Dani Pedrosa took the spoils today in round three of the 2103 MotoGP championship at the Jerez de La Frontera circuit in Spain where the Repsol Honda rider left the rest of the field in his wake while fellow countrymen Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing) and teammate rookie Marc Marquez thrilled the partisan crowd with their overtaking manoeuvres that saw rookie Marquez getting the better of reigning champion Lorenzo in the last corner on the final lap.
It was a beautiful race. I was able to ride the bike well. It's been a great day!
Pedrosa and Lorenzo looked to be in a different class to the rest of the riders behind and after a brief change of the lead with just a few laps gone, it was on lap 6 of the 27 lap Gran Premio Bwin de España that Pedrosa made his move stick and immediately began building on his lead with Lorenzo falling off the pace somewhat with Marquez then beginning to snap at his rear wheel. Further down the field the CRT battle was being fought out between a resurgent Hector Barbera (Avintia Blusens) and the Power Electronics Aspar machine of Aleix Espargaro.
The first half of the race wasn’t kind to Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone who crashed out as did LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl who was already having a tough weekend with his satellite RC213V machine. Came IodaRacing Project rider Lukas Pesek also crashed out of the race in the latter stages as did Power Electronics Aspar’s Rand De Puniet with the high track temperatures once again making for difficult riding conditions on the Bridgestone tires as was the case in yesterday’s qualifying sessions.
The final third of the race saw most of the field settle in formation with Rossi in 4th, Crutchlow in 5th and Bautista in 6th place. Hayden managed to keep Dovizioso behind him for 7th while finishing in 9th place was top CRT rider Espargaro with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rookie Bradley Smith finishing in 10th place. Ducati Test Team rider Michele Pirro ended his first wildcard race of the year in 11th spot while Barbera eventually ended in 12th position and he was followed home by Paul Bird Motorsport’s Michael Laverty. Danilo Petrucci put in a solid effort to finish 14th for the Came IodaRacing Project team with the Italian finishing ahead of NGM Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, Go&Fun Honda Gresini CRT rider Bryan Staring, Claudio Corti (NGM Forward Racing) and Avintia Blusen’s Hiroshi Aoyama in 18th and final position. Pramac Racing’s Ben Spies did not take part this weekend and Cardion AB Motorsport’s Karel Abraham didn’t race due to a healing collarbone.
The final few laps of the race provided the most entertaining racing of the year so far; while Pedrosa cleared off in to the distance for his first race win of the season, the 111,000 strong Spanish crowd were left enthralled by the battle between Lorenzo and Marquez that was now reaching boiling point. Marquez was intent on snatching 2nd place from his compatriot but Lorenzo was his usual dominant self with the 2-time MotoGP champion using every bit of his race craft to keep the younger rider behind. However, today was not Lorenzo’s day and after successfully fending of Marquez for most of the race, the pivotal moment came in the final corner with Marquez diving to the inside and clashing fairings with Lorenzo who shook his head in disapproval as he was pushed wide and having to settle for third place.
Thrilled with securing his first victory this year Pedrosa said, “It was a beautiful race. I was able to ride the bike well, even though it was difficult because the tyres were really on the limit. I couldn't push too hard because of that, so I had to ride carefully. I was able to maintain a good advantage throughout the race and collect this win at home as a result. It was fantastic, especially seeing all the fans in the stands; this year we've had a lot of people come to watch this Grand Prix. I also want to say "Happy Mothers' Day" to my mum and thanks to all my team, it's been a great day!”
Marquez now leads the MotoGP World Championship with his second position today and he was very happy at the end. He said, “It was a very good race. I gave 100% from the first lap through to the last. At some points in the race I felt better than at others, but I never gave up. I tried to stick as close as possible to Lorenzo, although it was very difficult. I couldn’t quite close the gap, but I didn’t let him get away either. It was a very hard race, because if you get one or two seconds difference between you, you relax a bit.
I didn’t relax though, and I am very happy. I think that, above all, the end of the race was really good for the fans. I want to apologise to Jorge, because it was a racing incident – a last lap move that happens when you are on the limit. The most important thing is that we both finished the race, and I hope that that’s the end of it,” Marquez added.