Jorge Lorenzo dominated the Catalan Grand Prix at Barcelona, scoring his fourth win on the trot and leading home a Yamaha 1-2 ahead of Valentino Rossi after early-race challenger Marc Marquez crashed out.
In scorchingly-hot temperatures, Lorenzo led into Turn 1 from Andrea Dovizioso’s Ducati, Honda’s Marquez and Pol Espargaro – up from 11th on his Tech 3 Yamaha.
Yamaha’s legend Rossi moved up to fifth from seventh on the grid on the opening lap, then passed Pol Espargaro on lap two for fourth.
Marquez was quickly past Dovizioso, up to second and attacking Lorenzo for the lead by lap three, but then dropped his Honda at the Turn 10 hairpin after appearing to outbrake himself – almost wiping out Lorenzo – and half-spun into the gravel.
“When you are on the home circuit, you push a bit more and when you’re not ready that can happen,” said Marquez. “I felt strong enough to follow Jorge, but on this bike when you make a small mistake, this can happen. I took a risk, and lost some points.”
That gave Lorenzo a handy lead, while Rossi attacked Dovizioso for second, grabbing the position at Turn 5 on lap five. Lorenzo led by 1.5s at this point, and Dovizioso then fell out of third place at Turn 4.
Rossi pushed hard in the closing stages, getting the gap down to 1.1s with three laps remaining and kept the crowd cheering until the finish. But Lorenzo didn’t crack under the pressure, and rattled off the remaining laps to keep his hot streak going.
Rossi continues to lead the championship, but his lead is now only one point over Lorenzo.
Surprise poleman Aleix Espargaro and Suzuki teammate Maverick Vinales – who both benefited from being able to use a soft tyre in qualifying – ended the opening lap in seventh and 14th respectively.
Aleix charged back to fourth, but brother Pol crashed out at the high-speed Turn 3 after five laps.
Dani Pedrosa moved up to fourth, and attacked the remaining Espargaro brother – passing Aleix for third on lap seven.
Bradley Smith ran fifth, under pressure from the remaining works Ducati of Andrea Ianonne, ahead of Scott Redding and the recovering Vinales – who had taken a tumble in morning warm-up.
Ianonne nailed Smith for fifth when he outbraked him at Turn 10. As Ianonne then closed on Aleix Espargaro for fourth, he was gifted the place when Espargaro tumbled off at Turn 4 with just five laps remaining.
Vinales passed Redding for seventh at Turn 4 with nine laps to go after both riders had previously outbraked each other and straightlined the first corner.
Cal Crutchlow was an early faller at Turn 4 on the opening lap, being shoved wide by Aleix Espargaro.
|8||Stefan Bradl||Yamaha Forward||+42.103|
|13||Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||+55.832|
|14||Mike di Meglio||Ducati||+1m09.037|
|15||Alex de Angelis||ART||+1m25.263|
|16||Hector Barbera||Ducati||1 Lap|