Three victories for three pole sitters at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya de MotoGP™, in the three World Championship series. The 90,437-strong crowd gathered today at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya saw Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing), Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing), and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) crowned in the Moto3™, Moto2™ and MotoGP™ classes.
Lorenzo snatched his win after consistently leading the pace for most of the race, ahead of Marc Márquez (Repsol Honda Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP™), who were unable to catch up with him and had to settle for second and third best.
The Majorcan is now at a sweet spot since he joined the Borgo Panigale team last year. He is celebrating his second back-to-back victory, something he had not revived since 2016. The five-time world champion climbed back again to the top of the podium in Catalunya after having been there in 2015, and thus becomes one of the very few to ride from pole to victory. The previous occasions were 2010 (when he did it himself), 2006 and again 2001 with Rossi, 1997 with Doohan, and 1994 with Cadalora.
Today, Lorenzo hammered out a well-crafted win, consistently clocking up lap after lap to remain unassailable despite a poor start. On his way to the chequered lap, he also claimed the fastest lap and the new layout racetrack record (1m40.021s). Marc Márquez got ahead of him off the line, and then P5 starter Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) overhauled him going into Turn 1. The Italian’s success was short-lived: he went wide shortly after in a attempt to outdo Márquez. His fall handed second place down to Lorenzo, who kept a cool head and waited for the right time to attack, and found it early in lap 2.
Márquez, the only top dog on hard compounds, was unable to fend off Lorenzo’s charge. After he was passed, he managed to shadow him until lap 9, but then dropped almost two seconds back. The Catalan hoped to challenge Lorenzo in the final stages; he hedged his bets on the tyres, which were supposed to endure more than Lorenzo’s, but he never stood a chance.
Meanwhile, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) tried to reach Márquez from third, but he ended on the gravel in lap 8, as he was riding through turn 5. Rossi, who had worked his way up from 7th on the grid, happily inherited third place after that. The Italian is on his fourth podium this season, and he keeps his hopes to challenge Márquez in the overall standings. The Spaniard is now 27 points ahead (115 for Márquez to 88 for second-placed Rossi).
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL) ended fourth after an exciting duel with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), 5th. Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) picked up some precious points with a 6th place finish and holds on to third place in the overall standings (77 points), 4 points clear of Johan Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3, 7th today), and 6 points ahead of Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing, 8th in the race). Álvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) finished 9th fastest, and Iannone dropped from 2nd on the grid to a final 10th, ahead of home rider Pol Espargaró (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). This was actually Grand Prix number 200 for Espargaró, who lives a few miles away from the Catalan track.
As in the two lower series, the incidents list was pretty long today. Only 14 of the 26 MotoGP™ riders who took the start managed to cross the finish line. They will all be back here tomorrow for a test day at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team): “The race was tough because of the heat, the rubber left by the Moto2 bikes… Marc was less than one second behind, and I had to save the tyres. I knew he was on hards and that could play against me in the final stages. I never felt this good on the Ducati”.
Maiden Moto2™ victory for Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo (HDR – Speed Up Racing) put together an impressive Grand Prix. After clinching his first Moto2™ pole position yesterday, he went on to collect his first win in the intermediate class, along with the fastest lap and a new racetrack record (1m43.956s).
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finished second after impressively charging through the field from 17th place on the grid. The 20 points he collected today propelled him to number two in the overall standings, a single point adrift of leader Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46), who finished only 8th today. Home rider Alex Márquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) climbed to the third step of the podium after having led the early laps of the race. Local riders Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) and Augusto Fernández (Pons HP40) collected points with 5th, 10th and 14th place finishes.
Enea Bastianini holds the fort in an accident-plagued Moto3™ race
Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) secured his first win of the season in an accident-packed Moto3™ race, concluded by only 17 of the initial 30 riders. The Italian had been absent from the podium’s top step since Motegui 2016, and he won ahead of fellow countryman Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP), who consolidates his lead in the overall standings. Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) crossed the finish line third, to claim his maiden World Championship podium (a feat no Argentinian had achieved for the last 32 years).
The race was marked by a myriad of incidents from the very onset. Last year winner Jorge Martín crashed from the lead. Arón Canet finished in the gravel too, and lost ground in the overall standings. After his second place in Barcelona, Marco Bezzecchi builds a solid lead in the championship, with 103 points. Further back sit Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3, 84 points), Jorge Martín (80 points), and Enea Bastianini (68 points).
Shortly before the race, a one-minute silence was observed in tribute to the 14-year old rider Andreas Pérez, who tragically passed away last Monday after a crash during the FIM CEV race.