Photography by Gold & Goose
The trick at this year’s Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez was who could manage their tires and ride the razor-thin line between traction and disaster. On Sunday Dani Pedrosa found the perfect combination on his Repsol Honda.
After an early battle with Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo, Pedrosa made the pass for the lead on lap six, at turn six, and then pulled away to a convincing 2.487-second win. The victory made it three winners in three rounds and moved Pedrosa into second in the championship - just a point ahead of Lorenzo in the standings.
Behind Pedrosa broiled a race-long battle between championship leaders Lorenzo and rookie sensation Marc Marquez. Lorenzo was well off his qualifying pace, perhaps favoring caution on the greasy Jerez circuit, yet he still had enough command of his factory Yamaha to hold off Marquez, who made several stabs at getting around the defending World Champion only to end in slides and corner exits that ended too wide.
The battle culminated on a controversial last lap, last turn when Marquez made a desperation run inside Lorenzo, that while a tad sloppy, ended up working. Marquez, who had made one unsuccessful pass a few turns prior that didn’t stick, ran hot into the final corner and blew the line, but this time he bumped into Lorenzo, using the Yamaha as a berm, forcing Lorenzo wide, and giving Marquez the runner up position and the championship lead.
Lorenzo wagged his finger at the rookie on the cool-down lap and appeared to refuse an apology.
The question immediately came to mind - would Dorna give Marquez a penalty of any sorts for his rough pass? The official results were posted showing no penalty assessed, although there’s certain to be petitions from the Yamaha camp.
Behind the podium finishers came Valentino Rossi, who actually passed Marquez to run third in the opening laps only to be re-passed the rookie and this time with no response. Rossi gradually fell back to about four seconds behind the Lorenzo/Marquez battle in front of him to finish a lonely fourth.
Another great duel in the race was between Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow and Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista. In the end Crutchlow, who’d showed so much promise to possibly run for a win on this track before crashing twice yesterday, overcame the Honda rider to nail down the top-five finish.
Nicky Hayden finished a lonely seventh, the former World Champion the top Ducati finisher. He was 10 seconds behind Bautista at the checkered flag and 16 seconds ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso.
Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT finisher, taking ninth on hisPower Electronics Aspar ART. Tech 3’s Bradley Smith rounded out the top 10.
Texan Colin Edwards scored a hard-earned World Championship point, beating out Bryan Staring and Forward Racing teammate Claudio Corti to finish 15th.
The slippery track conditions caught out a number of riders in the early laps. Stefan Bradl, Andrea Iannone, Lukas Pesek, Randy De Puniet and Yonny Hernandez were among the fallers.
The series next moves to LeMans on May 19. With just four points separating the top three riders and possible payback in the works in the Lorenzo/Marquez battle, it will be one not to be missed.
Spanish Grand Priz Results – May 5, 2013 – Jerez
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 17.632s
2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 20.119s
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 45m 22.721s
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha Factory Racing (YZR-M1) 45m 26.546s
5. Cal Crutchlow GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 45m 30.295s
6. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 45m 32.726s
7. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Team (GP13) 45m 43.264s
8. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (GP13) 45m 59.513s
9. Aleix Espargaro ESP Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT) 46m 1.444s
10. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 46m 2.093s
11. Michele Pirro ITA Ducati Test Team (GP13) 46m 3.606s
12. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT) 46m 17.491s
13. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM CRT)* 46m 27.375s
14. Danilo Petrucci ITA Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)* 46m 35.445s
15. Colin Edwards USA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 46m 35.809s
16. Bryan Staring AUS Go&Fun Honda Gresini (FTR-Honda CRT)* 46m 36.560s
17. Claudio Corti ITA NGM Forward Racing (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 46m 36.939s
18. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Avintia Blusens (FTR-Kawasaki CRT)* 46m 37.089s
Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V)
Andrea Iannone ITA Energy T.I. Pramac Racing (GP13)
Lukas Pesek CZE Came IodaRacing Project (Suter-BMW CRT)*
Randy De Puniet FRA Power Electronics Aspar (ART CRT)
Yonny Hernandez COL Paul Bird Motorsport (ART CRT)