2019 Jerez MotoGP Race Result: Like A Scalded Cat

Expectations were high for the 300th MotoGP race for the history books, particularly looking at the small gaps separating the top men throughout the weekend. However, after some early exchanges, Marc Marquez made an escape and saved his homeland’s day by winning the 400th grand prix held in Spain. Once the world champion performed his disappearing act, Alex Rins brought home another fantastic second place from ninth on the grid, with Maverick Viñales kicking Ducati off the podium by snatching third.

Holeshot device or not, Andrea Dovizioso got the best start off the line but got sent wide in turn one by a late braking Marquez, which allowed the Petronas boys to sneak back past the Ducati and regroup the front row lineup. With Marquez in the lead by the exit of turn one, Franco Morbidelli got past poleman and teammate Fabio Quartararo, while Viñales overtook Dovizioso for fourth, aided by an unusually excellent start.

By lap three, the lead trio escaped slightly, the Petronas boys having no trouble keeping up with the world champion and posting nearly identical times. Viñales was just a touch back, half a second behind and the same gap kept him ahead of Dovizioso and fast charging Rins – the three chasers the fastest men on track while attempting to merge with the leaders. By lap six, Viñales had just about joined the lead group but Rins had to contend with one second’s gap once he finally got past Dovizioso. Having started 13th, Valentino Rossi climbed to 10th position in the first few laps but progress got tougher once he encountered the Ducati rocketship of Jack Miller.

Marquez finally managed to shake off the satellite Yamahas on lap ten, when the gap went over the one second mark for the first time and in the blink of an eye it turned to two seconds. The Petronas boys avoided any shenanigans early on but once the ant got away, Quartararo profited from a mistake from Morbidelli and had a decent go at chasing Marquez. To make things even more difficult for the Italian, Rins and Viñales were on his tail straight away. Meanwhile, Dovizioso’s pace did not look as promising as 24 hours ago and he was almost stranded in sixth, with teammate Danilo Petrucci having his back.

Quartararo threw some red and orange sectors at it but the gap to Marquez was not really budging. However, the young Frenchman was gapping his teammate when disaster struck at the midpoint of the race as his Yamaha’s quickshifter decided to break. The poleman’s heart-breaking retirement left Rins with the task of reeling in the runaway Honda, although the gap was edging ever closer to four seconds. The Suzuki man gave it his best with a couple of fastest laps but it was no match for Marquez’s frightening consistency.

With ten laps left, Morbidelli conceded the final podium spot to Viñales and then almost immediately surrendered to the two Ducatis led by Dovizioso. Once the initial excitement wore off, Morbidelli faded even further to the bottom of the top ten. Rossi’s charge got kick-started once he finally disposed of a fading Miller and then quickly got the best of Morbidelli and Crutchlow to trail the Ducatis. The Italian was almost matching Marquez on pace in the final handful of laps but was betrayed once again by his qualifying position.

The final laps were a tamer affair, Marquez revelling in his 3.5 seconds gap with Rins in a relatively safe second position. On the final lap, all eyes were on the battle for the final podium spot, Dovizioso looking to attack Viñales but never getting a chance at a last corner lunge and settling for fourth.

Danilo Petrucci had an uneventful ride to fifth place, followed by Rossi and Morbidelli. The third best Honda was Takaaki Nakagami in ninth, with wildcard Stefan Bradl completing the top ten – a result Jorge Lorenzo would not have been thrilled with. The Spaniard never really got going and spent his afternoon fending off the KTM of Pol Espargaro for 12th place, also aided by a couple of crashes.

The victor took back the championship lead, although Marquez is just one point ahead of Rins heading into Le Mans. Two more points keep Dovizioso back in third, with Rossi still in contention in fourth.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'08.685
2 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +1.654
3 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +2.443
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +2.804
5 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +4.748
6 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +7.547
7 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +8.228
8 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +10.052
9 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +10.274
10 6 Stefan BRADL Honda +13.402
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +15.431
12 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +18.473
13 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +20.156
14 5 Johann ZARCO KTM +26.706
15 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +28.513
16 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +36.858
17 38 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +41.390
18 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +41.570
19 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +50.568
    Not Classified    
  43 Jack MILLER Ducati 3 Laps
  36 Joan MIR Suzuki 5 Laps
  20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 12 Laps
  63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 19 Laps
Round Number: 
4
2019
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Comments

The race itself was intigueing once one got past the reality that Marc was going to blitz his way to the top of the standings if he did not blitz himself. The race aside and riders aside, the manufacturers are having a battle royale. All except KTM. Overall, Honda,Yamaha, Ducati and Suzuki are at the pointy end race weekend in and weekend out. Aprilia get a pass given the miniscule budget and resources they have. They are actually doing pretty well given their circumstances. KTM right now looks like the career killer in the paddock across all classes. I reckon they have spread themselves too thin especially with the introduction of a second GP1 team. I understand the reasoning behind the decision to run 4 bikes a la Ducati/Pramac but they leaped before they looked. Ducati had very many wins under the belt and a title before they started chucking money at grid volume. Theiir (KTM's) M3 bike is good in a sense of horses for courses. Their M2 bike 2019 is dismal. Pol is having to ride the GP bike over the top of its ability to pick up points. Zarco is a shadow of himself. Miguel and Hafizh are at sixes and sevens just trying to finish a race. In M2, Binder, Martin, Bezzechi and Lecuona are having to ride way over the bikes limitations to score points. M2 is of particular interest pertaining to KTM. They finished 2nd and 3rd in the rider standings last year with the 600 Honda engine in the pipe frame. The bike was generally okay for the first half of the race and looked really good in the second half. With the 765cc Triumph triple that has turned upside down. Binder must have seen it as manna from heaven when the race was cut to 15 laps and he could overide it to a 5th place. Martin, not so fortunate. KTM have dug themselves into hole. Back to the main event and the big winners. Marquez and Rins for sure. 4th and 5th for Ducati Dovi/Petrux, not over the moon but very content given Jerez/Ducati bogey track for them. Vinales as ever blows hot and cold. Big losers...Miller and Quattararo(no fault of his). Ever present Rossi did another great race.

 

The thing that confuses me about the KTM motogp project is that Zarco, who did well on a satellite Yamaha, is having trouble riding a bike that was developed for/by the previous set of satellite Yamaha riders (Smith/Espargaro), that now rides nothing like said Yamaha. 

One could expect the KTM project to be where it is in MotoGP. In house WP suspension and a steel trellis frame have given them two huge bites to chew at the same time. Watching P.Espargaro, the bike is moving around in a very angry manner. Smooth is fast. To get this thing to turn a rider has to fight it, and it jumps around like hot bacon fat. Instead of a tuning fork, they have a fuming pork.

I knew Zarco was screwed, and felt horrible about it. Thank goodness for Rins and Suzuki, the more you look at their season the better it appears. Incredible work! And a better model than KTM's. I bet they eventually change their basic strategy re chassis and suspension.

He qualifies well, starts well, is quick in the early laps and finishes races well (usually).
And he can do it on most tracks.
Who else is doing all of these consistently?

The rest of the Hondas were 8, 9 ,10 and 12.

Surprised that Maverick's rear tire lasted the full race- zero spinning. Had Dovi for third, picked 1st and 2nd but Dovi 3rd. Hmm! The Yamaha has made a good step forward. We have 4 strong bikes!

I wish for more power for the Suzuki, Honda and Ducati have quite an advantage. Rins is really impressing, as is the wee Suzuki project. This is the best MotoGP bike they have ever made, their package is optimized.