MotoGP: Lorenzo makes it two from two with sublime win
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.