Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, Montmelo: Raceday roundup – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) hammered home the victory at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya in flawless style, taking the win by over four seconds to secure his second consecutive win. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) crossed the line second at his home Grand Prix to extend his Championship lead, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) securing third place for the third race in a row.
Just like it was in Mugello, Sunday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya was all about Lorenzo. This time, however, the number 99 didn’t get the perfect launch from pole position, with Marquez out-dragging the Ducati into the first corner and the number 93 taking the holeshot. Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also made a great start, slotting into second place on the opening laps, with Lorenzo pushed back to third.
The Spaniard wasn’t there for long, however, keeping his composure to get past Iannone and Marquez to lead into Turn 1 on the second lap. From there, it was hammer time. His teammate Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) was also tucked up behind the number 93 in third, but the Italian then crashed out at Turn 5 on lap 9 – his third DNF of the season and another massive dent in his title aspirations.
Back on track, Lorenzo and Marquez had pulled the pin, with Rossi picking up third position, 3.2 seconds back. The gap between the two Spaniards at the front remained just under a second but with Lorenzo looking imperious – setting 1:40.0s lap after lap. In the end, the Championship leader had no answer, and eventually finished 4.479 seconds back from the number 99 – who now draws level on points with teammate Dovizioso in the overall standings.
Rossi was a lonely third at the checkered flag but made it yet another podium finish to remain second in the standings, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) enjoying a fantastic ride to finish as top Independent Team rider in fourth. The Brit was locked in a battle with Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa in the latter stages of the race before getting the better of the Spaniard down into Turn 4 and Pedrosa rounded out the top five.
Maverick Viñales’ (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) opening lap woes continued, with the home rider finishing the first lap down in P10 after starting fourth. The Spaniard managed to salvage sixth at the flag, holding off Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with the two locked together throughout the race. Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) crossed the line eighth, with fellow Ducati rider Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) seven seconds further back in ninth.
Iannone slipped right back after a fantastic start, and the Italian rounded out the top ten. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) picking up his fourth straight P11 finish, with Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Karel Abraham (Angel Nieto Team) the only other riders to finish the race in P12 and P13 respectively.
Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), after being as high as eighth on the opening laps, was taken out by Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) at Turn 5 on lap 14 – riders ok. Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Sylvain Guintoli (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Tom Luthi (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro and Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing) also crashed out early in the race – riders ok.
Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had a nasty crash on the exit of Turn 4 after it looked like he could earn a top ten finish, but the Malaysian was ok. Alex Rins’ (Team Suzuki Ecstar) difficult weekend continued in the race, the Spaniard retired on lap 12. Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) was another retirement on lap 18, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avinita Racing) having to leap off his Ducati after it caught fire heading into Turn 1 – rider ok.
It was another mesmerising display from five-time World Champion Lorenzo at the Catalan GP, who will be aiming for his third consecutive victory as the premier class head to the classic Assen circuit. And Marquez extended his Championship lead to 27 points, but Rossi remains his closest challenger – and the ‘Doctor’ has oft been the master of the TT Circuit Assen.
Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing) stormed to a stunning first Grand Prix victory at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to take his first podium finish since Assen 2015 in Moto3™, with the Frenchman finishing 2.492 seconds ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) after his dominant display. The Portuguese rider came through from P17 on the grid to his stunning P2 finish, with home rider and last year’s race winner Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) taking the final step on the podium in third.
It wasn’t the start the Frenchman would have wanted from pole position, dropping down to fourth on the opening lap as Marquez grabbed the holeshot going down into Turn 1, with Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) slotting in behind. Oliveira again produced a lightning start to get into the top six on the first lap after starting 17th, and by lap 6 the Portuguese rider was shadowing Marquez in second.
The number 44 hit the front a lap later, but Quatararo was on the move. The double FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Champion passed Marquez into Turn 10, and set his sights on Oliveira, making his move at Turn 4 on lap 9 after the KTM rider ran slightly wide.
From there, it was an exhibition job for the 19-year-old. Quartararo was consistently the only rider to dip into the 1:43s, setting new lap records lap after lap to create a 2.2 second gap to Oliveira by lap 18. Meanwhile, the second-place man had pulled away from Marquez, with the Spaniard holding off the chasing Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and the recovering teammate Schrötter, who ran wide at Turn 1 on lap 6 after setting the fastest lap of the race.
Quartararo took the checkered flag 2.492 seconds ahead, getting himself onto the top step of the podium for the first time since 2014. Marquez held off Schrötter to earn a home turf podium, and he now sits 20 points behind Bagnaia heading to Assen.
Vierge was a solid fifth at his home GP, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) holding off a late charge from Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) to finish 6th, the Italian 0.087 behind in 7th. Championship leader Bagnaia had a disappointing day in eighth, seeing his overall standings lead cut to just one point over Oliveira.
Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) had a phenomenal ride in ninth after being forced to start from the back of the grid with a fuel pump issue, with teammate Iker Lecuona rounding out the top ten. Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) picked up points again in P11, with Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) crossing the line 12th. Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was a solid 13th, with replacement rider Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP 40) topping off a very good weekend in P14.
Hero of the day was undoubtedly Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing), who returned to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after breaking two legs in a motocross accident – the Australian took the last point in P15.
Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Romano Fenati (Marinelli Snipers Team) and Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) were big name fallers in the race – riders ok.
A phenomenal day then for fabulous Fabio in Barcelona, who kick starts his Moto2™ career with a super victory – can he continue this impeccable form? Meanwhile, heading into Assen, the Championship battle has closed right up…Will Bagnaia fight back at the Dutch TT?
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) took his first victory since Motegi 2016 in a dramatic Moto3™ race at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PrüstelGP) taking second by just 0.003 from Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider), who secured his first Grand Prix podium and Argentina’s first GP podium since Sebastian Porto in 2005.
The lightweight class race in Barcelona was full of drama for two World Championship protagonists. Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) crashed out of the lead on lap 9 at Turn 9, and fellow Championship challenger Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) was also involved in a crash – going down at Turn 5 on lap 16 after contact with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team), and Nicolo Bulega (SKY Racing Team VR46) also involved in the incident.
Then, on lap 18 of 21, there was more drama as Jaume Masia (Besta Capital Dubai) collided with Andrea Migno (Angel Nieto Team) down into Turn 1.
Before the drama and back the start, Martin got the perfect getaway, taking the hole shot and immediately breaking away – with Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) the only rider able to shadow the Spaniard. The gap was consistent at two seconds, but when the number 88 went down, Bastianini and co closed down Suzuki to create a leading group of 11 riders.
An almighty battle at the front developed, with John McPhee (CIP Green Power), Bastianini, Bezzecchi, Rodrigo and Suzuki the five riders left at the front in the final three laps. McPhee led over the line onto the final lap, but it was ‘The Beast’ who expertly slipstreamed his way to the front, with Rodrigo and Bezzecchi also getting past the Scot. Bastianini rode a flawless last lap to take a much-needed victory, with Championship leader Bezzecchi pipping Rodrigo on the line to grab second place. McPhee had to settle for fourth, but it’s his best result of the season so far.
Suzuki was an excellent fifth by the flag, with the top rookie another top performance from Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) to grab sixth over the line, but was demoted two places for exceeding track limits, promoting Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) into P6 and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) picking up what looked like an impossible top ten finish in seventh – the Italian having dropped down to 26th on lap four after running wide at Turn 5.
Reigning FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Champion Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) picked up his best result of the season in ninth, with wild card, current FIM CEV Repsol Moto3™ Junior World Championship leader Raul Fernandez (Angel Nieto Team), getting a fantastic top ten finish.
Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider), Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai), Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) and Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) all crashed out – riders ok.
It was a breathless Moto3™ race at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with Bezzecchi taking a substantial 23-point lead into Assen. Can Martin, Canet and Di Giannantonio bounce back in the Netherlands?