Marquez wins, Quartararo soars and chaos reigns at Catalunya

2019-06-16 16:24
The reigning Champion extends his lead, the rookie's luck turns and a multiple-rider crash makes waves

Sunday, 16 June 2019
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took an impressive win in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya on an expensive day for his key Championship rivals, with a dramatic multiple-rider crash near the start of the race creating some serious chaos. Marquez escaped that and in the aftermath it was Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) who emerged as his closest challenger, with the polesitter and French rookie cutting down the gap in the latter laps as he seared away from those on the chase. His second place makes him the second-youngest podium finisher in the MotoGP™ era, behind only Marquez, and he managed to pull two seconds clear of Mugello winner Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) to do it.

It was Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) who took the holeshot with another stunning start, this time from the second row, with Marquez pushed back into second and Quartararo then trying to send it around the outside of the reigning Champion. But he couldn't quite make that stick and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) capitalised to sweep through soon after. The number 12 then attacked Marquez to take over in second, with Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) making some serious ground up into fourth to fight for the podium.

Marquez hit back against Viñales on Lap 2 and it was shaping up to be a serious fight at the front, but that's when the drama hit. Lorenzo went to attack Viñales just as Marquez attacked Dovizioso, and the number 99 then lost the front as the space ahead diminished. That set off a huge incident as the number 99 took down Dovizioso, then Viñales, and then Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) got caught too – with all four out the race. Marquez was clear of it, with Petrucci the man left in second, escaping the drama after having been passed by Rossi at the best time for one of them and the worst for the other.

Marquez was then able to pull the pin and extend the gap but the fight behind was on fire: Petrucci vs Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) vs Quartararo. First it was a duel behind the Italian before Rins then started looking for a way past Petrucci, attacking into Turn 1 and the Ducati defending to perfection in Turn 2. A couple of laps later it was a Rins and repeat, but the Suzuki man couldn't make it stick.

He kept trying, but the next attempt was more costly. Running on and left heading over the Long Lap Penalty after dropping anchor to avoid Petrucci in Turn 1, the number 42 lost out and rejoined in sixth, behind his rookie teammate Joan Mir. That left him fighting to try and get back through, and left Quartararo with only one man in between himself and Marquez' trail.

It didn't take long; the Frenchman sliding up the inside of the Ducati to take over in second soon after. And then, he was in the same position as his fateful race in Jerez and wishing for more luck. Barcelona brought just that, with the number 20 then able to unleash his pace and push on after Marquez, immediately starting to cut the gap.

In the end, there weren't enough laps left for a charge at the win, but the Frenchman made a little history regardless and a first rostrum finish is good payback for his incredible pace so far. Petrucci was around two seconds behind him but scored big for Ducati once again, with Rins taking fourth after managing to pass first Mir and then Jack Miller (Pramac Racing).

Miller was only two tenths behind him over the line, however, and the Australian's P5 puts him back in the lead of the Independent Team standings. Behind them? Another small gap back to Joan Mir, who took sixth and his best rookie result yet, two better than his season opening P8 in Qatar.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) continues his consistency in seventh and took more solid points, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) took P9 and his best of 2019 so far, as Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) did the same and completed the top ten.

Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli (Team Suzuki Ecstar) were the remaining finishers in a serious race of attrition, with fallers outside the huge incident near the start including Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Francesco Bagnaia) and Bradley Smith (Aprilia Racing Team), who made contact with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) on Lap 1 and both crashed out.

It was a near-perfect day for Marquez' Championship hopes in Montmelo, and the reigning Champion heads into the next race with a serious buffer of 37 points at the top of the table. Dovizioso remains second, Rins couldn't capitalise too much in third...but next up it's the Dutch TT, and that's the perfect place for Yamaha, especially, to strike back. Rossi was back in the mix in Barcelona, Viñales had made an awesome start...what will the classic TT Circuit Assen bring? Don't miss it as MotoGP™ gets back in action in two weeks.
Race results:
1 - Marc Marquez (SPA - Honda) 40'31.175
2 - Fabio Quartararo* (FRA - Yamaha) +2.660
2 - Danilo Petrucci (ITA - Ducati) +4.537

*Independent Team rider

Podium L-R: Marquez, Petrucci and Dovizioso
Marquez demolishes Moto2™ to take over at the top
Spaniard makes it three wins in a row for the first time in his career and takes the Championship lead

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took a third magnificent win in a row in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, moving through from sixth on the grid to unleash his pace at the front and pull clear in another dominant performance. It's the first time the number 73 has ever taken three successive victories and after a crash in Barcelona for former points leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) as well, Marquez now heads the standings by seven points. The man trailing him is Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who took another podium and valuable 20 points to move back into second in the Championship, with Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) back on the podium in third.

Lüthi took the holeshot as the veteran screamed away from the line, with Marquez almost running into trouble in the early stages and remaining sixth. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), Fabio Di Giannanontio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up), Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), polesitter Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) and Lüthi were the men in between him and the lead, and in the first few laps at least, Lüthi and Fernandez were pushing hard to make a gap at the front.

First the number 73 took Bastianini, then Di Giannantonio, and then Lowes as 'Diggia' followed him through as well. Next up was the task of cutting down the gap to the front, and the 2014 Moto3™ Champion set about doing that. Fernandez then attacked Lüthi for the lead, and that brought Marquez right into play in the front trio.

Lüthi took it back soon as he attacked into Turn 1 and the three stayed close, but it wasn't long after that that drama hit further back as Baldassarri binned it at Turn 10, making the fight for the win the fight for the Championship lead. Lüthi tried to pull away, but Marquez then saw the Swiss rider struggling and made his move.

Once past, the Spaniard wasn't able to immediately pull away but little by little he was able to extend the gap and make it his race to lose. Pitch perfect from then on, Marquez made zero mistakes and heads home with a seven point lead. Lüthi was his trademark consistent self to take 20 more points and move back into second overall, staying out the clutches of Navarro.

After a tougher round at Mugello, Speed Up rider Navarro was back on top form in Catalunya, unleashing more of his now-trademark late race pace as he was able to get past Fernandez. But the polesitter nevertheless impressed with his P4, making a good dent in the frontrunners once again.

Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) was top rookie once again in P5, another race to remember for the Italian. Compatriot Di Giannantonio, after his early pace, crashed out. Behind Bastianini's rather lonely ride, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) won a battle royal to take P6, ahead of Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Sam Lowes in P9. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) had a top finish a little further back in P10.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) beat Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) to the line by hundredths, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the points.

That's it from Catalunya and next up it's another track where Alex Marquez has shone in the past. Now seven points clear, will that extend in the Netherlands? Or can the field hit back? Find out in two weeks' time as we race around the classic TT Circuit Assen.
Race results:
1 - Alex Marquez (SPA - Kalex) 38'25.678
2 - Tom Lüthi (SWI - Kalex) +1.989
3 - Jorge Navarro (SPA - Speed Up) +2.532

Podium L-R: Lüthi, Marquez and Navarro
Ramirez makes it a magnificent seven different history-makers in a row
Spaniard escapes the chaos to make it 12 different winners in a row and seven in the opening seven races of the season for the first time ever

Source: Dorna Sports

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