story and photos courtesy of MotoGP
Marky Marc Marquez greets his public in Catalunya
The Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya produced a brilliant race on Sunday, with Marc Marquez securing the victory on the final lap ahead of Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa. Marquez crossed the line half a second in front of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Rossi, surviving a late scare as Pedrosa touched his rear wheel in the final stages, the latter almost crashing and having to settle for third. The win is the 100th for Honda in the modern MotoGP™ four-stroke era and the triumph for Marquez was also historic as it came on the same day as an earlier Moto3™ victory for his brother Alex Marquez – the first time 65 years of World Championship competition that siblings have won Grand Prix races on the same day.
Rossi led for much of the race with the Repsol Honda duo chasing him down in the final stages, with Pedrosa returning to form following his recent arm pump surgery and subsequent problems – only to make that late mistake. The threat of rain lingered for the duration of the race, though a light shower was short-lived.
Fan in the stand view of the last lap gives a taste of the atmosphere
Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) followed the front three throughout the race but was never quite close enough to join the podium fight. He eventually crossed the finishing line 2.7s behind Pedrosa. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) rode a lonely race to fifth, staying in position despite running wide early on, whilst Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) finished just under two seconds in front of his brother Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) in sixth. The top ten was completed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3).
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) crashed out early on, with Mike Di Meglio (Avintia Racing) falling midrace, the yellow flags caused by the Frenchman’s flag initially distracting the front runners in their intense battle at the front. Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) both retired due to technical issues.
MotoGP Race Classification
1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 42:56.914
2- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha +0.512
3- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda +1.834
6- Aleix Espargaro SPA Forward Yamaha +14.213
This weekend’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya marks the 65th anniversary of the first event that counted towards the motorcycle World Championship classification – at the 1949 Isle of Man TT races. The World Championship series was established by the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) and is now into its 66th year – the oldest motorsports championship in the world.
The Isle of Man TT races were first established as a non-championship event in 1907, and as part of the event on Monday 13th June 1949 the very first race which counted towards the World Championship took place, a 350cc contest won by British rider Freddie Frith riding a Velocette. The other categories that were included in the first TT event in 1949 were the 250cc & 500cc classes, categories which have now evolved into the modern Moto2™ and MotoGP™ World Championships.
British manufacturers such as AJS and Norton enjoyed success in the early days of the World Championship, before the Italian manufacturers Mondial, Moto Guzzi, Gilera and MV Agusta began to dominate during the 1950s, reflecting the strength of the country’s motorcycle industry at the time. MV Agusta were particularly prolific late in the decade, taking a clean sweep of World titles across all four categories for three seasons from 1958 to 1960 – while their dominance in the 500cc class was unbroken for 17 years from 1958 until 1974.
The most successful rider during the years 1949 to 1976 when the TT was still part of the World Championship series was Mike Hailwood, who took 12 TT victories, including winning the 125cc, 250cc & 500cc class in 1961 to become the first rider to win three different classes at a single World Championship event.
During the 1960s many of the Japanese manufacturers that participate in modern day MotoGP™ racing, such as Honda and Yamaha, arrived to pick up their first World Championship title wins across the 125 and 250 categories, as they announced themselves in Grand Prix racing. Suzuki in particular enjoyed great success in a new 50cc class which was introduced in 1962.
The late 1960s brought the start of the glory days for MotoGP™ Legend Giacomo Agostini – the most successful rider in the history of World Championship competition. Up until the modern era riders regularly competed in two or three classes simultaneously and Agostini took 10 of his 15 titles in five successive seasons as double champion in 350cc and 500cc – in a golden period commencing in 1968, riding for MV Agusta.
After a break of almost 12 years from racing, Honda rejoined the World Championships in the late 1970s and by 1983 they had changed their philosophy from using 4-stroke machinery to build the V3 500 2-stroke, known as the NS500, on which Freddie Spencer took the 500cc World title.
The previous season racing in the 350cc class had been brought to a conclusion after 34 years of competition, leaving four classes in the World Championship – 50cc, 125cc, 250cc and 500cc – with 50cc subsequently replaced by a short lived 80cc category.
The 1980s and 1990s saw some superb quality racing in the premier class in particular with fierce competition between Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha and some great battles between American stars such as Eddie Lawson, Randy Mamola, Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey and Kevin Schwantz.
In the late 1990s the 500cc class was utterly dominated by Honda hero and MotoGP™ Legend Mick Doohan who took five consecutive titles, before a combination of racing injuries brought the Australian’s career to a premature end in 1999.
Before the revision of regulations which brought about the move to 990cc 4-stroke competition in the premier class – a young Italian rider called Valentino Rossi took the last ever 500cc title in 2001 on Honda machinery, having won the 1997 edition of the 125cc championship and the 1999 quarter litre crown with Aprilia.
After the re-branding of the World Championship as MotoGP™ in 2002 and the introduction of 990cc racing, Rossi went on to win four further consecutive titles, two with Honda and two after a sensational move to Yamaha.
At the start of the 2007 season, new rules restricting the number of tyres used on Grand Prix weekends and a reduction in engine size from 990cc to 800cc again levelled the playing field in MotoGP™ – with Bridgestone-equipped Ducati rider Casey Stoner emerging as the first standout rider of the new era, as the runaway 2007 World Champion. In 2008, however, Rossi returned to the pinnacle, taking his sixth premier class title, with Stoner a distant runner-up in the standings.
The 2009 season saw the introduction of a single-tyre rule, as Bridgestone were named the sole suppliers for the MotoGP™ class. Rossi took his seventh title in the premier class after a battle with team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, taking him to within one more of equaling Agostini’s all-time record of eight.
In recent years Grand Prix racing has been further modernised with the introduction of the Moto2™ (600cc 4-stroke) and Moto3™ (250cc four-stroke, one cylinder) classes in place of the former 250 and 125 classes.
In 2012 as the premier class grid switched to the 1000cc machines it was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo that took the title again. The current MotoGP World Champion is Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez, who in 2013 claimed his first premier-class title in his rookie season, breaking numerous records along the way, including that of becoming the youngest ever premier class World title winner.
Rabat cruises to Moto2 win in front of home fans
Tito Rabat extended his Moto2 World Championship advantage with a dominant win from pole at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with Maverick Viñales and Johann Zarco also on the podium.
The Spanish Marc VDS Racing Team rider crossed the line 4.2 ahead of Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), with Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing) a further seven seconds back, after an incident packed race.
Zarco won a late battle for third, overcoming Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing Team) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2) in the final stages.
The top ten was completed by Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) , Ricard Cardus (Tech 3), Axel Pons (AGR Team), Marcel Schrotter (Tech 3) and Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team).
Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) were both in the podium hunt until a late lowside crash by Torres ended his race, with Aegerter forced wide – the Swiss rider eventually finishing 14th.
Jonas Folger (AGR Team) saw his race ended prematurely as he crashed after taking evasive action to avoid hitting Luis Salom (Paginas Amarillas HP 40). The Spaniard hit the ground in front of the German rider, with Salom later taken to hospital for treatment on a fractured finger.
Randy Krummenacher (IodaRacing Project), Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing), Franco Morbidelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Sam Lowes (Speed Up), Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP), Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru Team JiR Webike) were amongst those who also suffered crashes, but none were injured.
Moto2 Race Classification
1- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 41:23.197
2- Maverick Viñales SPA Kalex +4.244
3- Johann Zarco FRA Caterham-Suter +11.157
Moto3 Alex Marquez storms to Barcelona-Catalunya victory
Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) took victory from pole at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya on Sunday morning, storming to the win ahead of Enea Bastianini and Efren Vazquez.
In his 35th Grand Prix, having qualified on pole for the first time, Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider Marquez took his second Moto3™ win, after triumphing at Motegi last year.
The Spanish rider crossed the line a clear 3.2s gap ahead of his nearest rival, to delight the home crowd, giving Honda a Moto3 victory to end KTM’s winning streak.
Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3 youngster Bastianini produced a great ride from second on the grid to finish on the podium in second place in just his seventh Grand Prix. Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) was third as he followed Bastianini home, trailing by just over a quarter of a second.
Championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rode intelligently to fourth place, gaining crucial extra points in the standings as he moved up from eighth in the final stages.
Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) was fifth, with the improving Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) sixth on Mahindra machinery.
Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) was seventh, whilst Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) was eighth after surviving a big scare as he ran off track and somehow managed to stay upright when a crash seemed almost inevitable on the last lap.
The top ten was completed by John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46).
Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) retired early due to a mechanical problem, whilst there were crashes for Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN), Hafiq Azmi (SIC-Ajo KTM) and Maria Herrera (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0) – though none of them were seriously hurt.
EARLIER: Marquez Crashes, Pedrosa Dashes
Dani Pedrosa celebrates breaking teammate Marky Marc Marquez’s pole streak
Saturday afternoon’s Q2 at the MotoGP Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya ended with Dani Pedrosa securing pole position, ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez on row one for Sunday’s race – with Marquez suffering a late crash in the session.
At his home event Pedrosa took his first pole since the 2013 Catalan Grand Prix with a 1’40.985s lap in the Barcelona-Catalunya heat and in doing so the Repsol Honda rider ended Marquez’ successive pole run. Following his fascinating battle with Marquez at Mugello, Lorenzo qualified in second place and will be looking forward to fighting the Honda riders again at a track where the Mallorcan has a strong record and has won the last two MotoGP races.
Marquez walked away from his first crash of the year after losing the front end at turn 1 towards the end of the session. The young MotoGP™ World Champion therefore starts third on the grid, his first non-pole result since Motegi last year. German rider Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), who himself suffered two big crashes at Mugello, qualified fourth after looking sharp in practice earlier in the day.
Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) admits qualifying is not currently his strongest point but he equaled his second best Q2 result of 2014 so far in fifth, having qualified 10th last time out in Mugello.
Aleix Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) was delighted with his qualifying effort as he completed row two, just 0.323s behind Pedrosa. Row three will feature Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing), with Hernandez riding well for ninth.
The fourth row will comprise Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3), Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini). Iannone and Bautista made it through from Q1 as spots of rain threatened to disrupt Q2. The conditions stayed dry but Bautista suffered a big Q2 highside at turn 7 and was stretchered away, though he appeared to be ok.
MotoGP™ Qualifying Classification
1- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 1:40.985
2- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha +0.115
3- Marc Marquez SPA Honda +0.150
6- Aleix Espargaro SPA Forward Yamaha +0.323
Moto2 Qualifying wrapped up with Rabat on pole
Tito Rabat secured pole in the final session of the day, with Mika Kallio and Maverick Viñales set to accompany him at the front of the Moto2 grid. Rabat notched up his fifth pole position of 2014 with a 1’46.569 best lap which put him over a half a second clear of his nearest challenger, Marc VDS Racing Team teammate Kallio. Rabat will go in search of a fourth win of the season as he looks to extend his championship lead on Sunday.
For Kallio his quest is to prevent another Rabat win and to reduce the 22 point deficit at the top of the standings, which he will attempt to do from second on the grid. The front row was completed by Moto3™ World Champion Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), who trailed Rabat by 0.623s.
Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP) was one of three crashers in the session – Mattia Pasini (NGM Forward Racing) and Louis Rossi (SAG Team) also had spills without major consequence – though Cortese still qualified in fourth. Cortese’s compatriot Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Pasini join him on the second row.
The top ten on the grid was rounded out by Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2), Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing), Sam Lowes (Speed Up) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert).
Moto2 Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 1:46.569
2- Mika Kallio FIN Kalex +0.571
3- Maverick Viñales SPA Kalex +0.623
Younger Marquez takes first ever Moto3 pole
Marquez produced a superb 1’50.232 lap to shatter the Barcelona-Catalunya Moto3 pole record and outpace his nearest rival by more than 0.6s.
Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3) will be delighted with his qualifying result, featuring on the front row for the first time, at just his seventh Grand Prix.
Marquez’ Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Alex Rins ended up third but had a huge turn 10 highside at the end of the session and suffered a fractured toe on his left foot, with his fitness to be reviewed on Sunday morning. Improving pair Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) and Niklas Ajo (Avant Tecno Husqvarna Ajo) qualified on the second row, ahead of in-form Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team).
Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing) heads row three, joined by Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo), with Vazquez missing much of the session due to an electrical fault which caused issues with putting fuel into his Honda bike.
John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) completed the top ten, whilst Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) will start from 16th on the grid. Bryan Schouten and Ana Carrasco both crashed but escaped without serious consequence.
Moto3 Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Alex Marquez SPA Honda 1:50.232
2- Enea Bastianini ITA KTM +0.618
3- Alex Rins SPA Honda +0.680