Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
17 June 2018
Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit in Barcelona
Jorge Lorenzo is the King of Catalunya
Lorenzo wins his second successive race for Ducati. Jorge Lorenzo took the win at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya today. Marc Márquez finished second and Valentino Rossi took a well earned third.
Practice and Qualifying
Free Practice 1
Valentino Rossi had a late surge to top the timing sheets during the first practice session of the weekend in Barcelona.
The Italian spent the majority of the session further down the timing sheets as he and the majority of the field completed a lot of laps on used tyres to try and work out the newly laid surface at the Circuit de Catalunya, but a late run on soft tyres saw the nine-times World Champion end the session fastest with a lap time of 1:39.456.
The factory Ducati duo of Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo were second and third respectively on the GP18's. Both Ducati riders did use new rubber at the end of the session although both went with the harder compound Michelin.
Marc Márquez was fourth fastest. The Spaniard led for the majority of the session. However, late laps on new tyres saw him fall further behind. Despite some typically hairy Márquez moments, the World Champion didn't look upset to be fourth fastest.
Johann Zarco was fifth fastest and was lucky to avoid a nasty crash going into turn 13 when he lost the front end of his Tech M1. Thankfully for the Frenchman he managed to stand the bike up and used the extended run off to keep his bike upright. Maverick Viñales was sixth and hoping to find some early race pace.
Cal Crutchlow was top Brit and seventh fastest LCR Honda ahead of Tito Rabat, Andrea Iannone and Jack Miller who rounded out the top ten, with Iannone and Miller walking away from slow crashes.
MotoGP Free Practice 1 Classification
Barcelona, Friday, June 15, 2018
Free Practice 2
Lorenzo, the Spaniard, fresh from his win in Mugello was all fired up to show it wasn't a one off. Before Mugello, he'd signed with the Factory Repsol Honda team for the next two years. He posted the fastest lap of the day with a 1.38.930
Andrea Iannone was second fastest on his Suzuki GSX-RR and despite an argument in the middle of the session with his 2019 Aprilia team-mate Aleix Espargaró, the Italian was just a tenth off of Lorenzo's fastest time.
Maverick Viñales was third, but half a second off Lorenzo's time as he looked to build on his successful test in Barcelona from three weeks ago.
The second factory Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso was fourth and just ahead of the top Honda, Cal Crutchlow in fifth. The Brit was just 0.015 behind Dovizioso on his LCR Honda Castrol RC213V, as he fought his way around the Catalan circuit.
Danilo Petrucci was sixth and made it three Ducati's in the top six, just ahead of Johann Zarco who shook off an early crash to take seventh fastest with Dani Pedrosa, Hafizh Syahrin and Tito Rabat rounding out the top ten.
Valentino Rossi was one of a few who failed to improve in the afternoon session. After topping the morning session, the Italian didn't improve in the afternoon but his morning time was still good enough to keep him in the top ten before the free practice three session.
Another man who failed to improve on their fastest time of the day in the afternoon was Márquez. The World Champion lost the front end of his RC213V at turn four, but thankfully walked away unharmed from his fast crash.
MotoGP Free Practice 2 Classification
Barcelona, Friday, June 15, 2018
Drama in Catalunya Free Practice 3
Lorenzo, the Spaniard, tried something different, which didn't work and dropped down to 12th in the times.
After his second crash of the weekend, Márquez ended eleventh fastest and had to go through the qualifying one session. Márquez was up to third in the first half of the session, but he crash just as the times got fast, which saw him drop down the time sheets and he was the out of the top ten sending him into Q1.
MotoGP Free Practice 3 Classification
Barcelona, Saturday, June 16, 2018
In Qualifying 2 Lorenzo beats Márquez for his first pole with Ducati
Jorge Lorenzo took his first MotoGP pole position for Ducati in fine style, being fastest in qualifying 2 for the Catalan Grand Prix.
Lorenzo, who was still fired up and relishing his first win at Mugello, was faster then the resurgent Marc Márquez by 0.066s in the fascinating Q2 decider.
Márquez had to go through Q1 due to a late crash in FP3, but he made short work of going through to the pole shoot out.
He ended his first run in the opening segment with a comfortable lead and gradually improved his time with several successive laps late on, never threatened by any of the other Q1 riders.
Lorenzo took the initial lead in Q2, only for Márquez to go quicker with a 1m 38.886s, the best lap of the weekend so far, which left him nearly four tenths clear after the opening runs.
Dovizioso improved to within 0.037s of pole in the final runs, only for Márquez to respond immediately, with a time of 1m38.746s.
Lorenzo, who was angry at his crew after coming into the pits for his bike swap, went even faster, finding time on Márquez in the final sector to take his first Ducati pole position with a 1m38.680s.
Lorenzo still had time for a final flying lap, but did not improve, which left him vulnerable to last dash efforts from Dovizioso and Márquez.
Dovizioso had been up on Lorenzo two sectors in after the chequered flag, but came behind Maverick Viñales and couldn't improve.
The same happened to Márquez, who was only a tenth short heading into the final sector, getting caught up with Danilo Petrucci on his Pramac Ducati.
With Márquez and Dovizioso completing the front row, Viñales was the top Yamaha in fourth, just 0.003s ahead of Andrea Iannone on his Ecstar Suzuki, his team mate, Álex Rins could only manage 15th.
Petrucci, apologised to Márquez on the slow down lap for getting in his way. He made up the second row, ahead of Valentino Rossi, who was forced to roll out of his final effort after a huge moment.
Zarco took eighth, with Avintia Ducati's Tito Rabat ninth and Cal Crutchlow could only manage 10th. His qualifying was spoilt by a late crash at the high-speed right hander of Turn 13.
Dani Pedrosa on the other Repsol Honda struggled to 11th, just beating the rookie Takaaki Nakagami on his LCR Honda Idemitsu, the Japanese rider's first time in Q2 after beating Jack Miller on his Pramac Ducati in the fight for second in Q1.
MotoGP Qualifying 1 Classification
Barcelona, Saturday, June 16, 2018
MotoGP Qualifying 2 Classification
Barcelona, Saturday, June 16, 2018
Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya
Lorenzo makes it 2 Wins out of the last 2 races
Lorenzo won his second successive race on his Factory Ducati. Jorge Lorenzo took the win at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya. Marc Márquez made a good start and tried to fight with Lorenzo, he couldn't match the pace and finished second. Valentino Rossi fought through the riders to take a well earned third.
It was a real race of attrition, with several riders being caught out on the unpredictable new surface. Of the 26 riders to start, only 14 managed to finish.
At the start it was Márquez who shot from the front row to take the lead, with Andrea Iannone on his Ecstar Suzuki bursting into second place ahead of Lorenzo.
Iannone wasted no time in challenging for the lead on lap one, he got by Márquez but drifted wide and Márquez retook the lead with Lorenzo also coming past the Italian Suzuki rider.
Márquez led over the line at the end of lap one but Lorenzo dived past Márquez on the brakes into Turn 1 and took the lead.
The three time MotoGP champion and Factory Ducati rider was not headed for the rest of the race, with Márquez able to hang on to the rear of the Ducati unable to get close enough to challenge him.
Rossi in third was unchallenged for the rest of the race. Iannone's tyres lost grip in the second half of the race and he dropped down the order on his Factory Ecstar Suzuki.
Lorenzo controlled the race from front, ahead of Márquez and Rossi in a safe third. The action, though, was behind him, for fourth place. A right battle going on throughout the race between Britain's Cal Crutchlow on his LCR Castrol Honda and the Spaniard, Dani Pedrosa on his Factory Repsol Honda. Crutchlow kept harassing Pedrosa and Danilo Petrucci the Pramac Ducati rider was there to pick up the pieces and trying to get into the battle as well.
With 14 laps to go, Lorenzo began to up his pace and he opened up a lead of around eight tenths over Márquez. He controlled the race, waving to his home fans on his last lap as Márquez dropped back into the clutches of Rossi. Although the top three remained the same to the flag. Lorenzo took the win by 4.4 seconds, while Márquez held off late charging Rossi by 1.5 seconds for second.
Next across the line in fourth was British Bulldog LCR Honda man, Cal Crutchlow 3.8 seconds back from Rossi, while Pedrosa managed to narrowly beat Viñales. Zarco and Petrucci finished seventh and eighth, and Alvaro Bautista, Angel Nieto Ducati Team rider and Iannone completing the top ten.
Coming home 11th was Red Bull KTM's Pol Espargaró was next ahead of another Brit Scott Redding on his Works Gresini Aprilia, in 12th. Czech Karel Abraham riding his Angel Nieto Ducati took 13th and top rookie Italian Franco Morbidelli Marc VDS Honda last man to finish the depleted field.
Mika Kallio had a good mid-pack position, until he crashed on lap one. He was taken to the medical centre for a check-up, and Tito Rabat spectacularly jumped off his bike into the gravel trap when his Reale Avintia Ducati went up in flames on the home straight.
Andrea Dovizioso who unfortunately crashed again, that's three of the last four races. Now that really has put the Italian's Championship chances in jeopardy. He is now almost two race wins, 49 points behind Márquez. Which will take some catching now with 12 races to go.
Bradley Smith who was having a good race only to be wiped out by Takaaki Nakagami. Also to fall foul were Hafizh Syahrin, Mika Kallio, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, Sylvain Guintoli, Team Suzuki Ecstar, Tom Lüthi, Aleix Espargaró and Xavier Simeon, Reale Avintia Racing. Suffering mechanical troubles were Álex Rins, Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR, Jack Miller, Pramac Ducati GP17 and Tito Rabat, Reale Avintia GP17.
Lorenzo, if he keeps this form up, could be in contention for the Championship,
MotoGP Race Classification
Barcelona, Sunday, June 17, 2018
MotoGP World Standings 18 June 2018
All results and Championship statistics obtained from motogp.com with thanks
Post Race Rider Interviews
Winner Jorge Lorenzo
Spanish Ducati Team #99 Points 25
"Today's win was really fantastic! We showed that we can win not only by entering the first turn in first place, but also by recovering and overtaking the others.
"It was actually a complicated race because I got off to a bad start and lost a lot of metres to Márquez, but I told myself that the race was long and I had to keep calm. It wasn't too difficult to take Marc, because I had that little bit extra under braking, but he stayed pretty close to me right down to the flag.
"Now we've got a very competitive package and I think that this is the most complete Ducati bike of all time: both Dovi and I this weekend have always been competitive. We must capitalize on this situation because the Desmosedici works well at virtually every track, it doesn't consume the tyres too much, and this is a big advantage. Now let's enjoy this win and then we'll think about the next race."
Second Marc Márquez
Spanish Repsol Honda Team #93 Points 20
"Today was a race where we had to manage as best as possible and I tried to be smart. Of course in the first laps I pushed hard because it was important to follow Jorge and to open a gap on the chasers.
"When we built a comfortable advantage I just managed the pace. I even slowed down a bit in the final part of the race as it was impossible to catch Lorenzo. I saw many crashes, which made me think more than I did in other races. Sometimes the tyre choice you make doesn't result in the exact feeling you were hoping for, but I think that second is very good for the Championship because we arrived here with a 23-point lead and go to Assen with 27.
"It's time to understand how the situation is and try and manage it as best as possible. We made a mistake in Mugello and that had me thinking a lot. Of course, when you don't win the feeling that you were missing something remains, but a podium is a good result! Maybe other challenging races will arrive but the good thing for us is that so far in every race we have been in good shape."
Third Valentino Rossi
Italian Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #46 Points 16
"Yesterday, after the practice sessions, I saw that my rivals were a bit faster than I was. I was very close to the second group, but this morning we improved the settings with my team, together with Silvano, and then I had better turning and could go a bit faster. After that I wasn't far off, but unfortunately just not close enough. Later Dovi made a mistake and I arrived on the podium. I'm happy because last year at this race track we struggled a lot - it was a disaster - while this year I was able to keep up the pace until the last lap, in a good way. These are also important points for the championship, because I've gained a small advantage to defend second place and we have to continue like this."
Fourth Cal Crutchlow
British LCR Honda Castrol Team #35 Points 13
"A good day today, obviously the whole LCR Honda Castrol Team did a good job. We're pleased with the result. For the bad qualifying yesterday I'm sorry to the team, but I think we repaid them today with a good result. I aimed for the podium and we finished fourth, so we have to be happy with the result and it's also good for the championship. Thanks to my team for all their efforts this weekend, we put on a good show and now I look forward to Assen."
Fifth Dani Pedrosa
Spanish Repsol Honda Team #26 Points 11
"I think we did a good result enough considering the weekend, because starting eleventh and finishing fifth is a good recovery. Of course, we cannot be satisfied with that.
"The feeling was not there, and I struggled a lot with a lack of grip during the race. The riders I was fighting with could gain on me, especially mid-corner and out of the corners. I could be a bit stronger in braking but ultimately my lap times were a bit slower.
"Cal passed me in the end as a result, and Viñales could catch me as well, though I was able to hold him off on the last lap. Tomorrow we have a one-day test and hopefully we'll be able to solve this issue and be fast in the coming races."
Sixth Maverick Viñales
Spanish Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team #25 Points 10
"I had a lot of trouble in the first laps, especially at the start, I seem to be the only Yamaha to have problems, I really don't understand it. I need to have the possibility to start well and then, for sure, it's going to be another race.
"When I'm alone on the track I can do the same rhythm as Jorge and Marc. We need to keep working, stay focused on our side, to be strong. It's difficult right now, but we'll keep pushing. I know that when the bike is good I'm there at the front, that's why I'm calm."
Seventh Johann Zarco
French Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team #5 Points 9
"This has been a difficult race. The pace was quite ok, but I had many unlucky moments during the race.
"The start was good, but then I had to close the gas between two riders, so I lost positions. I could not find a place to overtake and later on, when I was ready to pass, it was a yellow flag, so I had to slow down again. There were many moments that lowered my pace a bit and then I really tried to manage all the race and catch Pedrosa and Crutchlow. I was almost able to do it, but then I was tired and holding the bike became more and more difficult.
"Viñales caught me and I had to finish in seventh position. It's not a disaster, we are still pretty good in the Championship, pretty good to fight for the second place overall. Rossi is in this position at the moment and he has to be very clever to keep it, I want to be clever, too.
"I think we are on a good way together with my crew, we just have to keep working in this good direction and keep trusting that once everything will be understood well, I will be able to be back on the podium."
Eighth Danilo Petrucci
Italian Alma Pramac Ducati Racing Team #9 Points 8
"I am satisfied with what I did in the first laps. I was with Pedrosa trying to manage the rear tyre then I started to have a problem with the front as I could not brake hard.
"I was convinced I could be in the Top 5 but I am happy because I am 5th in the standings".
Ninth Alvaro Bautista
Spanish Angel Nieto Ducati Team #19 Points 7
"It was a great comeback, moving up thirteen positions. We knew it was going to be a battle for survival, and that proved to be the case.
"We started calmly, in order not to heat up the tyres too much. Last year I had trouble finishing the race, but this year with the soft tyre they weren't too worn down at the chequered flag. I had a good pace; except for when passing other riders I was in the 1:40s.
"It's a shame to have started so far back, because if I were to have qualified better on Saturday I could have been with the front group. It is something that we have to improve. I hope to be able to qualify better for the next race. I'm happy with how I felt during the race."
Tenth Andrea Iannone
Italian Team Suzuki Ecstar #29 Points 6
"I'm not so happy because I tried really hard but I couldn't achieve the result I wanted.
"For sure we have improved the bike a lot in some areas, but in others we still have work to do, especially when accelerating and trying to control sliding. In any case, I'm happy with my performance because I tried my best when the tyres were good, and I was close to the top at the start so that was important.
"I hope we'll make more improvements in the coming races."
Scott Redding 12th
British Aprilia Racing Team Gresini #45 Points 4
"It wasn't a bad race. Everyone was having trouble with the grip, whereas for me the situation was similar to other races. Generally, throughout the entire weekend I have felt better in the afternoon in conditions similar to the ones today.
"We changed the tyre choice just before the start and today it was the right move. I maintained my pace for all 24 laps, doing almost the entire race behind Pol Espargaró. I would have tried to overtake him toward the end, but a bit of chattering at the front, the same as I had felt this morning before crashing, convinced me to hold off and bring home the result."
British Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team #38 Did not finish
"A shame what happened and especially because I felt good all weekend. The start was amazing and I pushed hard in the first laps to maintain the position.
"I then found my normal pace and rhythm with Pol just inside the points and unfortunately Nakagami crashed and took me out. It is hard to finish a race like that after a positive weekend but we'll look forward to the test tomorrow and trying to get our bike ready for Assen."
Italian Ducati Team #04 Did not finish
"The crash was my fault because I was pushing hard because I didn't want to lose contact with Jorge and Marc.
"Unfortunately, in the race there wasn't as much grip as in the morning and I wasn't able to ride in the same way. I didn't expect that, I came into the turn too quickly and crashed under braking.
"A real pity because once again here we were fast and we could have scored a lot of points, but now we can only look ahead because we know we are fast everywhere, and even though we still have to improve several aspects, we are always fighting for the win.
"We'll start to think about the championship when the time comes, but for the moment we're only thinking about winning races."
The next exciting instalment
The excitement of the MotoGP riders continues this weekend with the Dutch TT at the Assen circuit in the Netherlands.
My circuit preview will be available shortly and my race report after the race.
- Roland Potter