Marquez Maintains Title Lead

Marquez Maintains Title Lead
Spain, April 24, 2016

Marquez Maintains Title Lead

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) fought a valiant fight to take third place in this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix and maintain his points lead in the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished one place further back in fourth after a strong ride from seventh on the grid.

 

Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez
Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez

Twenty-three-year-old Spaniard Marquez harried second-placed Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) for much of the grueling 27-lap race, until he suffered a few slides in the later stages which convinced him that today discretion would be the better part of valor, so he eased off to conserve third place and his title advantage.

The 2013 and 2014 MotoGP World Champion – who recently won dominant victories in Argentina and America – is not only the sole rider in the current championship top three to have finished on the podium at all four races so far he is also the only one of the top three to have finished all four races. With four races completed and 14 remaining, he leads the title chase by 17 points from reigning World Champion Lorenzo.

All riders struggled with grip problems today, which was significantly warmer than both practice days. Many riders complained of a lack of straight-line traction that caused wheelspin, even in fourth, fifth and sixth gears.

Pedrosa rode a storming race from the third row of the rid, briefly getting ahead of Marquez on the first lap and later successfully fending off a determined Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki). At the finish he was just over three seconds away from joining the podium party. The result lifts the former Jerez winner to fourth overall, a few points behind today’s race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Throughout practice the 30-year-old had struggled to extract the maximum from his bike/tire combination but when it mattered most he controlled the tire situation better than most.

Throughout this weekend the fastest three riders – Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez – had been well clear of the rest of the pack, but lap times were much closer further down the order. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) expected a close race and he got it but he had expected to be closer to the front. The Briton spent most of the race battling in a group that comprised five or six riders. He took the flag in 11th position, less than six seconds behind eighth-place man Pol Espargaro (Yamaha).

Team-mates Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) and Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) finished 17th and 18th, separated by less than four seconds. Miller’s result was a confidence booster, because he missed the last race after badly aggravating a nasty ankle injury, sustained in winter training. Former Moto2 World Champion Rabat – this year’s sole MotoGP rookie – continues his acclimatization to a 250 horsepower MotoGP bike, which produces approximately twice as much power as the Moto2 machine he has ridden in recent seasons.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) rode to a faultless victory in the Moto2 race, defeating a persistent threat from last year’s winner Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) who in turn shook off a dogged effort from third-place finisher Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex).

Folger led from the start but on the second lap he ran wide at the Dry Sack hairpin, where Lowes leapt into the lead, never to be headed. Folger kept up a relentlessly tough pursuit, but the Briton was perfect on his CBR600RR-powered Kalex and never allowed the German to get close enough to counter-attack. And yet it took Lowes until lap 19 of 26 to open a full one-second advantage, which he steadily increased in the final laps as Folger opted to accept second.

Lowes crossed the finish line 2.4 seconds ahead for his first win since Austin last year, a success that increased his championship advantage to ten points over Rins, who finished this race more than five seconds behind Folger after a challenging two days of practice.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Kalex) took fourth place after his long duel with Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team Kalex) ended on the last lap when Baldassarri fell. The Italian teenager remounted to finish just outside the points.

Reigning World Champion Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex) recovered superbly from what had been a difficult weekend to take fifth place, after charging through from 16th on the first lap. His last victim was Qatar GP winner Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex), who beat Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) by less than four tenths of a second.

Dominique Aegerter (CarXpert Interwetten Kalex) finished eighth, Luis Salom (SAG Team Kalex) ninth and Xavier Simeon (QMMF Racing Team Speed Up) tenth. Simeon was the top finisher not riding a German-made Kalex chassis – he uses an Italian-made Speed Up chassis.

Today’s opening Moto3 race was an epic encounter, with Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) doing most of the leading while battling with rookie Nicolo Bulega (KTM) and Francesco Bagnaia (Mahindra). But what none of the leading trio had expected was a victorious attack from Brad Binder (KTM), who had to start from the very back of the grid after officials discovered that his team had mistakenly used non-homologated ECU software in qualifying.

South African Binder was the first rider to win a Grand Prix from the back of the grid since Marquez won the 2012 Valencia Moto2 race from the back.

Binder made astonishing progress through the pack, taking the lead for the first time from Navarro on lap 18 of 23. That left Navarro to battle for second with Bulega and Bagnaia until the final turn, which they took three abreast. Navarro did his very best but was forced into the wrong position on the corner exit and crossed the line in fourth place, just 0.072 seconds behind third-place finisher Bagnaia. It was scant reward for his sterling efforts throughout the race but the 20-year-old Spaniard retained his second place in the World Championship standings.

Jakub Kornfeil (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) had a great ride to get to the front of a breathtaking contest for fourth pace which at one point comprised no less than ten riders. The 23-year-old Czech rider beat Joan Mir (KTM) by two tenths. Two other Honda riders were involved in the fight: Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) and Jules Danilo (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW), who finished eighth and ninth.

Teenage rookie Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda Team Asia Honda NSF250RW), who last month in Argentina became the first Malaysian to win a motorcycle Grand Prix race, made an excellent Spanish Grand Prix debut, finishing the race in 14th place.

Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW) had a very unlucky return to Europe. The 20-year old Italian had machinery issues on the grid, had to start the race from pit lane and later slid off.

The MotoGP paddock’s next stop is Le Mans, for the French Grand Prix on May 8.

Marc Marquez
Marc Marquez
Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 3rd
“Honestly, today Valentino [Rossi] was on another level, like I was in Austin, and the most important thing is that today we accepted finishing third in the race. I learned a lot from last year and I didn’t want to make a mistake. I was very focused from the start and I tried to ride strongly and stay with Jorge [Lorenzo], but I could tell that with the higher track temperatures – 11º C higher than yesterday – it was very difficult for me to manage the front tire well. I almost crashed several times, so in the end I made a difficult decision in front of our fans, as we preferred to secure 16 points that will be very positive at the end of the season, which is very long. We must have patience until we take a step further with the bike’s acceleration and find something else that allows us to fight for the win.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 4th
“We knew it would be a difficult race and we got the position we knew was possible, because the whole weekend the front three were faster than us. I started well, riding hard in the early laps. Then I saw I had difficulties with both the front and rear tires. I concentrated on keeping my position and I rode at a safe pace so as not to make the rear tire go off too much as well. I saw that Aleix [Espargaro] was recovering ground on me, but I had him under control and was only focusing on preserving the tire. Near the end, when I didn’t have him on me, I decided to pick up the pace again. I was able to escape and get closer to Marc [Marquez], so perhaps pushing so hard at the start cost him in the end. Tomorrow we have a test in which we will try to work and improve my feeling on the bike.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 11th
“The aim was to battle with Dani and I honestly thought I could do that but we had some problem with the tire, I had to short-shift even into sixth. It was difficult to manage: I was nursing the tire, being gentle, but it didn’t work. It wasn’t a good race; I didn’t intend to finish 11th, that’s for sure. But I made sure I made it to the finish line and we’ll try and bounce back at the next race.”
Jack Miller, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 17th
“It was a tough weekend but I am happy to have got through it safely and with a solid finish under my belt after the injury problems in Austin. I struggled throughout the race in the hairpins and it really showed in the early laps. I had no confidence and couldn’t make any passes but I have to be positive because the heat made it a very physical race and my body held up really well, so all the training I’ve been able to do while still hurt has paid off. In the second part of the race I felt good because I’d worked hard to conserve my tires. Maybe I saved them a bit too much but it was important to finish and learn a lot. I look forward to the test tomorrow without any pressure where I can just focus on improving the bike in the hairpins, which is something I’ll need to be better with at the next race in Le Mans.”
Tito Rabat, EG 0,0 Marc VDS: 18th
“I can’t be too happy with today’s result but I am happy that we made important progress in solving some of our wheelie issues under acceleration. I’ve struggled a lot in that area and we found a good direction this weekend. I finished the race again which is important to get data and experience for the future and I am happy with my rhythm at the beginning of the race. I struggled in the final laps when the grip went down but I think I made another positive step this weekend. I could follow a few riders and it was only in the last laps that I dropped back when the tires started to wear. We have the test now in Jerez tomorrow and I can try and use what I have learned in the first four races to improve my riding style and be more competitive in the next few races.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Sam Lowes, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2: 1st
“It was a long race, no doubt! I knew that Folger had a good pace and I knew that also Rins was in the game, so I was expecting a tough race. The track conditions have changed several times over the weekend and today have changed again, with higher temperatures. However, here we have made many tests in the winter and thanks to this work the bike always worked very well. After the two second places, obtained racing two strong races, I was confident ahead of this event. I wanted to try to win and I did it, so I’m very happy for this first victory of the season. Now we look forward to Le Mans and the rest of the season!”
Jonas Folger, Dynavolt Intact GP: 2nd
“I’m very happy about the second place today! We knew before already that Sam had an incredible pace. It was really hard and tough for me to follow him. I just tried not to lose too much time, but at the end he was a little bit faster when the tire started dropping. But anyway, we did a very good job over the weekend and we managed to take many points. We are all looking forward to Le Mans now. I have some good memories of this track. We have a good bike at the moment and it could be a good weekend there.”
Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40: 3rd
“We have had a difficult weekend. I have not felt comfortable with the bike and we have suffered more than we expected here. Luckily, I got a good start well and got myself behind Folger. I knew that both Jonas and Sam had a very strong pace, so I decided to hook myself up with them. At mid-race distance their pace increased and I could do no more. A podium is a good result at a circuit where last year did not get any points.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Jorge Navarro, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 4th
“When we saw that Binder was starting last on the grid, we decided that the best strategy was to make a good start, try to get into the lead and pull away to break the leading group. But Binder fought through to reach us and when he overtook me I tried follow him for the first two laps. I was following him quite well but then I started having problems with the front and I had a couple of scares, so I decided to be careful and fight Bagnaia and Bulega for second. On the last lap they overtook me on the brakes, then on the fast corners I overtook again, but they used my slipstream and got past me on the finish line. Fourth is not the result we were hoping for, but we won some very valuable points for the championship and today was my first World Championship race running in the lead so I’ll take that.”
Enea Bastianini, Gresini Racing Moto3: 8th
“Unfortunately today I had similar sensations to those in the previous races: I was struggling on corner entry and I couldn’t be fast even on the exit. The other riders were always passing me under braking and I’ve had some difficulties during the whole race, especially in the first part, but also in the final stages. Unfortunately, I was not able to collect more points today. It’s a pity doing races like this because we know we have a good potential. The bike can go fast and I know I can be fast, but now we need to figure out how to solve these problems.”
Jules Danilo, Ongetta-Rivacold: 9th
“I am really happy with my race, another top-ten finish and here was better than Austin: largely because of the gap to the group ahead. I felt comfortable on the bike from Friday and on Saturday we worked mainly on the race. I want to thank all the team for the great job done until now.”
Dani Pedrosa
Dani Pedrosa
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2016
Round 04: Spain Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
2 Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
3 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
4 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
5 Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
6 Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
7 Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)
8 Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9 Eugene LAVERTY (Aspar MotoGP Team)
10 Hector BARBERA (Avintia Racing)
11 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)
12 Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
13 Loris BAZ (Avintia Racing)
14 Stefan BRADL (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ (Aspar MotoGP Team)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Sam LOWES (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
2 Jonas FOLGER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
3 Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)
4 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
5 Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)
6 Thomas LUTHI (Garage Plus Interwetten)
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
8 Dominique AEGERTER (CarXpert Interwetten)
9 Luis SALOM (Stop and Go Racing Team)
10 Xavier SIMEON (QMMF Racing Team)
11 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)
12 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
13 Isaac VIÑALES (Tech 3 Racing)
14 Jesko RAFFIN (Stop and Go Racing Team)
15 Robin MULHAUSER (CarXpert Interwetten)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3 Francesco BAGNAIA (ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3)
4 Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
5 Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC Racing Team)
6 Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
7 Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
8 Enea BASTIANINI (Gresini Racing Moto3)
9 Jules DANILO (Ongetta-Rivacold)
10 Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)
11 Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA Racing Team)
13 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA Racing Team)
14 Khairul Idham PAWI (Honda Team Asia)
15 Tatsuki SUZUKI (CIP-Unicom Starker)
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