MotoGP riders reflect on Catalunya MotoGP

MotoGP 2016 Catalunya
MotoGP 2016 Catalunya
Valentino Rossi – P1

“I think it was a perfect Sunday, because this morning we improved the setting of the bike a lot and after the warm-up I felt more confident about the race. The race was great! Though the start was not fantastic, I was strong enough to come back, do some good overtaking and arrive in front. From that moment I tried to push at 100 percent to go away alone, but unfortunately I wasn’t fast enough to pull away from Marquez. I tried to stay quiet and ride well, because I felt I had a good pace and felt good with the bike. At the end I was ready for the battle, which was a good one, with a lot of overtaking and I was ready to give it a try. You can’t wish for a better race, I think. This is one of my favourite tracks and it was from 2009 that I didn’t win here, and that wasn’t great for me. For this reason I’m more happy today and the battle with Marquez we can put on the same level as the battle with Lorenzo. What happened in Mugello was very sad because I was ready to fight for the victory there, which was fantastic. Over the last week I just thought I had to try do the same, to arrive ready for the race. Together with my team we did a great job and I think this is the best way to forget about the zero points in Mugello.”

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi
Marc Marquez – P2

“It has been a hard weekend for all the riders, but in the end I think that together we paid tribute to Luis Salom with the Sunday that he deserved. It was a nice race with Valentino. I was suffering a little with the increase in temperature and was never completely comfortable, so I was unable to try overtaking at the right time. I had a couple of scares and started doing the math for the standings in my head, knowing that Jorge Lorenzo was out of the race, and I think that in the end, a podium finish is a very positive result for the Championship. Another thing that’s important for motorcycle racing is that Valentino and I shook hands; it was probably the weekend and the right situation to do so.”

Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez shake hands in Parc Ferme after a hectic battle at Catalunya MotoGP 2016
Valentino Rossi and Marc Marquez shake hands in Parc Ferme after a hectic battle at Catalunya MotoGP 2016
Dani Pedrosa – P3

“This has been a positive race. We opted for the intermediate rear tyre because I felt more comfortable with it. On the first few laps I tried not to wear it down too much so as to keep it in good condition for the final stretch of the race. In the fight with Maverick Viñales I lost contact with the front group, but I managed to set a good pace and push a little more. In the final laps, the rear tyre had degraded quite a lot and there was nothing more that I could do. I’m happy to get back at the front and return to the podium, and to do so at home but on the other hand it’s been a difficult weekend for what has happened. Luis’s family wanted us to continue, and we gave our all for him and for them. The minute’s silence, with all the riders and the whole MotoGP family, was really emotional.”

Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Iannone
Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Iannone
Maverick Viñales – P4

“I’m happy with the final result of the race, although I had to struggle towards the end with the rear grip and maybe I couldn’t take the whole profit from of our race. I managed to make a really good jump and stay close to the leading group, my laps were consistent and fast, but it took me a lot to overtake for the fifth and then to the fourth positions, stressing my tyres. I’m happy, but it’s also a pity, because if I managed to overtake sooner, my pace would have allowed me to fight for the podium. We still lack in rear grip, we have been dealing with this for a while now and we will work further on that in tomorrow’s test. We will try the evolution chassis again in order to understand how to improve. We still have room for improvement, but overall I can say I’m happy with this fourth place; it’s a good way to remember my friend Luis Salom who passed away on Friday.”

Maverick Vinales, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro
Maverick Vinales, Andrea Iannone, Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro – P5

“Even though I am really pleased with my performance today, I have to say that it was a hard weekend and the race was especially challenging but my main target was to finish the GP for Luis so I put in 200% effort and achieved it. When I was sitting on the grid, I was a bit unsure about which rear tyre to run. I had used the medium compound all weekend long, yet the majority of the grid was going for another option and only Bradley, Dani and me picked the medium compound. Now I believe it was definitely the right choice, especially because we were able to be strong in the opening laps after a good start. Then, I kept the distance from Cal and pushed until the chequered flag. Looking back on the weekend, I have to say that I believe it was the right choice to continue the event. In our sport we showed that we are a big family, and even if all of us didn’t know Luis, we gave our respect to him, with the three best riders in the race demonstrating this by putting on the memorial shirts as well as all the riders running Luis’ number. We had to make some important decisions in the safety commission to show the world that we care and that we are united but, he will always be in our thoughts and the best way to remember him is to continue showing our love as a family. Next up we have a test tomorrow, and then after that it will be round 8 in the Netherlands.”

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro
Cal Crutchlow – P6

“I finished sixth today, and you have to finish the race in order to pick up some points. First and foremost I beat a lot of guys that I didn’t last time out, and it was a real race of survival. I struggled for speed on the bike, but thankfully I had a great rear tyre. It’s crucial to get away in those first ten laps though, and I just felt I had no speed and I couldn’t use the rear tyre to get a run on anyone. I lost some time behind Dovizioso, because I couldn’t stay in front. I’d pass him, or have to lunge at him but he could get past me again. By the time my rear tyre was done, I was riding alone. I wasn’t going to get caught from Dovi behind, but I couldn’t catch Pol Espargaro. I ran off the track a couple of times in braking zones, but I managed to bring the bike home which was the main thing. I’m not pleased with the distance to the winner, but I’m happy.”

Cal Crutchlow
Cal Crutchlow
Andrea Dovizioso – P7

“Obviously I’m not happy with today’s result. In the race I felt there was something wrong on the rear tyre and together with Michelin we are having a look to study exactly what happened. I could feel the lack of grip since the warm-up lap, and at a certain point the drop of the rear tyre became too much and made it impossible for me to continue in those conditions. In any case our bike here at Barcelona wasn’t as competitive as it has been at other tracks and so now it’s important to understand what didn’t work in order to improve the things we are still missing.”

Andrea Dovizioso
Andrea Dovizioso
Alvaro Bautista – P8

“I am truly satisfied with this result that came thanks to the hard work of the entire team. During practice I had a few difficulties. The bike was unstable and we had to work hard to find a setup that would conserve the tyres. In the warm-up session I decided to increase the restriction, so in the first laps of the race I could see that the others had an advantage coming out of the turns. I wasn’t unnerved by that. I stayed calm, trusting in the quality of the work we had done. In fact, in terms of pace, the choices we made proved to be the right ones. I made a lot of nice passes and, especially in the second half of the race, I was really able to be fast. It’s a shame about the starting spot, which in no way reflects our level. Unfortunately, after the crash in FP4 on Saturday I just wasn’t able to find the same feeling in qualifying. Tomorrow we will test on this track and try to continue improving, with our thoughts already on Assen, where we will find very different characteristics”.

Alvaro Bautista
Alvaro Bautista
Danilo Petrucci – P9

It was a good race until five laps from the chequered flag when I managed to pass Dovizioso. I was calm throughout the race to preserve the rear tire and I thought I could play with him for seventh. Then I felt that the rubber was over, almost suddenly, and it was very risky. I do not know what was the problem, maybe it depends on our set up as the tire that we used was the same as Valentino, Marquez and Pedrosa. However, I want to thank the team for the great job they have done: we have proven to be competitive in any circuit. I would have liked to be the best Ducati.

Danilo Petrucci
Danilo Petrucci
Jack Miller – P10

“I’m really happy to be back in the points and I had a big fight throughout the race and really enjoyed it. I tried to conserve my tyres because I knew we would lose some grip in the hot conditions and it was a strategy that paid off.  I definitely feel like I got the most potential out of the bike today. I tried to save the tyres in Jerez and I probably conserved them too much and felt I could have pushed more. But today I gave it my all and I used the whole performance potential of the rear tyre. To finish in the top 10 for the first time in my MotoGP career is a really big boost for me. My guys have stuck with me all through a difficult first part of the season and I’m happy for the team. And I dedicate my first top 10 in MotoGP to my friend Luis Salom, who I will miss greatly.”

Jack Miller
Jack Miller
Hector Barbera – P11

“This is not the result I was expecting today after what we achieved yesterday. The race was very difficult because of the tyres and after six laps I had no grip at all, the bike was spinning a lot and the traction control was working everywhere. In these conditions the bike was not working like yesterday and I had to slow my pace. The lack of grip was increasing lap by lap and the bike became unrideable. I was patient and I tried my best to get the bike back to the garage, but I was more than five seconds slower compared with yesterday. We’ll try to find something in the test we have tomorrow, but I think that we need some help from Michelin.”

Hector Barbera
Hector Barbera
Stefan Bradl – P12

“We achieved a good result in conditions that were not very easy, but I cannot be entirely satisfied. In fact, our times were quite a few seconds off Alvaro’s, whereas usually our pace is quite similar. Now we need to investigate this aspect in view of the next races. The positive side is that the only person who overtook me in the race was my own teammate. We figured out that in these conditions, where tyre management makes the difference, even the slightest change has a significant impact on the bike’s performance. We’ll use the tests tomorrow to look at this situation more in depth and to have some clearer ideas for the coming races”.

Stefan Bradl
Stefan Bradl
Eugene Laverty – P13

“I made my best start of the year. Whilst it was a good start, I just couldn’t hold my position and was overtaken a few times. I knew it was going to be important to preserve the tyres, and in the end I had a little more left in them than other riders who were going backwards, but it was a test of endurance today. Thirteenth place isn’t where I wanted to be; I wanted to be 10 seconds in front of that, in the Top 10. I thought we could be there, but we had more tyre problems than we had expected. Some people had much bigger problems than us, but we did what we could.”

MotoGP 2016 - Catalunya
MotoGP 2016 – Catalunya
Tito Rabat – P14

“I am really happy to finish inside the points in my home race and I want to thank all the people that helped me to get this result just over two weeks after I broke my collarbone. It was very a physically demanding race for me in the hot conditions but I’m so pleased to get more crucial mileage under my belt on the bike and I was able to gain a lot of experience, despite being less than 100% fit. I made a bad start in the race but I recovered well and made some good overtakes and I’m happy to finish. It has been a difficult weekend after the sad passing of Luis Salom and I was determined to finish for him. Now I can focus on continuing my recovery to be back to full fitness in Assen.”

Tito Rabat
Tito Rabat
Michele Pirro – P15

“The race was really difficult because I had no grip and the rear was spinning a lot. With this problem, it was impossible to get a better result. I also lost some time in the first few laps and with the lack of grip the race became more difficult. We knew that it would be difficult, but I expected a better result today. I want to thank the team for this race again, we worked really well during the weekend. Overall I think that working more on the electronics, the package has the potential for ‘Top 10’ finishes in every race.”

Michele Pirro
Michele Pirro
Scott Redding – P16

It is really difficult to explain what happened with such a so high rubber consumption. We did well throughout the weekend but in the race, after a few laps, it was difficult to ride. Probably it is also due to the temperature as today it was very hot. I expected a lot more, to be honest. We have to work a lot because all Ducati struggled while I see that other manufactories have done well. I tried during the race to change my riding style to adapt it to the rubber. I did everything but there was nothing he really could to change things.

Scott Redding
Scott Redding
Yonny Hernández – P17

“It’s a shame about this result, because we had been having a good weekend until the race –always fighting to get into the top ten. I felt good, and although the start was not great, I recovered positions and had a good pace. When I was riding in thirteenth, around Lap 10, I began to notice that the rear tyre performance dropped significantly. My times were almost three seconds slower than normal when I was riding at the limit. In the end, due to this problem with the rear, I had to pit to change bikes. It’s been a difficult year, one of the most difficult of my career, but I have a strong mind, hold my head high and will focus a lot of positive energy on the next round.”

Yonny Hernandez, Eugene Laverty
Yonny Hernandez, Eugene Laverty
Jorge Lorenzo – DNF

“First of all, as I said yesterday, everything is secondary after what happened on Friday. About the race, it’s unbelievable that Iannone made this mistake again and when he did, instead of saying “sorry” he asked me if I had an engine failure or something strange happening in this corner. I thought it was his fault, but he had this reaction and didn’t say sorry. There is always one rider that doesn’t understand the risks and that his actions can seriously injure the other riders and if Race Direction don’t give him a hard penalisation, like they did with me in 2005, these kinds of riders don’t understand that they have to change their mentality. That’s why I think starting the race from last position is not enough, because in five to seven laps he will be positioned at the front again due to his pace.”

Jorge Lorenzo
Jorge Lorenzo
Andrea Iannone – DNF

“I am very sorry for what happened with Lorenzo because I was doing a good race with the limited grip I had. I was riding well and pushing hard, without making any errors, and had even managed to catch Jorge. As for the incident, I can only say that I could do nothing to avoid it: I braked at the same point as all the previous laps but he was very slow at that moment and unfortunately I made contact with him and we both crashed. It might seem that I came in too fast and that I wanted to pass him but that’s not the way it went and we got the confirmation of this by analyzing the telemetry data.”

Andrea Iannone
Andrea Iannone
Bradley Smith – DNF

“It goes without saying that this is quite an upsetting way to finish the Grand Prix. As soon as we began, I noticed that something wasn’t right with the bike, even though I didn’t know immediately what it was. We lost a lot of positions and I was struggling when slowing the bike down. Now, we will obviously investigate what happened in order to figure out what the issue was. However, it’s frustrating to finish this way because I certainly felt that we could have had a really positive close to an otherwise tricky weekend. Thanks to the Tech3 team for their efforts in Catalunya, we’ll work out the issue and then start again with testing tomorrow. Nevertheless, I am certain that we can get right back to where we need to be at the next round which is the Motul Dutch TT.”

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith
Aleix Espargaró – DNF

“Unfortunately during the race I had electronic issues that prevented me finishing. There was an unusual intervention of the traction control which prevented the bike delivering the power we had, and lap-after-lap, with the consumption of the tyres, the situation got worse and worse, until I had to stop. It’s a pity, I feel at home in Montmelò and I really wanted to have a great race. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be really competitive the whole weekend, we still need to work and get a better feeling, so tomorrow’s test will be very important in this sense. Let’s try to forget this race, focus on the job and think ahead to Assen, which is one of my best tracks.”

Aleix Espargaro
Aleix Espargaro
Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director

“Until the start of the race it had been a very strange weekend because we faced many issues, first with the front tyre wear, then with the new track layout and finally with the tyre choice. The decision on the tyres was never a question because there was only one option for us, but when we tested the hard tyre in FP4, the riders’ feelings were not good at all, so we did not know what to expect from the race. Our crew reacted in a magnificent way because they drastically revised the set up of both bikes, especially to make them suitable for T4, which was our weakest sector. The race was another bittersweet one after Mugello. I’m almost speechless in front of Valentino’s supremacy on track today. I believe he’s written a new page in the history of this sport, winning at Montmelò seven years after his last victory here. He’s been able to recover from a less than perfect start that moved him back to the eighth place, and then he’s given the race a rhythm that was unmatchable for his rivals. Jorge did a great start and led the race for six laps, until the front tyre dropped and he had to manage the attacks from Pedrosa, Viñales and ultimately Iannone. I believe Iannone has no excuses and, because it’s not the first time he causes such an accident, I expected the Race Direction to be more strict with him, as this incident could seriously compromise Jorge’s chances to fight for the title. Finally, a special thought to Luis Salom and his family. Today’s show, put together by all riders, is the best way to pay tribute to a member of our extended “MotoGP Family” who is no longer with us.”

Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 Yamaha Team manager

“Everyone thought the change in track layout would be a handicap for Yamaha due to the first gear corners, but in the end it was amazing to see Valentino fighting with Marc. On our side, there was a big disappointment because after the struggle that we had in practice, Bradley found his pace and we were very confident that a top eight result was achievable. He had an ok start but we could see from lap two onwards that there was an issue. He pitted shortly after and unfortunately suffered a technical issue with the engine. This was a big pity because he could have finished strongly. On the other side, Pol did an amazing job. We knew that he had the speed even if he didn’t get that one hot lap in qualifying, and we have been working a lot on our race pace. His start was great and he pushed hard at the beginning, then once the race settled half way through, he watched his pit board very closely and managed to keep the gap to the rider behind. Eventually, he brought the bike home in 5th, which is a great result for him and us at his home GP. We are competitive and this is the main thing, but there are eleven more races and we are sure there will be more success with Brad and Pol. It was very important and an amazing sign of respect to witness Valentino, Marc and Dani wearing Luis Salom shirts on the podium and also seeing all the riders with number 39 stickers. We want to dedicate this great weekend of racing to Luis Salom and his family. The whole paddock is thinking a lot about his mother who was very close to him, and the one minute of silence was very emotional for everybody and I’m sure no one will forget Luis.”

Romano Albesiano – Aprilia Racing Manager

“We are truly pleased. It was a race that the team and the riders managed very intelligently. Yesterday in practice, partly due to bad luck – and I am talking about Alvaro’s crash at the end of FP4 that forced him to ride the second bike in qualifying – we missed taking a position on the starting grid that would have let us finish farther forward. The race was a marathon based on optimum tyre management. In the last eight or nine laps Alvaro was lapping at a top-5 pace. We are still lacking a little something on the flying lap with fresh tyres, although we are not in bad shape, but the general balance of the bike and power management are approaching a good level. This is an important result, made on the track, that boosts morale. Stefan also rode a good race, even if he is not as much of an expert as Alvaro at managing worn tyres, in the end he finished easily in the points, completing the entire team’s great performance”.

Michael Bartholemy – Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Principal

“After a very difficult and emotional weekend here in Barcelona, I am glad that Jack and Tito played their part in a race that was a fitting tribute to Luis Salom. Our goal as an Independent Team is always to be in the top 10 and I’m really happy Jack achieved that today to get his best ever premier class result. I hope this gives him confidence to push on in the next few races and we can see him in the top 10 on a consistent basis. There is not much I can say about Tito other than he did an unbelievable job. Honestly, I wasn’t sure he would be able to finish the race because of his condition but he never gives up and he deserved to finish in the points after demonstrating so much determination.”

Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of Michelin MotoGP

“This has been a very difficult weekend for all concerned, after what happened on Friday, and I would firstly like to pass on my condolences to the family and friends of Luis Salom, it was a terrible tragedy and one that nobody ever wants to happen.  Regarding the race weekend, we had a selection of tyres that we thought would work well here in most conditions, but we never expected the surface to be as poor as it was. The track gave very little grip and all the teams had to work hard to get the best for their bikes. The change of layout also made a big difference and changed the stresses that were put on the tyres. For the race itself the track was at almost 50°C, but the majority of the field used the new hard compound tyres to cope with these difficult conditions and although we experienced quite high levels of wear we were pleased with the overall performance. Valentino rode a great race and when he came under attack from Marc the performance in the tyres was still there in the last laps to produce a memorable end for the fans. One of the most pleasing aspects of today’s race was that again we had no crashes that the tyres could be held responsible for and it was a close race right until the end. This is another step forward for us and shows that we are continuing to work in the right direction. We now have a test on Monday, when we have some tyres for all the rides to try, hopefully this will give use more information as we head towards the second half of the season and some very challenging circuits.”