Marc Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso came into today’s race dead level on points but it was the Spaniard that prevailed in an exquisite display on home soil. Starting from fifth on the grid, Marquez took advantage of an early mistake from pole sitter Maverick Viñales at the end of the first lap to promote himself up into fourth position.
Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and Andrea Dovizioso bolted when the lights went out and remained in those respective positions until lap 6 where an obviously faster Marquez had put in the lap times to catch up with his main title rival. As Lorenzo held a small lead over Rossi (who was racing after breaking his leg in two places 24 days ago), Marquez passed Dovizioso to take P4 and quickly set off for the two front runners.
He had caught them by turn 12 and out-braked himself to terrifyingly arrive at the apex in front of both Rossi and Lorenzo, miraculously missing both of them to instead take a trip over the generous run off area. He was passed by Dovizioso when coming back on to the circuit but it didn’t seem to matter as he made light work of the Ducati rider relatively easily later on in the lap.
Two laps later, Rossi was no match for the current champions pace as Marquez passed at the corkscrew and set off for Lorenzo. Lorenzo was enjoying his longest spell at the front of the pack since joining Ducati this year and his pace looked great for the win in the earlier stages of the race but it was Marquez that had looked after the tyres a little better and was able to push later on. He passed his fellow countryman going into turn 12 and never relinquished the lead.
He maintained a comfortable lead out front and was helped enormously in the championship by his team mate, Dani Pedrosa. Dani is another rider who always manages his tyres well and this was evident in his late blast for the line. With around 6 laps remaining, Dani was posting fastest laps and caught up to and passed his teammates’ main title rival to the delight of the Spanish crowd and he wasn’t done yet!
Rossi seemed to have hit the threshold of his pain and was unable to keep up with the leaders and was passed with relative ease at the second attempt by Pedrosa. Dani then went on to catch and pass Vinales taking P3 and with 2 laps remaining he caught and passed Jorge Lorenzo to eventually finish 0.879s behind Marquez. A stunning display of motorbike racing from both Honda boys today and they thoroughly deserved their third 1-2 finish of the season.
Lorenzo came home in third place followed by Vinales and Rossi on the sister Yamaha’s. Aleix Espargaro pushed Rossi in the last two laps but the Italian held out to deny the Spaniard P5. P6 nonetheless was a fantastic result for both him and the Aprilia team.
Dovizioso came home in a disappointing 7th place leaving him with a deficit of 16 points with four races remaining. Vinales is also still in the championship hunt sitting 28 points behind the leader. P8 belonged to Alvaro Bautista on the Aspar Ducati with Johan Zarco of Tech3 and Pol Espargaro of KTM making up the top 10 finishers.
KTM wildacard (and possible replacement for Bradley Smith next year) finished in a solid 11th place ahead of Iannone, Miller, Redding and Rabat who topped off the points paying positions.
Karel Abraham crashed out on lap 11 and Cal Crutchlow crashed out on lap 17. Both riders OK.
And here is the final Classification
The next race is in Japan and gets underway on October 15th