Ducati Corse’s Jorge Lorenzo has won the 2018 Catalunya MotoGP in style over compatriot and reigning world champion Marc Marquez in 2nd, with Italian Valentino Rossi a distant 3rd. It’s Lorenzo’s 2nd consecutive victory, with the previous one been clinched at Mugello circuit 2 weeks ago in Italy, which is the home race for arch-rival Rossi. he Spaniard’s 2nd victory on a Ducati at his home race is made even sweeter as he has managed to accomplish what Rossi had failed to achieve during his seasons with the Italian manufacturer in 2011-2012.

With 7 rounds completed in MotoGP 2018 season, Lorenzo now has 2 victories to his credit while Rossi had none. This is in contrast to 2017 where the Italian managed to score 1 victory at Assen while #99 had failed to win any any on his debut season with Ducati. In today’s race, Lorenzo had lost the lead away from the lights as Marquez swept into the lead but it took #99 only one lap to pass his 2019 team-mate for the lead at turn one and a series of 1’40.0 and 1’40.1 laps saw him gradually pull away from the Repsol Honda man – again putting the soft Michelins to good use.

Marquez was the only rider in the top ten to use the hard tyres all round and although he lost ground to the soft-tyred Rossi as the laps clicked down, he was able to keep his series lead. It was not good news for Andrea Dovizioso who crashed with 16 laps to run, effectively ending his title challenge as the Italian has scored no points in the last three races.

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow changed to the soft rear on the grid and it proved to be the correct choice as he was able to scythe through to the fight for fourth place, passing Dani Pedrosa with seven left to go and then pulled a near-second gap to just miss the podium.

Maverick Vinales had another shocker, dropping from 4th to 10th in the opening laps but then, as has happened in last couple of races, the Movistar Yamaha man found his pace and followed Johann Zarco through before pinching sixth. Danilo Petrucci was in the fight for 4th until half distance but he then began to struggle with his soft/soft combination and couldn’t put up much of a fight against the two Yamahas. Alvaro Bautista impressed potential WorldSBK employers with 9th place and Andrea Iannone also struggling in 10th.

Iannone slipped right back after a fantastic start, the Italian rounded out the Top 10. Pol Espargaro, Scott Redding, Karel Abraham and Franco Morbidelli completed the finishers with the Marc VS man scoring two points for 14th and last place. Hafizh Syahrin was the last man to crash in a bizarre off-line incident, a couple of laps after Tito Rabat’s Avintia Ducati caught fire on the way into turn one. Jack Miller retired just after Taka Nakagami wiped out Bradley Smith when he lost the front of his RC213V.

Only 14 riders finished the Catalunya MotoGP race, with Morbidelli taking 14th after riding back to the pit for minor repairs on his Honda prior to rejoining the race to collect 2 championship points. Early fallers were Alex Rins, with Dovizioso also crashed as did Simeon, Aleix Espargaro, Tom Luthi, Sylvain Guintoli and Mika Kallio.

Posted by Philip Chong

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