Alex Marquez takes magnificent Catalan GP win, Xavi Vierge finishes 8th
Setting off in blistering temperatures of 27 degrees, Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS team-mates Alex Márquez and Xavi Vierge got their home races underway from 6th and 20th respectively.
After an intriguing race-long duel with championship challenger Thomas Luthi, Márquez extended his advantage in the final laps to win his third race in a row by 1.989 seconds. It’s the first time a rider has managed this in the Moto2 class since the end of 2017.
Having narrowly avoided a collision at Turn 1 on the first lap, Marquez quickly passed three riders to sit third on lap 3.
After posting the fastest lap of the race – a 1m 43.871s – on lap 3, the 2014 Moto3 world champion quickly caught early leaders Luthi and Augusto Fernandez, who were 1.4 seconds ahead.
Márquez soon overtook Fernandez and then passed Luthi for the lead at turn 1 on lap 14. Three laps later, he extended his advantage by 0.6 seconds to ensure a comfortable victory.
Márquez’s victory lifts him to first in the world championship, 7 points ahead of Luthi, and 22 clear of Jorge Navarro.
“It feels so good to take the third win and also to be the leader in the championship. It was difficult to control and starting from the second row wasn’t easy. In the first corner I had some contact with another rider, lost a bit of time but I knew this was a race to be constant and not to make any mistakes, especially at turn ten. When I was behind Luthi I felt as though I had a little bit more. I tried it and I did it! To take the lead in the championship I’m really happy for the team.”
Starting from the middle of the seventh row, Xavi Vierge enjoyed a brilliant start and was inside the top 10 after the first sector of lap 1!
The 21-year old continued his remarkable turnaround soon after, passing Sam Lowes for 7th on lap 6.
Vierge was then involved in an all-action fight for 6th with Luca Marini and Marcel Schrotter. Despite starting the final lap ahead of both riders, he lost two places and crossed the finish line in 8th.
Vierge’s 8 points see him sit 11th in the championship.
“The weekend started well but I we tried some things with set-up on Saturday and lost completely our way. After yesterday we worked really hard with the team and they gave me a better bike for today’s race. I could improve my riding style and in the end I did a really good comeback. If I didn’t make a really good start it would have been more than difficult. Starting from P20 was tough. It was easy to make a mistake. I was lucky to start well and finish the race like that. Eighth wasn’t our goal but after a really difficult weekend it was a good finish. We got good information and I hope now we know which way to go with set-up. Thanks to the team for all their hard work and also thanks to all my supporters who came here today to cheer me on.”