For the first time ever in the MotoGP™ World Championship’s 65-year history eight different riders have won in the premier class, after Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa became the eighth rider in as many races to stand on the top step of the podium.
It was an aggressive ride from the 30-year old Spaniard who started from eighth on the grid to finish ahead of hometown hero Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) with reigning world champ Jorge Lorenzo in third (Movistar Yamaha).
Pedrosa attributed his soft front-tyre choice combined with his smoother riding style to his superior pace, who took the lead from Rossi after picking off the trailing six riders with seven laps to go. Pedrosa’s teammate and championship leader Marc Marquez crossed the line in fourth place ahead of Silverstone winner Maverick Viñales (Ecstar Suzuki). Ducati’s Andrea Iannone was replaced by Michele Pirro after a heavy crash on Friday left the Austria winner with a fractured vertebrae.
“I didn't have many options in the beginning, but once I was fourth I was on my own and I wasn’t really losing or recovering,” said Pedrosa, who set a new lap record on the way to his historic win. “I knew could do a good race but little by little I could see I could start to catch. I didn't think about the victory until 10 laps to go…I wasn't thinking about the win, but then I realised I could catch Valentino.”
“Once I got my rhythm with Marc and Jorge I knew that if I wanted to go with Valentino, I had to pass. I was worried at the start of the race because I'd never used this tyre in the hot conditions — only in the morning. But my feeling was good."
“On the start grid I was a bit nervous knowing I was the only one of us with that tyre choice but once I started I knew it was better for me.”
Pedrosa won the race with a comfortable lead of 2.837s over Rossi whose second place has reduced the gap in the title chase to Marquez by seven points to 43, with five rounds left to run.
Australia’s Jack Miller’s run of bad luck continued after the Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda rider was ruled out of starting the San Marino Grand Prix due to an fracture in his hand sustained at the Austrian Grand Prix some 4 weeks ago had failed to heal.
“I woke up this morning and my hand was more sore than yesterday, so we had to cancel today,” the 21-year-old said. “It becomes a safety thing. If we can’t brake where we’re supposed to or with the same force then we shouldn’t race. It was a tough decision to make but one we had to make, especially considering all the injuries.”
Pedrosa’s win moved him back into fourth place in the standings ahead of Maverick Viñales, while the top three remains the same — Marquez (223pts), Rossi (180) and Lorenzo (162). Round 14 of the championship will be held at Moorland Aragon in Spain in two week’s time over 23-25 September.
1. Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda, 43m43.524s
2. Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha, +2.837s
3. Jorge Lorenzo, Movistar Yamaha, +4.359s
16 Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, DNS
Pole position: Lorenzo, 1m31.868s = 165.6km/h
Fastest lap: Pedrosa 1m32.979s = 163.6km/h
Championship top 3
Marquez 223 • Rossi 180 • Lorenzo 162
Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team) took his first-ever Moto2™ victory in front of his home crowd after a superb ride in the second half the race saw him cross the line ahead title contender Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), while Japanese rider Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) took his third consecutive third-place finish ahead of championship leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport).
Rins appeared untouchable with 15 laps to go but, spurred on by his home crowd, Baldassarri began reeling in the injured Spanish rider, whose second place means only three points now seperate him from Johann Zarco with five rounds left to run.
Briton Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who was sitting third in the standings heading into the San Marino Grand Prix, crashed out while fighting for the last podium position with 13 laps to go. Italy’s Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) crossed the line behind Zarco to round out the top five.
Frenchman Zarco still leads the title from Rins on 194 points. Alex Rins, on 191 points, is now 50 points ahead of Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten) on 141.
Aussie Remy Gardner (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) finished in 19th place, crossing the line 1m04.010s seconds behind the winner.
1. Lorenzo Baldassarri, Forward Team, 42m45.885s
2. Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40, +2.523s
3. Takaaki Nakagami, IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia +6.199s
19. Remy Gardner, Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2, +1m04.010s
Pole position: Johann Zarco, Ajo Motorsport, 1m37.436s = 156.1km/h
Fastest lap: Rins, 1m37.892s = 155.4km/h
Championship top 3
Zarco 194 • Rins 191 • Luthi 141
South African Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his fifth win of the season to put him 106 points clear of his closest rival and Misano second-place getter Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3). The pair tussled for the lead in the final stages of the race but once again the South African crossed the line first.
Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0) crashed out of third place in the race, and subsequently second place in the standings, as Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) rode a stunning race from 16th on the grid to take third place ahead of class rookie Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46).
Unable to stay with the leading four in the latter stages of the race, Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing) finished in fifth place just ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Leopard Racing).
1. Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo, 39m37.556s
2. Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing Moto3, +0.262s
3. Joan Mir, Leopard Racing, +1.416s
Pole position: Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo, 1m42.398s = 148.5km/h
Fastest lap: Andrea Locatelli, Leopard Racing, 1m42.627s = 148.2km/h
Championship top 3
Binder 229 • Bastianini 123 • Navarro 118
With 8 winners in the last 13 races, 4 of those being maiden wins, the Michelin® Australian Grand Prix 2016 is looking to be another nail biting race. Tickets are selling fast, dont miss your chance to experience the world's fastest riders take on 'The Island', this October 21-23.
Next round: Aragon, Spain, September 23-25