Marquez wins Catalunya MotoGP | Miller fifth
Marc Marquez 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 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 to do it.
Marc Marquez saying, “I chose the soft rear to try and push in the beginning and to try to not overheat the tyre but to try to be constant and fast. All of the Repsol Honda Team did a really good job this weekend; we worked hard and prepared well for the race. The team told me something had happened to Dovi, so I just kept pushing and focusing on my own race. We had the perfect strategy regardless and I want to thank all the fans who came out. Gracias! It’s always special when you can celebrate winning together with your brother, Alex rode well this weekend!”
It was Andrea Dovizioso 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 capitalised to sweep through soon after. The number 12 then attacked Marquez to take over in second, with Jorge Lorenzo 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 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 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.
Fabio Quartararo saying, “I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved today especially as it was a very hard race. We made our best start this year, since I only dropped two positions. Then I made a mistake at Turn 4, losing another four positions, and I was a little further back! Nevertheless, I found myself in the fight for the podium and a few laps from the end I managed to get into second and push. Thanks to adrenalin of fighting for the podium – and the medicine – my arm didn’t trouble me so much in the race. In the final laps my arm started to hurt a lot, but the reward of being on the podium is much greater than that. Twelve days ago I was undergoing an operation, and now I’m on the podium. Since the European races have begun, we have been very fast; this weekend the worst result in a session was second. The pace we have is very good, but we have to continue working as we have done so far. I want to thank the team for the opportunity they have given me and all the work they do. I am very happy to have achieved the first podium for PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.”
Danilo Petrucci sharing, “I’m very happy with this podium. For sure, without the incident during the second lap it would have been harder to seize this result and I’m very sorry for Andrea, who lost a great chance to shine today. I tried to stay with Márquez but it wasn’t possible, and Rins and Quartararo were also very fast. With Alex, we passed each other many times and once he even hit me on the right side but I was able to reclaim the position quite quickly. Then, when Fabio passed me, I just tried to stay with him and pull away from the pack. We scored the best possible result today. After three podiums in a row, we’re close to third position in the championship: we need to keep the momentum going at Assen.”
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.
Jack Miller saying, “It was a good race. I started well and fought with the leading group throughout the race. The feeling with the bike was very good even though we were not able to make the tires work better. This is a good result but I want to do better in Assen.”
Pol Espargaro continues his consistency in seventh and took more solid points, ahead of Takaaki Nakagami. Tito Rabat took P9 and his best of 2019 so far, as Johann Zarco did the same and completed the top ten.
Andrea Iannone, Miguel Oliveira and Suzuki test rider Sylvain Guintoli were the remaining finishers in a serious race of attrition, with fallers outside the huge incident near the start including Cal Crutchlow, Franco Morbidelli, Francesco Bagnaia and Bradley Smith, who made contact with Aleix Espargaro 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.
MotoGP Race results
- Marc MARQUEZ (SPA, Honda) 40’31.175
- Fabio QUARTARARO (FRA, Yamaha) +2.660
- Danilo PETRUCCI (ITA, Ducati) +4.537
- Alex RINS (SPA, Suzuki) +6.602
- Jack MILLER (AUS, Ducati) +6.870
- Marc MARQUEZ 140
- Andrea DOVIZIOSO 103
- Alex RINS 101
- Danilo PETRUCCI 98
- Valentino ROSSI 72
- Jack MILLER 53
- Fabio QUARTARARO 51
- Takaaki NAKAGAMI 48
- Pol ESPARGARO 47
- Cal CRUTCHLOW 42
Moto2: Alex Marquez claims third win in a row
Alex Marquez 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 as well, Marquez now heads the standings by seven points.
The man trailing him is Tom Lüthi, who took another podium and valuable 20 points to move back into second in the Championship, with Jorge Navarro 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, Fabio Di Giannanontio, Sam Lowes, polesitter Augusto Fernandez 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 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 won a battle royal to take P6, ahead of Marcel Schrotter, Xavi Vierge and Sam Lowes in P9. Tetsuta Nagashima had a top finish a little further back in P10.
Brad Binder beat Andrea Locatelli to the line by hundredths, with Nicolo Bulega, Simone Corsi and Jorge Martin 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.
Moto2 Race results
- Thomas LUTHI (SWI, Kalex) 1’44.673
- Alex MARQUEZ (SPA, Kalex) 0.060
- Jorge NAVARRO (SPA, Speed Up) +0.067
- Augusto FERNANDEZ (SPA, Kalex) +0.147
- Enea BASTIANINI (ITA, Kalex) +0.177
- Xavi VIERGE (SPA, Kalex) +0.232
- Nicolo BULEGA (ITA, Kalex) +0.261
- Remy GARDNER (AUS, Kalex) +0.277
Moto3: Marcos Ramirez takes the win
Marcos Ramirez made sure more history was made in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, with the Spaniard escaping from a dramatic and chaotic fight to win his first race and make it 12 different winners in a row. It’s also therefore seven different winners in a row this season, and the first time that’s ever happened in the first seven races of the lightweight class.
Aron Canet took a valuable second place to extend his Championship lead, with impressive rookie Celestino Vietti taking some tips from the boss to secure third with a stunning, Rossi-esque final corner move.
Tony Arbolino took the holeshot from third on the grid, but fast-starting Canet shot through from fifth on the grid to attack quickly for the lead – and Lorenzo Dalla Porta soon followed suit. Polesitter Gabriel Rodrigo dropped to seventh as the field shuffled through the first lap, and the first man to lose out in what would go on to be a race of attrition was Tatsuki Suzuki as the Japanese rider went down early.
The race was a classic Moto3 melee, but in the early stages it was Dalla Porta in charge at the front of the big group. The Italian looked like a serious threat until heartbreak suddenly hit with 18 laps to go as the number 48 suffered a mechanical problem around Turn 13, forced to pull off and losing some serious ground in the Championship.
Marcos Ramirez was the new man in the lead, but there was more drama just around the corner. Can Öncü triggered a multiple-rider incident at Turn 4, with Albert Arenas, teammate Raul Fernandez, Sergio Garcia, Vicente Perez and Filip Salac all caught up in it and out of the race.
There had been a group of seven riders in the lead group with 15 laps to go, but the group got bigger over the next few laps until the top 15 were back in a freight train. And it soon lost another member, with Arbolino, incredibly, also suffering a mechanical problem and the Mugello winner dropping back and then heading back into pitlane.
The top 18 were within an awesome 2.7 seconds as the last laps appeared on the horizon, but there was more drama to come. Next it was Jaume Masia crashing out with eight laps to go, and then it was polesitter Rodrigo a few laps later – with Darryn Binder going down with him.
That left Kaito Toba leading the battle for supremacy, with the Qatar GP winner having put in a stunner to slice through the chaos from P24 on the grid. He managed to stay there too, and was the man with the target on his back heading onto the last lap. Canet and Lopez made for close company however, and as Canet then went for a move to attack at Turn 10, Toba suddenly slid out in another bout of heartbreaking drama.
Canet went a little wide, Lopez did the same, and Ramirez took his opportunity almost immediately. Cutting past into the lead, the Spaniard just had a few corners to go to win his first ever Grand Prix. Into the final corner though it looked like Canet was going to try and recreate the famous Valentino Rossi move from a decade ago, but he thought better of it and slotted back in behind Ramirez. Just behind them, however, Vietti went for it.
As Ramirez blasted clear of Canet towards his first win, the Sky Racing Team VR46 rider just behind them kept it pinned on the inside and managed to pull it off with serious style, taking his third podium and second of the season…from 21st on the grid!
Behind Lopez, Dennis Foggia completed the top five, ahead of Ai Ogura taking his best ever finish in P6 after his stellar qualifying. Romano Fenati finished seventh, with Ayumu Sasaki heading compatriot Ryusei Yamanaka just behind. Jakub Kornfeil completed the top ten.
A true melee in stunning Moto3 style, the chaos of the Catalan GP leaves Canet a valuable 23 points clear at the top of the standings heading into Assen. Will the Spaniard pull off more top tactics there? Find out in two weeks.
Moto3 Race results
- Marcos Ramirez (SPA – Honda) 38’36.156
- Aron Canet (SPA – KTM) +0.119
- Celestino Vietti (ITA – KTM) +0.146