Marc Marquez takes a solid fourth place in the #SpanishGP – Pol Espargaro eleventh
It might not have been the podium he was aiming for, but Marc Marquez showed he’s ready to fight with a spirited ride to fourth as Pol Espargaro collected 11th place.
Crowds at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España were back to their best as the flocked to the hills of the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto from dawn. Pushing 60,000, the home fans were wanting a show and the 25-lap MotoGP race certainly didn’t disappoint.
Initially launching off the line well, Marc Marquez found Aleix Espargaro in his path and had to alter his trajectory through the opening corner but quickly passed the Aprilia rider. A three-way game of chess would quickly emerge between Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Miller as the trio tested each other for the majority of the race with a podium finish in view. The powder keg would ignite in the closing laps, Marquez attacking Miller and moving into third place with just five laps to go and with Miller so strong on the brakes, Marquez knew that attacking through the fast Turn 5 would be his best option as their chess game escalated.
From there it was a brawl as Marquez, Miller and Espargaro battled – an incredible save from the #93 at the final corner allowing Espargaro to just break away. A fired-up Marquez refused to let the moment hold him back as he fought until the very end with Miller, pushing his Honda RC213V to the limit and sending the crowd into a frenzy as he left long black lines around the track as Marquez looked to get past Miller again. 13 points in his pocket, Marquez moves up two positions into ninth overall in the championship and sits 45 points behind defending World Champion Fabio Quartararo.
Pol Espargaro once again executed a great start to the race and made up a handful of positions from 13th on the grid in the opening corners. Running wide at Turn 5 on the opening lap left Espargaro with some work to do and he became entangled in a race-long battle with Brad Binder and Oliveira. Taking 11th place, the #44 had hoped to achieve more after showing promising pace during the weekend but the rising temperatures of Sunday left Espargaro unable to conjure his speed.
The Repsol Honda Team will now remain in Jerez for the first in-season test of the year, a brief but important Monday test at the 4.4-kilometre-long track. The objective for both Marquez and Espargaro is to find the speed and feeling they had during the winter tests and return to consistently battling at the front of the field.
“Today I gave my maximum and achieved the maximum. I saved my energy through the whole weekend to be ready for Sunday because I’m still not in the condition to do a whole weekend at 100%. It’s the Spanish GP, I had to give it everything on race day. At one point in the race, I thought maybe the podium was possible, the key point was overtaking Miller and stopping Aleix because he was faster than us. This is what I tried to do but then at the last corner I lost the front and the rear but fortunately the Spanish crowd were there to pick me up and save the crash! We don’t give up; we keep pushing and now we prepare for an important Monday test.”
“The grip was really low today with the temperature and in conditions like this I suffer a lot more, more than my teammate and more than other riders. In the first lap I almost high sided at Turn 5 and I lost some positions, but to recover in MotoGP is really difficult. Fortunately, we have a test tomorrow and we need to get to work to return to what we found during winter. We have to work from the moment we are in and find solutions to the problems we are having. Patience is key here, the good times will come but we need to keep our heads down and work.”