Marquez wins, Rins gains and Quartararo heads home heartbroken

2019-05-06 16:37
A flawless ride from the reigning Champion sees him take back to the top, ahead of Rins and a resurgent Viñales

Sunday, 05 May 2019
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has taken a home win in the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, putting in a flawless performance to make some amends for his crash out the lead in Texas – and taking back the Championship lead. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar), despite a difficult qualifying, sliced through to take second and second in the Championship by just a single point, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) on the podium for the first time this season in third.

Marquez took the holeshot from third on the grid, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) just getting the jump on rookie, polesitter teammate Fabio Quartararo to slot into second. But it was tight, with Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) initially threatening for P2 but then getting shuffled back to fifth behind Viñales. Rins made progress as well, immediately moving up from his P9 on the grid.

Marquez set about getting into a rhythm at the front, but Morbidelli wasn’t letting the reigning Champion escape. Little by little, however, the gap began to extend. And as the number 21 dropped off the back of the Repsol Honda in the lead, teammate Quartararo was looking menacing in third. Sure enough and soon enough, the Frenchman was able to capitalise on a small mistake for the Italian and it was the rookie polesitter into second.

Unleashed, Quartararo soon set about getting on terms with Marquez’ pace and dropped the squabble for third in a few corners – looking like he might even be on for a forward assault. But suddenly, the Frenchman’s Petronas Yamaha SRT machine was moving off the racing line and Quartararo was left dejected on the way back to pitlane with a mechanical problem. From a record-breaking and youngest ever pole position to a chance at his first MotoGP™ podium, the number 20 sadly left Jerez empty handed.

That left Morbidelli in second and Rins in third after slicing past Viñales – with Dovizioso and Petrucci giving chase. Morbidelli then began sliding backwards down the order, however, as Rins got past before Viñales, Dovizioso and Petrucci were able to follow suit. And the Suzuki of Rins then started cutting into Marquez’ lead…

It wasn’t to be, however, as the Spaniard escaped the fight to complete the podium but wasn’t able to reel in the race leader. Marquez crossed the line in clear air for an impressive answer to his critics after his COTA crash, and the 25 points for the win put him back at the top of the Championship by a single point. Ahead of whom? Alex Rins, who moves up into second after his impressive second from ninth on the grid.

The fight for third became a duel between Viñales and Dovizioso, and the Italian was close throughout the final lap looking for a way through – but the Spaniard held firm. Under pressure throughout, he took his first podium of the season after some difficulties with the start in recent races. Petrucci followed his teammate home in sixth – a couple of seconds back – with Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) slicing through to sixth from P13 on the grid.

Rossi fought off the likes of Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) – who later crashed out – Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), teammate Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and, eventually, Morbidelli too to make his progress through – the ‘Doctor’ inside the top ten for the first time in the weekend on Sunday.

Morbidelli was in P7 by the flag ahead of Crutchlow, Nakagami, and an impressive P10 from wildcard and Honda test rider Stefan Bradl (HRC Team). Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was 11th, ahead of a very difficult day for Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) down in 12th. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was P13 ahead of teammate Johann Zarco, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) completing the points on home turf.

So as we leave the Spanish GP and head for the new challenge of Le Mans, it’s Marquez who’s made amends for his COTA crash and taken back the Championship lead – by a single point. Rins lurks close and seemingly needs only to work on his qualifying, and Fabio Quartararo looks to recreate his Jerez form on home turf. Don't miss the fifth round of the season and tune in for France on the 19th May for more MotoGP™.
Race results:
1 - Marc Marquez (SPA - Honda) 41'08.685
2 - Alex Rins (SPA - Suzuki) +1.654
3 - Maverick Viñales (SPA - Yamaha) +2.443

Podium L-R: Rins, Marquez and Viñales
Baldassarri back on top in dramatic Jerez
Italian takes third win in four races after a dramatic Moto2™ encounter in Spain – with Navarro back on the rostrum and Fernandez taking his first Grand Prix podium

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) has laid further serious groundwork for his assault on the 2019 Moto2™ World Championship in Jerez, winning a shortened race ahead of COTA podium finisher and form man Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up). Baldassarri’s teammate Augusto Fernandez, who returned from injury at his home Grand Prix, put in a stunning ride to his first ever Grand Prix podium as he took third.

The race was cut to 15 laps after a first start saw a chaotic first two corners with multiple-rider incidents, and first faller Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) was unable to make the restart, as was Dimas Ekky Pratama (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia). In addition, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), who couldn’t avoid contact with Gardner’s bike, was forced to restart from pitlane at his home Grand Prix – nevertheless a feat and some formidable work from the EG 0,0 Marc VDS mechanics to get the machine race ready.

So off the line the second time around, it was Fernandez who got the holeshot, the Spaniard making a stunner of a start to head teammate Baldassarri and the two immediately bolting away. Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt IntactGP) was in third and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) in fourth initially, but Navarro was a man on the move and was soon through into fifth on the chase.

Meanwhile, Baldassarri’s pace was searing and the Italian was closing in on his teammate. By nine laps to go the gap was only a couple of tenths and the move came later in the lap, with the number 07 machine then starting to break away – as Navarro got the hammer down, now up into third.

A few laps later the Spaniard was starting to make some serious gains, and with three laps left on the clock it was close between the leading trio. Sure enough, Navarro was able to push through into second a lap later, with Lüthi threatening in fourth but the fight for the podium seemingly set to be between three men.

Over the line for the final lap, Baldassarri was well over half a second clear but the Speed Up behind him wouldn’t be shaken off and Navarro was shaving tenths off the Championship leader’s margin. Despite that, Baldassarri couldn’t quite be caught and the Italian crossed the line to take his third win of the year – although it was only three and a half tenths at the flag. Fernandez followed the two home for his impressive P3.

Lüthi took fourth for some solid Championship points, with Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) taking P5 and his best result of the year so far ahead of Vierge. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) took his best ever Grand Prix result in seventh, beating his previous best by a single position.

Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) beat an impressive ride from rookie teammate Nicolo Bulega – back from injury – to take P8, with Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) completing the top ten behind the duo.

Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) wasn’t far off the top ten though and was second rookie, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) next up in twelfth. Dominique Aegerter (MV Agusta Idealavoro Forward) took more points for the new MV Agusta in P13 – after scoring their first at COTA – with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) completing the points. Schrötter had been pushed wide early on.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) were amongst those who crashed.

That’s it from Moto2™ and after an expensive day in the standings for the likes of Marquez and a perfect result for Baldassarri, we roll on to Le Mans – with the Italian now 17 points ahead.
Race results:
1 - Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA - Kalex) 25'33.841
2 - Jorge Navarro (SPA - Speed Up) +0.359
3 - Augusto Fernandez (SPA - Kalex) +1.091

Podium L-R: Navarro, Baldassarri and Fernandez
Antonelli and Suzuki sublime for a 1-2 in Andalusia
SIC58 Squadra Corse take their first win and 1-2 to mark a special anniversary for the squad

Source: Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup

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