MotoGP™ has a tendency to keep making history of late, and the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina was no different - as Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) became the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the year, taking a stunning win as drama hit the grid behind. Teammate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) created another miracle in P2, with LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow completing the podium in style as top Independent Team rider.
Viñales soon attacked Crutchlow to take P2, before the first of the high drama hit up ahead and Marquez suddenly hit the floor at Turn 2 – having been almost two seconds clear.
That left Viñales in P1, with Crutchlow and Rossi on the chase and the gap holding steady just above half a second - before the man of the moment began to pull away. The ‘Doctor’ was left to hunt down Crutchlow, with the two holding station until Rossi struck with 7 laps to go, getting past the Brit in style at Turn 5 and pulling away for a second consecutive podium – in his 350th World Championship start.
There was all-out war for P4 as Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) battled to get past Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing), with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) getting in the mix. After a short and spectacular duel between Pedrosa and Zarco, the Spaniard broke free to set the fastest lap – before disaster struck for the ‘Baby Samurai’ as he crashed out of the race in the same place as teammate Marquez had done a handful of laps earlier.
Even then, the drama wasn’t done as ‘DesmoDovi’ went wide at Turn 5 soon after, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) taking the inside line and then losing the front – sliding helplessly into the Italian and both out the race.
Behind and including Crutchlow, it was another fantastic day for the Independent Teams as the dust settled, with Bautista taking fourth and Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Zarco and Jonas Folger taking fifth and sixth. Petrucci, after running out of rear grip, crossed the line in a solid P7 – ahead of a good fight back from his teammate Scott Redding at the head of the next group.
Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) enjoyed another top ten result in ninth behind Redding, with front row starter Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) completing the top ten only tenths ahead of Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing) after the Frenchman was forced wide early on.
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was P12 in front of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing), with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing pairing Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith incredibly close to the two men ahead in P14 and P15 respectively. The Austrian manufacturer is now a points scorer with both riders, opening their account early in only round two.
After a great start from a difficult grid position, it was disaster for Ducati Team’s Jorge Lorenzo on the first lap as the five-time World Champion crashed out early after contact with old nemesis Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) – the ‘Spartan’ thankfully escaping unhurt, and Iannone continuing. The ‘Maniac’ was also given a ride through penalty soon after for a jump start, dropping him down the order and out of contention to cross the line as the final finisher.
For full results, click here.
Austin, Texas now awaits – a chance for Marquez to strike back at a venue he has always ruled, and a chance for Viñales to change that statistic as we head into round three.
Monday, 10 April 2017 10:29 Published in Reports, Results & Points
The 2017 racing season gets fully underway this weekend under the lights, in the desert at the Losail Circuit in Qatar, at the first of 18 scheduled MotoGP rounds. After a crazy 2016 season with an unprecedented nine race winners, attention at the top tier of motorcycle racing is steadily building.
Friday, 24 March 2017 11:51 Published in Feature Stories
In his 250th Grand Prix start, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo said goodbye to that title in stunning style, as the ‘Spartan’ took a lights-to-flag signature victory in his final appearance in blue. A record-breaking pole saw the Spaniard then escape at the front, holding off a late charge from reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). An Italian battle royale decided the final podium place, with Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) taking P3 on the penultimate lap.
Under the blue skies of a long-awaited dry race day, Lorenzo got the holeshot from pole, but it was Iannone who was the big winner into Turn 1 as the Italian blasted through on the inside to take second. With the ‘Spartan’ imperious at the front, Iannone led the chase as Maverick Viñales (Team Suzuki Ecstar), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) joined him in the battle behind the lead, after the number 93 suffered a bad start off the line.
After getting past Viñales, Rossi and Iannone fought it out at the head of the second group as the number 99 began to disappear into the distance, with Marquez and the number 25 in close company. As Rossi got to the head of the chasers, Iannone hit back again – and so began Round 2. It was the ‘Maniac’ who initially came out on top, before Marquez saw his shot and got through – gapping the fight to start a charge after Lorenzo at the front, eventually cutting more than three seconds off the number 99's lead.
The podium decider was left to a brutal, classic battle between Iannone and Rossi - with the rider from Tavullia seeming to have got the better of his younger compatriot, until Iannone hit back with an aggressive move that also gave him a gap he was able to hold onto over the line. Viñales completed his final weekend with Suzuki in P5.
Dovizioso eventually dropped slightly back from the front group into the clutches of Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and brother Pol (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) to fight for P6 after grip issues - with the younger brother Pol finally taking the honours over the line in a photo-finish against Dovizioso, and Aleix seeing the flag in eighth.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) unfortunately suffered a crash to bid adieu to his fantastic latter half of 2016 – but he takes the title of Top Independent rider although bettered by Pol Espargaro on the day. Crutchlow’s compatriot Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) had another impressive ride as he gets back to fitness following a crash ahead of the British GP and two knee surgeries, taking P9 in his final race with Tech 3 before he moves to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing.
Alvaro Bautista had a stunning ride in his final race with Aprilia Racing Team Gresini in their special “Red” livery, completing the top ten to round out a year of impressive progress.
Returning Repsol Honda Team rider Dani Pedrosa crashed out after an impressive weekend despite a recent collarbone break, and wildcard Mika Kallio, debuting the new KTM RC16, was sadly unable to see the flag after technical trouble - but the Austrian factory now head into the 2017 pre-season with vital information after lining up for the first time.
After a history-making 2016, MotoGP will return in pre-season testing on Tuesday - with Lorenzo in red at Ducati as the pack shuffles and prepares its hand for another incredible season of motorcycle racing.
Monday, 14 November 2016 10:29 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Anticipation for the MotoGP™ World Championship race at the circuit de Barcelona – Catalunya continued to grow as the riders sat on the grid, hiding from the scorching sun beneath their umbrellas. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was on pole position, but both Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) seemed to have found something on the new layout in warm up.
Monday, 06 June 2016 12:59 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Jorge Lorenzo ran away with the French GP, taking a flag-to-flag victory as former championship leader Marc Marquez fell.
Monday, 09 May 2016 10:16 Published in Reports, Results & Points
With new Michelin tires and new unified electronics, the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar was set to not only start a new season of the MotoGP™ World Championship, but also begin a new era. Testing had given fans a preview of who was fast and what bikes were working well, but few had any idea what would happen as the lights went out on the first race of the 2016 season.
Monday, 21 March 2016 09:40 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo led from lights off to the checkered flag to win both the battle and the war, earning his third career MotoGP World Championship and his fifth career world crown with victory at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain today. Lorenzo experienced almost race-long pressure from the Repsol Honda of outgoing two-time world champ Marc Marquez, as well as a late race push from on-form Dani Pedrosa on the second Honda, to earn his crown.
Sunday, 08 November 2015 13:12 Published in News
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo took the upper hand in the epic 2015 MotoGP™ World Championship battle against his teammate and title rival Valentino Rossi after claiming his fifth pole position of the season. The Mallorcan set the fastest ever MotoGP™ lap around the Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo in near perfect conditions (Track temp. 30˚C), a 1’31.011. In the process he smashed Marc Marquez’s Pole Record (1’30.237) from 2013 by over two-tenths of a second. Lorenzo said afterwards it was the most important lap of his life as he aims to overturn the seven-point advantage Rossi holds in the championship standings in #TheGrandFinale on Sunday. it was his 61st career GP pole position, and his 35th in MotoGP™.
Lorenzo set his fastest time on the second of his three runs as he made use of a two-stop strategy. The Spaniard is brilliant at managing races from the front and by starting on pole he has made the task of winning the Championship that much easier, as he aims to make it four wins out of four in Spain for 2015 after winning in Jerez, Barcelona and Aragon. Although don’t write Rossi off yet.
The ‘Doctor’ (+1.460s), who has to start from the back of the grid after the CAS denied his stay of execution on his penalty from Sepang, ended the session in 12th after crashing out on his last flying lap at turn 8 but walked away unhurt. It was only Rossi’s second crash of the season, and served notice to anyone that thought the Italian would not be pushing hard in Q2.
The only man who looked like he might displace Lorenzo at the top was Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez (+0.488s). The Spaniard rode his RC213V to the absolute limit, having a number of huge moments, but even he could not deny Lorenzo in the end. Marquez was the only rider to get within half a second of Lorenzo, as he was another to utilise a two-stop strategy, recording his 16th front row start of the season in the process.
Dani Pedrosa made it two Repsol Honda’s on the front row as he qualified in third, but he was +0.505s off the pace of Lorenzo. Pedrosa holds a two-point advantage over Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team) in the battle for fourth in the standings, after winning two of the last three races. The Spaniard also has an excellent record at Valencia having won six races across all classes and should be a threat during Sunday’s race.
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro (+0.906s) will start from the head of the front row in fourth in his best qualifying performance since Assen. The Spaniard’s feat was made even more impressive by the fact he was forced to progress through Q1 after ending practice in 11th on the combined timesheets.
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow (+0.937s) qualified in fifth for the third race in a row as he was one of only five riders the break the 1’31 barrier in Q2. The Brit had been struggling with grip on Friday but improved to put in his best lap time on his final flying run to start as the leading Satellite rider.
Just 0.064s behind Crutchlow was his compatriot Bradley Smith (+1.001s) on the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 M1 in sixth. The British rider secured his first second row start since Misano as he aims to secure sixth in the standings from Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.
Iannone (+1.045) heads up the third row after he failed to improve on his best time from Practice that had seen him top the combined timesheets after FP3. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will start from eighth, with Dovizioso in ninth and Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) completing the top ten.
Maverick Viñales will start from 11th after he also made it through from Q1 alongside his teamate despite a nasty looking highside during that session, with Rossi completing the fourth row in 12th and Ducati Team wildcard Michele Pirro in 13th.
Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera will start as the leading Satellite rider in 15th, ahead of the man he leads in the standings by five points, Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, in 16th. American Nicky Hayden qualified in 17th as the leading Open class Honda in his last MotoGP™ race before he moves to WorldSBK in 2016, after he was inducted into the MotoGP™ Hall of Fame on Friday in Valencia.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding continued his struggles from practice and could only qualify in 20th, ahead of Australian Jack Miller (LCR Honda) in 21st and Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) in 24th.
Anthony West (AB Motoracing) filling in for the injured Karel Abraham was in 23rd, while Alex De Angelis’ replacement Broc Parkes (E-Motion IodaRacing Team) finished the session in 26th.
Saturday, 07 November 2015 12:10 Published in Reports, Results & Points
Four days from now, we should know who has won the 2015 MotoGP World Championship. I say “should" since protests and ongoing legal wrangling might delay the official results.
This type of behavior is rare in bike racing, more likely in automotive competition. However the days following October 25 and the penultimate 2015 season round in Malaysia have confirmed that we live in interesting times.
Thursday, 05 November 2015 11:57 Published in Colin Fraser