Reigning MotoGP World Champion Jorge Lorenzo was dominant in his flag to flag victory at today’s Gran Premi Aperol De Catalunya with the Yamaha Factory Racing rider thrilling his home fans while Repsol Honda riders Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez fought it out for the remaining podium positions with the elder of the two teammates clinging on for second position in the 25 lap race that saw a raft of crashes and retirements.
A perfect day, to be honest I didn't expect to win.
The race didn’t take long to claim it’s first victim with Power Electronics Aspar rider Randy De Puniet retiring and Bautista quickly followed suit when the Spaniard tried a risky inside pass on Rossi but lost the front end of his RC213V machine. There was also bad luck for Paul Bird Motorsport rider Michael Laverty who crashed out early on. The rising temperatures at the Spanish circuit was playing havoc with grip levels with many riders starting to lose traction at the front of their machines.
The race at the front had become a three way battle within the first six laps with Lorenzo continuing to lead the way while the Repsol Hondas were in the sights of Rossi who had dropped Crutchlow off only for the British rider to crash out on lap 5 and he was also joined by Iannone who had made good progress after passing Dovizioso. More misfortune came next for Hayden who was having one of the best starts of his season before the American lost the front of the Ducati GP13 after passing Bradl shortly beforehand. The attrition rate continued to astound with a further retirement from Karel Abraham on his Cardion AB Motoracing CRT machine while Came IodaRacing Project’ Lukas Pesek also crashed but rejoined the race.
The final five laps saw the race at the front really heating up with Lorenzo re-doubling his efforts to break his pursuers and he quickly managed to pull a small gap to Pedrosa who was now falling into the clutches of Marquez. While Pedrosa tired his hardest to stay ahead of Marquez, the rookie was dogged in his determination to make a pass but the race nearly ended for both men when Marquez clipped the rear of Pedrosa’s bike and effectively putting an end to the race for second but it didn’t stop Marquez closing right up on Pedrosa one again just before they took the checkered flag leaving Lorenzo to cross the line triumphantly.
Lorenzo was delighted to win at his home race and to have shared the podium a special guest on the podium saying, “A perfect day, to be honest I didn't expect to win, I knew I had some chance but not like in Mugello where I was more convinced we could get the victory. It was really difficult physically as it was the hottest race of the year. I kept pushing 100% all race because any mistake would have been a disaster. I was surprised at the start as I expected to just pass Cal but I passed Dani also. I took profit from it and tried to open the gap but it was not enough to go away, Dani was there and we played some games, I was 0.5 ahead then 0.2; I was going then he was recovering me.
Finally because I was tough mentally and never gave up I could open in the last five laps a little gap that was enough to win. The girl who designed my helmet, Anna Vives, is famous in Spain; she is a symbol that people with Down syndrome are capable of a lot more than some people think. I think it was very original and colorful so I was very proud and happy to have her on the podium to share the win with me,” Lorenzo added.
Marquez was very happy with gaining another podium finish saying, “It was a difficult race. We expected it to be tough, but we never imagined that we would be fighting for the podium with Jorge and Dani and I'm very happy with this result! It gives us confidence after a slightly tricky weekend, as in the end we found the ideal setup. During the race I learned a lot from riding behind Dani, trying to figure out how to ride a MotoGP bike at this track, and in the end we did quite well. We knew it would be difficult to finish in the top five, but we managed to get on the podium. I can only say I'm thrilled with the result. Now we look to Assen and we'll see if we can improve anything for that race during the test at Aragón.”