MotoGP – 2014 – Round Four – Jerez

A huge crowd of more than 115,000 fans saw Spaniard Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) take a fourth premier class victory in a row at the Gran Premio bwin de España, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) also on the podium at Jerez.

With victory in the south of Spain in his 100th Grand Prix, Marquez becomes the first rider to win the opening four premier class races of the year since Mick Doohan in 1992. Marquez had never previously won at Jerez in the World Championship.

No-one could live with Marquez in the heat of the afternoon in Andalusia as he built up a four second lead by lap 12 and never looked back, eventually crossing the line comfortably ahead of Rossi.

Indeed it was also another superb performance for Rossi as he returned to the podium for the first time since Qatar, holding off Pedrosa on the final corner.

Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had to settle for fourth at his 200th GP, crossing the line 8.5s behind Marquez on his 27th birthday.

Behind the factory Honda and Yamaha riders Andrea Dovizioso was the top man for the Ducati Team in fifth, whilst there was disappointment for his teammate Cal Crutchlow who retired early on his comeback and wild card test rider Michele Pirro who crashed out in the initial laps.

There was relief for Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) as he picked up his first points of 2014 in sixth, finishing just 0.112s behind Dovizioso.

Meanwhile, Bautista’s compatriot Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was seventh and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) eighth, the pair of them also reaching the finish line within 0.5s of Dovizioso.

The top ten was rounded out by Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP).

The were retirements for Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) after some tyre issues and Colin Edwards (NGM Forward Racing) due to a technical problem, whilst crashes for Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) and Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) ended their respective point scoring runs.

The MotoGP teams will remain in Jerez overnight as they have a day of post-GP testing scheduled for 10am-6pm on Monday at the 4.4km circuit.

Classification MotoGP™ Race

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Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st - “I started well today, but when I saw that Valentino was trying to pass me on the first corner I knew his intention was to slow down the race so he could control the pace. Riding behind him I realised that I could go faster, so I tried to overtake him as soon as possible. I was surprised, because I wasn’t expecting to open up a gap. Anyway, I am in good form at the moment, but I can see that Dani, Valentino and Jorge are giving their 100 percent in every practice and in every race. I’m sure that sooner or later will come a race in which we are unable win, but we will have to learn from that and try to take important points.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st – “I started well today, but when I saw that Valentino was trying to pass me on the first corner I knew his intention was to slow down the race so he could control the pace. Riding behind him I realised that I could go faster, so I tried to overtake him as soon as possible. I was surprised, because I wasn’t expecting to open up a gap. Anyway, I am in good form at the moment, but I can see that Dani, Valentino and Jorge are giving their 100 percent in every practice and in every race. I’m sure that sooner or later will come a race in which we are unable win, but we will have to learn from that and try to take important points.”
Valentino Rossi - 2nd, +1.431 - “I’m very happy because Jerez is one of my favourite circuits and race weekends, also for the people around the track and the atmosphere. We worked very well during the weekend and improved the bike, also this morning and it looked like I could be quite competitive for the race. I chose the extra hard tyre on the front, it was a risk but I was worried about the medium at the end of the race. The condition of the track today was very bad, the bike slid everywhere and the front kept closing, I think I did a great job, I did a good start and I tried to stay with Marc but it was impossible. After that I tried to keep my pace and push where I could and where my bike was well balanced and I kept quite constant. At the end Dani arrived but I had just a little bit of desperation in the last lap to stay in front. I’m very proud and happy to arrive in second position here as it was 2010 the last time I stood on the Jerez podium.”
Valentino Rossi – 2nd, +1.431 – “I’m very happy because Jerez is one of my favourite circuits and race weekends, also for the people around the track and the atmosphere. We worked very well during the weekend and improved the bike, also this morning and it looked like I could be quite competitive for the race. I chose the extra hard tyre on the front, it was a risk but I was worried about the medium at the end of the race. The condition of the track today was very bad, the bike slid everywhere and the front kept closing, I think I did a great job, I did a good start and I tried to stay with Marc but it was impossible. After that I tried to keep my pace and push where I could and where my bike was well balanced and I kept quite constant. At the end Dani arrived but I had just a little bit of desperation in the last lap to stay in front. I’m very proud and happy to arrive in second position here as it was 2010 the last time I stood on the Jerez podium.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd - “The race today was very difficult; I had problems with the front tyre from the opening lap and I tried to overcome the situation as best I could. I saw that Marc was breaking away but couldn't do anything to stick with him – it was completely his race today. I was able to stay behind the Yamahas for many laps, and at the end I made my attack. I was able to overtake Lorenzo but would have needed one or two more corners to try and pass Rossi. I did my best and took third place. We will see if at tomorrow’s test we can be closer to Marc and fight to the maximum at the next race.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – “The race today was very difficult; I had problems with the front tyre from the opening lap and I tried to overcome the situation as best I could. I saw that Marc was breaking away but couldn’t do anything to stick with him – it was completely his race today. I was able to stay behind the Yamahas for many laps, and at the end I made my attack. I was able to overtake Lorenzo but would have needed one or two more corners to try and pass Rossi. I did my best and took third place. We will see if at tomorrow’s test we can be closer to Marc and fight to the maximum at the next race.”

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Jorge Lorenzo - 4th, +8.541 - “I did a bad start today, this weekend we didn’t have a good practice start in any session. The race was worse than I expected and my physical condition was worse than I expected also so we need to work more on that and wait for our moment.”
Jorge Lorenzo – 4th, +8.541 – “I did a bad start today, this weekend we didn’t have a good practice start in any session. The race was worse than I expected and my physical condition was worse than I expected also so we need to work more on that and wait for our moment.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th - “I am so happy with this fifth place. Jerez is one of the toughest tracks for Ducati and for me: this result is very important and it confirms that we are working well and that I can now manage to get the best out of the GP14 in the race. The gap to the leaders however is still too big, but in this early part of the season we didn’t expect anything else. We will continue to work hard because we want to get closer to the front, but winning the battle today against a Honda and a Yamaha Open, on a track where there is a lot of tyre wear, was a great satisfaction for me and it was also very exciting.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th – “I am so happy with this fifth place. Jerez is one of the toughest tracks for Ducati and for me: this result is very important and it confirms that we are working well and that I can now manage to get the best out of the GP14 in the race. The gap to the leaders however is still too big, but in this early part of the season we didn’t expect anything else. We will continue to work hard because we want to get closer to the front, but winning the battle today against a Honda and a Yamaha Open, on a track where there is a lot of tyre wear, was a great satisfaction for me and it was also very exciting.”
Aleix Espargaro - 7th, +27.917 - “It was a good race and we did the maximum. We did a hard battle with Dovizioso for the 5th positions. I had a better rhythm but every time I passed him in the braking, he passed me again in the straight. We lacked of acceleration in the straight, but I tried to stay calm. We finally finished 7th behind the factory bikes. I have to be satisfied because we did a great job with the team and we will keep on working”.
Aleix Espargaro – 7th, +27.917 – “It was a good race and we did the maximum. We did a hard battle with Dovizioso for the 5th positions. I had a better rhythm but every time I passed him in the braking, he passed me again in the straight. We lacked of acceleration in the straight, but I tried to stay calm. We finally finished 7th behind the factory bikes. I have to be satisfied because we did a great job with the team and we will keep on working”.
Bradley Smith - 8th, +27.947 - “We’ve had a few issues over this weekend, so 8th position is not a bad result at all. The plan was always to be in the fight for 5th, and it would have been great to finish at the front of that group, but I am still pleased with what we achieved. To be competitive until the final lap, obviously makes me happy and we made the right decision on the tyre choice. Every rider was struggling somewhat, so it was a case of trying to stays smooths as possible and not making any errors. Another big positive was that I was much stronger at the beginning of the race with the full fuel load. This means that the work we have done so far this weekend has been positive, but there’s still some more we need to do at the test tomorrow. I am sure we’ll be strong again in Le Mans for the team’s home event.”
Bradley Smith – 8th, +27.947 – “We’ve had a few issues over this weekend, so 8th position is not a bad result at all. The plan was always to be in the fight for 5th, and it would have been great to finish at the front of that group, but I am still pleased with what we achieved. To be competitive until the final lap, obviously makes me happy and we made the right decision on the tyre choice. Every rider was struggling somewhat, so it was a case of trying to stays smooths as possible and not making any errors. Another big positive was that I was much stronger at the beginning of the race with the full fuel load. This means that the work we have done so far this weekend has been positive, but there’s still some more we need to do at the test tomorrow. I am sure we’ll be strong again in Le Mans for the team’s home event.”
Pol Espargaro - 9th,+29.419 - “Today has been another learning experience. To be honest I came to Jerez with higher expectations, but the weekend has been a really tough one. I struggled more than I expected, so to end up in the group fighting for 5th place is actually nothing I should be too upset about. Unfortunately, I lost some positions at the beginning of the race and when I found my rhythm, I was able to push back to Bradley and the guys in front of me. I was already tired and couldn’t push any harder with my tyres so I wasn’t able to pass any of them. But it is still very positive that we were able to stay close to the other factory bikes. I’m really happy to have a test day tomorrow because I’ve still so many things to learn and I want to be as prepared as possible for the team’s home race in Le Mans during the next week.”
Pol Espargaro – 9th,+29.419 – “Today has been another learning experience. To be honest I came to Jerez with higher expectations, but the weekend has been a really tough one. I struggled more than I expected, so to end up in the group fighting for 5th place is actually nothing I should be too upset about. Unfortunately, I lost some positions at the beginning of the race and when I found my rhythm, I was able to push back to Bradley and the guys in front of me. I was already tired and couldn’t push any harder with my tyres so I wasn’t able to pass any of them. But it is still very positive that we were able to stay close to the other factory bikes. I’m really happy to have a test day tomorrow because I’ve still so many things to learn and I want to be as prepared as possible for the team’s home race in Le Mans during the next week.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF - “I am very disappointed with today’s result, especially because I got a great start and the feeling with my bike in the race was the best I’ve had all weekend. I was making up a lot of places and was up to ninth when my brakes failed. I slowed down for a lap to try and see if they would work again, but they didn’t and I pulled in just to be on the safe side, but it was clear that I had no brake lever working. It’s a pity, because I was happy and comfortable on the bike in the early stages and was sure I could have got a good result in the group that involved Andrea today. As for my hand, once the race got going it was no problem.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF – “I am very disappointed with today’s result, especially because I got a great start and the feeling with my bike in the race was the best I’ve had all weekend. I was making up a lot of places and was up to ninth when my brakes failed. I slowed down for a lap to try and see if they would work again, but they didn’t and I pulled in just to be on the safe side, but it was clear that I had no brake lever working. It’s a pity, because I was happy and comfortable on the bike in the early stages and was sure I could have got a good result in the group that involved Andrea today. As for my hand, once the race got going it was no problem.”

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Moto2™: Victory from pole for Finn Kallio

Moto2™ victory was secured by Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) at the Gran Premio bwin de España as he crossed the line 2.434s in front of Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert), with Jonas Folger (AGR Team) joining them on the podium in third place.

An excellent ride to win from pole by experienced Finn Kallio, over a demanding 26-lap race in the southern Spanish heat, saw him close the gap on teammate Tito Rabat at the top of the standings to 16 points – as Rabat came home fourth.

Behind the front four Moto3™ World Champion Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) got the better of teammate and fellow lightweight class graduate Luis Salom for fifth place.

The top ten was completed by Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2).

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Gresini Moto2) crashed out and suffered a right shoulder dislocation in the process, whilst there were also crashes for Louis Rossi (SAG Team), Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3), Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) and Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia), though fortunately they all escaped injury.

Classification Moto2™ Race

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Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 1st - “We went into the race with a clear plan; push hard to build a lead in the first five laps while the tyres were good and then manage the gap while conserving the tyres for the rest of the race. The plan worked perfectly. Even so, it was such a hard race, even if it didn’t look that way. I had to stay on the limit for the whole race, because the gap was only around one second and it was impossible to extend my lead any further because Aegerter was pushing hard to catch me. It was a good race and I made no mistakes and that is always good for a rider’s confidence. The win today was a good way to end a great weekend and I’d like to say a big thank you to the team, all of whom did a fantastic job here in Jerez.”
Mika Kallio, Marc VDS Racing Team: 1st – “We went into the race with a clear plan; push hard to build a lead in the first five laps while the tyres were good and then manage the gap while conserving the tyres for the rest of the race. The plan worked perfectly. Even so, it was such a hard race, even if it didn’t look that way. I had to stay on the limit for the whole race, because the gap was only around one second and it was impossible to extend my lead any further because Aegerter was pushing hard to catch me. It was a good race and I made no mistakes and that is always good for a rider’s confidence. The win today was a good way to end a great weekend and I’d like to say a big thank you to the team, all of whom did a fantastic job here in Jerez.”

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Moto3™: Fenati wins brilliant race at sunny Jerez

The first race of the day at the Gran Premio bwin de España was won by Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46), who took victory from fellow podium finishers Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) on the final lap.

A tight leading group did battle for the honours over the course of the 23 lap race, with Fenati taking the victory by just 0.144s after a 102km-long battle. The Italian rider held off a strong final lap challenge from Rins to give KTM their 50th Grand Prix triumph.

Also crossing the finishing line in the top five were Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team), both around a second off the podium pace.

Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team), Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0), Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) completed the top ten at a red hot Jerez.

Eric Granado (Calvo Team) crashed out on the first lap, and fractured a finger on his left hand in the process. Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) rejoined having also crashed in early stages after clashing with Bagnaia but later retired.

Wild card Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) also fell mid race, whilst Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) and Livio Loi (Marc VDS Racing Team) were late crashers, but none were hurt. Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Arthur Sissis (Mahindra Racing) both pulled into the pits with technical problems, meaning a total of seven riders were unable to finish the race.

The World Championship returns to action in just under two weeks at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France (16th – 18th May).

Classification Moto3™ Race

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HRC Report

Defending World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) claimed a fourth win in four races in emphatic fashion at his home-country GP today, in the first race of the European season.

Already the youngest-ever premier-class champion, the 21-year-old has claimed pole position in every race so far this year, and won them all in increasingly dominant manner.

Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) also preserved a perfect podium record with third place. Pedrosa has been on every podium so far this year, with two second and two third places. He has also never finished off the podium at the sinuous 4.423-km circuit, outside the sherry capital of Jerez de la Frontera, since his first MotoGP race here in 2006.

A capacity crowd of 117,000 basked in blazing sunshine under a cloudless sky to cheer the currently dominant country’s latest hero over the line. Marquez, already 125cc and Moto2 World Champion, finished a fighting second here last year. Today’s win was his first in any class at Jerez, giving him a full house. It was the only track on the calendar where he had not recorded at least one race win.

The Honda factory pair sandwiched multi-champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha), who managed to retain second place by the narrowest of margins, with his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo dropping away in fourth.

Marquez again displayed his precocious skill in a lonely race, skipping the front wheel and sliding the rear as he used all the track and more to pull steadily clear. He led all the way except for a brief moment on the first lap, when Rossi edged ahead – only to be firmly pushed back to second at the final hairpin. Marquez set fastest lap on the fifth tour, just short of the record in the blazing heat.

There was a strong battle behind him. Rossi held second with Lorenzo in his wheel tracks, and Pedrosa right behind. On the 21st of 27 laps the gap between Rossi and Lorenzo started to stretch. It was the signal for Pedrosa to put the pressure on, and he scythed past at the hairpin at the end of the back straight, and into third place.

At that stage he was a clear second behind Rossi. In a repeat of his chase-down at Argentina the weekend before he cut away at the back, but was not quite close enough for a last corner attack, crossing the line almost alongside Rossi.

The result extends the Repsol Honda pair’s early lead in the World Championship table, with Marquez on a perfect 100 points, and Pedrosa on 72. The closest rival is Rossi, on 61 points.

There was a five-bike battle for fifth, with GO&FUN Gresini Honda RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista starting the last lap in that position, but finishing it in sixth behind Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) by just over a tenth of a second, and a little bit more than that ahead of the three Yamahas of Aleix Espargaro, Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, all five over the line within less than two seconds. Bautista had fought through from tenth on the first lap. The former 125cc champion has a special role as race-tester for Japanese Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, made by companies with strong links to Honda.

Second Honda satellite team rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) had dropped back to a lone tenth, after seeing off a challenge from Honda’s 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R).

Hayden was significantly the best of four riders campaigning the new-this-year works-replica customer Honda RCV1000R machines, after winning his way through to the top level Q2 qualifying session the day before for a second race. He had closed to within just over a second of Bradl’s factory bike with three laps to go. By the finish, the German had managed to regain another second.

Second Drive M7 Aspar Honda RCV1000R rider Hiroshi Aoyama was four seconds behind in 12th. The former 250cc World Champion had caught and passed class rookie Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini Honda RCV1000R), with the three customer Hondas filling from 11th to 13th places.

Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing Honda RCV1000R) slipped off in the early stages, and though he was able to remount it was only for eventual retirement.

The Moto2 class relies exclusively on reliable Honda power, with race-tuned CBR600 engines supplied by the organisers to make for even competition. Different manufacturers provide chassis and running gear for the middle-class machines.

At Jerez, pole starter Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) didn’t bother to wait for his rivals, however, powering off the grid from pole position to lead from the first to the last of 26 laps. He won by 2.4 seconds.

Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) claimed a career-best second after an ultimately fruitless race-long pursuit and class rookie Jonas Folger (AGR Kalex) also held third from the first lap to last. The results upset the order established in the first three flyaway races.

In Qatar, Texas and Argentina, Esteve “Tito” Rabat (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) had qualified on pole and finished first, second and first again to establish a strong early title lead. At home in Spain he qualified sixth, and though he moved through to fourth on lap five, he would get no higher.

Rabat still has a substantial lead on points from team-mate Kallio, on 83 points to 67.

Texas GP winner Maverick Vinales was fifth, after passing Pons HP 40 Kalex team-mate Luis Salom in the closing laps. Class rookie Salom was third in Argentina, while Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Suter) was second there. Today the Belgian rider was seventh.

Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Caterham-Suter) won a close battle for eighth in the closing stages from Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex). Former 125cc World Champion Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Suter) finished close behind to complete the top ten.

In Moto3, where rival manufacturers compete with strictly controlled 250cc four-stroke engines, Honda took two out of three podium positions in a close finish, with the first three riders over the line within less than two tenths of a second, and the top six within less than two seconds.

The race brought a second successive win to Romano Fenati (KTM), inches ahead of Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda) and Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda). Second Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda rider Alex Marquez was a close seventh.

The next best Honda rider, Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda) came through to 12th near the front of the next big group, one place but only three hundredths of a second ahead of John McPhee (SaxoPrint-RTG Honda). Zulfahmi Khairuddin (AirAsia-Rivacold Honda) finished 20th.

Wild card girl racer Maria Herrera (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) finished 17th in only her second GP, two places but less than a second out of the points.

Vazquez, Rins and Marquez lie a close third, fourth and fifth in the championship table.

The next race is the French GP, at Le Mans in two weeks. Most MotoGP teams stay at Jerez tomorrow for a one-day test session.

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st – “I started well today, but when I saw that Valentino was trying to pass me on the first corner I knew his intention was to slow down the race so he could control the pace. Riding behind him I realised that I could go faster, so I tried to overtake him as soon as possible. I was surprised, because I wasn’t expecting to open up a gap. Anyway, I am in good form at the moment, but I can see that Dani, Valentino and Jorge are giving their 100 percent in every practice and in every race. I’m sure that sooner or later will come a race in which we are unable win, but we will have to learn from that and try to take important points.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – “The race today was very difficult; I had problems with the front tyre from the opening lap and I tried to overcome the situation as best I could. I saw that Marc was breaking away but couldn’t do anything to stick with him – it was completely his race today. I was able to stay behind the Yamahas for many laps, and at the end I made my attack. I was able to overtake Lorenzo but would have needed one or two more corners to try and pass Rossi. I did my best and took third place. We will see if at tomorrow’s test we can be closer to Marc and fight to the maximum at the next race.”

Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 5th – “Today’s race was not bad, despite a difficult weekend. The team worked in a fantastic way, but we couldn’t find a good setting for the race, so I knew it would be tough. At the start I immediately struggled with front grip, losing the front end in several parts of the track. In any case, I tried to keep my pace and when I saw that the riders in front of me were opening a gap, I kept calm. Later I started to recover and I was also able to overtake them. The last lap battle with Dovizioso was exciting: congratulations to him, he defended fifth position very well. It must be said that given our situation I preferred not to take too many risks: our primary goal was to finish the race. I’m glad I finished my first Grand Prix of the season and I hope that from now on we can be competitive as we were in winter testing and in the first race.”

Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 10th – “I am very disappointed! After a few laps I could feel a problem with my right arm similar to the one we had in the past with the arm-pump. This track is particularly demanding and I could not get the right feeling on braking and going on throttle so I just managed to finish this disappointing race. This unexpected problem destroyed my race and it’s not an excuse because we had the right pace to fight with the front guys. I had successful surgery to cure this problem in November 2012, but I definitely have to see the doctors once I go back after the test tomorrow.”

Nicky Hayden, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 11th – “On paper this circuit should be more favourable than others for our bike, considering that here the difference in top speed isn’t so big. On the first two laps the second group tried to escape, but I fought to catch them up and ended up close to Bradl. However, as the laps went by I made a mistake at Turn 4 and he broke away. It was a shame, as it would have been nice to beat a factory rider. In any case, looking at our pace and performance today, we have had our best race so far. Today we used the super soft tyres and they worked really well; we knew it was bit risky to complete the full race distance with them, because they may not have reached the end intact. I want to thank Bridgestone for letting us use them. The most convenient and safe thing for them would have been to not allow us to use such a soft compound, but they left it up to us. This was important, as we always have to find the limit of tyre grip to maintain speed when cornering.”

Hiroshi Aoyama, Drive M7 Aspar Honda: 12th – “Today we had a very hot and hard race. I tried to fight from the beginning to keep my position but it was difficult for me to find a feeling with the front tyre. That meant I could not push hard at the start of the race and needed to be more prudent. Fortunately, after seven laps I started to feel more comfortable on the bike and gained confidence with the tyres. Gradually I found my place and I was able to pick up the pace to try to gain positions. I managed to reach the group riding in front of me and tried to overtake them, but when I felt most comfortable I was blocked by other riders. It was a shame, because I could not make the most of the tyres when they were performing at their best. In any case, I am satisfied that we had quite a positive pace, both in practice and in the race. This gives us more confidence for the next races.”

Scott Redding, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 13th – “The race for me was the best part of the weekend, because after two complicated days of practice it’s good to be in the top 15. In the beginning Crutchlow had a problem, but he was holding the line, so I had to make quite an aggressive move to pass him, and in doing so I lost contact with Hayden. Then I tried to push more, but I almost lost the front. Anyway my rhythm was not so bad, until the tyre started to drop, with the rear wheel spinning a lot. All in all I’m satisfied with today’s race, but we have still a lot of work to do.”

Karel Abraham, Cardion AB Motoracing Honda: DNF – “I had some problems with the grip of the front tyre from the beginning of the race, but it could work. A worse issue was the front brake, which started to lose power in the second lap. The lever was going down and the braking effect decreased in the entry to the first corner. There was nothing I could do and I just hoped to not crash out. Unfortunately I didn´t make it. I rejoined the race but the problem with the brakes got worse so I entered pits to avoid another crash. I´m really disappointed because after the crash I was running practically the same lap times as Aoyama and Redding. If everything was good, I could have fought for points. We don’t know yet what caused this failure: probably it could be the hot weather.”

Yamaha Report

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi put in a stunning effort today to take the second step on the podium for the Gran Premio de España at the Jerez circuit in Southern Spain. A record crowd of 117,000 people were present to witness the Doctor’s fight for his second podium honours of the season in extremely hot conditions with track temperatures reaching 50 degrees.

Starting from fourth on the grid the nine-time world champion had jumped to third by the first corner and second swiftly after as he chased down race leader Marc Marquez. Two laps of tense drama then followed with the two rivals swapping leads as they pushed each other to the limits. Marquez emerged the front-runner as the race settled with Rossi following close behind. The Italian was unable to match the race leader’s pace but was able to stay ahead of the chasing riders. As the last laps ran down Dani Pedrosa closed in to challenge for second but with the gap dropping to just two tenths of a second Rossi held on for a well deserved second place.

Teammate Jorge Lorenzo’s 200th Grand Prix race had a less than perfect start as he dropped from second to fifth off the line. The local hero was quick to recover, taking two positions to slot into third behind Rossi and join the drama filled opening laps. With 16 laps to go Lorenzo was still able to maintain a half second gap to his teammate in front however the distance began to slowly increase as his grip levels began to drop dramatically. With six laps remaining he could no longer hold off following rider Pedrosa, dropping to a lonely fourth place that was his to the line, nearly 20 seconds ahead of Andrea Dovizioso in fifth.

Rossi remains in third position with his podium finish, now on 61 points and 11 behind Pedrosa in second. Lorenzo’s fourth place finish moves him up two places in the standings to fifth with a total of 35 points, ten behind Dovizioso in fourth.

The team now enjoy a well-earned two-week break before heading to France for the Le Mans race on the 18th May.

The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team completed their third consistent double top ten finish in the MotoGP World Championship today in the scorching heat at Jerez, with Bradley Smith finishing in 8th and Pol Espargaro in 9th.

The 27 lap race proved to be an arduous affair, with the track temperatures reaching an extreme of 50°again. Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Bradley Smith displayed complete determination to chase the battle for 5th and attempt to equal his best ever result from round 2 at Texas. The 23-year-old British rider undertook a brilliant start from 9th on the grid, to aggressively claim five positions by the first corner. As the laps progressed, Smith was shuffled back to 8th, yet he remained composed, and proceeded to recover the lost ground to the riders in front during the latter half of the race before closing to within a second in the final leg of the race. During the last lap it looked likely for the British rider to mount an attack, having caught the rear of the pack, but he narrowly missed out by 0.453 of a second to the leader of the four rider tussle, in what was another firm display by the young English.

Rookie Pol Espargaro gathered countless experience in tyre management to record another successful points scoring finish today at Jerez. Having chosen the harder rear tyre option, the decision allowed him to progress up the MotoGP field after completing the first lap in 11th. The reigning Moto2 champion then set into a superb race pace, and consistently lapped at 1. 41. He ruthlessly hunted down the riders in front and closed the deficit to catch Honda rider Stefan Bradl before surging past on lap 18. Espargaro then aimed to gain ground on his teammate, but the gap was too large to close before the finish flag dropped.

It was a GP of mixed fortunes for the NGM Forward Racing Team with Aleix Espargaro first open and 7th overall after a great battle for the 5th position, while team mate Colin Edwards retired due to a fuel problem.

Starting from the second row, Espargaro recovered from the 8th to 6th position and than he was protagonist of a great battle with Andrea Dovizioso on a factory Ducati for the 5th place. Aleix had a better rhythm than the Italian and he overtook him several times on the hard brakings but every time Dovizioso passed him again on the straight. Espargaro fought hard for the 5th position till the end with Andrea and Bautista and he finally finished 7th. With this result, Aleix Espargaro is 7th in the Championship with 30 points.

It was a difficult race for Colin Edwards, who after the strong performance from yesterday was starting from the 4th row. He made a great start but another rider bumped into him in turn 1 and he lost some positions. He tried to recover but went wide. Despite he was struggling a lot with his machine, he was maintaining the 15th position, when with one lap to go he was obliged to retire due to a fuel issue

Valentino Rossi – 2nd, +1.431 – “I’m very happy because Jerez is one of my favourite circuits and race weekends, also for the people around the track and the atmosphere. We worked very well during the weekend and improved the bike, also this morning and it looked like I could be quite competitive for the race. I chose the extra hard tyre on the front, it was a risk but I was worried about the medium at the end of the race. The condition of the track today was very bad, the bike slid everywhere and the front kept closing, I think I did a great job, I did a good start and I tried to stay with Marc but it was impossible. After that I tried to keep my pace and push where I could and where my bike was well balanced and I kept quite constant. At the end Dani arrived but I had just a little bit of desperation in the last lap to stay in front. I’m very proud and happy to arrive in second position here as it was 2010 the last time I stood on the Jerez podium.”

Jorge Lorenzo – 4th, +8.541 – “I did a bad start today, this weekend we didn’t have a good practice start in any session. The race was worse than I expected and my physical condition was worse than I expected also so we need to work more on that and wait for our moment.”

Massimo Meregalli – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director – “It’s great to see Vale riding on form and back on the podium here in Jerez. It was a tough race and he really earned the podium. Tyres were always going to be critical here with the temperatures this weekend, he chose the hard front and that paid off. Unfortunately for Jorge his 200th Grand Prix didn’t end as we had hoped for him. The conditions were very challenging and he was unable to keep his pace to the end of the race. We will take our learnings from today and use them for our testing here tomorrow. We will work to prepare for the Le Mans race as best as possible and be ready to go to France in two weeks.”

Bradley Smith – 8th, +27.947 – “We’ve had a few issues over this weekend, so 8th position is not a bad result at all. The plan was always to be in the fight for 5th, and it would have been great to finish at the front of that group, but I am still pleased with what we achieved. To be competitive until the final lap, obviously makes me happy and we made the right decision on the tyre choice. Every rider was struggling somewhat, so it was a case of trying to stays smooths as possible and not making any errors. Another big positive was that I was much stronger at the beginning of the race with the full fuel load. This means that the work we have done so far this weekend has been positive, but there’s still some more we need to do at the test tomorrow. I am sure we’ll be strong again in Le Mans for the team’s home event.”

Pol Espargaro – 9th,+29.419 – “Today has been another learning experience. To be honest I came to Jerez with higher expectations, but the weekend has been a really tough one. I struggled more than I expected, so to end up in the group fighting for 5th place is actually nothing I should be too upset about. Unfortunately, I lost some positions at the beginning of the race and when I found my rhythm, I was able to push back to Bradley and the guys in front of me. I was already tired and couldn’t push any harder with my tyres so I wasn’t able to pass any of them. But it is still very positive that we were able to stay close to the other factory bikes. I’m really happy to have a test day tomorrow because I’ve still so many things to learn and I want to be as prepared as possible for the team’s home race in Le Mans during the next week.”

Aleix Espargaro – 7th, +27.917 – “It was a good race and we did the maximum. We did a hard battle with Dovizioso for the 5th positions. I had a better rhythm but every time I passed him in the braking, he passed me again in the straight. We lacked of acceleration in the straight, but I tried to stay calm. We finally finished 7th behind the factory bikes. I have to be satisfied because we did a great job with the team and we will keep on working”.

Colin Edwards – DNF – “I had a good start but in T1 somebody bumped me and then I went wide losing important positions. I pushed but with my style I cannot make this bike turn. I tried to force and push but I was losing the front a lot. Then in the end I had a problem with the fuel that got too hot and the bike stopped. I’m very disappointed and I look forward to race in Le Mans, where I have got good results”.

Ducati Report

An excellent race by Andrea Dovizioso saw the Italian rider finish the Spanish Grand Prix, round 4 of the MotoGP World Championship held at Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, in fifth place. Dovizioso, who led going into the first turn after a brilliant start, ran fifth for almost the entire race, but he also had to defend the place from Aleix Espargarò and Alvaro Bautista. The battle only ended at the final corner before the chequered flag, when Dovizioso dived inside Bautista to take the fifth slot.

The race was an unfortunate one for Cal Crutchlow, who had a difficult weekend. Despite the problem of his right hand, injured at Austin, the British rider started well from row 5 and immediately began to lap strongly. Cal passed five riders in four laps and was soon up into ninth. Unfortunately at the end of lap 5 he had to come into the pits with a front brake problem that led to his definitive retirement.

Michele Pirro’s race, on board the Ducati Test Team’s GP14, did not last long: after three laps in fact the Italian crashed in the final part of the circuit and was unable to continue.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 5th – “I am so happy with this fifth place. Jerez is one of the toughest tracks for Ducati and for me: this result is very important and it confirms that we are working well and that I can now manage to get the best out of the GP14 in the race. The gap to the leaders however is still too big, but in this early part of the season we didn’t expect anything else. We will continue to work hard because we want to get closer to the front, but winning the battle today against a Honda and a Yamaha Open, on a track where there is a lot of tyre wear, was a great satisfaction for me and it was also very exciting.”

Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – DNF – “I am very disappointed with today’s result, especially because I got a great start and the feeling with my bike in the race was the best I’ve had all weekend. I was making up a lot of places and was up to ninth when my brakes failed. I slowed down for a lap to try and see if they would work again, but they didn’t and I pulled in just to be on the safe side, but it was clear that I had no brake lever working. It’s a pity, because I was happy and comfortable on the bike in the early stages and was sure I could have got a good result in the group that involved Andrea today. As for my hand, once the race got going it was no problem.”

Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – DNF – “For me it wasn’t a good race. I had Redding in front of me, he lost the front and at the same time I lost the front as well and found myself on the ground without even realizing it. Pity, because I had started off knowing that I could improve as the race went on, because we had worked well on the bike this weekend and for sure I could have got some points. These last two races at Termas and Jerez have been tough for me, hopefully I can do a lot better at Mugello.”

Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager) – “For sure I am very happy about Dovizioso’s result. Andrea did a fantastic race: in the last few laps when he had to put in the extra effort, he gritted his teeth and showed exceptional determination. I’m obviously sorry about what happened to Cal because his bike had a problem that had never appeared before. The fluid in the brake system reached a really high temperature and we are checking with Brembo the reason for this problem. Seeing Dovizioso so motivated and determined however can only be good for Ducati and it will push us to work even harder”.

Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Extra-soft, Soft & Medium (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Hard (Main), Soft (Alternative – front), Extra-hard (Alternative – rear)
Weather:  Dry. Ambient 28-29°C; Track 54-55°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez won his first ever Grand Prix at Jerez and made it four victories from four starts to take a commanding position in the MotoGP championship standings.

Starting his one-hundredth Grand Prix, Marquez exchanged the race lead with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi during the opening laps, before increasing his pace – setting the fastest lap of the race on lap five – to build a comfortable gap over his challengers. Marquez then controlled the race to cross the finish line 1.431 seconds ahead of Rossi in second place. In third place was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa, who stormed home in the final laps but ultimately crossed the finish line just 0.098 seconds behind Rossi. All riders on the podium opted for the medium compound rear slick, with Marquez and Pedrosa using the medium compound front, while Rossi selected the hard compound front slick for the race.

Hot and dry conditions were present for the twenty-seven lap Spanish Grand Prix and during the race the track temperature reached its highest level of the weekend at 55°C. Although conditions were extremely hot, all three asymmetric rear slick options supplied this weekend worked well on the greasy track surface and were used during the race. The extra-soft rear slick was the most popular choice with ten riders selecting this option for the race. The soft rear slick was selected by seven riders, with the remaining six riders opting for the medium compound rear. Front tyre choice showed a strong preference for the medium compound option, with twenty of the twenty-three entrants choosing this option.

Marquez’s flawless start to the season gives him a twenty-eight point lead in the MotoGP™ championship standings over teammate Pedrosa after just four rounds. Rossi remains in third place and a further eleven points adrift.

Kyota Futami – General Manager, Global Motorsport Department, Bridgestone Corporation – “Repsol Honda and Marc dominated another race weekend and I’d like to congratulate Marc on winning his first ever Grand Prix at Jerez. This is such a fantastic venue for racing and this weekend was no exception, with the largest crowd in the last few years coming out to support the MotoGP riders. Both our front and rear tyre allocation for this race was changed from last year, and I am happy that it was received well by the riders. It was unfortunate to hear Danilo broke his wrist in his accident during Warm Up and I hope that he makes a quick recovery and is back on his bike soon. The next round is at Le Mans which in terms of layout is very different from Jerez, so it will be interesting to see if this will enable another rider to make a strong challenge for the race victory.”

Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department – “It was very hot all weekend but the conditions were consistent each day which meant the teams and riders had a lot of opportunities to evaluate their tyre options for the race. Jerez can be a difficult circuit when the temperatures are high, but our new expanded front tyre allocation ensured the riders had options to manage the challenging conditions. It was good to see that all three rear slick options we brought to Jerez performed well in the race and I hope we see similar variation in race tyre choice for the next round at Le Mans. For now our technical team will be on hand to assist the MotoGP test at Jerez tomorrow and once again it looks like it will be very hot here.”

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda – Race Winner – “Of course I’m really happy. It was a different kind of victory as at this circuit I struggled a little bit during the weekend. Everyone was so close in the race but at the beginning on the new tyres I felt good so I could push hard to create a gap as I knew at the end of the race Dani and Valentino would be strong. It was a special victory and we are in a good moment, so now we need to try and keep our advantage.”