Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana
Dramatic MotoGP Jerez Race
The Spanish fans get a Spanish Victor!
With Drama, Crashes, Overtakes and a Floss Winners Celebration over the line - just for good measure!
Marc Márquez cruised to an easy win in the second half of the race. He now leads the championship. Others were battling it out, some not so lucky and were taken out.
Marc Márquez does a victory "Backpack Kid's" viral "flossing" dance move!
History was made on Sunday 6th May 2018, with Valentino Rossi completing the equivalent of a lap of the world!
There are a lot of records held by the Italian, Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, but the 'Doctor' now has another new and truly unique one to add to his collection: he's raced the equivalent of a lap of the world. Completing the incredible feat during the Spanish GP at Jerez, that's 40,075km raced over 23 seasons, beginning at the 1996 Malaysian GP.
That's an incredible 8,730 laps, 23 seasons, 369 Grand Prixs, 115 victories, 64 poles, nine World Championships…and a lap of the world on conclusion of Lap 15 of the Jerez race.
Jerez MotoGP Free Practice sessions, Friday Day 1
Márquez crashes and ends up fastest on day one.
Cal Crutchlow 2nd and Andrea Iannone 3rd.
The first day of free practice began on Friday. Championship leader Andrea Dovizioso, Factory Ducati Team, showed everyone he means business this weekend. He was the fastest in FP1, a mere 0.007 of a second ahead of Marc Márquez, Repsol Honda, who he leads by just one point in the championship.
In free practice two, as the temperatures rose, it all changed. Top of the time sheets was Britain's Cal Crutchlow, LCR Castrol Honda, the winner of the Argentina MotoGP race.
The times were extremely close, the top 15 were all within a second of each other
The top four were over a tenth of a second ahead of the rest.
Crutchlow finished only 0.028 of a second in front of last year's Jerez MotoGP winner, Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda RC213V.
Pedrosa is getting stronger as he recovers from his surgery after breaking his wrist in the Argentina GP when shoved on to a wet patch and high sided off his Repsol Honda. Today Pedrosa finished 0.091 in front of Zarco.
Zarco was third fastest and the best Yamaha riding his Monster Yamaha Tech3 YZR-M1. Zarco has signed with the KTM team for 2019 - 2020 seasons.
Fourth, Italian Andrea Iannone, Factory Team Suzuki Ecstar GSX-RR, was 0.095 of a second behind Zarco.
Both Dovi and Márquez were down in the times. Márquez after a slip off finished fifth, 0.249 of a second behind Crutchlow and Dovi sixth.
Factory Ducati team mate, Jorge Lorenzo, in the past, took three wins at Jerez all on Yamaha M1, and got his first podium last year with Ducati in third.
The top 10 were Australian Jack Miller, Alma Pramac Racing, the top Independent Team Ducati rider; Valentino Rossi, Factory Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team and his team mate, Maverick Viñales.
While Rossi was pushing for a fast time, he had a moment as he lost the front, nearly coming off but he managed to save it.
Rossi manages to save this front end slide,you can see his left leg well off the foot peg
In 11th was the top Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pilot, Pol Espargaró. Who has a new lease of life after re-signing with KTM on Wednesday.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini duo struggled Friday: Aleix Espargaró finished 21st, and Scott Redding 24th, both over 1.3 seconds behind Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow takes a magnificent pole and smashes the lap record
Qualifying Day Two
Britain's Argentina MotoGP race winner Cal Crutchlow scorches to a new lap record and takes the top spot at the newly-resurfaced Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto in Spain to take pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix.
Favourite to take pole Dani Pedrosa had to settle for 2nd and Johann Zarco gets third. Yamaha's struggles continue with Rossi 10th and Viñales 11th
It certainly was a hectic qualifying session
No-one could match Cal Crutchlow as he took his first pole, faster than the Spanish favourite, Dani Pedrosa. It's been 29 races by since he had a pole. Last one was in 2016 at Silverstone and again, like today, beating the Factory Honda rider Dani Pedrosa.
In Q2 Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo made faster split sector times than Crutchlow, but the Brit was unequalled around the final sector and he was even quicker on his final lap to secure his pole position and to rub the others' noses in it, setting a new lap record of 1m 37.653 seconds in the process.
Crutchlow was fastest by 0.259s in an otherwise really close session, where second to ninth places were only separated by 0.130s.
Fellow Honda rider Dani Pedrosa and Johann Zarco battled for second and third with their late flyers to share the front row with Crutchlow.
Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa who is still recovering from his broken wrist of less than a month ago, was over a quarter of a second behind Crutchlow.
Johann Zarco pushed as hard as he could on his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha. He was briefly on top. He took third ahead of Jorge Lorenzo, Factory Ducati, and current world champion Marc Márquez. They will be starting from row two on the grid.
A resurgent Jorge Lorenzo had to settle for fourth, with Márquez only taking fifth. Lorenzo, the Spaniard, was the early pace-setter in the session and, despite going fastest in the first two sectors of the track on three occasions, he failed to improve on his time. Lorenzo knows he has to get results now or he'll be having to look for a new team.
Márquez was having difficulties with the "greasy" surface as it got hotter, sliding his way to beat the Factory Suzuki pair by eight thousandths of a second. Álex Rins got the better of Suzuki teammate Iannone, by just 0.003s to take the last place on the second row.
Andrea Dovizioso, MotoGP championship leader by just one point, having had to progress from Qualifying 1 to take eighth place ahead of Pramac Ducati's Danilo Petrucci who completes row three, despite both being less than half a second behind Crutchlow.
Movistar Yamaha Team surprisingly struggled at Jerez as Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales could only manage to qualify in 10th and 11th, just ahead of the likeable Aussie, Jack Miller on his Alma sponsored Pramac Ducati, who came 12th in the qualifying shootout.
Aleix Espargaró on the Factory Aprilia, starts the race from 13th. He narrowly missed out on getting into Q2 by just 0.04 of a second behind Maverick Viñales, Japanese Takaaki Nakagami 14th, on his LCR Honda, and Franco Morbidelli 15th, on his EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda.
In Qualifying 1 it was Dovizioso and Viñales, who progressed to Q2.
In Q1, the factory Ducati rider set a time of 1m 38.402 seconds on the only flyer of his first run, something the rest of the riders couldn't match.
Dovizioso was the first one to go back out on track for his second run, and again only did enough to get through, with his time of 1m 38.074 seconds.
Fellow Ducati rider Tito Rabat, second for a while, 0.002s ahead of Viñales, after his first run.
Spaniard Rabat crashed at Turn 1 in his second outing, shortly after his flyer and Aleix Espargaró took his place as Viñales' main challenger for the second Q2 spot. Rabat had to settle for 17th.
Behind Espargaró, Honda rookies Takaaki Nakagami LCR and Franco Morbidelli Marc VDS fought it out. They start 14th and 15th with Pol Espargaró leading KTM's efforts in 16th.
Now to Sunday's race!
Márquez victorious and Johann Zarco on his Tech3 Yamaha took second 5.421secs behind the Repsol Honda man, ahead of a trio of Italians - Andrea Iannone Suzuki, Danilo Petrucci Ducati and Valentino Rossi Factory MoviStar Yamaha - all separated by half a second.
Lorenzo made a very good start from the inside of the front row and headed Pedrosa, Zarco, lap record-breaking pole-sitter Cal Crutchlow, and Márquez through the opening corners.
The defending champion was making light work of the task ahead before bravely firing his Repsol Honda down the inside of team-mate Pedrosa at the Criville Corner to take over second position in Lap 3 of 25.
Dovizioso, by then fourth, to catch up and he soon passed Pedrosa.
Márquez hassled early leader Lorenzo who then went wide, letting the Honda rider through. Then Márquez pushed to open a gap with Zarco doing his best to keep with him.
Leading he had a heart-stopper at Criville on Lap 13 when he found the debris left on the track from Thomas Luthi's coming off his Marc VDS Honda.
Márquez had a huge slide which the 25 year old somehow saved.
Márquez says he was fighting the "old style of Jorge" and getting past him early and allowing his rival to cause a gap between him and the rest.
Pedrosa and Dovizioso were battling for third after Dovi tried to make a move on Lorenzo. Márquez made the fastest lap of the race on Lap 16.
Cal Crutchlow dropped back to fourth with a slow getaway, and the LCR Honda rider held that position until he fell at the Turn 1 right-hander, crashing out of a second consecutive grand prix.
But on lap eighteen there was more drama. Dovizioso made a pass on Lorenzo but couldn't hold it tight in the 'Dry Sac' turn, and went wide. So Lorenzo dived inside him, not seeing Pedrosa coming through. Ducati rider smashed into poor Dani Pedrosa at the apex of the corner causing Dani to hi-side his Honda. The impact sent Lorenzo careering into Dovizioso bringing them both down with a bump. Dovizioso was not best pleased and rightly so.
None of the riders were badly hurt despite Pedrosa bringing gasps from the 100,000-strong crowd by flying spectacularly through the air after being shunted so hard by Lorenzo.
In my opinion, after carefully watching the replays many times, it is definitely Lorenzo's fault - he cut back into Pedrosa, leaving the Honda man no room and smashed into him. He should be more aware of what's going on around him. He knew Dani was right behind them. This was a costly crash for Dovizioso, it could cost him the championship. It could have been so easily avoided. Lorenzo must go back to school to learn simple track safety so it doesn't happen again!
Due to the crash Zarco was handed second, six seconds off the lead, and he had a steady and lonely run to the flag on his Tech3 Yamaha.
Danilo Petrucci on his Pramac Ducati and Suzuki's Andrea Iannone duelled for a podium position, Iannone ultimately prevailing on his Suzuki Ecstar.
Petrucci ended up fourth, just beating Valentino Rossi after Rossi re-took Jack Miller Pramac Ducati with two laps to go. Jack Miller also battled for all 25 laps, despite not having the same speed as Petrucci. The Australian finished in sixth place.
Maverick Viñales, Movistar Yamaha, had another difficult day and was seventh. Alvaro Bautista, Angel Nieto Ducati Team came eighth. Ninth finisher was rookie Franco Morbidelli on his Marc VDS Honda and wildcard Factory KTM Mika Kallio test rider beat both the KTM riders in tenth.
Márquez, after a steady start to the season now leads the championship by 12 points from Dovizioso.
It is now beginning to look daunting for Márquez's rivals, despite crashing three times this weekend, during practice on Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning, on a track that he has not had much success on. He seems always to have luck on his side at the moment.
GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPANA
MotoGP Race Classification
Jerez de la Frontera, Sunday, 6 May 2018
The podium Second in the race Johann Zarco, HRC Honda Race Director, Winner Marc Márquez, Third place man - second race in a row for Suzuki Andrea Iannone
MotoGP World Standing 2018 After Four Rounds
Results and Championship standing provided by motogp.com
Rider Post-Race Interviews
Race Winner Marc Márquez Repsol Honda Team Points 25
Marc told us
"I really never believed I could win this race from the second row. But I was clever and pushed it. It's a long race with many different things to bear in mind.
"It was an important race because although I like the circuit, it's historically not one of my best ones.
"Ok, I finished this year with a victory, but I crashed three times and started fifth on the grid so it was not an easy weekend.
"I was not the fastest one today on the track. Dani and Cal were very fast, but it was, so difficult to overtake Lorenzo today. I tried and when I did I said, 'OK time to open up a gap.
"This win in front of these amazing fans is great! I'm very happy with the result, which is especially important at this track, because winning here is usually difficult for me.
"That said, I was convinced before the start that I could fight for the victory today.
"It was a tough weekend, but we did good work, and in the end I was able to manage the race in the best way, despite the fact that I wasn't the fastest rider out there today.
"The key for me was the rear-tyre choice; we made the decision after the warm-up to go with the medium, and that was the right move.
"Then I was able to take the lead at the right moment and push when I had the chance. I also had a big moment when I hit some dirt on the track. When I realized that the asphalt was covered in gravel, it was already too late. I closed the gas, but I had a huge slide!
"Let's say it was a bit of a 'Márquez style' show!
"I'm happy to have taken my first MotoGP win at Angel Nieto's Circuit, and to have an advantage in the championship.
"We'll have a test here tomorrow, and we'll try to continue the good work. It will be a long season and we must keep our focus high."
"I was surprised about Lorenzo as it was like old style of Jorge," Márquez said. "At the start, he was pushing a lot but he stopped Dani who was my main worry.
"This race he stopped Dani and I was able to overtake Dani, overtake Lorenzo and get away. I realised that it was nearly impossible to overtake Lorenzo. He was braking so late and he was exiting so well from the corners. But then I was a little bit patient.
"When I saw that his tyre started to drop, I thought now it's time to lead the race and try to open a gap. I was able to open a gap, step by step.
"I struggled a little bit as we are missing something in the front and I want to try something tomorrow [at the Jerez test] because I crashed three times," he said. "I'm missing something and I want to understand.
"With the other riders today crashing I've increase a lot the advantage, and this is good for us, but as I said before Qatar, Johann this year will be strong, Suzuki will be in the podium, so more or less the prediction is there.
"I will say that Ducati's will be strong because they were close in this circuit, so they will be strong in the other parts of the championship. Only four races with many, many races to go."
Asked if the others should be worried about his form, he added:
"Yes, yes. Today we won on a track we struggle at normally. Also we open a gap in the championship, which is good for us."
Second Johann Zarco Tech 3 Yamaha Team #5 Points 20
"We are second now in the position in the championship," Zarco said. "Much better than what we expect at the beginning of the year. It's where I want to fight and I'm so happy to be there. Like a dream especially before the French GP it's so good.
"It means we will have even more fans pushing us giving positive energy. The track is normally quite good for the Yamaha, so I will try to do the right things in the right moment and be competitive for dream about victory.
"While in fifth position and trying to catch the first group, I mean the group for the podium because Marc was already going away, I thought it was possible. I was doing the best to find the pace and catch them. But I got this chance.
"Pretty happy that all the weekend I was quite competitive. When you can manage a weekend like that and then the chance came to you I was there to catch it.
"I think Rossi and Viñales should be there fighting for the podium and the victory in Le Mans," he said. "We cannot say going to be the same race than last year because of the crash Marc had last year. I think he will not repeat it.
"Now with the advantage he has at the moment he can control well the race also. So let's see what happens. I know that if I can do the good job on the bike I can be there. Then catching podiums and if I can stay constant in the podium and always fight, do my best and trust about the victory, yes, maybe I can be the first Yamaha, but I don't know.
"Last year I had great beginning of season, then I had problems and I had good end of the season. If I can keep fighting for the championship and think about the title, even if I finished second, I think in my position I will be pretty happy.
"Sometimes you need a little luck and today I got some," said the Frenchman. "When the three of them fell I could hardly believe it.
"I said to myself 'keep calm there's only seven laps left' and these 20 points are great for the championship," he said.
Third Andrea Iannone Ecstar Suzuki Team #29 Points 16
"I think we are lucky, for sure, but in any case, for the weekend I think we show a really good potential," Iannone said. "We switched from medium one to hard and I think it is not a really good decision because for all the race I struggle a lot on the acceleration point.
"I have a lot of speed but I am could not reduce the speed very well. I tried my best for all the race and pushed really hard. At the end, we take this podium for sure with luck, despite the misfortune for Dani, Dovi and Jorge.
"I'm really happy about this result," he said. "This second podium in a row for me with Suzuki. For sure is a really good moment for us. I leave this moment for this period with a smile.
"I want to continue to improve with Suzuki. I'm not really happy about third position as I want recover the gap from the best rider. This is my target. For me and Suzuki we must fight for it."
Fourth Danilo Petrucci Alma Pramac Ducati Racing #9 Points 13
"I already smelt the scent of the podium but Iannone capitalised on my trajectories to overtake me.
"I am very irritated - It will take two or three hours for me to calm down. I had never finished fourth in MotoGP and I must say that it is not a very nice feeling.
"Maybe it's even worse than finishing second where you are at least on the podium. All told, I was lucky because some crashes facilitated the race. I pushed very hard, battling with Valentino and beating him is never easy, so I'm happy about that.
"For me the podium was very close, but the Suzuki snatched it away by just a few tenths.
"I was third in the last part of the race and I thought I could stay in that position, but Iannone, maybe not at 100% in the previous laps, capitalised on my trajectories in the finale to overtake me on the penultimate lap.
"In any case, I am happy. This result is a breath of fresh air for the team after some hard races, even if I already smelt the scent of the podium."
Fifth Valentino Rossi MoviStar Yamaha Team #46 Points 11
"The fifth place was my pace, with my speed over the weekend is not so bad, But we were lucky because three guys in front crash, the problem is that we are happy because we do the maximum, the race was quite good but unfortunately this is our potential now."
He goes on to say that, despite gains from a tough race last year, there's more still to do,
"I was a lot faster compared to last year but it's not enough to the fight for the podium and the victory, our technical situation is different, if we want to fight for the race win, Yamaha have to help us. We have to speed up our development process, in particular the electronics now. Honda and Ducati have found something deep inside theirs, we must do also. I hope we can do so we must do it soon."
The next race, however, is Le Mans - where last year the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team mates fought it out down to the last lap. That makes Rossi more positive now
"For me in Le Mans we can be more competitive but I don't know if it's enough for the win, if it's enough for the podium or if it's enough to arrive in the top five! I don't know, we'll have to see. But I think in Le Mans we can be a bit faster."
Have a look at what Valentino had to say about his latest achievement here:-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_A0QWqi6uL4
Jack Miller Sixth Alma Pramac Ducati Racing #43 Points 10
"I reckon it's a Good result but we can do better.
"I am happy with my result," Jack explains, "Really close to the podium, but disappointed not to be able to battle with the other guys fighting for third place. I braked really hard on the first and second sectors of the track, really making the front tyre work hard. I overtook Rossi once and I wanted to pass Iannone too, but I started having problems with the front tyre, especially in some moments I felt it starting to close up and I thought 'OK, this is the limit'. My speed was good. We gained more experience and it was nice to duel with the other guys, but I know we can do even better."
In the race, Jack did not suffer too much from the injury he suffered in the past weeks: "Today we improved more. After a less than perfect start, I was definitely not entirely fit after the injury that didn't bother me on the single lap, but it did over race distance. Now I'll do motocross and I'll focus on training for Le Mans."
The Non Finishers
Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaró, Jorge Lorenzo, Thomas Luthi, Dani Pedrosa and Álex Rins.
Andrea Dovizioso Factory Ducati Team #04
Dovizioso said "I had a good feeling with my bike today, I was going fast and was easily catching the leaders.
"I know I have the pace for a podium if not the win. We had a battle with Pedrosa and Lorenzo, I was faster than both of them. I got by Lorenzo easily but missed my braking marker so went wide and he came back on me, then the crash happened. I'm not sure what happened."
"But I think the biggest mistake comes from Dani, because he was behind us. He entered a bit faster than his normal way. If you enter faster than normal and somebody is in front of you, because we were in front of Dani, we decide the line.
"But Dani is behind, and he is able to manage the situation and he just cut inside, faster than every lap. And created a crash. For sure he did a mistake."
Dovizioso stated that Lorenzo was also at fault, "But in another side Jorge didn't check, he didn't care about the rider behind him.
"And he cut a little bit too fast the line to try to exit as fast as he can.
"It's a mix of a mistake, Pedrosa and Lorenzo. For sure both Dani and Jorge did a mistake."
Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team #26
"I have a lot of pain in my right hip, which is very swollen at the moment, so tomorrow we'll have to see how I feel and whether I'll be able to ride in the test.
"Regarding the race, of course it's a great pity. I was riding well and was able to keep a very good pace, even if I wasn't totally comfortable with the acceleration, and making passes was difficult for me.
"I was just sticking to Dovi and Jorge, trying to see if I could conserve my tyres and improve my pace at the end of the race, or if they would make a mistake.
"Finally they did, and they both went very wide. I kept the regular inside line, and the next thing I felt was a big hit, and I suffered a heavy high-side."
"Unfortunately, it ended up with the three of us crashing. I'm very sad and disappointed for all of us, as we were having a great race but ended with zero points, and also because all of us are used to a nice style of riding and didn't deserve this result.
"Was I on the correct inside line? Yes.
"Were the other guys on the outside coming back from a mistake, re-joining the right line? Yes.
"So who has the preference in this case, the guy who is inside or those who are outside?
"The one on the inside.
"So, who was at fault?
"I did not take the corner faster than usual, and the speed difference came from the Ducati riders slowing down too much because they went wide.
"No, I was not faster, otherwise I couldn't keep my line. I did my normal line. They went slower because they were outside.
"I didn't make a mistake and I come home with zero points. So [it] is always difficult to take the right decision, to say 'okay, they have to be penalised' or not.
"At the end I think it's better not. But depending which way you want to see that.
"I couldn't really make an overtake in the braking because I was losing so much in the straights compared to them so I was never close. So I waiting until the end of the race to see if their tyres may lose some traction and I can stay more close to overtake, or maybe take the chance for some mistake," said Pedrosa.
"Finally, in that point, they made a mistake. They both went wide and I was not going faster otherwise I couldn't keep my line. I did my normal line but they went slower because they were outside. The thing is that Jorge cut down from Dovi after the pass and he wanted to recover his position and maybe he didn't expect me there for some reason.
"The next thing I know, boom, a big hit with Jorge.
"Unfortunately this ended with a crash for all three. What I can say is in that moment there is one point that I'm watching them going wide, but then I started turning and I'm completely on the right side of my bike and I can't see anything. Even if I want, you don't see because you are leaning on the other side.
"Instead, Lorenzo was leaning on the inside. He can, more-or-less, see me and also I think when you go out of the racing line you must check when you recover to the line. But finally we touch, and we crash, and there's nothing we can do now."
None of the three riders were penalised for the incident, and Dovizioso supported that decision, saying a sanction would have been "too much".
Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Castrol Team #35
"We had another good weekend, until the race.
"Regarding our race pace, our set-up wasn't good enough for the race. I was overheating the front tyre because I was struggling with rear grip, so I was trying to make it all up on corner entry.
"I leant the bike a little too much and I think I touched a white line when I got on the throttle. It's frustrating because I think we let an easy podium go.
"Marc had a great pace, but only a tiny bit better than mine and better than everyone else.
"We go to France knowing that we have the speed to be there again
"Le Mans, a circuit I am good at, but we'll have to see how things go but today just wasn't good enough."
Angel Nieto Ducati Team's Karel Abraham crashed at turn 11
"It was difficult to hold the pace and I lost the front which unfortunately ended my race."
Aprilia's Aleix Espargaró had pulled up shortly after the start with what looked like a mechanical problem.
Next MotoGP Race
Next MotoGP Race is Round five on the famous Bugatti circuit, The French MotoGP at Le Mans, France. Action starts Friday 18th May, the race will be on the Sunday.
My Race Preview will be up soon. A look at what's happened there in the past, with a look at the circuit, a lap of the track and places of interest around the area.
- Roland Potter