2017 Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain MotoGP Results from Jerez, Spain

Michael Scott | May 7, 2017
2017 Red Bull Grand Prix of Spain MotoGP Results from Jerez, Spain
Dani Pedrosa leads teammate Marc Marquez en route to victory at Jerez.

Photo by Gold & Goose

Reputations are not reliable in racing. Jerez made a great job of disrespecting them. In the process, it recharged a title battle that had earlier looked a bit predictable.

Jerez is supposed to be a Yamaha track. Well, one of them finished fourth, but it was the satellite bike of bright spark Johann Zarco, riding once again as though he’d stolen it, while the factory riders were fading. Especially last year’s Jerez winner Rossi, a distant 10th.

Ducatis are meant to struggle at Jerez, and Lorenzo is supposed to be all at sea on his new bike. But now he put it on the podium.

And Dani Pedrosa is widely considered as yesterday’s man. Not today, however, as he led from pole to flag, ably resisting a relentless race-long challenge from his formidable Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez.

In this way, 31-year-old Dani won the 3000th GP, and put himself back into contention in a title race that has closed right up again, at the start of the European season. The top four are now all within four points.

Tires were a deciding factor … not so much tire choice, where there was little variation, but in the way the bikes and riders used the Michelins. For reasons that will have their engineers puzzling late into the night, the Movistar Yamahas chewed theirs to destruction.

Zarco, Barbera, Folger and Lorenzo risked the medium front, the rest chose the hard. For the rear, only Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Sam Lowes (Aprilia) risked the hard. The rest chose the asymmetric medium, with the harder compound on the right.

Conditions were the hottest of the weekend when the race kicked off, in front of the usual capacity crowd of almost a quarter of a million over the weekend, round 27 laps (119.421 km) of the iconic Andalusian circuit.

Dani led an all-Honda front row from Marquez and Crutchlow; and took a perfect start, Marquez heading the pursuit.

At once he started opening up a gap – seven tenths on lap one, better than 1.5 seconds on lap three. It wouldn’t ever get much bigger, but he could make sure it was enough. “I could have gone faster at the beginning, but it was important to do a focused race; I didn’t want to stress my tire too much.”

Zarco (Monster Yamaha) was the hero of the pursuit, finishing lap one sixth, but already having bullied past Rossi, and at once setting about Vinales, Crutchlow and fast-starting Andrea Iannone (Ecstar Suzuki).

Now he had Marquez in his sights and on lap four he seized second from the world champion. Marquez took it straight back, but any thoughts of an early pursuit of Pedrosa had been badly interrupted.

From there he pushed and probed, but though he did cut the gap to less round about a second several times, Pedrosa would take it back again. Finally, after a near crash in the closing stages, he settled for second. “I am happy with that; Jerez has never been a good track for me, so second is a good surprise.”

Crutchlow was in fourth, but he was one of several to fall victim to tricky grip levels in the heat, sliding off on lap six.

Earlier on the same lap, Jack Miller (EG-VDS Honda) and Alvaro Bautista (Aspar Ducati) fell together, from the brawl at the back of the top ten. Miller continued the brawl, running over to give the Spaniard a push back into the gravel, earning a 1000-euro fine for his trouble.

By now, Jorge Lorenzo had already disposed quite easily of both factory Yamahas, and was a second behind Zarco, and riding comfortably. “I knew I had the pace to push for fifth or sixth, but because of the heat the pace was quite slow,” he said later.

Before half distance he had closed up on the class rookie, and sliced past easily under braking for the Dry Sack hairpin. Zarco tried to get back, but Lorenzo was steadfast, and in the last seven laps he drew clear for an entirely unexpected third.

“It feels better than a win on the Yamaha. It’s the best (birthday) present I could have,” Lorenzo said … he’d turned 30 on Thursday.

Behind him, Iannone had also fallen, while a slip put Rossi ahead of teammate Vinales. But now Andrea Dovizioso on the second Ducati was up from his dire fifth-row start and between the two Yamahas

The trio went back and forth for a while, Dovi taking over after Rossi ran wide as his tire problems began; then Vinales taking both of them on lap 14. But the double race winner was also running into serious grip issues, and when Dovizioso got back ahead on lap 17, he was able to draw clear, to finish a lone fifth.

Vinales would have more trouble from a second Desmosedici GP17, of Pramac rider Danilo Petrucci, but he was able to hold him off narrowly over the line.

“A strange day,” he said, having led morning warm-up. “Then I was feeling good, and so precise, but in the afternoon I didn’t have the same feeling … like I was going to crash in nearly every corner.”

Rossi, however, was in all kinds of trouble. With 10 laps to go he was losing touch rapidly with his erstwhile companions, while the satellite Monster Yamaha rider Jonas Folger was closing fast. When the rookie made his move under braking at Dry Sack on lap 21, Rossi had no defense; and little more than a lap later he had to give way also to Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia. He was seven seconds behind him at the end, tenth, and almost 40 seconds away from winner Pedrosa.

“I never had a good feeling with the bike and the tires, and for the race we did worse,” he said. “We did a modify, but I was in trouble with the front. We need to try and understand what happened.”

Another couple of laps might have seen him succumb also to Scott Redding’s second Pramac Ducati, just a couple of seconds away; having finally got away from a struggle with Avintia Ducati teammates Hector Barbera and Loris Baz, who finished in that order.

Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM) had lost touch with this battle; another three seconds away Karel Abraham (Aspar Ducati) took the last point. Sam Lowes (Aprilia) and Suzuki substitute Tsuda followed along.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM) also crashed out early on, and later also Tito Rabat (EG-VDS Honda).

Rossi clung on to a dwindling points lead: 62 to Vinales’s 60, with Marquez on 58, then Pedrosa (52). Dovizioso is next on 41.

Moto2 Race – 25 laps, 110.575 km

Take nothing for granted. Franco Morbidelli proved that at Jerez. Winner of the first three races, it seemed to be all over when he took the lead from first-time pole starter, EG-VDS teammate Alex Marquez.

That was on lap eight, when the Kalex-mounted pair were already miles ahead of any pursuit.

On lap nine, however, Marquez was alone. In a rare error, Morbidelli had lost the front at the notorious Turn 9, scene of any number of similar falls over the weekend.

“Alex was faster than me … but I tried anyway,” the Italian candidly admitted later. He had the consolation of a new lap record, set on lap two.

It left all the home glory, long awaited, to Marquez, following up his first pole with a first victory, in his third year in the class. Until now, his achievements had been much overshadowed by his older brother’s Moto2 domination. Perhaps at Jerez he broke the spell.

Morbidelli still led on points, 75 to Luthi’s 64; then Oliveira (64), Marquez (49) and Bagnaia (33).

Moto3 Race – 23 laps, 101.729 km

Aron Canet took a career first victory in a race of many collisions, making up for his blunder after dominating in Austin, putting his EG Honda over the line just inches ahead of the rider who forced him into that costly error two weeks ago.

That was Romano Fenati (Rivacold Honda), with points leader Joan Mir (Leopard Honda) sealing another all-Honda podium, the fourth in four races.

It was all by the smallest margins. Fourth-placed Marcos Ramirez (Platinum Bay KTM) was less than two tenths adrift, after taking the lion’s share of the leading; and the first ten were over the line within less than two seconds.

RESULTS

GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPAÑA MotoGP Race Classification 2017  Jerez de la Frontera, Sunday, May 07, 2017

Jerez MotoGP Results

1 25 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 157.6 45’26.827
2 20 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 157.3 +6.136
3 16 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team Ducati 156.8 +14.767
4 13 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 156.6 +17.601
5 11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team Ducati 156.3 +22.913
6 10 25 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 156.2 +24.556
7 9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 156.2 +24.959
8 8 94 Jonas FOLGER GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 156.0 +27.721
9 7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 155.8 +31.233
10 6 46 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 155.4 +38.682
11 5 45 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing Ducati 155.3 +40.979
12 4 8 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 155.2 +43.199
13 3 76 Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing Ducati 155.2 +43.211
14 2 38 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 154.9 +47.964
15 1 17 Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 154.7 +51.279
16 22 Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia 153.7 +1’08.885
17 12 Takuya TSUDA JPN Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 152.7 +1’27.450
Not Classified
29 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki 155.8 18 Laps
53 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 154.9 18 Laps
35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda Honda 156.2 22 Laps
43 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 155.1 22 Laps
19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team Ducati 155.1 22 Laps
44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 154.3 22 Laps

Michael Scott | MotoGP Editor Scott has been covering MotoGP since long before it was MotoGP. Remember two-strokes? Scott does. He’s also a best-selling author of biographies on the lives of legendary racers such as Wayne Rainey and Barry Sheene.