Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa completely dominated the MotoGP™ race at Jerez on May 7 with a lights to flag win over teammate Marc Marquez, while Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) made it a trifecta for Spanish riders in front of a pasisonate home crowd.
It was Pedrosa's 30th MotoGP™ win, and Repsol Honda's 100th in the premier class. Pedrosa is now fouth in the championship on 52 points, with the top three filled by Movistar Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi (62) and Maverick Vinales (60) and world champion Marquez (58).
Vinales and Rossi were sixth and 10th at Jerez, both struggling with grip issues, while Aussie Jack Milller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda) crashed on lap six after an altercation with Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Ducati).
No such concerns for the diminutive Pedrosa, who was in a class of his own at Jerez after setting a searing pace from the very first practice session on Friday morning. The polesitter then got the jump in the 27-lap race, pulled a gap on Marquez, and then never really looked like being hauled in despite the best efforts of his teammate.
“I’m super happy with this win at Jerez, a track that I love very much, and in front of my family, my friends, and all these amazing fans," said Pedrosa. "I’m enjoying this emotion so much, more than I would’ve done a few years ago, in a more ‘conscious’ way.
"I’ve had a great feeling all weekend, and the team have worked so well; we’re getting better race by race and I’m very happy for them as well. We knew we were in a position to have the race we actually did.
"I felt the tension a little bit before the start, but I remained focussed and got away well at the start and just went for it. I chose the hard front because of today’s high temperature, even if the medium was my favourite. The pace probably would’ve been faster with the medium, but anyway I was happy with my choice.
"It went well, it was a marvellous weekend, and we now must continue at this level. It’s also a special honour to be the winner of the 3000th Grand Prix race and be alongside riders like Mick (Doohan, who won race number 2000) and Angel (Nieto, who won race number 1000).”
Marquez was happy with his second place, and said: "In the end I had a few risky moments, so I checked where Valentino and Vinales were and said to myself, 'Okay, second place is fine'. I’m very happy with the result, to be just four points off the top and to be back in the battle for the championship. The classification is very close and things are going to be very interesting."
There was major celebration from the Ducati camp after Lorenzo's third place – his first podium since switching to the Italian marque from Yamaha.
"A podium here at Jerez, in front of all my fans and after three complicated races, is the best present I could receive for my thirtieth birthday," said Lorenzo, who won at Jerez in 2016. "It’s a result that gives me more satisfaction than many wins I scored in the past, because it was very difficult to achieve.
"To finish third on a Ducati at a traditionally difficult circuit for the Desmosedici is incredible! Honestly, I didn’t expect to be able to fight for the podium, and the choice of front tyre was the key.
"The start was a bit chaotic because of the number of riders ahead of me but I didn’t give up so easily and believed that I could recover to overtake Zarco and finish third. The last few months have been tough, but the most important thing is that I’ve always believed in myself and that the team has shown its full trust in me.”
Lorenzo finished just ahead of impressive rookie Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Vinales, Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing Ducati), Jonas Folger (Monster Yamah Tech 3), Aleix Esparagro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Rossi completing the top 10.
Meanwhile, Miller was hit with a 1000 Euro fine for pushing Bautista after their coming together at turn one.
“It was a positive weekend until the race; I had good pace in practice and felt comfortable with the bike," said the Queenslander. "I got a good start but got caught up with a bunch of other riders on laps three and four and almost got cleaned up a couple of times.
"Then Alvaro threw it in deep on the brakes, lost the front and took me out when I was on target for another top 10 finish. It was real shame but the positives are that I had great pace and I can take that forward to the race at Le Mans.”
Other riders to crash out included Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki).
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, 45m26.827s
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda, +6.136s
- Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team, +14.767s
DNF, Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS, +22 laps
Pole position: Pedrosa, 1m38.249s = 162km/h
Fastest lap: Pedrosa, 1m40.243s = 158.8km/h
Championship top 3
Valentino Rossi 62 • Maverick Vinales 60 • Marquez 58
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) took a stunning maiden Moto2 win, crossing the line 3.5 seconds clear of Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46). Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was third, with championship leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) sliding out of contention early on while in second place.
“This is unbelievable; I could not have imagined a victory like this in front of my home fans, said Alex, younger brother of Marc." I want to dedicate this win to my mum on Mother’s Day.
"It was a long wait for three years to catch a victory and winning in Jerez is a dream come true. It was a difficult race in hot conditions and when I saw Franco crash I knew how easy it was to make mistake.
"I could not hold my maximum pace because I was on the limit with the front grip so just controlled the gap to the riders behind. I want to thank everyone in the team and all those who support me in Spain.”
Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) was fourth from Luca Marini (Forward Racing Team) and Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP), while Australia's Remy Gardner (Tech 3 Racing) was 22nd in his first race back after missing Austin with a broken right ankle. He said: "That was a tough race but the main thing is that we finished it and nobody took me out. After about five laps my ankle started to get really sore and to make things worse I had an allergy in my eye which started playing up.
"I couldn't ride how I wanted to all weekend but I gave it my all and have a couple of weeks until we go to Le Mans so hopefully I will be fitter and stronger there. Big thanks to everyone who has been sending me positive messages on social media and of course to my Tech3 Moto2 Team."
- Alex Marquez, EG 0,0 Marc VDS, 43m24.350s
- Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46, +3.442s
- Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo, +4.958s
22. Remy Gardner, Tech 3 Racing, +47.675s
Pole position: Marquez, 1m42.080s = 155.9km/h
Fastest lap and new record: Franco Morbidelli, EG 0,0 Marc VDS 1m42.596s = 155.1km/h
Championship top 3
Morbidelli 75 • Tom Luthi 64 • Oliveira 59
Like Alex Marquez, Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda) took his first ever class win, with everything coming down to a three-rider battle in the final corner against Texas winner Romano Fenati (Marinello Rivacold Snipers Honda) and championship leader Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda).
Canet’s move saw him go third to first on the final lap, holding onto it over the line in a tight win by only 0.031 seconds.
- Aron Canet, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda, 41m25.706s
- Romano Fenati, Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda, +0.031s
- Joan Mir, Leopard Racing Honda, +0.155s
Pole position: Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini, 1m46.404s = 150.2km/h
Fastest lap: Andrea Migno, Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM, 1m46.923s = 148.9km/h
Championship top 3
Mir 74 • Fenati 65 • Martin 59
Next round: Le Mans, France. May 19-21