Dovizioso breaks the Spanish hegemony at the Catalan GP

Dovizioso breaks the Spanish hegemony at the Catalan Grand Prix

The Italian claims a second back-to-back victory in MotoGP on the day Álex Márquez secures Moto2 victory and Joan Mir battles right down to the wire

Gran Premi de Catalunya Moto GP
Moto GP

After Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) and Álex Márquez (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS) clinched victory  in Moto3™ y Moto2™, hopes were high for Spanish riders to top all three podiums at the Catalan grand prix… but the dreams of many in the 99,873-strong crowd who cheered at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya were dashed by Italian Andrea Dovizioso. The Mugello winner claimed his fourth MotoGP™ win, and offered Ducati a prize which had been elusive for the past 10 years.

Whatever the result, celebrations run high at Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™ held at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with 176,391 spectators over the weekend and an action-packed agenda, including practices, races, and also live concerts, batucada performances, human towers, and virtual reality simulators, among other events.

On the track, the Hondas seemed to have the upper hand in the premier class after a conspicuous dominance in free practices and qualifying. However, Ducati kept a secret silver bullet. An explosive race was out of the question, given the high tyre wear on a burning hot tarmac, as Dovizioso admitted: “It’s strange, we did 15 laps without pushing to the limit”.

Pole sitter Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) got off the line well, but his privileged position was short-lived, as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) and Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) outdid him a few turns further down. Márquez was actually spared after Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) run into him at the start of the race.

But Lorenzo’s lead was also ephemerons: he was overtaken by Márquez and Pedrosa in lap 5, and then Dovizioso, Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Petrucci followed suit. Lorenzo lost five spots in a single lap, when his tyre performance collapsed. He stayed 8th for eight laps, and he bounced back in the final third of the race to cross the finish line a decent 4th.

In the meanwhile, Dovizioso patiently tailed Pedrosa for nine laps, staying safely in second place. With 10 laps to go, he pushed the tyres a bit more and led to the chequered flag as clear winner and now solid challenger for the World Championship title, only 7 points down from current leader Viñales.

Marc Márquez finished second in a weekend-long perseverance exercise, including five crashes -one in the race warm-up. The race did not seem easy for him, but he struggled to do his best, fighting front end issues on his bike and striving to avoid yet another fall. He managed and, after passing team mate Pedrosa in lap 18, he cruised to a valuable podium finish which brings new hopes in the championship battle. And, for those who love coincidences: this was the 93rd podium finish for a rider sporting number 93 in his livery. Dani Pedrosa was the third man on podium today.

For the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™, this was a weekend to forget. They were off the pace in free practice, they qualified way back (Maverick Viñales sat 9th and Valentino Rossi 13th at the starting grid), and they played a modest role in the race, with the Italian finishing 8th and current championship leader ending 10th. The two Tech 3 Yamahas performed significantly better, with Johann Zarco and Jonas Folger winding up 5th and 6th.

Álvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) crossed the line 7th fastest, and Héctor Barberá (Reale Avintia Racing) clocked an 8th place, achieving his best result in the season at the GP number 250 in his career.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team): “I did not expect to win here –or in Mugello-, I didn’t expect to be competitive. I had a good pace from the start. I decided to stay behind Dani (Pedrosa) because he saves the tyres really well, and so did I. We all had to save the tyre a lot. I’m not focused on the Championship, as every weekend is a different story. I’m very focused on developing the bike, I know very well the positives and negatives of the bike and want to get the most from it every race”. 

Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team): “It’s been a tough weekend. I even though about going home, after so many falls! But I never give up. It’s better to fall in practice, where I’m pushing to the limit, than to fall in the race. I quickly realized the man to beat was Dovizioso, not Dani. I was aiming at wining the race, but seeing it evolve, I realized I should not push. Finishing second is a good result”.

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team): “It’s been a difficult day, I just could not be faster. A third is not disappointing: I’m quite happy with the pole and the podium. I expected the battle to be between Marc and me, but Dovizioso finished ahead. When he was behind me, I realized he was much faster than me on the straights”.

Undisputable Moto2 victory for Álex Márquez

All riders have at least once dreamt of winning flag to flag. And today, on home turf, Álex Márquez  (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS) made this dream come true. The pole sitter stormed to victory at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de Moto2™ and trimmed the gap on overall leader Franco Morbidelli, who wound up only 6th . Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten) completed the podium.

The younger Márquez brother confirmed his dominance all through the weekend. Then, his flying start and blistering initial race pace (including the fastest top speed through the traps in lap 2, on 1m 49.712s) paved the way to his second win this season. He is currently 20 points adrift in the overall standings. Local riders Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2™) and Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing), managed some outstanding 7th and 9th place finishes.

Álex Márquez (Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS): “Winning here is amazing. I felt the support of my fans, and I’m really grateful for that. Even if I didn’t expect to be so far out at the beginning of the race, it was not an easy victory. The scorching heat and a worn out front tyre made it quite tricky”.

Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team): “I’m very happy for the podium and also for the bike, it worked really well. I knew Álex Márquez had a better pace, and I could not keep up with him even when I pushed to the limit”.

Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten): “It was really hot. I made a fantastic start, but I lost pace in lap 1 and fell behind. It was impossible to follow Márquez. I need to congratulate him, he did a great race”.

A terrific final lap crowns Joan Mir in Moto3

Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) shone to victory today, and builds a healthy lead in the World Championship tables. In a masterful final lap, and with a strike of genius in turn 13, he stormed to the lead and crossed the finish line clear of Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers) and Jorge Martín (Del Conca Gresini Moto3).

Most of the race was evenly matched for the frontrunners, but the final couple of laps were decisive. As he led the race, Jorge Martín got ready for a final attack in the last chicane. However, he was surprised by Mir and also Fenati outmanoeuvring him in turn 13. Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders Enea Bastianini and Arón Canet finished 4th and 5th fastest, and Marcos Ramírez (Platinum Bay Real Estate) clinched a 6th place finish.

Joan Mir (Leopard Racing): “It was a long tough race, especially because of the heat. I’m really happy, and I’d like to dedicate this victory to Luis Salom and his family. I took a gamble in the last lap, and it worked out well. At first, I thought I’d pass Martín in the last chicane, but then I changed my mind. It’s no time to pull out the calculator: there’s a long way to go in the championship, and we need to put together more races like this one”.

 

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