Press releases from the teams and Michelin after Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez:
Marquez takes a momentous win at Jerez, Pedrosa crashes out of podium fight
A masterful race performance by Marc Marquez at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto earned him and the Repsol Honda Team a second consecutive win and the leadership in both the Rider and Constructor Classifications. This was the 63rd win of Marc’s career and his 37th in MotoGP (equalling Mike Hailwood’s mark in the Premier class), and a great success at a track where he has always struggled, which demonstrates the great feeling he has with his RC213V this season.
On the other hand, a turn-six race incident on lap 18 prevented Dani Pedrosa from fighting for a podium finish that was clearly within his reach. The incident also involved Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso. Dani escaped a heavy high-side without major injury, but he suffered a hard blow to his right hip and will therefore wait until tomorrow before deciding whether to take part in the one-day test that the Repsol Honda Team will attend at the same Jerez track.
“This win in front of these amazing fans is great! I’m very happy with the result, which is especially important at this track, because winning here is usually difficult for me. That said, I was convinced before the start that I could fight for the victory today. It was a tough weekend, but we did good work, and in the end I was able to manage the race in the best way, despite the fact that I wasn’t the fastest rider out there today. The key was the rear-tyre choice; we made the decision after the warm-up to go with the medium, and that was the right move. Then I was able to take the lead at the right moment and push when I had the chance. I also had a big moment when I hit some dirt on the track. When I realized that the asphalt was covered in gravel, it was already too late. I closed the gas, but I had a huge slide! Let’s say it was a bit of a ‘Marquez style’ show! I’m happy to have taken my first win at Angel Nieto’s Circuit, and to have an advantage in the Championship. We’ll have a test here tomorrow, and we’ll try to continue the good work. It will be a long season and we must keep our focus high.”
“I have a lot of pain in my right hip, which is very swollen at the moment, so tomorrow we’ll have to see how I feel and whether I’ll be able to ride in the test. Regarding the race, of course it’s a great pity. I was riding well and was able to keep a very good pace, even if I wasn’t totally comfortable with the acceleration, and making passes was difficult for me. I was just sticking to Dovi and Jorge, trying to see if I could conserve my tyres and improve my pace at the end of the race, or if they would make a mistake. Finally they did, and they both went very wide. I kept the regular inside line, and the next thing I felt was a big hit, and I suffered a heavy high-side. Unfortunately, it ended up with the three of us crashing. I’m very sad and disappointed for all of us, as we were having a great race but ended with zero points, and also because all of us are used to a nice style of riding and didn’t deserve this result. However, what makes me sadder and more disappointed is that I could see that the Race Direction don’t seem to understand very well how to manage these situations, and how to make decisions about things that happen on the track. I went to speak with them, just because I wanted to understand how they make decisions. In the end, there are many people who watch us, and many other riders who look at us as examples. I asked them how they judge: Was I on the correct inside line? Yes. Were the other guys on the outside coming back from a mistake, re-joining the right line? Yes. So who has the preference in this case, the guy who is inside or those who are outside? The one on the inside. So, who was at fault? But I didn’t get an answer, only that they had already made their decision and that if I didn’t agree with it, which I don’t, to appeal against Jorge if I wanted. But I didn’t want that, as I don't want Jorge to be penalized, only for them to understand correctly what is happening on track.”
SECOND CONSECUTIVE PODIUM FOR IANNONE, THE THIRD FOR SUZUKI
Team Suzuki Press Office – May.
Andrea Iannone: 3rd (+ 8.214)
Alex Rins: DNF
• Andrea Iannone seals Suzuki’s third podium of four races.
• Alex Rins a victim of a front end crash at his home GP.
• History made in Jerez as the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR take a third consecutive podium.
The fourth race of the 2018 championship saw Andrea Iannone secure the third podium in a row for Suzuki, his second this year, and he also took 4th place in the Riders’ Classification. But there was bad luck for Alex Rins, as he crashed out in the early stages of the race, while running a positive pace close to the Top 5.
The morning Warm-Up session further confirmed the excellent pace which Andrea Iannone has possessed during the entire race weekend, and he finished the 20-minute session in 2nd place, just +0.201 behind the fastest time. Meanwhile, Alex Rins used the session to finalise settings and prepare for the 25 lap race.
When the lights went out, both riders slotted into the fast front group and held their grid positions of 6th and 7th. Andrea Iannone struggled a little at the beginning to find a strong rhythm, while Alex Rins was able to make good progress and overtake some opponents. Finally, a potentially great home GP came to an abrupt end for the young Spaniard when he crashed out with 19 laps to go, without any physical consequences but for unknown reasons that are now still under investigation. Back at the front a huge crash for Pedrosa, Lorenzo, and Dovizioso allowed Andrea Iannone to move into 3rd place with 6 laps left to go. The Italian, who was feeling increasingly more comfortable despite difficult track conditions, responded well to pressure from riders behind him who were all keen to claim the final podium position.
A battle with Danilo Petrucci in the closing stages of the race saw Andrea Iannone and his GSX-RR able to hold off the charge, and claim another fantastic podium, moving him to 4th in the Rider Standings. This third consecutive rostrum is Suzuki’s first triple-podium for 10 years.
Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager
“This weekend both of our riders had very good pace, so we expected a little bit more in the race but unfortunately we couldn’t do it and we need to investigate more. It was a strange race with many crashes, including Alex, which was a great pity because he had good speed. But we still got a podium with Andrea and I’m really happy that we could do it, and continue our success as we have now had three podiums. I hope we can continue to get better.”
Davide Brivio - Team Manager
“It has, of course, been very nice to score the third podium in a row, even though we’re aware that we needed some ‘luck’ and unusual circumstances to get this podium. Anyway, that’s racing and it’s like this sometimes. I liked Andrea’s fighting spirit today and when he saw the chance of the podium he fought very hard for it, and he really deserved this result. So we take the points and we continue our route in this championship. We’ll go step-by-step and see what happens, we have many more races to do, and this is good also for Alex because unfortunately there was something strange on the front end of his bike during the race and we have to understand what happened. But I’m happy anyway, because once again he was competitive and he was there with the pace of the top guys. Since the beginning of the season he has been competitive and I’m sure we’ll have many other opportunities to get good results with him.
“I’m really happy about this podium, it’s the second podium in a row for me and the third podium in a row for Suzuki, and for sure it’s a positive moment for us and the feeling with the bike is good so I’m very happy. We worked really well and things are going in a good way, so it’s important that we continue like this for the future. The only regret I have is for the tyre choice: we went to the grid with the medium, then once there we decided to go for the hard and finally this might not have been the best choice. We’ve been very fast the whole weekend with the medium, so maybe we could have been even more competitive with that, but in any case this is yet another lesson that we can learn from. For sure we were a bit ‘lucky’ today with the podium, but also we did very well and I used my head because it was very easy to make a mistake today as the track was very hot and slippery.”
“I don’t really know what happened, I only know that I was feeling really good with myself and the bike. But from the beginning I was struggling a bit with the front, and I didn’t have the same feeling as I had in FP4, but I still had a good rhythm. It’s hard to understand what happened because when I look at the data I was on the same line, I braked with the same intensity, had the same corner speed, but still I lost the front. So we need to try to understand more for the next races. We’ll have two days testing in Mugello and then we’ll head to France, I really like Le Mans and I know I will have a good rhythm and be able to battle.”
Movistar Yamaha Score 5th and 7th at Drama-Packed Spanish GP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales' persistence earned them valuable points for the championship today. They pushed to the fullest at a hot and slippery Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto, securing fifth and seventh place respectively.
Rossi had a good start from tenth position on the grid and quickly moved up a spot. Despite the track being crowded with 25 riders simultaneously trying to squeeze through the tight corners of the Jerez track, he held firm as he crossed the line for the first time. Over the next few laps he battled with Andrea Iannone, but wasn't able to cling on to the back of his compatriot's bike. When two rivals ahead of him crashed out of the race in the early stages, the Doctor found himself in eighth position, after he had to let Danilo Petrucci through.
The Italian then focused on defending his position from an approaching Jack Miller and managed the gap perfectly. He bided his time until he felt the bike come to him with eight laps to go and launched an attack on Petrucci, but was unable to make it stick. Yet, as three further frontrunners crashed out of the race, he moved up to fifth position and was consequently part of the group battling for third place. Miller passed Rossi on lap 20, but two laps later the nine-time World Champion retaliated and was digging deep to bridge the gap to the riders in front. He was making serious strides, but came just short, taking the chequered flag in fifth place, 8.743s from first.
Viñales had a difficult start to the 25-lap race. He shadowed his teammate in the first lap, in tenth position, but fell back to thirteenth place on the fourth lap. As some rivals crashed out, he moved up two positions, but had to hand one back when Alvaro Bautista passed him on lap 7.
The Yamaha rider was keen on pleasing his fans, who had travelled from far and wide to watch his home Grand Prix. He was pushing hard to keep posting low 1'40s and, as multiple riders crashed out of the race on lap 18, he moved further up the order to ninth place. The young fighter seized the opportunity and started to gain momentum. He overtook Franco Morbidelli two laps later and put his head down, setting his fastest lap of the race in lap 21. He was consistently closing in on Bautista and made his move two laps before the end to take a hard-fought seventh place, 13.543s from the leader.
Today's race results see Viñales staying in third place in the championship standings, with 50 points. Rossi gained a place, holding sixth with a 40-point total. Yamaha remains second in the Constructor Championship with 76 points, while Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is still in first position in the Team Championship, having scored 90 points.
The team will be back on track tomorrow in Jerez, Spain, for a one-day official IRTA-test, followed by a private test in Italy later next week.
Position: 5th - Champtionship: 6th - Points: 40
"Fifth place, with my pace this weekend, is not so bad. I was also lucky because three guys in front of me crashed. We gave the maximum and today the race was quite good, but unfortunately this is our potential now. I was a lot faster compared to last year, but it's not enough to fight for the podium. If we want to try to fight for the podium and the victory, we have to speed up our development process. I hope we can do so soon."
Position: 7th - Championship: 3rd - Points: 50
"We were a little lucky because some riders made a mistake and we could jump up the leaderboard. I was unable to go fast from the first lap and I was struggling a lot to stay with Morbidelli and Bautista. At the end I had a little bit more grip and I pushed, so I was a little bit stronger than Alvaro, but we can't be happy with seventh place. At the moment I'm mostly focused on the setting of the bike - we're not so far off a solution. The bike is working well, but we still need to work. We tried to solve it by changing the set-up, but I don't think that what we tried is the way forward. We have to continue to give our all to get the best results we can at the next race."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"The Spanish GP is always a spectacle, but nobody could have predicted the dramatic incidents that happened today. We knew we had a difficult race ahead of us. The track conditions in today's heat were not easy and this is highlighted by the many crashes we saw this afternoon. Vale and Maverick both struggled in middle of the race, but their pace seemed to get stronger towards the end. Vale pushed as much as he could and was very close to landing a place on the podium. Maverick also ended the day scoring some valuable points, so he remains in third place in the championship. Tomorrow we have another day of testing at this circuit, which we will use to find some solutions. The Jerez test is always important, because we can use it to do back-to-back setting comparisons. We have to keep working to increase our bike's performance, so we get back to the level where we belong."
Points, Podium & victory for KTM at Gran Premio Red Bull de España
RACE 4th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Circuito de Jerez (ESP)
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing saw all three riders classify in the top thirteen of a sizzling and unpredictable Gran Premio Red Bull de España with Mika Kallio taking a updated version of the KTM RC16 to a season-best 10th position, Pol Espargaro less than two seconds behind and Bradley Smith notching a 2018 highest finish of 13th. KTM were also victorious in the Moto3 category with a full podium sweep and were present on the Moto2 rostrum with Miguel Oliveira.
Almost 70,000 spectators cooked in early summer sunshine at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the fourth round of nineteen in the 2018 MotoGP contest. Track temperatures crept up to 45 degrees by the time of the 25 lap premier class race in the middle of the afternoon in southern Spain.
In a dramatic affair that was lined with incident and accident, Mika Kallio took the updated spec of the KTM RC16 to a top ten ranking and just beat Pol Espargaro. The Spaniard had to defend his slot from a last corner attack from Bradley Smith as the duo defied rear grip issues to battle to the final moments. All three riders were within 21 seconds of race winner Marc Marquez.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing will remain in Spain with two busy days of testing slated for Monday and Tuesday.
Kallio: “It is always nice to be the best KTM. Even to finish in the top ten is a brilliant result, although we know a few guys crashed today. The best thing for me is to see the gap to the front; I’m really satisfied with that. Now we are starting to get closer to the level where we finished last season. Slowly we are coming back and that's positive. Of course we have been testing this bike before, here and in Mugello, and we had an idea how it would work over long distance. The other guys started to suffer more with grip and were spinning out of the corners more than me. This was a really good point of the new bike.”
Espargaro: “We had a clear direction with the tyres yesterday then today everything in the race changed; it is like a gamble. I didn't feel good from the first lap and thought ‘wow, it is going to be a long race’. I was trying, and in the end Mika overtook me: it is a good sign that the things coming are working well. I want to start to develop the new toys for the future and it will be fun for us. I would love to use it but KTM is over-working and what we are doing nobody has done before. It is pretty crazy that Mika is using the updated bike in Jerez. I don't like that he is in front of me today…but we need to take it as positive.”
Smith: “The opening half of the race was pretty good and then (Alvaro) Bautista and Maverick (Viñales) started to up their pace a little bit. I tried to go with them but got a bit nervous and stressed on the bike. I spent half the race digging-in-deep. Pol and I then duked until the last corner: I was off the track! To the white line and everything. I was going for the pass; whether it stuck or not was another matter. It was a bit of a shame to lose a place but I was pleased with my pace. It is nice to see our ’updated bike looking strong and Mika threw some good sectors at the end. It is looking like the right direction. Let’s see how this test goes and the team have some good ideas for progress.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “Before we started the MotoGP race it was great to see an all-KTM podium in Moto3 and Miguel (Oliveira) did a great race in difficult conditions in Moto2. MotoGP was a bit crazy and we said to the riders before ‘please keep focused because it will be a long race and demanding on the tyres’. We saw some crashes and mistakes and the guys did great to keep concentration and make their best pace. It was good to see three bikes in the points and that Mika was ahead as he’s using a slightly different set-up on the bike, which is very positive for the future. The team did a great job to bring all the bikes home with points. Now we must look to the test, and to work on some items where we normally don't have any time in the (Grand Prix) sessions. There will be some long days but also necessary to make the next step. It is especially good to get so close to the leader on a difficult track like Jerez; we still need to work to make that gap smaller.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ OUT ON THE FIRST LAP OF THE GP OF SPAIN IN JEREZ
SCOTT REDDING IN THE POINTS
The hopes of Aleix Espargaró, comforted by his good qualifiers yesterday and especially by the good pace demonstrated both in FP4 and in the warm up, were dashed on the first lap when his V4 was stopped by a loosened screw on the pneumatic circuit. A problem that was as simple as it was decisive in compromising a race that, in light of what happened on the track and considering Aleix's pace and that of is closest rivals, could have ended with a good result for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini.
Scott, who is still trying to find the best setup for his RS-GP, finished in the points with fifteenth place.
"I want to take the Aprilia onto the podium. I am riding like I never have before in my entire career and I feel like we can succeed. Today we missed a great chance, given the pace demonstrated in the warm up and my feeling. Unfortunately, a DNF for technical reasons does not help my morale. This weekend we worked well and I am certain that we could have had a say in the race. Now, with the position in the overall standings compromised, I will always be giving 101% in every race from here to Valencia."
"We decided to take a risk choosing the hard rear that did not work in the right temperature range. In the race I had problems with grip again. With nothing to lose we took a gamble but things didn't work. Fortunately, we will be testing in Mugello in a few days where we will try to work on rear grip which is the problem that is slowing me down at the moment."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"This week we'll be on the track at Mugello to improve the setup for Scott who is still not entirely sorted from this point of view, unlike Aleix who has good performance which once again proved to be in vain. We are having a series of problems that prevent us from reaping the fruits of our labours. This season has begun uphill, but it is time to hang tough because we know that, in terms of pure performance, we are not far from the leaders and we can come back and do very well."
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"I am absolutely convinced that we have a quality project and that the bike is worth much more than what we have been able to achieve. We need to dial in a lot of small things that are the ones that make the difference. It is not easy to do that in the race and when you have days like this one, but this is precisely the moment to demonstrate the value of the team. We need to grit our teeth for those who believe in this project, for the riders, the team and all those who are working back home."
Both Ducati Team riders forced to retire from Spanish GP after a crash at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit
The two Ducati Team riders had to retire from today’s Spanish Grand Prix, held today at the Jerez de la Frontera circuit, after a crash on lap 18.
Jorge Lorenzo, who got off to a great start, moved to the front at the first corner and kept the position until lap 7, when he was passed by Marquez. The Spanish rider held on to second place until lap 17, but he was hit by Pedrosa at Turn 6 on the following lap and in turn hit the bike of his team-mate, accidently causing both the other riders to crash out and retire.
Andrea Dovizioso made a great recovery in the early laps after starting from row 3, and he moved into third position on lap 9. The Italian rider then latched on to Lorenzo and tried to pass him at the start of lap 18, but he went wide at Turn 6 and was involved in the incident between his team-mate and Pedrosa which put all three men out of the race.
The next round is the French GP, scheduled for Le Mans from 18-20 May.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - DNF
“What a pity! On the one hand I’m happy with the feeling that I had with the bike, my speed and how I managed the race: to start from behind and make up places here at Jerez, lapping almost at the same pace as Marquez who then won the race, is truly a great satisfaction. But in the end I go home with no points, and this is a very negative result at this moment, because we are fighting against a very strong rider and bike and as a result we can’t afford to lose 20 points when it was a foregone conclusion. About the incident, I braked right on the limit because I had been trying to pass Jorge for a few laps: I went wide and made Jorge go wide a bit as well, Dani saw an opening and jumped in too quickly and in the end bad luck would have it that when they came together they also took me down with them.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) - DNF
“I’m really disappointed about the crash, especially because it involved three of the fairest riders in the world championship, and for this reason I don’t want to go into detail about what happened. We were for sure very unlucky and it was a racing incident: Pedrosa went in very hard but I don’t think we can blame anyone except for bad luck and I’m really sorry for Andrea and for Ducati. Satisfaction remains for the great race we were doing, for my explosive start and for our determination, but I’m also happy with the way we worked the entire weekend. This race was a step ahead in our development and, even though we are still two or three tenths of a second off the pace, we are on the right path.”
Clever Zarco conquers outstanding second place – Syahrin shows greatest determination to finish the Spanish GP
With some luck and a very solid race, Johann Zarco claimed his second podium in 2018. Thereby, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 star, who concluded the fourth race of the season as the best Yamaha rider of the field, also took over the second spot in the World Championship standings, less than two weeks before the eagerly awaited home round of the Tech3 Team and the French rider.
At the same time, Hafizh Syahrin delivered an exceptional performance in gritting his teeth to the end of the demanding 27 laps race at the Jerez Circuit, missing out on the points scoring positions by just a whisker. The MotoGP rookie was suffering a lot after a bicycle crash on Monday, but managed to see the chequered flag, while gaining even more experience in the premier class.
Position: 2nd– Championship: 2nd– Points: 58
“Sometimes I need some luck and today was good. Starting from third position was a great opportunity. I could be a bit faster than Pedrosa in the beginning, but he was a bit better in acceleration and then I never had enough margin to overtake him on the brake. I was not able to do it. It was difficult, but then I was in fifth position and hoped to catch this front group again, even if Marquez was going away, there was still the fight for the podium. I was always trusting, that it’s possible to catch them and I was doing my race. When I saw them crashing all three together, I couldn’t believe it. I told myself, keep calm, we have a big advantage, it’s just seven laps to go and it’s important to bring it home, being focus and enjoy. 20 points in the Championship are just awesome.”
Position: 16th– Championship: 16th– Points: 9
“I’ve done the fourth race in Jerez, but I was struggling with my body, because I suffered from Friday and today I felt honestly worse than yesterday. Therefore, I was really fighting in the middle of the race, I didn’t have any energy left to ride the bike properly because of my pain. Maybe I used too much of my energy in the beginning. Anyway, I’m happy with the team, because they did a really great job! I’m sorry for them, but our target was to try to finish the race and to learn as much as possible, which is exactly what we’ve done. Plus, we were very close to the points. I’ll recover now and try to do a good race for our team’s home Grand Prix in Le Mans.”
“That was an unbelievable race and this is what is MotoGP is all about. Until the chequered flag is down, you never know what’s going to happen. Johann did a great race, was holding on fifth and there was nothing he could do more. We saw, that the guys in front were above the rest of the field. We were chasing and increasing the gap to the ones following. Fifth was quite good, but it happened what happened. For me it was a racing incident, bad luck for Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Pedrosa, but it’s part of the game. Thanks to that and with Johann’s consistency, never giving up, we managed to get the second spot for the second time this year, plus second in the provisional ranking, which makes us very, very happy and also shows, it doesn’t matter which bike you have, which material, the rpm, the engine - it’s a question of man, machine and the team. I’m very proud that Monster Yamaha Tech3 is able to show that and to give the hope to everyone on the grid, that you can do it. Great job from our crew, great job from Johann as usual, thanks Yamaha and also Michelin for the good technical package. Hafizh was another story, he had a very tough weekend. Honestly, I told him on Friday night, that I don’t think it is wise to race and it’s better to recover and be ready for the next round in France, but he told me he wants to race and to continue. He missed the points by one position, which is also showing his huge determination. I want to thank him for this. He was in extreme pain, but still he had a decent race, so all I hope is, that he is not cycle downhill anymore and we have him back at full fitness for the French Grand Prix in Le Mans, where there will be many guys coming to support Johann and the whole Tech3 Team.”
#SpanishGP RACE. Fabulous Sunday! Petrux 4th, Jack 6th. Alma Pramac Racing on team’s podium.
The first European round of the 2018 MotoGP season ends with an extraordinary result for Alma Pramac Racing team that after four races is in third place in the standings reserved for teams, behind Yamaha and Honda. Petrux and Iannone were fighting for the podium until the last lap and Jack was the protagonist of a great race.
Danilo Petrucci's start wasn't good but from lap one his race pace was convincing. On lap six he fought with Rossi for eighth place and then attacked Iannone. After the crash that took Dovizioso, Lorenzo and Pedrosa out of the game, Petrux managed to overtake Iannone and was on the hypothetical podium for two laps. In the end, however, Iannone had more speed and managed to take third place. Danilo, instead, took the applause and the embrace of the team, including that of Jack who goes to congratulate his teammate.
Miller also got off to a bad start. The Australian reacted immediately and his race pace was incisive. Five laps from the end he overtook Rossi to gain fifth place and tried to take Iannone in the wake of Petrux. In the final laps Jack was attacked by Valentino Rossi and finished sixth in an extremely positive race.
P4 - Danilo Petrucci
"It was a good race but it's clear I have a bit of bitterness in my mouth. I thought I could attack Iannone a few laps earlier but I had to defend myself from Valentino. However, I am very happy with this result and I would like to thank the whole team for the extraordinary work they have done this weekend".
P6 - Jack Miller
"I'm happy with this result. It was a good race. It is clear that there have been some crashes but I have long been close to the group of the podium. I fought with Valentino who has a "little more" experience than me then I couldn't keep the fifth position. Ok, that's good, it's a great weekend for the team and this gives me great confidence".
Morbidelli claims a superb ninth in hot and fast Spanish GP
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli scored his first top ten finish in MotoGP with a superbly judged ride into ninth place in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
With a fast start and dash through the traffic Morbidelli moved from 15th to 12th on the opening lap before settling into a smooth race rhythm that had him settled in tenth by lap eight.
Morbidelli’s pace and patience as grip levels went down late in the race were rewarded with ninth at the finish ahead of factory KTM riders Mika Kallio and Pol Espargaro.
For Tom Lüthi the race was another signal of his MotoGP potential despite failing to finish when he crashed out at turn 11 with ten laps remaining.
At the time of his exit Lüthi, who was back in 21st on lap one, was in a close battle with Tito Rabat who finished in the points in 14th.
The next race in two weeks is the French GP at Le Mans.
Franco Morbidelli: 9th
“It was a positive race for me, I was able to make a strong start and with good grip I was fast and able to make some positions. I tried to manage the tyre for the second half of the race but towards the end I had to slow down and make sure I got this top ten finish. It is great for our team and also for my feeling for the coming races.”
Tom Lüthi: DNF
“I was struggling with the front at the beginning of the race with a full fuel load but then I was able to pick up the pace and got involved in a good battle with Tito Rabat. But as the race went on it was difficult to hold the pace and I lost the front in turn 11 which unfortunately ended my race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This was a really good race by Franco so I am happy for this top ten result which is always the goal for a private team. This makes up a little for our poor result in Texas. I feel for Tom, it is a shame he crashed because he was fighting with Tito who finished in the points and I am sure Tom is capable of being in the points in the future.”
Rabat defends Top Ten position in the world championship
MotoGP GP of Spain – Circuito Angel Nieto
After a difficult weekend, Reale Avintia Racing riders Tito Rabat and Xavier Simeon leave Jerez without the results they were expecting at the Spanish Grand Prix. With higher temperatures and different conditions from last year’s test on this track, Tito Rabat was not able to find the feeling he had in November. Furthermore, his start from sixth row of the grid was not the best and he lost several positions, that he struggled to recover during the race. The only positive point for Rabat at the Spanish Grand Prix was that with 14th place, he is still inside the top ten on the championship standings after four races.
Xavier Simeon came to Jerez determined to score some championship points. The Belgian rider made some steps in the right direction in the free practice sessions, but he never really found the perfect set-up to be more comfortable riding his bike, which was obvious during the race. At least, Simeon finished the race and got more experience in MotoGP.
Both Reale Avintia Racing riders will stay in Jerez for a one-day-test tomorrow where they hope to find solutions ahead of the French GP, that will take place in Le Mans in just two weeks.
Tito Rabat | P14
“It was a really difficult weekend. I thought I would be able to go faster in the race, but it was not possible. The start was not good and then I never got a good feeling with the bike. It was strange, so I decided to settle down and keep my pace until the end. It was impossible to go faster, and it’s a shame that this happened in my first home race. Tomorrow we will have a test where we will analyse what happened this weekend. I’m looking forward to this test, but I’m even keener to forget this weekend and to get to Le Mans.”
Xavier Simeon | P17
“The race today was very difficult, because we went worse and worse every lap. I didn’t have the pace we expected. We changed many things to solve the rear grip issue from yesterday, but at the end we just made things more difficult. I wasn’t able to push and ride the bike with confidence and I didn’t enjoy the race today. The only positive thing is that I kept a constant pace and got some more experience.”
BAUTISTA MEETS EXPECTATIONS OF IMPROVEMENT WITH EIGHTH PLACE AT JEREZ
The Angel Nieto Team rider came into the race at the Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto with the his best feeling of the season so far
The Spanish Grand Prix had a home winner on Sunday, as Marc Márquez took victory at Jerez. Márquez, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso seemed the only four candidates for the podium until, at the start of the last third of the race, contact between Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Dovizioso resulted in all three crashing and Márquez escaping for the win. In second place, Johann Zarco had a slight advantage over a group of four, formed by Andrea Iannone, Danilo Petrucci, Valentino Rossi and Jack Miller. Iannone would take the final podium spot. Márquez thus regains the series lead, with 70 points out of a possible 100 and ahead of Zarco and Maverick Viñales -seventh today.
Álvaro Bautista had stated on Saturday that he had found his best feeling with the Ducati GP17 to date, and he corroborated this with an a race full of overtaking moves and an eighth place finish. The Angel Nieto Team rider started from twentieth on the grid and was able to recover ground to take his best result of the year. Karel Abraham, who had also gained seven positions after taking off from twenty-third on the grid, suffered from a front end issue for the entire race. It caused him to crash on Lap 11, but the Czech Angel Nieto Team rider rejoined the contest and finished eighteenth.
8th Álvaro Bautista: "I am very happy, more because of the feeling I've had on the bike since FP4 than with the eighth place. I think we have found the way forward and we are going to go in the right direction from now on. Whenever we tried to improve our main problem, the lack of contact with the asphalt from the rear made it difficult. Yesterday we decided to make a complete change to try to solve the front end issue, and I felt more comfortable with the bike, able to be better positioned coming out of the corners and more confident. I felt that I was riding the bike, rather than it riding me. On the final laps I fought with Maverick for seventh position, but at one point I missed a gear and wasn't able to defend."
18th Karel Abraham: "I'm angry because from the beginning of the race I had a bad feeling with the front end. It felt very unstable. I tried to push because I had Kallio ahead and he finished tenth; I knew I could be up there with him or even overtake him, but I was hindered at all times by the front end. It was a difficult situation, and I crashed on the first corner. I got back on the bike to finish the race, because you never know what can happen."
CRUTCHLOW SLIDES OUT OF CONTENTION IN SPAIN
PRESS RELEASE: 06 May 2018 | Jerez Grand Prix
Cal Crutchlow started the Spanish Grand Prix at the Angel Nieto-Jerez Circuit from pole position, however there was to be no fairy-tale ending for the LCR Honda CASTROL man. He was overtaken on the run up to the first corner but grittily stuck in with the race leaders for the early laps of the race, passing Zarco for fourth and then making progress on the front three.
It was an unfortunate early end to Crutchlow’s race however, on lap eight through turn one he applied the throttle and the front of his factory Honda sadly washed away from him. He remounted, but the damage to his bike was too much and having bravely battled on for several more laps, he was forced to retire from the race.
Crutchlow and the LCR Honda CASTROL Team will hope for better luck at the French Grand Prix at Le Mans in two weeks’ time.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF
“It was frustrating today because we’ve had another good weekend in terms of our pace, but unfortunately our set-up for the race was just not good enough. The front tyre was overheating and I was struggling for more rear grip compare to the others. The pace was yo-yoing a lot and I had to make it all up under braking and that meant the front tyre was getting hot. I had to try and stay out of the slipstream a lot.”
It seems I leant the bike a little too much in turn one, and we think I might have touched the white line but we haven’t had chance to analyse it just yet. It was exactly the same situation as in Texas. It was when I was on the throttle, and if you do that on the white line on full lean…”
“Obviously I’m disappointed, I feel it’s an easy podium let go. Maybe the race win would have been more difficult, but we have to take the positives from the weekend and go to Le Mans knowing we have the speed to be up there again. Today just wasn’t our day.”
BEST RESULT SO FAR FOR NAKAGAMI IN SPAIN
PRESS RELEASE: 06 May 2018 | Jerez Grand Prix
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami sealed his best finish so far in his fledgling MotoGP career, finishing in 12th place at the Grand Prix of Spain on Sunday. It was another positive weekend for the Japanese rookie, and despite losing positions in the early laps, he chipped away in hot and difficult conditions, even so far as passing a factory rider on the final lap to take an extra point.
The result means it is now three point-scoring finishes in a row for Nakagami, who is now hopeful of making it into the top ten in the French Grand Prix, which takes place at Le Mans in two weeks’ time.
Takaaki Nakagami– 12th
“It was a really hard race in hot conditions. There were lots of crashes and the track temperature was quite high. It meant it was difficult to feel the tyre grip, especially later in the race with both the front and the rear. We still need to improve our starts to the race, and I have to understand why I am slower in the early laps.”
“The LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team have really helped me all weekend as usual, and although we know we need to improve, at least we still took our best result. We’re not as happy with that as we could be, but next time we will focus on the beginning of the race, where I believe we can then get a top-ten finish in Le Mans.”
MICHELIN CELEBRATES ITS 400TH VICTORY AS MARQUEZ REIGNS IN SPAIN
Michelin made history today as it secured its 400th premier class Grand Prix win as reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) raced to a comprehensive MotoGP™ victory at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España at Jerez in Spain.
The Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto provided the perfect backdrop for today’s celebrations as an enthusiastic and noisy crowd filled the hillsides surrounding the 4,423m track. The MICHELIN Power Slicks had performed superbly all weekend on the newly resurfaced layout, leading to Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) making another piece of history in Saturday’s qualifying as he produced the fastest two-wheeled lap ever recorded around the Jerez circuit, which also gave him Pole Position for today’s 25-lap race, an event which took place under clear skies and with a track temperature of 45°C. As the lights changed to signal go, Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) took an early lead and held on to first until lap-eight, when Marquez passed him, a move that would eventually lead to the Spaniard taking victory.
The warm conditions and new asphalt led to many late tyre changes on the grid, as the riders and Michelin Technicians tried to gauge the best selection for their respective riders. From the six different compounds of MICHELIN Power Slicks available to all 25 riders, five were used in varying combinations, with only the soft rear not making appearance, again showing the range of raceable options available to all. As the race wore on, with Marquez pulling clear at the front, an intriguing battle for the other podium places ensued, with Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) vying for the all-important positions. Unfortunately, this battle was brought to a premature end when the three collided on lap-18, causing all to crash, luckily no-one was injured despite the spectacular collision, but the trio were all forced to retire. This led to Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) inheriting second, a position he held until the chequered flag and rewarded him with the honour of First Independent Rider, third-place went to Andrea Iannone (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) after a thrilling last lap battle with Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing). The three men on the box showed the extensive range of MICHELIN Power Slicks that were being used, as Marquez went with the hard front and medium rear, Zarco choose medium and medium, whilst Iannone opted for a medium front coupled with a hard rear, again highlighting the choice for all riders and styles. This choice and ability to give all riders the optimum selection, was further emphasised with four different manufacturers – Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Ducati – filling the first four places.
This was the first time Michelin had visited the Jerez circuit since it was resurfaced, but two valuable tests had provided important data to enable the company to plan for the race and supply tyres that were at the height of performance, even as temperatures rose and the grip from the track diminished. This ability led to many battles further down the field as Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) was fifth, holding off Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) in sixth, while Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), after a difficult start to the race, fought his way through to take seventh. Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) took his best result of the season so far with eighth and Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) also recorded his best finish so far and the top rookie position with ninth. KTM wild-card Mika Kallio (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top-ten.
To begin the 400th Victory celebrations, a surprise guest was waiting in Parc Ferme to welcome the top-three and give Marquez a specially embroidered Michelin cap. Bibendum appeared from behind the scenes to greet the three returning racers and join in the festivities, marking a first time that he had appeared at a MotoGP podium celebration. Michelin will now remain at Jerez on Monday for an Official IRTA Test, before packing up and heading to its home Grand Prix at Le Mans in France on Sunday 20th May.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“It was a great weekend for us in Jerez. The rear tyre was so important today, it was the key. On the grid everyone was playing with the rear and changing it, to try to confuse the opponents. We chose the right one though and we had decided after warm-up which one was the correct tyre. We had a really good pace throughout and we were able to take some advantage during the race and I was very happy to take the first victory at the Angel Nieto Circuit. I was also happy to take the 400th Victory for Michelin, when I saw the Michelin Man on the podium I realised it was the 400th Victory and it was nice to meet him and celebrate with him.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“This weekend has been another big step forward for us, the Jerez circuit has always been a track that loses grip as the temperatures rise and even with the new surface this was the case, but we brought a range of tyres which we knew could cope with this and it proved to be the case. We saw a good race and again the majority of the compounds we supplied were used, with the front three riders all on different variations and four different manufacturers finishing in the top-four positions. Yesterday was also a very important step, as we broke another outright lap record, this justifies that again the race tyres are also working as qualifying tyres and gives the riders the optimum choice. We now have a test here tomorrow, where we will have something new to try, before we head home to Le Mans.
“I would also like to congratulate all the team and all our predecessors as we reach this amazing milestone of 400 premier class Grand Prix wins. This is an incredible feat and one that I am very proud to be a part of and one that Michelin is very honoured to have achieved.”