Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has extended his Championship lead to 37 points after cruising to victory number four of the season in a controversial Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya that saw his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, main Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi all crash out on Lap 2 at Turn 10...
🏆 @marcmarquez93 capitalises to win dramatic #CatalanGP@lorenzo99, @AndreaDovizioso, @mvkoficial12 and @ValeYellow46 are all involved in a Lap 2 incident as three manufacturers stand on the podium#MotoGP70 | 📰 https://t.co/airETzu51v pic.twitter.com/wCM51VF0OD— MotoGP™ 🏁 (@MotoGP) June 16, 2019
Off the line it was the GP19 of Dovizioso who got the best launch and the Italian beat polesitter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Marquez down into Turn 1 to grab the holeshot, with Quartararo slipping backwards as the lights went out in Barcelona. The likes of Viñales also made a good start but it was Lorenzo who was one of the biggest movers – the five-time Champion coming from P10 to slingshot his way to fourth at Turn 5 on Lap 1.
Viñales had managed to get past Marquez but the latter took P2 back on Lap 2 before a huge, race-defining moment struck at the front. Coming into the tricky Turn 10, Lorenzo was late on the brakes as he attempted to pass Viñales up the inside as teammate Marquez went to dive past race leader Dovi. However, in too hot, Lorenzo then tucked the front as Dovi turned into the corner. The number 99 Repsol Honda collected the number 04 bike and the former teammates went down, with Viñales also crashing after being left with nowhere to go.
Rossi, who was also late on the brakes as he tried to pass Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci for P5 just behind, went wide and became another victim of Lorenzo’s crash – The Doctor almost kept it upright, but he and his Yamaha became too tangled with Lorenzo’s RC213V as the nine-time World Champion crashed out. Four podium contenders and four World Champions were out of the Catalan GP.
This chaos left Marquez with a healthy cushion at the front and from then on, the reigning World Champion started to edge out his advantage over second place Petrucci, his lead nearly two seconds with 20 laps to go as the battle for the second and third places on the box raged on. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Quartararo were harassing Petrucci, with Rins the one doing the most pressing. But there was no way through for the Spaniard until a move in Turn 1 nearly stuck, Rins got past Petrucci but ran it slightly wide to allow the number 9 to get back at the Suzuki.
With 11 to go Marquez’ lead was now up to five seconds but behind, the battle was intensifying as Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) were in with a shout of a podium. Then, contact. On the exit of Turn 4, Rins went for a small gap but Petrucci closed the door – blue paint rubbed against red leathers as Rins found a way past. The Spaniard couldn’t drop Petrucci though and using the Ducati grunt, the Mugello race winner overtook Rins into Turn 1 with 8 to go. On the following lap, Rins then tried to return the favor but he was too late on the anchors. The inside line suddenly closed as the Suzuki star almost tagged the back of Petrucci, with the GSX-RR bucking and weaving as Rins went wide and dropped to sixth.
Crutchlow then crashed out after mistiming his braking marker at Turn 4, with Quartararo now into second as the podium battle began to stretch out. Would the rookie grab his first MotoGP podium? 0.5 was his advantage over Petrucci who in turn had a one second lead over Miller on the last lap. Marquez cruised round to claim Catalan GP glory, much to the delight of the home fans, with Quartararo making amends for Jerez’s disappointment to claim P2. Petrucci took home his third successive podium of the season with Rins recovering to snatch fourth from Miller.
Rookie Mir secured his best result of the season in P6 to finish just over two seconds from the podium, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) pocketing another top ten in seventh. After a disappointing qualifying, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was able to collect his sixth top ten in seven 2019 races. Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat recorded his best result since last season’s Americas GP in P9, the Spaniard held off Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Johann Zarco – the Frenchman completing the top ten.
Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira and Team Suzuki Ecstar test rider Sylvain Guintoli were the only other riders to take the chequered flag as 11 riders were unable to finish in Barcelona.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was taken to hospital after being caught up in an incident with teammate Bradley Smith on Lap 1 at Turn 10, with Karel Abraham (Reale Avinita Racing), Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) also crashing out.
An unbelievable Catalan GP ends with Marquez taking control of the 2019 MotoGP World Championship. 37 points is now his advantage but heading to Assen, it’s still all to play for as the likes of Dovizioso, Rossi and Viñales look to make amends for today’s disaster. Quartararo, Petrucci and Rins will also be challenging at the front again at the classic Dutch TT in two weeks’ time – bring it on.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’ Alex Marquez was nothing short of perfect for the third Grand Prix in a row by dominating the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya and securing a hat-trick of Moto2 victories. A crash for title rival Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40) also means Marquez now leads the World Championship.
The Catalan had to work home success, though, after being pushed wide at the first corner whilst Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) took the holeshot ahead of him thanks to a lightening start from second on the grid. Lüthi was joined by the poleman Augusto Fernandez (FlexBox HP40) as the leading duo began to break clear in the opening stages.
Behind them, Marquez began to pick his way through the pack by elevating himself to fifth on lap two and then claiming a further two places the following lap. Once up to third, he set his sights on Lüthi and Fernandez over one and a half seconds ahead of him.
After claiming a debut pole position, Fernandez was eager for a debut race win and hit the front with five laps completed with a smooth move on the brakes into Turn 10. The Swiss rider behind him quickly retaliated though by slipstreaming his way past down the start-finish straight; all allowing Marquez to close in on the fight for victory.
Marquez first made his move on Fernandez and ominously sat behind Lüthi, watching and waiting. Then Championship leader Baldassarri dramatically crashed out at Turn 10, meaning Lüthi and Marquez were fighting for more than just a race win, suddenly there was a Championship lead up for grabs.
Meanwhile in the fight for the final podium place behind, class rookie Fabio DiGiannantonio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) had a debut podium finish in his sights after diving up the inside of Fernandez. However, just a lap later whilst trying to break clear, the front end washed away from the young Italian bringing a disappointing end to a strong weekend.
Ten laps remaining and Marquez had his first look at taking the race lead but decided against it. That would turn out to be a dress rehearsal as a lap later he hit the front with Lüthi unable to find any form of reply. The 23-year-old would take the checkered flag nearly two seconds clear and with it the new Championship lead, seven clear of Lüthi.
In the fight for the last place on the Catalan GP podium, Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) would come out on top after breaking clear of Fernandez in the final stages of the race.
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) secured a top five finish, a best Moto2 result to date for the rookie. SKY Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini got the better of Dynavolt Intact GP’s Marcel Schrötter for sixth place, with Marquez’s EG 0,0 Marc VDS teammate not too far behind in eighth.
Rounding out the top ten were Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who drifted backwards after a strong start, and Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), who offered some smiles to his camp after teammate Remy Gardner tumbled on the opening lap.
Leopard Racing’s Marcos Ramirez became the 12th different Moto3 winner in a row after he escaped a chaotic Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to earn his first Grand Prix win, with Championship leader Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and SKY Racing Team VR46’s Celestino Vietti completing the podium.
Polesitter Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) didn’t get the start he would have been looking for but third place Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) did as the Italian grabbed the holeshot, Rodrigo initially slipped to seventh with Canet making a good start from P5 to take the lead on the opening lap.
However, the Moto3 race would see big drama in the opening handful of laps. From P10, Championship contender Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) had made a cracking start to come through to the lead, but at the end of Lap 3, the Italian suffered an issue on board his Honda machine and was forced to retire. Then, a couple of laps later on Lap 5, disaster struck for a number of the riders in the leading group. Can Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) got all sorts of crossed up heading into Turn 4, with the Turk making contact with Sama Qatar Angel Nieto Team’s Albert Arenas and Raul Fernandez and Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0), with Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Arizona 77) and Redox PrüstelGP’s Filip Salac also going down.
It was quickly becoming a race of attrition with a group of 15 riders all battling for the lead, but for the second time, a leading Honda rider suffered a mechanical problem. Arbolino the victim this time with the Italian having to retire with 10 laps remaining.
The pace wasn’t that quick and because of this we soon saw the top 18 riders covered by less than a second. Even by Moto3 standards, this was turning into an extraordinary Barcelona battle. Turn 1 then claimed a victim as another title contender slipped out of contention, Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) crashing while battling with Darryn Binder (CIP Green Power) with 8 to go.
The riders who were left upright were embroiled in a ferocious fight at the front, the likes of Ramirez, Canet, John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing), home rider Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Rodrigo all taking turns to lead. However, the latter’s race would end prematurely at Turn 10, with Rodrigo and Binder hitting the deck with just two to go.
Heading onto the final lap, Honda Team Asia’s Kaito Toba had taken the baton from 24th on the grid and it was looking promising for the Japanese rider to take his first podium since winning the Qatar GP. But, like so many of the other riders in Barcelona, crashed out. Turn 10 the corner, with McPhee miraculously saving a highside on the exit of Turn 10, his hopes of a podium ended. This left Ramirez leading into the final sector and despite a last corner pass attempt from Canet, Ramirez would hold on to create history – the first time in lightweight class history there have been seven different winners in the first seven races of the season. Vietti came through to make a Valentino Rossi-esque pass on Lopez at the final corner to claim the final podium place.
Whilst everyone was watching Kaito Toba crash out of the lead in Barcelona, Scottish rider John McPhee rodeoed to 14th place!
Lopez had to settle for fourth, this his equal best Moto3 result, with Dennis Foggia (SKY Racing Team VR46) taking P5. Second on the grid Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) would come home to take P6 in Barcelona, with Romano Fenati (VNE Snipers) doing well to take P7 after lingering outside the points for the opening half of the race. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing), wildcard Ryusei Yamanaka and Jakub Korfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) completed the top ten.
After running wide at Turn 1 mid-race, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) settled for P11, with current Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup Championship leader and wildcard Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Arizona) coming P12. McPhee salvaged P13 after his monster save, with fellow Brit Tom Booth-Amos (CIP Green Power) picking up his first Grand Prix points in 14th ahead of teammate Binder. The South African getting back on board his KTM to take the last point.
Wow. A breathless Barcelona Moto3 race ends with yet another different winner. That’s 12 in the last 12 now, how many more can there be? We now pack up and head to Assen for Round 8 of the year, with Canet stretching his Championship lead to 23 points over Dalla Porta.