Another race another record for a fantastic 2016 season. With a red hot track surrounded by a yellow sea, the Spaniards were in hostile territory and the least predictable of them stepped on the highest position of the podium. A majestic performance from Dani Pedrosa saw him fight his way from eight position on the grid to put the rest of the aliens in their place and take a victory for the history books. The Honda rider’s win makes it eight different winners in eight consecutive races, a unique feat that also ties him with Phil Read on 52 career victories.
Valentino Rossi made the stands smile for most of the race with a hard charge at the front but was eventually overpowered by the small Spaniard, the Italian finishing ahead of Marquez for the fourth race in a row yet needing more and more points per race to catch up with the leader of the standings.
The podium was completed by Jorge Lorenzo, the Yamaha rider falling behind Rossi early in the race and holding off Marquez’s charge halfway through.
The world champion got a dream start, Marquez pushed back by a hard charging Andrea Dovizioso, Pedrosa up to sixth place already, right behind his teammate. The Yamahas were already starting to build a gap over Maverick Viñales, the Spaniard getting a bit of a breather as Marquez and Dovizioso battled briefly behind.
Meanwhile, Rossi pushed past Lorenzo on the second lap to take the lead, the world champion quickly losing half a second, the same distance keeping him in front of the Viñales-Marquez fight. Marquez got in front on lap four, Dovizioso splitting the Spaniards soon after, with Pedrosa ending the little group and ready to pounce only a few turns later.
By the time the world championship leader dealt with the Suzuki, the Yamahas were a second ahead, the trio on a solitary ride for several laps. Pedrosa had reached the front of the following group by lap seven and started pursuing his teammate, a second ahead on track.
Rossi pushed to stretch his lead to over a second as Marquez posted a string of fastest laps to close up on Lorenzo. The order was maintained for several laps, Rossi not running more than a second and a half ahead, Marquez not trying any moves on Lorenzo.
The soft front tyre came good for Pedrosa mid-race, setting red sectors after red sectors while chasing Marquez, catching up with his fellow Spaniard with fifteen laps to go and passing him for third. A hot 1:32 lap put him right on Lorenzo’s tail, leaving Marquez in no man’s land, three seconds behind them and six seconds in front of Vinales. A lonely final half of the race saw him finish fourth on the hard front tyre option, a choice only shared with the Suzukis.
Back at the front, it took the smaller Honda rider three laps to pass Lorenzo and try to make up one second on Rossi with twelve laps to go. Pedrosa chewed up that gap in barely two laps, waiting until seven laps to go to attack the Italian aggressively into turn four, with shades of Aragon 2015, but not shaking off the Yamaha right away. A couple more red sectors did the business, Rossi over one second back with three laps to go.
With gaps starting to appear halfway through the race, Dovizioso and Viñales were the only ones up for a fight for fifth place. Vinales copped a one-place penalty for the infamous track limit infringements but found his way back past the Ducati soon after. With Viñales fifth and Dovizioso sixth, seventh place went to Michele Pirro, Iannone’s impressive substitute for the weekend, Cal Crutchlow the first independent rider over the line, followed by Pol Espargaro in ninth position. Tenth place went once again to Alvaro Bautista, another good showing for Aprilia.
With Pedrosa snatching victory away from Rossi, the Italian only made up 7 points in the title battle, Marquez now 43 points ahead. Lorenzo is 61 down, with Pedrosa closing down on the Spaniard to trail him by 17 points and taking back fourth pace in the standings from Viñales.
|17||53||Tito RABAT||Honda||5 Laps|
|41||Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||11 Laps|
|12||Javier FORES||Ducati||13 Laps|
|22||Alex LOWES||Yamaha||21 Laps|