Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Dominates Catalunya
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Jorge Lorenzo gave a sensational performance this afternoon, claiming his fourth GP victory in a row at the seventh round at GP Monster Energy de Catalunya. Teammate Valentino Rossi was equally stunning, starting from seventh on the grid to take second position, giving the team its fourth consecutive double podium of the season.
Jorge Lorenzo took a sensational fourth consecutive win for the first time in his career in front of a massive home crowd at Montmeló this afternoon. Similar to the previous round, he led the race from start to finish, which means he set a new record for consecutive laps led in the MotoGP class with an incredible total of 103 laps.
Teammate Valentino Rossi also put in a brave performance at the slippery and greasy Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya to finish second, making it a perfect weekend for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
Lorenzo had a strong launch from third on the grid to take the holeshot. Leading the race from Marquez he put the hammer down in an effort to break away from the field, but was unable to shake off his compatriot. Unfazed by the pressure from his rival, Lorenzo kept his riding smooth and consistent, which proved to be the key to success. With 23 laps to go, Marquez made a mistake in turn ten, nearly clipping Lorenzo's YZR-M1 in the process, and crashed out of the race.
The dramatic crash put Lorenzo in his favorite racing position; completely in control at the front, with a clear track as far as the eye could see, and a growing gap to the rider in second, which was none other than his teammate. Rossi wasn't able to threaten until the last six laps, but Lorenzo managed the gap perfectly and held on to claim the victory in front of his home fans, with a 0,855s margin over the line. Accompanied on the podium by Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd's President, Hiroyuki Yanagi, Lorenzo got to step onto the top step for the fourth time in a row for the first time in his career.
The Doctor started his Catalunya attack well, but found himself in seventh place going into turn one. Determined to score a top result he overtook Aleix Espargarò and Bradley Smith before the end of the first lap. Pol Espargarò in fourth was soon to follow, as Rossi continued to hunt down Andrea Dovizioso, passing him on lap four.
As Marquez crashed out a lap earlier, The Doctor was riding in second place and gave all he had to reel in Lorenzo, who was 1,5s ahead, but the Spaniard was quick to respond. Rossi kept his head down and was able to reduce the gap to nearly a second in the final stages of the race, but came just short. He went on to claim second on the podium, with a 18.570 second gap to Dani Pedrosa in third.
Lorenzo's win delivers 25 points, keeping him in second position in the championship standings with a 137 points total, just one point behind Rossi. The Doctor's podium scored him 20 points and keeps him in the lead in the overall standings, now on 138 points.
The MotoGP riders will be back on the Catalunya track tomorrow for an official test before visiting Aragon for a private test. They will then head to the Netherlands for the next GP held at the iconic Assen TT circuit on Saturday the 27th of June.
1st / 42'53.208 / 25 laps
"This was my hardest win of the season, but Qatar, Austin and Argentina were tougher when it comes to racing. To be honest, the last ten laps of today's race were probably one of the most hard and intense laps of my career. Valentino was very fast and knowing that the track was really hot and there was less grip than yesterday, I'm happy with the results. My bike was working a bit worse than yesterday when I was able to ride 1'41s, but that wasn't possible today. For Valentino it was the opposite, he almost always reaches this incredible level of performance on Sunday. When he reduced the gap from 2.0s to 1.4s I was really worried that I would lose this race. I needed to push and risk more while the bike was already moving a lot, which is what I did on the last ten laps. After yesterday's practice I expected, maybe not an easy victory, but more distance between me and the rider in second from the middle of the race onwards. I was able to keep my rhythm and stay focused and I really want to thank the team for their efforts and congratulate them with the fourth consecutive victory."
2nd / +0.885 / 25 laps
"Throughout my career I always thought that when you take 20 points, it has been a good race. I enjoyed this weekend, which was an important one, because I came from three races where I struggled a lot and I don't like to arrive in third when Jorge wins. This time we found a good setting and balance on Friday so we worked for the race, which I know I'm stronger in. I was good in the beginning when I was overtaking and I was fast, but it was not enough, because when I arrived to the second position Jorge already had a 1.5s gap. It's a great shame because I had the pace to fight with him and I could have been very strong in a battle, because I was very strong in braking. I'm still in front in the championship, but this race was important because we made a step forward and now we have to keep working like this and improve our qualifying. The key is the tyre rule, because Jorge is better than me in qualifying and he can position all the bikes with the extra soft tyres between me and him on the grid. It's a shame because yesterday I had the potential to be in the top five but it gives me great motivation to try again in two weeks in Assen."
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"Today has been a fantastic result, and one we have worked towards since the beginning of the weekend. The race went as we expected and hoped, because we worked hard to prepare, determined to achieve the maximum possibility. This is our fourth double podium of the year and Jorge's fourth consecutive race victory. The race was very tough, with a lot of crashes so a tense time until the final lap. We knew that both our riders wanted to win and their performance shows this. Jorge's ride was flawless from the opening lap, he is really at the top of his game right now. Vale also really showed his skill and ability to come from down on the grid to just under a second at the line. I have to thank both the riders for their performance and also the team for their hard work throughout the weekend to make the double podium possible. Tomorrow we test and try to improve more and then we go to Netherlands in the best way possible in full fighting spirit."
Smith speeds to top five finish at Catalunya
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith rode to another strong result aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1 at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to equal his best performance of the 2015 season and finish in 5th. The young British rider commenced the 25 lap battle from 8th on the grid and undertook an expert start as the lights went out before going on to finish the first lap in 6th. He quickly set into his race pace and posted strong lap times that elevated him up to 5th. As the race distance progressed, he eventually became involved in a tussle with Andrea Iannone who he kept at bay until the 18th lap. Smith was shuffled back to 6th but remained resolute and pushed onwards. With five laps remaining he was running comfortably in 5th and powered across the finish line in this position. His performance today sees him close to one point of Marc Marquez in 5th position in the MotoGP riders championship standings.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team garage, Pol Espargaro was unfortunate at his Home Grand Prix as he fell in the opening stages of the race. The Spaniard began the race with a superb start from 11th place on the MotoGP grid and closed the first lap in 4th having overhauled 7 riders. He then set into a strong rhythm as he intended to continue his progress towards the front of the field. Yet, his luck ran out and he fell on the 4th lap whilst locked in a battle with his teammate and Dani Pedrosa which marked a disappointing and premature end to his promising start to the 7th round of the MotoGP World Championship.
5th / +27.782 / 25 laps
"Fifth place is a fantastic result for us after what was a tricky weekend! The team did a superb job and we worked non stop every day to try and make a setting that we could use for the race. Eventually, we made a big step in time for the GP with the front setting of the bike, but maybe it was ultra conservative and it hampered me a little in terms of performance. Yet, it meant that I had a lot of feeling in the front which resulted in me knowing whether it was going to tuck or not and this was useful as we saw a few guys lose the front. However, even though it may have limited me a bit, I still managed to adapt to it in the first three laps and then I got into my rhythm. In all honesty, the pace was slow but it was the best that I could do and in the end, consistency is key as this result was great for the championship. Now I am just one point behind Marc and 21 ahead of Cal for the satellite bike battle which is strong from my point of view. We have a test tomorrow which will be interesting for us and we will look to amend the issues which have been affecting us in the past couple of race, that have all been quite similar. So it's no rest for me and I plan to work hard tomorrow with the team so we can improve the bike for Assen and the remaining races this year."
DNF / -21 laps
"It's a very upsetting way to finish the weekend, especially as it is my home Grand Prix. We knew it would have been a challenging race as we were struggling during the weekend when the track temperature was very high. Yet, I was optimistic about today and after the start, things seemed to come together quite well. I was able to recover seven positions straight away but after that I started to have an issue whilst turning the bike and unfortunately I ended up losing the front at the third corner. It's really disappointing but we don't have much time to think about it and we can't dwell on it as we are testing tomorrow. This test will give us the chance to work on the difficulties that we had to face during these three days which we need to amend in order to be prepared for our next challenge at Assen."
Bradl first Open at Montmeló
The Grand Prix of Catalunya weekend closes with a victory in the Open category for the Athinà Forward Racing team. Stefan Bradl crossed the line in eighth place as the first of the Open bikes, picking up eight important championship points.
The German, who started from the fifth row, was finally able to reach the top 10, having been a protagonist in an exciting fight with Petrucci. After overtaking the Italian he continued to push until the end of the race and passed under the checkered flag in eighth place.
It was also a good race for his teammate Loris Baz. The Frenchman, after an all-in race, finished in thirteenth position, once again hitting the top 15. With the points collected today Baz shortens the distance to Barbera who retains only a three-point margin as the leader of the Open class.
The work of the Athinà Forward Racing team will continue tomorrow at the Catalunya circuit where a one-day test is scheduled.
8th / +42.103 / 25 laps
"It was a great race and I'm happy with this win. For me it is the first victory in the Open class and I'm really glad about it. It was not an easy situation for me and the team but we worked hard and we managed to be consistent this weekend. Our package is definitely good and so it's our potential, we must continue in this direction at Assen. Thanks to all the guys of the team for their work."
13th / +55.832 / 25 laps
"I'm happy with the 13th place and the points, but I cannot say I am completely satisfied with this race. I suffered a lot for chattering and my gap from the head of the Open class has increased in comparison with the last few races. I went on track with a new setting, I struggled in the first laps to find my pace but lap after lap I was able to approach Di Meglio and Laverty. I finished close to the top 10 gaining important points for the standings. Barbera is now just three points away form me."