Rubbin’ is Racin’ at Jerez

story and photos courtesy MotoGP

Marky Marc Marquez (93) punts Jorge Lorenzo out of second on the final corner

Dani Pedrosa clinched his maiden victory of this year’s MotoGP™ World Championship, winning the Gran Premio bwin de España on Sunday, as teammate Marc Marquez spiced up proceedings by barging past Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo for second place in the final corner.

Lorenzo had been the rider to beat for much of the weekend, comfortably sealing his second pole position of the season on Saturday, yet Pedrosa overtook him at the start of the 27-lap race. The lead was immediately snatched back, but Pedrosa made the move stick as he passed at Dry Sack on Lap 6. As the Yamaha rider dropped into the clutches of Marquez, Pedrosa maintained a steady pace en route to his first win since Valencia last year.

Marquez’s race was a dramatic one, having entered as the joint championship leader with Lorenzo. Having quickly demoted Valentino Rossi to fourth place after the Yamaha rider overtook at the end of Lap 1, the 20-year-old charged up to the back of Lorenzo and attempted several different lines in a bid to distract the current title holder. The eventual move came at the newly-named Jorge Lorenzo Corner at the end of the very last lap, where Marquez forcefully made his way past his compatriot, leaving the latter in a less than happy mood in Parc Fermé.

Rossi had a lonely ride to fourth place on the second Yamaha Factory bike, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow overcoming GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista for a top five spot at the end of a difficult weekend, which featured two sizeable accidents on Saturday. Ducati Team duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso made the top eight while test rider Michele Pirro enjoyed a strong first ride of the campaign to 11th on the squad’s GP13 Lab chassis.

Hector Barbera and Avintia Blusens impressed by qualifying tenth on the lead CRT machine, but on race day the Spaniard fell to 12th as Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro took top CRT honours for the third time in as many races, finishing ninth from Tech 3’s Bradley Smith. As Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama tumbled to 18th in the closing stages, Michael Laverty scored the first points for PBM’s own-built bike by coming home 13th and ahead of Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, who also scored for the first time in 2013.

Five riders failed to make the end of the race, notably Stefan Bradl who compounded a tough three days for himself and LCR Honda MotoGP. The German, like Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, retired on the fourth lap. Iannone’s teammate Ben Spies did not compete, advised by doctors to rest and solve a problem with a pectoral muscle, while Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham pulled out after Friday due to suffering too much pain with his broken right collarbone.

Pedrosa celebrates with the Repsol team

MotoGP™ Race Classification
1- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 45:17.632
2- Marc Marquez SPA Honda +2.487
3- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha +5.089
1st CRT
9- Aleix Espargaro SPA ART +43.812


Teams took advantage of a test day on Monday following the race, and Marc Marquez set the pace in Monday’s single day of post-race testing at the Circuito de Jerez. He led Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo plus Repsol Honda Team partner and Sunday race winner Dani Pedrosa.

To start with, conditions were very much the same as they had been in the pre-race Warm-Up session – far warmer than is usual in the morning at this time of year.

Fresh from his third podium finish from as many races, Marquez was first out of the pits as his team worked in the areas of electronics and chassis. Following a short time in which Lorenzo topped the timesheets, it was the newcomer who moved ahead in the second hour and his best lap time of 1’38.824 stuck for the rest of the day.

Jorge Lorenzo throgs some raceday frustration out of his Yamaha in Monday’s test

Crutchlow had no new parts to test and so focused on setup modifications, but did not push to the absolute limit as he remains bruised from his two heavy crashes of Saturday. The Yamaha Factory bikes sandwiched Pedrosa as Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi finished third and fifth, comparing two versions of their 2013 chassis with the goal being to establish one solid base setup; if achieved, this will allow the squad to rule out the time-consuming task of switching between chassis during race weekends. This exercise had not been carried out previously, as grip levels were too low in Qatar whereas Texas provided many unknowns when compared to familiar Jerez.

GO&FUN Honda Gresini focused on the front and rear Showa suspension of Alvaro Bautista who finished sixth quickest, while on the team’s CRT machine Bryan Staring ran with a new frame. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl had suffered a lack of front end grip for the entire race weekend, thus today the German hoped to modify the geometry of his bike in a bid to find a proper solution. He would end proceedings in ninth spot.

Filling the void in seventh and eighth were the Ducati Team pairing Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, who had been highly keen to sample the new GP13 Lab chassis for the first time. Both riders conducted back-to-back comparisons with the current GP13 bike, although test rider Michele Pirro – who had competed with the new machine over the weekend – was not on-track today. Bradley Smith rounded out the top ten on the second Tech 3 machine.

A selection of CRT riders – such as those of NGM Mobile Forward Racing, Came IodaRacing Project and Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera – experimented with the first significant upgrade to the Magneti Marelli MotoGP ECU kit. This is aimed at providing a better interface for riders and teams when working on bike setup, while on the bike itself the main performance steps are wheelie control and an ‘anti-jerk’ strategy that cuts engine power when between off-throttle and on-throttle situations; this should allow for a more stable mid-corner ride.

In the case of Barbera who was the leading CRT runner in 11th place, the Spaniard also looked at several new chassis components, whereas Avintia teammate Hiroshi Aoyama tried out a new frame and swingarm combination. At PBM, Michael Laverty – who on Sunday had scored his first points with the team’s own-built bike – ran new parts as well as looking into the ECU update, whereas on the outfit’s ART machine Yonny Hernandez was looking to solve several setup issues, having been one of five riders to crash out of Sunday’s race. Danilo Petrucci was 14th for Came IodaRacing Project, working on bike setting as teammate Lukas Pesek completed the 19-rider field.

Not in attendance were Pramac Racing or Power Electronics Aspar. For the Italian outfit, Ben Spies remains out of action because of his pectoral muscle problem, whereas Andrea Iannone will undergo arm pump surgery in Barcelona on Tuesday.

MotoGP™ track action continues next Friday, 17th May, as the field takes to the tarmac at Le Mans in Free Practice for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.

Esteve Rabat

Tito Rabat convincingly won his first-ever race at the Gran Premio bwin de España today, snatching the Moto2™ championship lead, after starting from his first pole position. Former points leader Scott Redding finished second as Rabat’s Tuenti HP 40 teammate Pol Espargaro stole the final podium position from Takaaki Nakagami.

Rabat held the advantage from Redding as the red lights went out, and went on to make the victory look easy as he won by over four seconds, despite the pressure of a home crowd. Redding’s ride to second place was a calm one, as the Marc VDS Racing Team rider looks to achieve consistency across the 2013 season. Espargaro, a pre-season favourite for many, was desperate to make up ground after crashing out at the Circuit of the Americas two weeks ago. Running fourth and catching Italtrans Racing Team’s Nakagami, the former was held up by QMMF Racing Team’s Rafid Topan Sucipto, who was running a lap down. He caught Nakagami again with only a handful of laps to go, passing on the penultimate tour as the Japanese rider made an unforced error exiting Michelin curve. After the race, Sucipto apologised to Espargaro for delaying his progress.

As Nakagami dropped to fourth and was unable to re-pass Espargaro, Texas winner Nico Terol ended the day fifth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 while Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon overhauled Aspar’s Jordi Torres to end a spirited battle in a career-best sixth position. Technomag carXpert’s Dominique Aegerter, Blusens Avintia’s Toni Elias and Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter completed the first ten, while Tom Luthi finished 11th on his return with Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing. Two places further back, Came Iodaracing Project’s Johann Zarco had fought up to 13th position from 30th on the starting grid.

Several riders were caught out, including Britons Danny Kent and Kyle Smith, but Mika Kallio’s fall was arguably the most significant. The Finn had been joint second in the standings heading into the race, but crashed his Marc VDS Racing Team bike at Dry Sack corner while involved in a multiple-rider battle over fifth position.

Moto2™ Race Classification
1- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 45:04.450
2- Scott Redding GBR Kalex +4.261
3- Pol Espargaró SPA Kalex +7.517

Movin’ Maverick Viñales

Maverick Viñales has won for the first time this season, marking three Moto3™ victors from as many races. The Team Calvo rider, who overtook Alex Rins for the lead, was declared the winner when red flags flew for the second consecutive race.

On Saturday, Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Rins stormed to his second pole position in a row off the back of a maiden career victory in Texas. He defended from Viñales off the start line, but lost the lead when the latter slipped through at Dry Sack on the third tour. Pushing hard to stay in touch and doing so successfully until Lap 12, Rins lost the front end of his bike and crashed at Alex Criville corner.

This left Viñales in front with a small gap back to KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom, who had been joint championship leader with Rins heading into this weekend. The second of the pair caught the leader and looked set to make a move when the right moment came, but was left frustrated when the race was stopped at just past two-thirds distance. Less irritated was Livio Loi, as the Belgian scored on his debut with Marc VDS Racing Team less than two weeks after his 16th birthday.

The race-ending incident came on Lap 17, with the red flags flying for the second time in as many races while doctors attended to CIP Moto3’s Frenchmen Alan Techer. Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Marquez, Mahindra Racing ‘s Miguel Oliveira, Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller, GO&FUN Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli, Team Calvo’s Ana Carrasco and Kiefer Racing’s Florian Alt also suffered crashes or collisions, but all riders escaped unharmed.

Viñales’ victory is his first since Mugello last year and comes at the same track where he suffered the pre-season testing crash which injured his right hand. He now takes the championship lead, having led home Salom and Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Jonas Folger who made up for his below-par performance in Qualifying on Saturday.

Ambrogio Racing’s Brad Binder was the main prophet of the Oliveira-Miller clash, finishing fourth from Redox RW Racing GP’s Jakub Kornfeil, who has enjoyed an extremely strong weekend considering that he missed all of Friday Free Practice in order to take compulsory exams. Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo avoided the trouble to finish sixth as Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Mahindra’s Efren Vazquez, San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati and Ognetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou completed the top ten.

Moto3™ Race Classification
1- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 26:57.338
2- Luis Salom SPA KTM +0.263
3- Jonas Folger GER Kalex KTM +4.475

Lorenzo on Pole at Jerez

Jorge Lorenzo in the groove

Jorge Lorenzo clinched his second pole position of the 2013 MotoGP™ season at the Gran Premio bwin de España today, topping an incident-packed qualifying session in on his 26th birthday ahead of Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi, who will fill positions two to five despite all four riders suffering falls this afternoon.

With the sun shining and thousands pouring into the Circuito de Jerez for the first European qualifying session of the year, the front row was locked out by riders from the home nation, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo delivering a best lap time of 1’38.673 to see off Repsol Honda Team’s Pedrosa by just under three tenths of a second.

Although Lorenzo has looked extremely strong since the start of the weekend, he was aided by high-speed crashes, which either disrupted or terminated his closest rivals’ sessions. Pedrosa’s teammate Marquez had tumbled in the final free practice session, whereas Yamaha Factory’s Rossi and Pedrosa’s errors came at almost the same moment as qualifying reached its climax. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Crutchlow visited gravel traps in both sessions and was fortunate to re-join the action and qualify fourth quickest. He visited the medical centre for further checks at the end of the day for precautionary checks.

Behind Rossi, the second row is completed by GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, who out-qualified Ducati Team’s Nicky Hayden, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl – who progressed to the pole shootout from Q1 with a trilling last ditch effort – and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso. Hector Barbera led the CRT riders and impressed with a top ten position, but he too would be a crasher by the time the chequered flag flew.

11th place was an achievement for Andrea Iannone, as the Energy T.I. Pramac Racing rider had sustained cuts to his left leg in a Q1 accident, while Tech 3’s Bradley Smith had been the last man to enter Q2. That left Power Electronics Aspar out of the shootout for the first time in 2013 to the disappointment of Aleix Espargaro, who will start 13th from Ducati wildcard Michele Pirro and Aspar teammate Randy de Puniet.

Row six consists of Avintia’s Hiroshi Aoyama, Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and Gresini’s Bryan Staring on the team’s CRT machine. The NGM Mobile Forward Racing attack will be spearheaded by Claudio Corti from 19th spot, who out-qualified Colin Edwards after the Texan crashed in Q1. The grid is completed by PBM pairing Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty, plus Lukas Pesek, whose Ioda bike was yet another to end the day off the circuit.

Cardion AB Motoracing was not in action for qualifying, as Karel Abraham’s broken right collarbone provided too much pain on Friday. Also on the sidelines is Ignite Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies, who since the race in Texas has been advised by doctors to rest in order to rectify an on-going problem with a pectoral muscle.

MotoGP™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 1:38.673
2- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 1:38.920
3- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 1:38.971
1st CRT
10- Hector Barbera SPA FTR 1:39.980

Spain’s Esteve Rabat earned a career-first pole position for the Moto2™ Gran Premio bwin de España, as the Tuenti HP 40 rider shared the front row with championship leader Scott Redding and Takaaki Nakagami.

The result marks the second time in as many races that a rider has sealed a first-career-pole while competing in the Moto2 class, as Redding did in Texas a fortnight ago. On this occasion, the Marc VDS Racing Team rider is well placed to defend his championship lead from second, ahead of Italtrans Racing Team’s Nakagami who finished on the podium of the season-opening Qatar Grand Prix.

Rabat proved untouchable on Saturday afternoon, lapping the first European track of the season in 1’43.251, which was almost half a second up on Redding. Erstwhile championship leader and pre-season favourite Pol Espargaro starts fourth for Tuenti HP 40, sharing the second row with Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres and Desguaces La Torre Maptaq’s Xavier Simeon.

On the second Aspar bike, Austin winner Nico Terol could manage no more than seventh place, beating Desguaces La Torre SAG’s Marcel Schrotter by just nine thousandths of second as one full second covered the top ten. That particular group was rounded out by Interwetten Paddock Moto2’s Tom Luthi on his return to the championship, and Australian Anthony West for the QMMF Racing Team.

Moto2™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 1:43.251
2- Scott Redding GBR Kalex 1:43.698
3- Takaaki Nakagami JPN Kalex 1:43.

Alex Rins hikes it

Fresh from his maiden career victory in Texas, Alex Rins stormed to a second consecutive Moto3 pole position for the Gran Premio bwin de España in Jerez today. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 rider will share the front row with Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Luis Salom, his two closest challengers in the championship.

The achievement for Rins marks not only his second pole position in a row, but also his second successive pole at Jerez, and the third of the 17-year-old’s short career. It was earned in confident fashion, as the leading lap time of 1’46.660 was almost half a second quicker than Viñales, who returned to Jerez this weekend for the first time since the pre-season testing crash that injured his right hand. Salom is hoping for a strong start from third as he looks to repeat his Qatar win.

The second row is made up of Ambrogio Racing’s South African Brad Binder, Caretta Technology – RTG’s Jack Miller and GO&FUN Gresini Moto3’s Niccolo Antonelli thanks to strong efforts all round. Antonelli’s teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri was less fortunate and crashed his bike at Turn 7, suffering a dislocated right shoulder. His participation in the race will be decided on Sunday morning.

Also falling during the session were Avant Tecno’s Niklas Ajo, who however still qualified eighth, and both Estrella Galicia 0,0 riders within one minute of each other. Alex Marquez, down in 22nd, was the first to lose control, less than ten minutes into the session, with Rins then high-siding. The latter was already quickest and, never headed atop the timesheet, re-joined to go faster still.

Ahead of Ajo on the third row will be Jonas Folger in seventh place, despite the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 rider having topped Friday’s second practice session. Jakub Kornfeil qualified ninth, with the Redox RW Racing GP rider having arrived at the circuit only today after completing compulsory exams on Friday.

Moto3™ Qualifying Practice Classification
1- Alex Rins SPA KTM 1:46.660
2- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 1:47.125
3- Luis Salom SPA KTM 1:47.327