Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken a home win in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, putting in a flawless performance to make some amends for his crash out the lead in Texas – and taking back the Championship lead. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), despite a difficult qualifying, sliced through to take second and second in the Championship by just a single point, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) on the podium for the first time this season in third.
Marquez took the holeshot from third on the grid, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) just getting the jump on rookie, polesitter teammate Fabio Quartararo to slot into second. But it was tight, with Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) initially threatening for P2 but then getting shuffled back to fifth behind Viñales. Rins made progress as well, immediately moving up from his P9 on the grid.
Marquez set about getting into a rhythm at the front, but Morbidelli wasn’t letting the reigning Champion escape. Little by little, however, the gap began to extend. And as the number 21 dropped off the back of the Repsol Honda in the lead, teammate Quartararo was looking menacing in third. Sure enough and soon enough, the Frenchman was able to capitalise on a small mistake for the Italian and it was the rookie polesitter into second.
Unleashed, Quartararo soon set about getting on terms with Marquez’ pace and dropped the squabble for third in a few corners – looking like he might even be on for a forward assault. But suddenly, the Frenchman’s Petronas Yamaha SRT machine was moving off the racing line and Quartararo was left dejected on the way back to pitlane with a mechanical problem. From a record-breaking and youngest ever pole position to a chance at his first MotoGP™ podium, the number 20 sadly left Jerez empty handed.
That left Morbidelli in second and Rins in third after slicing past Viñales – with Dovizioso and Petrucci giving chase. Morbidelli then began sliding backwards down the order, however, as Rins got past before Viñales, Dovizioso and Petrucci were able to follow suit. And the Suzuki of Rins then started cutting into Marquez’ lead…
It wasn’t to be, however, as the Spaniard escaped the fight to complete the podium but wasn’t able to reel in the race leader. Marquez crossed the line in clear air for an impressive answer to his critics after his COTA crash, and the 25 points for the win put him back at the top of the Championship by a single point. Ahead of whom? Alex Rins, who moves up into second after his impressive second from ninth on the grid.
The fight for third became a duel between Viñales and Dovizioso, and the Italian was close throughout the final lap looking for a way through – but the Spaniard held firm. Under pressure throughout, he took his first podium of the season after some difficulties with the start in recent races. Petrucci followed his teammate home in sixth – a couple of seconds back – with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) slicing through to sixth from P13 on the grid.
Rossi fought off the likes of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – who later crashed out – Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and, eventually, Morbidelli too to make his progress through – the ‘Doctor’ inside the top ten for the first time in the weekend on Sunday.
Morbidelli was in P7 by the flag ahead of Crutchlow, Nakagami, and an impressive P10 from wildcard and Honda test rider Stefan Bradl (HRC Team). Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was 11th, ahead of a very difficult day for Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) down in 12th. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was P13 ahead of teammate Johann Zarco, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) completing the points on home turf.
So as we leave the Spanish GP and head for the new challenge of Le Mans, it’s Marquez who’s made amends for his COTA crash and taken back the Championship lead – by a single point. Rins lurks close and seemingly needs only to work on his qualifying, and Fabio Quartararo looks to recreate his Jerez form on home turf. Don’t miss the fifth round of the season and tune in for France on the 19th May for more MotoGP™.
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) has laid further serious groundwork for his assault on the 2019 Moto2™ World Championship in Jerez, winning a shortened race ahead of COTA podium finisher and form man Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up). Baldassarri’s teammate Augusto Fernandez, who returned from injury at his home Grand Prix, put in a stunning ride to his first ever Grand Prix podium as he took third.
The race was cut to 15 laps after a first start saw a chaotic first two corners with multiple-rider incidents, and first faller Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was unable to make the restart, as was Dimas Ekky Pratama (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). In addition, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who couldn’t avoid contact with Gardner’s bike, was forced to restart from pitlane at his home Grand Prix – nevertheless a feat and some formidable work from the EG 0,0 Marc VDS mechanics to get the machine race ready.
So off the line the second time around, it was Fernandez who got the holeshot, the Spaniard making a stunner of a start to head teammate Baldassarri and the two immediately bolting away. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt IntactGP) was in third and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in fourth initially, but Navarro was a man on the move and was soon through into fifth on the chase.
Meanwhile, Baldassarri’s pace was searing and the Italian was closing in on his teammate. By nine laps to go the gap was only a couple of tenths and the move came later in the lap, with the number 07 machine then starting to break away – as Navarro got the hammer down, now up into third.
A few laps later the Spaniard was starting to make some serious gains, and with three laps left on the clock it was close between the leading trio. Sure enough, Navarro was able to push through into second a lap later, with Lüthi threatening in fourth but the fight for the podium seemingly set to be between three men.
Over the line for the final lap, Baldassarri was well over half a second clear but the Speed Up behind him wouldn’t be shaken off and Navarro was shaving tenths off the Championship leader’s margin. Despite that, Baldassarri couldn’t quite be caught and the Italian crossed the line to take his third win of the year – although it was only three and a half tenths at the flag. Fernandez followed the two home for his impressive P3.
Lüthi took fourth for some solid Championship points, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking P5 and his best result of the year so far ahead of Vierge. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) took his best ever Grand Prix result in seventh, beating his previous best by a single position.
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) beat an impressive ride from rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega – back from injury – to take P8, with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) completing the top ten behind the duo.
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) wasn’t far off the top ten though and was second rookie, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) next up in twelfth. Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) took more points for the new MV Agusta in P13 – after scoring their first at COTA – with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the points. Schrötter had been pushed wide early on.
Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were amongst those who crashed.
That’s it from Moto2™ and after an expensive day in the standings for the likes of Marquez and a perfect result for Baldassarri, we roll on to Le Mans – with the Italian now 17 points ahead.
Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) took an impressive victory in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, getting back on the top step for the first time since Qatar 2016 and back on the podium for the first time since Motegi in 2017. The win marks a milestone first ever victory for the SIC58 Squadra Corse team, and Antonelli’s teammate Tatsuki Suzuki took his first podium to made it double delight and a 1-2 for the team. The historic result for the squad, run by late MotoGP™ Legend Marco Simoncelli’s father Paolo, is also an emotional one as it comes on the 15th anniversary of Marco Simoncelli’s first Grand Prix win, taken on the 2nd May in the 125cc race in the 2004 Spanish GP. Rookie Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46) joined the two SIC58 Squadra Corse machines on the podium for his second ever rostrum finish.
Suzuki took the holeshot from middle of the front row and was a threat from the off, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) losing out from pole as the Japanese rider immediately set about putting pedal to the metal, initially able to create a small gap. But, as ever in Moto3™, the fight at the front then became a freight train.
A group of 10 made up that front group initially, with some key names out of contention early on. Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) went down, tagging Albert Arenas (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team), although the latter stayed on – and then Championship leader Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubia) was suddenly out at Turn 2.
Back at the front, Suzuki was starting to get reeled in by Dalla Porta and the Italian didn’t waste time once he’d caught the SIC58 Squadra Corse rider, striking with 19 to go. By then, Antonelli was in P3 but the squabble continued throughout the group and Vietti was next to take his turn at leading. The final corner created spectacular shuffle after shuffle, and the group expanded as the laps ticked down – with 19 riders then creating a long snake of Moto3™ talent stretching much of the main straight.
More drama made sure to shake it up again, however. Antonelli was leading as he seemed to suffer a moment and the rider following him – Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) – got caught out, going straight down and the pack miraculously avoiding the stricken Honda. Not everyone could avoid the consequences though as two-time Jerez winner Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) ran on as he steered clear. If that wasn’t enough, rookie Raul Fernandez (Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team) then crashed and collected Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Sergio Garcia – leaving a top group of ten.
By the final lap a trio head emerged as the favourites. Antonelli led Vietti led Suzuki, and the Japanese rider was the man playing his cards first. As it would turn out, it was the final hand of the race – his move past Vietti created a little space for leader Antonelli and the number 23 just had to keep his nerve round the final corner.
That he did, crossing the line for his first win of the year and fourth overall, making his team Grand Prix winners and moving himself up to second in the Championship – just one point off new leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). Suzuki was able to keep second for his first podium, ahead of a second rostrum for rookie Vietti, who now leads the Rookie of the Year standings by a huge margin.
Canet took P4 and a solid points haul to put him at the top of the Championship standings, ahead of a stunner from Albert Arenas as he returned from injury in fifth. Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) pipped Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) to sixth, ahead of poleman Dalla Porta. Rookie Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) took ninth and his first ever Grand Prix top ten after knocking on the door since the start of the season, with Andrea Migno (Bester Capital Dubai) taking tenth.
After serving a Long Lap Penalty for exceeding track limits, Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) took P11, ahead of Darryn Binder (CIP – Green Power), John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Kazuki Masaki (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) in his first points finish of the season and Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
Next up it’s Le Mans and another chance to reset for some and turn the screw for others – with Canet now ahead of the pack but the likes of SIC 58Squadra Corse arriving on a roll. Don’t miss the French GP on the 19th May.
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