The Circuito de Jerez welcomed a huge crowd as the first European race of the season took place. Lorenzo had been the rider to beat for much of the weekend, comfortably sealing his second pole position of the season on Saturday. He would share the front row with the Honda duo, with Pedrosa knowing that a quick start would be vital.
Confirming Lorenzo’s worst fears, Pedrosa overtook as the 27-lap race began. The lead was immediately snatched back, but Pedrosa made the move stick as he passed at Dry Sack on Lap 6. As the Yamaha rider dropped into the clutches of Marquez, Pedrosa maintained a steady pace en route to his first win since Valencia last year.
Marquez’s race was a dramatic one, having entered as the joint championship leader with Lorenzo. Having quickly demoted Valentino Rossi to fourth place after the Yamaha rider overtook at the end of Lap 1, the 20-year-old charged up to the back of Lorenzo and attempted several different lines in a bid to distract the current title holder. The eventual move ironically came at the newly-named Jorge Lorenzo corner at the end of the very last lap, with Lorenzo left fuming after contact was made.
Once dispatched by Marquez, Rossi had a lonely ride to fourth place on the second Yamaha Factory bike, with Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow overcoming GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista for a top five spot at the end of a difficult weekend which featured two sizeable accidents on Saturday. Ducati Team duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso made the top eight while test rider Michele Pirro enjoyed a strong first ride of the campaign to 11th on the squad’s GP13 Lab chassis.
Hector Barbera and Avintia Blusens’ impressed by qualifying tenth on the lead CRT machine, but on race day the Spaniard fell to 12th as Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro took CRT honours for the third time in as many races, finishing ninth from Tech 3’s Bradley Smith. As Blusens’ Hiroshi Aoyama tumbled to 18th in the closing stages, Michael Laverty scored the first points for PBM’s own-built bike by coming home 13th and ahead of Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci and NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, who also scored for the first time in 2013.
Five riders failed to make the end of the race, notably Stefan Bradl who compounded a tough three days for himself and LCR Honda MotoGP. The German, like Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone, retired on the fourth lap. Iannone’s teammate Ben Spies did not compete, advised by doctors to rest and solve a problem with a pectoral muscle, while Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham pulled out after Friday due to suffering too much pain with his broken right collarbone.
In the World Championship, Marquez becomes the sole leader just three races into his premier class career. He now leads teammate Pedrosa by three points (61 to 58), with Lorenzo just a further one in arrears. Rossi and Crutchlow complete the top five while Espargaro has extended his CRT advantage to ten points over Barbera.
After witnessing three different winners in the first three races, the season continues with Round 4 in two weeks’ time, as the MotoGP™ community returns to legendary Le Mans for the Monster Energy Grand Prix de France.
-- From MotoGP.com