Photos by motogp.com & Repsol Honda
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez of Repsol Honda Team took a stunning 2nd win of the season, which is also his 2nd win at Jerez Circuit during the Gran Premio Red Bull de España.
The Spaniard fought a clean way to the front and was able to pull away into the distant just moments away from some huge drama that hit the race behind him.
In a pivotal day in the Championship, an unbelievable racing incident saw both Ducati Corse factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and teammate Andrea Dovizioso and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa all crash out in one go at Turn 6 – promoting Johann Zarco of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 and Suzuki Ecstar’s Andrea Iannone to complete the podium.
Lorenzo got the holeshot after an unbelievable launch from the 2nd row, taking the lead ahead of Pedrosa in 2nd and Zarco in 3rd as polesitter Cal Crutchlow of LCR Honda Castrol lost out off the line.
Marquez remained where he’d qualified in fifth, with Suzuki’s Alex Rins in 6th. Lorenzo pushed early from the front to set the pace, with Pedrosa holding station in 2nd as Marquez, Crutchlow and Zarco squabbled for 3rd.
A moment for Zarco soon after saw the Frenchman out wide and dropping back from the leading group. Then Crutchlow crashed out, before another name went missing from the front group as Rins followed suit not so long after.
Meanwhile Dovizioso had made his way through to the front group – leaving a Repsol Honda vs Ducati Corse duel of duos fighting it out.
With 16 laps to go, however, Marquez made his move – slicing past Lorenzo to take over in the lead as ‘DesmoDovi’ and Pedrosa looked for a way past the number 99. After some chopping and changing as Marquez pulled away, it was then time for the overwhelming headline of the race: the three-rider crash that saw Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Pedrosa all collide and tumble into the gravel.
Dovizioso had attacked Lorenzo into Turn 6 but headed too deep, with the number 99 then cutting back towards the apex – but Pedrosa was already there.
The two collided with each other and then Dovizioso; the gravel trap waiting for the three men and the shockwaves of the moment ricocheting around the circuit as the dust settled.
Costly in the Championship, but the three all walked away unharmed despite the incident. That left Zarco with the unbelievable sight of a Repsol Honda and both Ducatis in the gravel as he came past, inheriting 2nd with 7 laps to go for yet another impressive podium.
The battle to complete that after the drama up ahead was hotting up, as Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi were closing in on the Suzuki of Iannone in 3rd.
As the last lap dawned, Iannone was just able to make a gap and stay clear of the chasing Italians, despite Rossi having pulled back an awesome amount of distance on the penultimate lap to get himself in contention.
So the ‘Maniac’ crossed the line in third for the third Suzuki podium in a row, Petrucci took fourth and Rossi a top five finish in the race in which he completed a lap of the world – now having raced the equivalent distance of the circumference of the Earth upon finishing Lap 15.
Jack Miller of Alma Pramac Racing just dropped off that battle to cross the line in 6th, with Movistar Yamaha’s Maverick Viñales making some progress from outside the top ten in the initial stages to take P7.
8th was the best result of 2018 so far for Alvaro Bautista after he fought with Viñales for much of the race, with top rookie Franco Morbidelli from Team EG 0,0 Marc VDS taking 9th and his first Top Ten result in the premier class.
Mika Kallio on his first wildcard of the 2018 season for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, on a prototype of the 2019 RC16, completed the Top Ten in another stunning ride, while teammate Pol Espargaro took P11 as he won a battle against Takaaki Nakagami of LCR Honda Idemitsu by mere hundredths at the line.
Bradley Smith, another Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider, was incredibly close, too, taking P13 to make it three Austrian machines in the points. Those points were completed by Tito Rabat and Scott Redding.
The dust has settled at Jerez, but not yet in the title fight. There’s a new man at the top after the Spanish GP, and it’s race winner Marc Marquez.
The chasing pack have some ground to make up at Le Mans in 2 weeks’ time from May 18-20 at France, which will be the home race of both Zarco and Monster Yamaha Tech3.