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Jerez MotoGP: Pedrosa fends off Marquez as Yamahas struggle

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Jerez MotoGP: Pedrosa fends off Marquez as Yamahas struggle
By:
May 7, 2017, 12:49 PM

Dani Pedrosa became the third winner in four MotoGP races as he beat Honda teammate Marc Marquez to victory in a tense Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team
Maverick Viñales, Yamaha Factory Racing
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing Team Gresini
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Polesitter Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team, second place Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Valentino Rossi, Yamaha Factory Racing
Johann Zarco, Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team
Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing
Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS
Andrea Dovizioso, Ducati Team
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team

The Spaniard led from start to finish to win for the first time since last September’s race at Misano, while Jorge Lorenzo recorded his maiden podium with Ducati and championship leader Valentino Rossi laboured to a distant 10th.

Pedrosa made the most of starting from pole for the first time in 18 months, getting away cleanly at Jerez and slotting into a convincing lead.

Using the medium-compound rear tyre compared to the harder rubber on the other Hondas of Marquez and Cal Crutchlow on the front row, Pedrosa skipped away to build a solid early advantage.

Johann Zarco (Tech 3 Yamaha) again charged in the early stages, passing Rossi on the opening lap and then Maverick Vinales on their Yamahas, Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone the next time around to slot into third place.

Zarco threatened Marquez briefly, but could not run with the Hondas at the front.

Marquez goes on the attack

Pedrosa’s lead got up to one-and-a-half seconds and stayed there for the first half of the race, before Marquez chipped several tenths away during the next phase.

With 10 laps to go, the gap was nearly exactly one second, and the pair traded sector times but Pedrosa maintained his pace in the 1m40s bracket.

The gap grew again for a number of laps, before Marquez got it under one second with three laps remaining, when Pedrosa responded again with a lap four tenths quicker.

That signalled the end of the Marquez fight, the reigning world champion backing off and Pedrosa claiming his 30th MotoGP victory by 6.136 seconds.

It continues Pedrosa’s streak of winning a race in each season he has raced in the premier class, dating back to 2006.

Lorenzo charges to third

Zarco and Lorenzo were two of the four riders racing on the medium front tyre, rather than the hard, and the Tech3 Yamaha rookie was reeled in by Lorenzo, who had started eighth.

Moves on Vinales and Rossi and Suzuki’s Iannone were part of Lorenzo’s rise, and the Ducati rider made his way past Zarco down the back straight on lap 12.

Zarco was able to stay with Lorenzo for a while, but the Spaniard ultimately flexed his muscle to claim the final podium position, his first since leaving Yamaha.

Ducati shines as Yamaha struggles

Vinales faded from the lead riders early, as Andrea Dovizioso followed teammate Lorenzo in passing both Yamaha riders as part of his move from 14th to fifth in the opening 10 laps.

But Vinales bought back into the battle between Dovizioso and Rossi, and overtook them both in one hit at Turn 5 on lap 13, by which time he was the best part of 10 seconds behind Pedrosa.

Dovizioso got back past Vinales, though, and ensured both Ducatis finished inside the top five at a circuit where it has regularly struggled.

Rossi then fell further back, passed for seventh by Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci for seventh on lap 15, and then Jonas Folger for eighth on lap 21.

There was more pain to come, with Rossi also losing ninth to Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro in the closing laps, as his times ballooned out to the 1m44s and even 1m45s bracket.

The Italian eventually crossed the line 38.682s after Pedrosa, and leaves Jerez with a two-point championship lead over Vinales, with Marquez now just a further two behind.

Half a dozen crash out

Six riders crashed out of the race, a run started by Alvaro Bautista and Jack Miller tangling at Turn 1 on lap six, prompting a visibly frustrated Miller to push the Spaniard after their bikes came to a rest in the gravel trap.

Separate crashes 10 corners later then accounted for Crutchlow, who had settled into fourth place but admitted to “making a mistake” on his LCR Honda, and KTM’s Pol Espargaro.

Iannone also came unstuck at Turn 11, four laps later, having fallen to ninth in the order after his fast start.

Results 

PosRiderBikeLapsTimeGap
1 spain  Dani Pedrosa  Honda 27 45'26.827  
2 spain  Marc Marquez  Honda 27 45'32.963 6.136
3 spain  Jorge Lorenzo  Ducati 27 45'41.594 14.767
4 france  Johann Zarco  Yamaha 27 45'44.428 17.601
5 italy  Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 27 45'49.740 22.913
6 spain  Maverick Viñales  Yamaha 27 45'51.383 24.556
7 italy  Danilo Petrucci  Ducati 27 45'51.786 24.959
8 germany  Jonas Folger  Yamaha 27 45'54.548 27.721
9 spain  Aleix Espargaro  Aprilia 27 45'58.060 31.233
10 italy  Valentino Rossi  Yamaha 27 46'05.509 38.682
11 united_kingdom  Scott Redding  Ducati 27 46'07.806 40.979
12 spain  Hector Barbera  Ducati 27 46'10.026 43.199
13 france  Loris Baz  Ducati 27 46'10.038 43.211
14 united_kingdom  Bradley Smith  KTM 27 46'14.791 47.964
15 czech_republic  Karel Abraham  Ducati 27 46'18.106 51.279
16 united_kingdom  Sam Lowes  Aprilia 27 46'35.712 1'08.885
17 japan  Takuya Tsuda  Suzuki 27 46'54.277 1'27.450
  italy  Andrea Iannone  Suzuki 9 15'19.450 18 laps 
  spain  Tito Rabat  Honda 9 15'24.810 18 laps 
  united_kingdom  Cal Crutchlow  Honda 5 8'29.685 22 laps 
  australia  Jack Miller  Honda 5 8'33.241 22 laps 
  spain  Alvaro Bautista  Ducati 5 8'33.277 22 laps 
  spain  Pol Espargaro  KTM 5 8'35.892 22 laps 
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