MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Local stars Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished second and third in this afternoon’s Catalan Grand Prix at Catalunya, a race run in sweltering conditions that turned into something of an exercise in tire management.
The team-mates chased Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) throughout, spending most of the 25 laps less than half a second behind the reigning World Champion, who stretched his advantage in the final few laps to win by just 1.7 seconds.
Pedrosa’s second successive runner-up result – following wins at Jerez and Le Mans – means he retains the World Championship lead, with a seven-point advantage over Lorenzo at one-third distance in the 18-round series.
Pedrosa started his 200th Grand Prix from pole position, also for the second race in a row, but was edged out in the race to the first corner by Lorenzo, with MotoGP rookie Marquez slotting into third after an excellent start from the second row of the grid. The trio stayed in those positions throughout, but they were so close, with the gaps changing by tenths or even hundredths of a second each lap, that the tension remained.
In the early stages Pedrosa was comfortable running Lorenzo’s pace but when he tried to step up his rhythm to attack he found himself on the limit with front grip. So he waited patiently for the fuel load to go down to ease the issue but he never had enough speed into the corners to try for the lead, even though he altered his position on the bike to ease the load on the front tire.
Then in the closing stages Marquez – who had set the fastest lap of the race on lap three – began to challenge his team-mate for second. The reigning Moto2 champ came closest to getting past with two laps to go, when he got inside Pedrosa at Turn Four, only to suffer a major front-end moment. He performed a miracle to stay on and even then didn’t give up the chase, crossing the line a mere 0.063 seconds down on Pedrosa.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V) backed up his fourth-place finish at Mugello – a result that equalled his career-best in the premier class – with a good ride to fifth. He spent much of the race riding with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), whom he beat at Mugello after a fearsome end-of-race encounter.
MotoGP rookie Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) was happy to score his first points in the championship, with a 14th place finish in tricky conditions.
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V) had another bitterly disappointing day, sliding off at Turn Ten on the first lap after losing the front. He was challenging Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) at the time. Two weeks ago at Mugello the Spaniard and the Italian both crashed out after colliding on the first lap of the race.
Bautista was far from the only man to hit the gravel today. The baking hot conditions caused grip worries for many riders after the first few laps. In all, seven of the 24 starters crashed out.
Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40 Pons Kalex) reignited his challenge for the 2013 Moto2 title with his first win since Qatar in the Honda-powered championship. The local – born just eight kilometres from the circuit – dominated the race, riding in team formation with team-mate Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex).
Espargaro attributed his return to form to a fruitful post-race test at Mugello, where he improved his feeling for his bike and Dunlop’s 2013 tires. Today he led from pole, let his team-mate through shortly after half-distance, followed him for a while and then surged ahead once more. Rabat never gave up, closing onto the leader’s rear wheel at the start of the final lap, but he was unable to find a way past before the flag. Espargaro’s second win of the year moved him from fifth to second in the points standings, just ahead of Rabat and 35 points behind series leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex), who finished fourth today.
Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Suter) filled the last place on the podium and the Swiss was delighted with the result, his first top-three finish since he returned from breaking an arm during preseason testing. At one point Luthi looked like he might be able to run with Espargaro and Rabat, but in the end he had to settle for a comfortable third, some way ahead of Redding.
Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) took the flag in fifth spot after fending off a strong challenge from Randy Krummenacher (Technomag carXpert Suter). Johann Zarco (Came Ioda Racing Project Suter) finished seventh.
Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) won a frantic contest for eighth place which at one point included seven riders. He beat Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) by less than a tenth of a second. Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) and Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) were next up, with just six tenths covering eighth to 11th.
Jack Miller (Caretta Technology – RTG FTR Honda) rode a heroic Moto3 race, spending the early laps battling in the midst of the lead group, at one point working his way through to second spot. But as the race wore on and engine temperatures rose, the hard-charging Australian slipped back to seventh, his second best result of the year so far. He finished sixth in April’s Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas.
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) also rode a strong race, winning a breathtaking nine-man dogfight for eighth. The group battled together for much of the race, often four or five abreast as they hit the brakes at the end of Catalunya’s long start/finish straight. The Frenchman crossed the line at the head of the group, followed closely by seven more Honda riders. Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda), Alan Techer (CIP TSR Honda), Danny Webb (Ambrogio Racing Suter Honda), Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), Alessandro Tonucci (Team La Fonte Tasca Racing Honda) and Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda) filled 11th to 17th positions at the end of the race.
MotoGP riders now have a busy few days of testing here at Catalunya and then at Motorland Aragon. The racing continues in two weeks with the Dutch TT at Assen on Saturday 29 June.
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|3||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|4||Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)|
|5||Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)|
|6||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|7||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|8||Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)|
|9||Colin EDWARDS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|10||Michele PIRRO (Ignite Pramac Racing)|
|11||Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)|
|12||Claudio CORTI (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)|
|13||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Paul Bird Motorsport)|
|14||Bryan STARING (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)|
|15||Javier DEL AMOR (Avintia Blusens)|
|1||Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)|
|2||Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)|
|3||Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Rac)|
|4||Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|5||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|6||Randy KRUMMENACHE (Technomag carXpert)|
|7||Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)|
|8||Dominique AEGERTER (Technomag carXpert)|
|9||Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)|
|10||Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|11||Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)|
|12||Mike DI MEGLIO (JiR Moto2)|
|13||Danny KENT (Tech 3)|
|14||Axel PONS (Tuenti HP 40)|
|15||Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)|
|1||Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|3||Maverick VINALES (Team Calvo)|
|4||Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|5||Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)|
|6||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)|
|7||Jack MILLER (Caretta Technology - RTG)|
|8||Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|9||Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|10||Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|11||Isaac VINALES (Ongetta-Centro Seta)|
|12||Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)|
|13||Alan TECHER (CIP Moto3)|
|14||Danny WEBB (Ambrogio Racing)|
|15||Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)|