnight as yesterday we really suffered in hot conditions compared to our competitors. He couldn’t have done better so compliments to him and his crew. For me Vale has done his best race after Qatar. His feeling is getting better and he is getting closer. I think the circumstances were very difficult today, really hot conditions and a big lack of grip. For me we closed the weekend in a really good way. After the race we have revised the test plan, due to the weather forecast. After internal discussion we have decided to stay here at Catalunya tomorrow and to test at Aragon on Wednesday only. We will test a few things for the frame to try and improve it; let’s see what we can prepare for Assen.”

Super sixth for Smith, Crutchlow falls in Catalunya

The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team experienced a day of contrasting fortunes at the Gran Premi Aperol de Catalunya this afternoon, the highlight of the 25-lap race a stunning career best sixth place finish for rookie Bradley Smith. Smith’s joy at his first top six in MotoGP was countered though by a disappointing afternoon for on form Cal Crutchlow, who saw his quest for a record-breaking third successive podium ended when he fell unhurt out of fourth on lap six. Smith’s weekend ended on a positive note after the 22-year-old bounced back superbly from a heavy crash on Friday, which followed two nasty falls during the previous round in Mugello. Nursing a badly damaged little finger and fractured bone in his left wrist after the Mugello crashes, Smith brushed aside the pain and discomfort this weekend and he needed only three laps in baking hot conditions to move into the top 10. With a track temperature nudging a sizzling 52 degrees, tyre management became a critical factor on the slippery surface. Smith coped with the tricky track conditions more like a seasoned campaigner than a rookie and his maiden top six was secured when he passed Andrea Dovizioso on lap 23, having recovered a gap to the Italian that was over four seconds at one stage.

Cal Crutchlow’s incredible run of form ended in the early stages when he fell out of fourth while in pursuit of Spanish trio Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez. Seeking to add to his brilliant top three finishes in Le Mans and Mugello, the 27-year-old had further raised expectations when he topped the timesheets in this morning’s warm-up session. The British rider still remains in fourth position in the World Championship standings on 71-points and he is confident he will be back in the podium hunt at the next race in Assen.

Bradley Smith 6th
“Obviously today was a much more positive result for me, even if sixth position looks a bit better than it really is. But at the end you have to finish the race to score the points and I did that in difficult conditions while not at my 100% physical best. So it is a great result for the team and me. I really focused on the first eight laps trying not to make any mistakes and trying to stay as close to Dovizioso and (Stefan) Bradl because I knew they should have been more or less on the same race pace as me. I tried to attack Espargaro as quick as possible so I didn’t lose too much time and I managed that. Finally to be in a fight with Andrea towards the closing laps of the race, knowing that he has been always very strong during this part of the race, was obviously something special and makes me feel proud. And to finish 32 seconds behind the winner is another great step and I just want to continue like this until the summer break. My team did a fantastic job to help me on the YZR-M1 and we really turned around a difficult Friday to have a great result on Sunday and that makes me really happy.”

Cal Crutchlow DNF
“Obviously I am disappointed that a great weekend ended with a crash and I have to hold my hands up and say it was a stupid mistake on my part. Like last season and again in the first few races of 2013, I have been struggling to stop the bike in the early laps with a full fuel load. I was giving it my all to stay in the battle with the top three and unfortunately I hit the kerb on the inside and crashed. It was a silly mistake and I am sorry to the team because I am confident I could have stayed in the fight for the podium right to the end. We have got to understand why we don’t have so much grip at the start of the race but I can take some big positives out of the weekend again. I was on the front row, I was fastest in the warm-up and I was battling for the podium in the race. Now we can go to Assen confident that I will have good speed and be in the rostrum fight again.”

– HRC Report

Local stars Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished second and third in this afternoon’s Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya, a race run in sweltering conditions that turned into something of an exercise in tyre management.

The team-mates chased Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) throughout, spending most of the 25 laps less than half a second behind the reigning World Champion, who stretched his advantage in the final few laps to win by just 1.7 seconds.

Pedrosa’s second successive runner-up result – following wins at Jerez and Le Mans – means he retains the World Championship lead, with a seven-point advantage over Lorenzo at one-third distance in the 18-round series.

Pedrosa started his 200th Grand Prix from pole position, also for the second race in a row, but was edged out in the race to the first corner by Lorenzo, with MotoGP rookie Marquez slotting into third after an excellent start from the second row of the grid. The trio stayed in those positions throughout, but they were so close, with the gaps changing by tenths or even hundredths of a second each lap, that the tension remained.

In the early stages Pedrosa was comfortable running Lorenzo’s pace but when he tried to step up his rhythm to attack he found himself on the limit with front grip. So he waited patiently for the fuel load to go down to ease the issue but he never had enough speed into the corners to try for the lead, even though he altered his position on the bike to ease the load on the front tyre.

Then in the closing stages Marquez – who had set the fastest lap of the race on lap three – began to challenge his team-mate for second. The reigning Moto2 champ came closest to getting past with two laps to go, when he got inside Pedrosa at Turn Four, only to suffer a major front-end moment. He performed a miracle to stay on and even then didn’t give up the chase, crossing the line a mere 0.063 seconds down on Pedrosa.

Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) backed up his fourth-place finish at Mugello – a result that equalled his career-best in the premier class – with a good ride to fifth. He spent much of the race riding with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), whom he beat at Mugello after a fearsome end-of-race encounter.

MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was happy to score his first points in the championship, with a 14th place finish in tricky conditions.

Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) had another bitterly disappointing day, sliding off at Turn Ten on the first lap after losing the front. He was challenging Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) at the time. Two weeks ago at Mugello the Spaniard and the Italian both crashed out after colliding on the first lap of the race.

Bautista was far from the only man to hit the gravel today. The baking hot conditions caused grip worries for many riders after the first few laps. In all, seven of the 24 starters crashed out.

Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) reignited his challenge for the 2013 Moto2 title with his first win since Qatar in the Honda-powered championship. The local – born just eight kilometres from the circuit – dominated the race, riding in team formation with team-mate Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex).

Espargaro attributed his return to form to a fruitful post-race test at Mugello, where he improved his feeling for his bike and Dunlop’s 2013 tyres. Today he led from pole, let his team-mate through shortly after half-distance, followed him for a while and then surged ahead once more. Rabat never gave up, closing onto the leader’s rear wheel at the start of the final lap, but he was unable to find a way past before the flag. Espargaro’s second win of the year moved him from fifth to second in the points standings, just ahead of Rabat and 35 points behind series leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who finished fourth today

Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter) filled the last place on the podium and the Swiss was delighted with the result, his first top-three finish since he returned from breaking an arm during preseason testing. At one point Luthi looked like he might be able to run with Espargaro and Rabat, but in the end he had to settle for a comfortable third, some way ahead of Redding.

Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) took the flag in fifth spot after fending off a strong challenge from Randy Krummenacher (Technomag carXpert Suter). Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) finished seventh.

Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) won a frantic contest for eighth place which at one point included seven riders. He beat Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) by less than a tenth of a second. Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) and Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) were next up, with just six tenths covering eighth to 11th.

Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) rode a heroic Moto3 race, spending the early laps battling in the midst of the lead group, at one point working his way through to second spot. But as the race wore on and engine temperatures rose, the hard-charging Australian slipped back to seventh, his second best result of the year so far. He finished sixth in April’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) also rode a strong race, winning a breathtaking nine-man dogfight for eighth. The group battled together for much of the race, often four or five abreast as they hit the brakes at the end of Catalunya’s long start/finish straight. The Frenchman crossed the line at the head of the group, followed closely by seven more Honda riders. Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda), Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda), Danny Webb (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda), Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), Alessandro Tonucci (Team La Fonte Tasca Racing Honda) and Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) filled 11th to 17th positions at the end of the race.

MotoGP riders now have a busy few days of testing here at Catalunya and then at Motorland Aragon. The racing continues in two weeks with the Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday 29 June.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 2nd
“Today was a bit of a strange race. We could not get maximum performance and physically it was very hard, because of the heat of the bike and the tyres. When I tried to open the throttle the bike wobbled in the front and I had to be very careful. We three frontrunners were battling the track conditions today. It was a bit disappointing not to be able to push more, since the differences between us all was minimal. We rode practically the entire race without any overtaking. It was very easy to make a mistake and, in fact, in the closing laps, Marc [Marquez] made one and I had a slide, but in the end we were able to take a very important second place. We expected to do better after yesterday, but we now have an extra twenty points and we continue to lead the standings.”

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“It was a difficult race. We expected it to be tough, but we never imagined that we would be fighting for the podium with Jorge [Lorenzo] and Dani [Pedrosa] and I’m very happy with this result! It gives us confidence after a slightly tricky weekend, as in the end we found the ideal set-up. During the race I learned a lot from riding behind Dani, trying to figure out how to ride a MotoGP bike at this track, and in the end we did quite well. We knew it would be difficult to finish in the top five, but we managed to get on the podium. I can only say I’m thrilled with the result. Now we look to Assen and we’ll see if we can improve anything for that race during the test at Aragon.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th
“Honestly we thought it was going to be tough to get such a good result, so we are very happy about this fifth place. It was a very tough race in hot conditions and I had to be very clever to save the tyres every single lap. Some riders crashed in the early stages, so I decided to be less aggressive in the beginning. I am quite satisfied about my performance because I was capable of adapting to these difficult conditions. This strategy gave me a lot of confidence and a big gap to the guys behind me. Tomorrow we will be back on track for a half-day test here and then two days at Aragon.”

Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: DNF
“It is such a shame. We have had a great weekend and this was the last thing we needed. After the start I felt like the guys in front of me were holding me up and in an effort to stay with the lead group I tried to get past them and I crashed. Maybe with a hard tyre on the front I could have been a bit more careful but I was worried about losing touch and I went for it. In hindsight it would have been better to wait but in racing these things happen. I feel sorry for the team because they have done a great job here and I want to apologise to all the guys, who are giving 100% and deserve a different result. Now we just have to look forward to the next race and try to stay calm.”

Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 14th
“I scored my first World Championship points today but I am still not particularly happy because I would have liked to do it more on the front foot. It wasn’t an easy race because of the conditions and I was able to improve my pace from qualifying so that’s good but I’m still not happy to be honest. Anyway, we have to take the positives and try to learn from this experience in the future.”

Moto2 rider quotes
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP40 Pons: race winner
“You can imagine how it felt for me yesterday to get pole for my home race, because I knew it was so important for me to recover my confidence in the motorcycle. Also, to be on pole gave me extra power and energy. Today was one of the best rides of my life – I’ve never won a Grand Prix here at my home track and it’s been a dream of mine since I was a child. Now we need to continue working to recover some more points on Scott.”

Esteve Rabat, Tuenti HP 40 Pons: 2nd
“Congratulations to Pol and also thanks to our team, they did a great job here. The weekend was very difficult to begin with because we had some little set-up problems that we only began to solve yesterday afternoon, when I began to find my rhythm, and again in warm-up. In the race Pol was stronger than me. I tried to stay with him and I pushed to my maximum. At the end he pushed even harder and I pushed again but on the last lap it was impossible to pass him. I’m happy though, I rode an intelligent race.”

Thomas Luthi, Interwetten Paddock: 3rd
“It’s been tough since I broke an arm before the start of the season. Now I’m so happy and third place feels like a victory after the time I’ve had. I want to thanks my team for all their support during these last months. I don’t feel like this is a peak for us, I hope it’s just the start of some good results. I could stay with the leaders for a while but then they were faster out of the corners and I had no chance to fight for victory. From half-distance I was fighting more with my arm.”

Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Jack Miller, Caretta Technology – RTG: 7th
“The first nine laps were good, then the engine got too hot and we lost some power. It was a shame because my tyres stayed good and the bike was tracking awesome through the corners. I was quicker through the corners than the other guys in the lead group so I thought I’d murder the tyres, but they were good all the way through.”

Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 8th
“The race was really good, a lot of fun! All the time I kept making it to the front of the second group because I wanted to catch the first group, but it was too difficult without a slipstream. My problem was the start. I qualified tenth but my first lap wasn’t good, I wasn’t in the right place.”

Isaac Vinales, Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta: 11th
“I am very happy with the work we have done this weekend. Today’s race was tough because the pace of riders between eighth and 15th was, so any mistake lost you several positions. I rode at a good pace and I felt very comfortable on the bike. We found a good set-up and the chassis was fine. A top ten is not bad because I got more points and I’m happy because I feel I’m improving in each race.”

– Ducati Report

In a Catalan Grand Prix that was marked by sweltering, slippery conditions that contributed to no fewer than ten riders failing to finish and several others taking off-track excursions, Ducati Team racer Andrea Dovizioso was forced to ride in defence mode on his way to seventh place aboard his Desmosedici GP13. Teammate Nicky Hayden, meanwhile, experienced a premature end to what had otherwise been a promising weekend, as he crashed out on the sixth lap.

Having started from the ninth slot on the grid, Dovizioso was mired in the pack early on, and although he had some nice battles with Stefan Bradl and Bradley Smith, his bike lost grip as the race went on, forcing him to settle for seventh place. His American teammate lost a few positions just off the start but rode well as he made the passes to regain his fifth-place starting position. Unfortunately, a lap-six mistake on corner entry resulted in a race-ending fall.

The Ducati Team will remain in Barcelona tomorrow for the post-race IRTA test.

Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 7th
“We knew it was going to be difficult on this track, due to the layout and the bike’s pumping, but it was worse than we thought. I really didn’t think I’d do such slow lap times, but with the heat, the performance became worse and worse every lap as we lost grip. It’s just more confirmation that we’re still a long way back, and that we have a lot more work to do.”

Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, NC
“It’s such a disappointment because until the crash, it had been my best weekend of the year so far. I got a pretty good jump on the start, but some guys overtook me going to turn one. I had to make a few passes, but once I got into fifth I thought I had the grip to do a solid race. Unfortunately, I went into a corner a bit deep, stayed on the brake too long, and went down. It was my fault, especially with the track being so hot and greasy, and I apologize to the team because they had given me a bike that was working pretty well. There’s nothing to do but take it on the chin and try to shake it off.”

Bernhard Gobmeier – Ducati Corse General Manager
“It was a weekend to forget, with a crash for Nicky, who until then had enjoyed a fairly good feeling with the bike and shown good results in practice and qualifying. It was a big disappointment when he crashed in the same corner where many other riders went down. As for Dovizioso, he had a solid race until mid-distance, but he suffered a tremendous loss of grip, with blistering on the rear tyre. We didn’t expect too much from Catalunya, as it hasn’t been our best track in the recent past, but we certainly wish we had done better. We’re looking forward to the IRTA test tomorrow, when we’ll try some new things and see if they’ll help us improve on a track that’s so tough for our bike.”

– Bridgestone Report

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 31-32°C; Track 55-57°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo made it back-to-back MotoGP™ victories after a masterful display in sweltering conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Lorenzo got a great start to lead into the first corner and then kept his cool in the extremely hot conditions to break the resolve of the pursuing Repsol Honda of Dani Pedrosa with a few laps remaining. Lorenzo took the chequered flag 1.763 seconds ahead of Pedrosa, while Marc Marquez ensured two Repsol Honda riders on the podium by crossing the finish line less than a tenth of a second behind his teammate in third place. At his home circuit, Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the highest-placed CRT rider, finishing in eighth position for the second consecutive race.

Extremely hot weather prevailed today resulting in a track temperature during the race of 57°C. Grip levels in the scorching conditions were reduced, so the majority of riders selected softer rear slicks to have the maximum amount of grip from the edge of the tyre for the many long corners at this circuit. Front tyre choice was almost constant across the grid, with only one rider selecting the soft option, medium compound front slick for today’s twenty-five lap contest. The harder front slick provided greater stability under braking and cornering, though at a slight expense to grip from the edge of the tyre when the rider is at their maximum lean angle.

Lorenzo’s victory and corresponding twenty-five points means he now sits just seven points behind Pedrosa in the MotoGP championship standings, while Marquez is thirteen points behind Lorenzo and third overall.

Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Conditions today were the hottest on race day so far this year which made the track quite greasy and a challenge for the riders. The heat made tyre management even more important; first of all managing the front-end load on the slippery track surface with a full tank of fuel in the early laps, and then managing tyre wear – particularly at the rear – in the later stages. Even though it was so hot, none of the works riders selected the harder rear option for the race as they wanted the better edge grip of the softer option. Considering we had such extremely severe conditions for tyres, the softer rear slick performed well today.”

Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha Factory Racing – Race Winner
“Today was the hottest race this year and physically it was very hard. I made a better start than I expected and was able to pass Cal and Dani, and after that I just tried to keep my rhythm. For most of the race Dani was always there behind me, but in the last five laps I managed to pull a small gap. It was a special race in front of my home crowd.”