Andrea Dovizioso takes his first back-to-back MotoGP wins with Catalunya victory
Dovizioso now only seven-points behind Vinales in 2017 MotoGP Championship chase
MotoGP 2017 – Round Seven – Catalunya
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) has taken an incredible second win of the season in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, making him the first Ducati rider to score back-to-back victories for the Borgo Panigale factory since two-time MotoGP World Champion Casey Stoner achieved the feat in 2010. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) left a spate of crashes in practice behind in the race to take second, with his teammate – polesitter Dani Pedrosa – completing the rostrum.
There was drama off the line as Pedrosa got a good start from pole and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) almost clashed with fellow front row starter Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) – with Petrucci then making contact with Marquez. The Italian dropped back and the reigning Champion pulled clear as Lorenzo attacked for the lead, taking over at the front.
Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) found himself heading through the run off area at Turn 1 off the start and dropping back, with the Spaniard then facing a fight back from outside the points after a tough weekend – and teammate Valentino Rossi unable to make big progress from P13 on the grid either.
Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa, with Dovizioso on the hunt in fourth and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) a big gainer off the line to move up into fifth. Next it was Marquez who struck for the lead, with Pedrosa needing no invitation to follow him through. The ‘Spartan’ then lost out to his teammate ‘DesmoDovi’ as he began to struggle after the lightning start; Folger and Petrucci the next to get through.
‘Baby Samurai’ Pedrosa then chose his moment to attack for P1, able to keep it as Dovizioso struck on Marquez – but the top three couldn’t quite yet begin to pull away from Folger in fourth, or ‘Petrux’ just behind. After a handful of laps playing high-speed chess, Dovizioso then went around the outside of Pedrosa to take the lead – pulling a small gap before Marquez followed the Italian through.
A three-way fight then broke out between Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Lorenzo for P6, with the squabble providing some spectacular wheel-to-wheel action and the Frenchman initially coming out on top. The drama wasn’t over, however, with some running out of rubber and some making big gains as the final laps approached – with Lorenzo on a charge back through and Folger one to fall back.
As ‘DesmoDovi’ arrived at the final lap clear in the lead, it became apparent the dream of Mugello wasn’t something the Italian yet had to wake from – crossing the line for his fourth career win to become the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2010 to win back-to-back.
Andrea Dovizioso – P1
“I’m so happy but also a bit surprised by this win! I had a great feeling before the start because I knew that we could be very competitive, not because we were the fastest out there on the track, but because yesterday we worked well to prepare for the race. It was a strategic race more than anything else and we were good at interpreting the limits of the track and the tyres. The track was very difficult and all the riders had problems with grip, which dropped off a lot and so we concentrated on administering tyre consumption and on consistency, and this decision paid off. In the race I was able to be very fast without pushing hard when I found myself behind Pedrosa and this helped me a lot in the last ten laps, when I passed him and then pulled out a small gap over the two Hondas. I can truly say that today we were on really great form!”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding)
“Being on the top step of the podium once again, just one week after our extraordinary win at Mugello, confirms that we have been working really well and so we don’t only feel the thrills of the win, but also the determination that pushes us on to do even better. Once again I want to thank all the men and women who work in Ducati Corse and everyone who supports us and spurs us on, including our fans, because now we are much closer to first place in the championship. Until a few months ago all this would have been unthinkable and so it has been vitally important to keep a cool head even in the difficult moments we have gone through!”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Today we have obtained another magnificent result just seven days after our splendid win at Mugello! We knew that the Montmelò track was a tough one for us: last year we suffered a lot and it was for this reason that recently we did two days’ testing which surely helped, seeing as here our bikes were in good shape, even those of our satellite teams. Andrea rode intelligently and did a really great race, but also Jorge finished the GP well in fourth after a great start. I’m really very happy, and I want to thank everyone in Ducati Corse for their great commitment!”
Marquez kept it calm to take second and get back on the podium after a tough Italian GP, with Pedrosa crossing the line in third to join his teammate on the bounce back from Mugello.
Marc Marquez – P2
“I’m really happy with how this weekend ended because with five crashes, four yesterday and one this morning, the situation was quite tough mentally. Anyway, my team helped me a lot to regain confidence in myself and in the bike. Before the race I said to myself that I was the same Marc as last year and that my style is to always keep pushing and never give up, something I think makes the difference sometimes. So I started the race with victory as a target.
“At the start I was really lucky when Petrucci hit me, as the contact was completely lateral; otherwise it would have been a disaster. From then on I tried to remain focused and calm and when I finally passed Dani for second place, I tried to push to close on Dovi. In a couple of laps I realized that I couldn’t, that today was Dovi’s day, so I settled for second. The Championship is kind of a rollercoaster so we don’t really know what to expect from race to race. We must only think about ourselves, keep the concentration high, and try and give 100%.”
Dani Pedrosa – P3
“I’m happy with today, as a podium finish is always nice considering how tough is to get one in MotoGP these days. Last week we had a terrible race, whereas here we took pole and made the podium in front of my home crowd, which was just amazing. To be honest, we expected to be a bit better but conditions were very difficult for the tyres the whole weekend, and also today the grip wasn’t very good. I tried to lead the race, to stay on front, but I could see Dovi coming on the straight, cutting the gas to not get too close, saving the tyres a little bit better than me. I tried to save them all the way, but I just couldn’t do it enough.
“In the end I realized it was more worth it to stay on the bike and get some good points. We had chosen the medium rear for the race and at the end it was on the limit, but I still think it was a better choice than a hard-hard combination. A rider’s choice is more a matter of feeling than being strictly related to performance or durability. It was difficult, but we managed to get on the podium and this is great. We look forward to the test tomorrow, to take some additional steps, improve the feeling on the front, and work to be more consistent. The Championship is open, and we must be more consistent every weekend.”
Lorenzo sliced back through to take fourth at the flag, ahead of Zarco getting the better of Folger in a last minute duel between the Tech 3 machines.
Jorge Lorenzo – P4
“This second win in a row for Ducati is another fantastic result for the team. As for me, it’s the first time that I have finished the race less than ten seconds away from the winner, as well as being the first time that I have started from the front row and have been in the lead for a few laps: this means that we are constantly improving. Pity that today I lost a bit of pace from lap 6 onwards and I was passed under braking a few times, losing a lot of time at the mid-race point when my pace was slower than the leading group’s, but towards the end I managed to gain a few places to finish the GP in fourth. Now we have to continue to work to be more consistent in the race and try and improve soon on my third place at Jerez.”
Johann Zarco – P5
“I am happy with the result but also tired! I think that everyone struggled physically because of the hot weather. With regards to the race, there wasn’t much grip on the track and the tyres dropped. However, this kind of situation is not a big disaster for me and when this happens, I seem to be able to have a better feeling than my opponents. Starting from 14th meant that the opening stage of the race was complicated and I had to fight, plus, it’s easy to touch other riders when it’s like this. I thought that I could catch the leading group during the GP because they were not advancing. Yet, after the halfway point, they were not increasing the gap, but I still couldn’t quite get to them because we were running the same pace as I was. Towards the end, Petrucci crashed, Lorenzo overtook me and opened some distance because he had a better drive and then, Jonas was in front of me. I could see that he was struggling so I kept focused in order to ride a good line and then I attacked him on the last lap. This result is very good for what we need and although it was a difficult weekend, we finished well today so this is really good motivation for the future.”
Jonas Folger – P6
“It was a very positive but tough weekend and I am so happy that we made a big step forward compared to the last few GP’s. Finally, we made the progress that we wanted to which was to improve in the qualifying and at the beginning of the Grand Prix. By being strong in these two areas, we really advanced and we scored a good result today. However, unfortunately, on the last lap Johann passed me! I was ahead of him for almost the entire race, but then he caught and overtook me. This was the only hard thing for me because I thought that I had him in my pocket. Anyway, the important point is that we advanced and improved so I want to thank all of my team for the work they did to get me back to where I needed to be. They told me that we can do it and today we did.”
Alvaro Bautista, after a late run off at Turn 1, came home in P7.
Álvaro Bautista – P7
“The race was tough. We made a good start and over the first few laps I did not want to push the tyres too much because I knew I would need them at the end. I got passed a few times and even though I had the urge to pass back, I opted to hold back. Then I could feel that little by little the tyres were getting worse. In the final part of the race I was close to a few guys but I lost the front at the end of the straight and couldn’t battle with them over the final few laps. Also the rear was gone by then but we finished and we have done it for a second consecutive race near the front. Let’s see if we can continue like this for the next races.”
Valentino Rossi came home in eighth after struggling in the latter half of the race, Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) took P9 in his 250th start in the World Championship, and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made it to the flag in tenth – taking a big hit on his points lead in the Championship.
Valentino Rossi – P8
“I was really sad today, because I won here last year and also it is one of my favourite tracks. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, as we had some problems during the practice sessions due to the temperature of the asphalt and the level of grip. The race today wasn‘t positive, but I did my best to take as many points for the championship as possible. Tomorrow we will have an important test, where we will try many things, so this is positive. I hope that for the next two back-to-back races we will be able to return to the front.”
Hector Barbera – P9
“I am very happy because the start of the season has been very chaotic,but today we have finally been able to demonstrate that we are competitive again. We must forget the first races and continue in this way. Today we started the race in sixth position and we finished ninth. And it was a very tough race with so much heat. At the beginning, Zarco was very strong in the chicane and he took me off the track and I lost contact with the group. It’s a shame because if we had been there we could have done a little more. But we are getting closer and we are more competitive. I am adapting more my style to this bike because it has been very hard and that’s why I’m training really hard off the track. In the last races we were already better and we were not able to confirm it, but today we have finally got back to the ‘Top 10’. Now we have to keep this momentum in Assen and Sachsenring.”
Maverick Vinales – P10
“It was a really difficult day, but there are some days that you just have to get the points and that‘s what we did. Tenth place was the best we could do, for sure that‘s not our normal placement, but for today that was the best and we have to be happy with the six points we took today and at least we are still first in the championship. We will continue to work hard to get a better result in the next races.”
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and home hero Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top fifteen.
Cal Crutchlow – P11
“I survived and I managed to finish which is probably the main thing. It wasn’t the greatest day I’ve ever had on a motorcycle, but I was pleased enough having started in 17th. We had our issues in the race and we’ve had them all weekend but, as mad as it sounds, I was actually quite confident of going towards the podium today. I chose a hard tyre thinking that everybody else’s would drop, but ours wasn’t even good on the warm-up lap, so that made things so tough in the race. I think we managed well this weekend. We had the odds stacked against us after qualifying in 17th and making the mistakes we did. But Honda did a great job to get Marc (Marquez) and Dani (Pedrosa) on the podium, but it’s difficult when the Ducati bike is making up four tenths on Pedrosa in a straight line. We just have to continue to work hard, but it was a great job by Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and I’m really pleased for him.”
Loris Baz – P12
“It was a tough race. The start was not good, I had a strange feeling with the clutch and I could not gain any places. In the first few laps I passed Abraham, Rabat and Iannone, who were slower. And then I tried to save my tyres when I was behind Viñales. But it was not enough because in the end I didn’t have any grip. I have also had a problem with the front brake. It became very hard and with the problem that I have in my arms, I was exhausted at the end of the race. I think that today it was not possible to do much more but until the last third of the race I was very close to the group of Hector, Viñales and Crutchlow. If I didn’t have to slow down at the end it might have been an even better result. The positive thing is that we have scored more points and hope to do better in Assen.”
Scott Redding – P13
“It was a really difficult race. It was the most difficult race of the season. The high temperature of the circuit is my first enemy and when it rises above 50 degrees I can not find grip. We must surely work on tire consumption. After six laps I could not defend myself against the attacks of others. I tried to push but I did not have grip to get going. Other drivers made the race with the medium tires. I never dreamed I could put the medium because I did not get to the 10th lap”.
Karel Abraham – P14
“I think for us it has been a very good weekend. We have made progress every day, improving our speed and our position. We tried a long run yesterday and it looked pretty good and today in the race we backed it up. I was able to pass a couple of riders, which felt good, I stayed with Loris Baz for a long time in the beginning but unfortunately I couldn’t stay with him because even after eight or nine laps I felt a very big drop from the rear tyre. We had an engine map for this situation but I had to wait to use it in the second half of the race. It helped for a couple of laps and then the tyre dropped again and for the last eight laps I had to use an emergency map that would normally only be for the last couple of laps. From that point the bike just didn’t pull out of the corners and I was already on the limit on the front, which was very good I have to say. I lost contact with the group in front of me and I was scared because the guys behind were closing with every lap but in the end I hung on for fourteenth place, which is a really great result for us. I want to thank the whole team because I must repeat how much trouble we were in at the test here but we have all worked hard and we have been rewarded with two important points for our championship.”
Tito Rabat – P15
“I would have liked a better result at my home race and I tried 100% but it was not possible. I was feeling more comfortable towards the end of the race and the good thing is today I finished 40 seconds to the winner when last year I was one minute behind, so better by 20 seconds. Each race I have finished this season I’ve been in the points but my problem is having the pace to overtake other riders early in the race.”
Both Suzuki riders ended out of points and the result was below expectations. Andrea Iannone ended his race in 16th place, 43.221 seconds behind the winner, and Sylvain Guintoli finished right behind his teammate in 17th place. Iannone managed to have a positive warm-up, but then struggled in the race to find a solid, favourable pace. The lack of feel on the bike with the grip did not allow him to perform as was expected, ultimately resulting in a challenging race.
Andrea Iannone – P16
“We are having a difficult time. We know it. Some races we are better, some others are worse. The only thing we can do is to keep on working. We have two testing days here and we will try to do our best. Today’s race was hard from the beginning; I had no grip at all, both at the front and the back, so it was complicated. I couldn’t push it any harder, because I always felt like I was already at the limit. I tried to manage the situation without crashing, but the result was below our expectations and also our potential.”
Guintoli was fully recovered after yesterday’s health problems, and was able to carry out a solid race. The Frenchman made productive progression throughout the race and managed to catch up with his teammate Iannone, although he could not definitively overtake him for the 16th position.
Sylvain Guintoli – P17
“This race it was difficult for me to get into a rhythm. The track temperature was incredibly high, making the track very slippery. At mid-race I found a confident pace which allowed me to overtake some riders, and also fight with some of the other guys, including my teammate Andrea. It was a good feeling. Then the grip really dropped off and I had to give up. Overall, after the problems I had yesterday, it was a good race. I want to thank Suzuki for this opportunity. It was great to ride this fantastic bike; I had a blast. In my opinion we did a lot better than I expected. I thought it would be much harder to get acquainted with how the bike would perform. The team also gave me lot of confidence; we made excellent progress in only three races. It has been an amazing experience. ”
EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller crashed out of top ten contention.
Jack Miller – DNF
“I had a good pace in the warm-up after we found some set-up improvements and I carried that pace into the race and settled into my rhythm running low 1’47s. I was catching the group of Rossi, Lorenzo and Zarco and felt really comfortable and braked at the same point at the downhill left but got caught out by the camber and crashed. I’m disappointed because I had worked hard to get into a good position and felt comfortable with 11 laps to go when I went out. The positive is that I got some front feeling back today so I’m looking forward to the next race in Assen.”
Danilo Petrucci – DNF
“I’ve been in Race Direction. They gave me a warning for that contact with Marquez. I tried to recover but I never managed to get back on the top three even though in the end I was able to pass Folger to get in fourth place. I thought I could take Pedrosa to make another podium but I felt that the rear rubber started to drop. I tried to change map but things did not improve. I was trying to resist but I could not accelerate any more. Maybe I pushed a bit too early to recover. I was there with them another time but I made a mistake”.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) failed to see the flag after retiring with what looked like an engine failure for the Aprilia.
Aleix Espargaro – DNF
“I am very disappointed right now. We did a great job throughout the weekend and today we had the pace to make a play at least for the top-5, maybe even something more. I had a good start, but as early as the first laps I realized that performance was not the same as in warm up. Obviously, I kept going until the bike stopped. A technical problem has stopped us early in two races where we were competitive. It is not pleasant, but these things happen in racing.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin
“With how difficult the track has been to manage this weekend we are pleased with the results from today’s race. We had a new lap-record, narrowly missed the duration record and the tyres again showed their durability in very demanding situations. To have 55°C on the ground and very little grip due the bad condition of the circuit and produce these results is testament to the resilience of the tyres. If we had foreseen how hot it would be or how the track had degraded – even since the test here – then our allocation might have been different, but the teams adapted well and we saw three manufacturers in the top-five and several overtaking manoeuvres, which is always exciting for the fans. It was also quite clear that the importance of testing at a circuit before an event can be vital to set-up and understanding performance. We now have a test here before moving to Assen, which I’m sure will be another exciting event.”
MotoGP 2017 – Round Seven – Catalunya Race Results
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 25 Ducati Team Ducati 44’41.518
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 20 Repsol Honda Team Honda 3.544
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 16 Repsol Honda Team Honda 6.774
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 13 Ducati Team Ducati 9.608
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 11 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 13.838
- FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 10 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 13.921
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 9 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 16.763
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 8 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 20.821
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 7 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 23.952
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 6 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 24.189
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 5 LCR Honda Honda 28.329
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA 4 Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 33.281
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR 3 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 35.200
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 2 Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 39.436
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA 1 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 40.872
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 43.221
- GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA 0 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki 44.655
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 0 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 48.993
- LOWES Sam 22 GBR 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 55.492
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 0 Octo Pramac Racing Ducati 2 laps
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS 0 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 12 laps
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 18 laps
MotoGP 2017 – MotoGP Championship Points Standings
- VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 111 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
- DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 104 Ducati Team
- MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 88 Repsol Honda Team
- PEDROSA Dani 26 SPA 84 Repsol Honda Team
- ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 83 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP
- ZARCO Johann 5 FRA 75 Monster Yamaha Tech3
- LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 59 Ducati Team
- FOLGER Jonas 94 GER 51 Monster Yamaha Tech 3
- CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 45 LCR Honda
- PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 42 Octo Pramac Racing
- BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 34 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
- REDDING Scott 45 GBR 33 Octo Pramac Racing
- MILLER Jack 43 AUS 30 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
- BAZ Loris 76 FRA 23 Reale Avintia Racing
- IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 21 Team Suzuki Ecstar
- BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 21 Reale Avintia Racing
- RABAT Tito 53 SPA 19 Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS
- ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 17 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
- ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 11 Pull&Bear Aspar Team
- PIRRO Michele 51 ITA 7 Ducati Team
- RINS Alex 42 SPA 7 Team Suzuki Ecstar
- ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
- SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 6 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
- LOWES Sam 22 GBR 2 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
- GUINTOLI Sylvain 50 FRA 1 Team Suzuki Ecstar