News 25 Apr 2016

Rossi dominates for MotoGP race victory at Jerez

Lowes tops Moto2, Binder wins from behind in Moto3.

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

The Gran Premio Red Bull de España saw Valentino Rossi lead from start to finish, winning from Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez with ease.

All weekend the leading three were in a league of their own. Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez had filled the top three spots of almost every practice session and lined up next to each other on the front row of the grid.

The three biggest names in MotoGP were alongside each other once more and everything in practice had indicated that there was almost nothing to choose between them.

As is typical of the Spanish GP, the grid was packed with mechanics, guests and officials but the riders did their best to block it out and run through their race plans.

With all three on the same hard front and medium rear tyres, managing tyre life could very well decide the race but those concerns would come later.

Off the lights went, the crowd erupting into applause and cheers as Rossi made a great start to lead into Turn 1. But he wasn’t alone Lorenzo right behind with Repsol Honda Team duo Marquez and Dani Pedrosa within touching distance.

Perhaps the best start of the race was from Pedrosa who quickly put his RC213V into third midway through the first lap. Across the line they went as the second lap began as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair stretched their lead.

Marquez attacked Pedrosa into Turn 6, running wide as his line was blocked. Through Turn 9 Lorenzo launched a similar attack on Rossi, the Italian holding off his teammate as the Hondas clawed back the gap with Marquez now in third.

Fans were transfixed on the leading four, few noticing the incredible start of Eugene Laverty (Aspar Team MotoGP) who was in eighth as the third lap began and the leading Independent Team rider.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) chased Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) for fifth with Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar) on the tail of his Ducati. Dovizioso’s teammate, Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) was having a terrible race, dropping like a stone down to 14th in the opening laps.

All of the leaders lapped in the mid 1m40s, Rossi trying to escape as Marquez looked for a way through on Lorenzo. His lead would soon be over half a second, Rossi upped his pace lap after lap and drew out hundredths of a second at each corner.

Before long the gap was at a second, Valentino Rossi seemingly doing as his teammate had done so many times before and breaking the field early in the race. No matter what Lorenzo did he was unable to close in on Rossi nor shake off Marquez.

Disaster struck for Dovizioso on the tenth lap as yet again, through no fault of his own, his race came to an end. The factory Ducati rider was forced to sit up as his Desmosedici GP encountered a terminal issue, forcing him to ride back into the pits and once again make the long walk across the garage to spectate the race.

Rossi and his team had focused on race setting throughout the weekend, The Doctor’s work paying off as the gap soon grew to over two seconds as no one was able to match his lap times.

Behind him Lorenzo had his hands full fending off Marquez, the Repsol Honda rider not quite close enough to attack but able to apply ample pressure.

Overtakes were scarce at the front but the battle for seventh place produced some thrilling racing, Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) leading the group ahead of Laverty.

Just behind them Andrea Iannone and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) pushed each other hard for 10th position, not what either rider wanted before the race.

In front, Pedrosa had Aleix Espargaro to contend with, Pedrosa working hard to hold off the Suzuki man. Since his fifth in Austin, Espargaro has been in some of the best form of his career after a setup breakthrough.

With over half race distance gone, Lorenzo broke Marquez and opened up a one second lead on his fellow Spaniard. Marquez had chosen to run winglets on his Honda, which assisted with keeping the front end down but also ran the risk of overheating the front tyre over the race.

With 10 laps to go, Lorenzo hadn’t just broken Marquez but he also began to close in on Rossi. A gap that was once three seconds quickly dropped to two and that gap continued to fall by a couple of tenths a lap, would it be enough with eight laps remaining?

His chances of victory would fade as Rossi responded to Lorenzo’s increased pace and once again dropped into the low 1m41s. The gap would grow to over three seconds, Lorenzo unable to push any harder and settling to take valuable championship points.

Marquez also continued to drop back, his chances of a home victory long gone as he found himself over five second behind Lorenzo.

After a terrible start to the race, Iannone set about making up for lost time and quickly got past Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and ran away with seventh place.

This would be one of the last battles of the race as the field stretched out, only a handful of riders within a second of each other.

For the 113th time in his career and the 87th time in the premier class, Valentino Rossi pulled a wheelie across the line to celebrate victory.

After the disappointment of Austin, the result is exactly what ‘The Doctor’ needed. Behind him Jorge Lorenzo took his 100th premier class podium finish and Marquez was able to keep the lead of the Championship, his lead reduced slightly to 17 points.

Pedrosa withstood Espargaro’s challenge to end in fourth ahead of the Spaniard. Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team), Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Eugene Laverty (Aspar Team MotoGP) and Hector Barbera (Avintia Racing) completed the top 10.

Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crashed out of the race at Turn 11 after battling with Cal Crutchlow in the opening stages.

In Moto2, Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) may have had to fight in the opening laps, but once he was ahead he was untouchable. Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40) joining him on the podium.

Victory is exactly what Lowes needed, the Brit extending his championship lead to 10 points over Rins. Johann Zarco takes third with 56 points, 16 behind Lowes.

A thrilling charge through the field saw Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking his first world championship victory from Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Francesco Bagnaia (Aspar Mahindra Team Moto3) having started last.

Drama began even before the Moto3 World Championship lined up on the grid as Binder was sent to the back of the grid, moving every rider up a position on the grid. The penalty came after his KTM was found to be using non-homologated ECU software.

The gap would grow to an unbelievable 3.4 seconds as Binder became the first ever South African to win a lightweight class race. With his first victory, Binder extended his championship lead to 15 points over Navarro.

Round five will commence on 6 May at the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France in Le Mans.