Reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) raced to a famous victory at Jerez today in from of his legions of Spanish fans. Marquez’s second dominant victory from the first four races of the season moved him back into the lead of the World Championship.
The 26-year-old’s 46th MotoGP success was also great reason to celebrate for the Spanish-based Repsol Honda Team, which won its third consecutive victory at Jerez, following Marquez’s win last year and the now-retired Dani Pedrosa’s in 2017. Before this weekend got underway Jerez’s turn six was named in honour of Pedrosa, who won 54 Grands Prix with Honda machinery between 2002 and 2017.
Marquez took control of this race from the very beginning, winning the charge to the first corner from third on the grid and never once relinquishing the lead. However, he had to resist huge pressure from his pursuers in the early stages. At one third distance he was still only a few tenths ahead of Franco Morbidelli, but as the race reached half-distance and tyre wear began to tell, he was unmatchable.
The man who is chasing a sixth MotoGP crown in seven years is a master of controlling his motorcycle when tyres wear and grip reduces. Midway through the race he twice broke the lap record to open his advantage to four seconds, allowing him to control the final stages. This was an important and psychologically demanding success for Marquez, who had crashed out of the lead of the last race and lost the points lead.
This latest win once again underlined the amazing performance of the 2019 RC213V, which puts Honda at the top of the Constructors World Championship. Honda is aiming for a fourth successive constructors title. And since the first Jerez Grand Prix in 1987, Honda riders have won 22 of the 33 premier-class races stages at this popular venue.
Team-mates Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) finished in team formation after a frantic contest in the second group. Crutchlow crossed the line in eighth place, having bounced back well from a heavy tumble yesterday. The 33-year-old Briton finished just two tenths of a second in front of 27-year-old Chiba rider Nakagami, who performed particularly well in the later stages. He started from eighth on the grid, following the best qualifying performance of his MotoGP career.
HRC test-rider Stefan Bradl (Team HRC RC213V) completed the top ten, an astonishing result from the 29-year-old German, whose last race was last November’s Valencia GP, when he took the place of injured Crutchlow. Like other MotoGP riders, the former Moto2 World Champion will stay here tomorrow for an important one-day test, evaluating various parts for Honda.
This weekend started well for Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team RC213V), who was one of the fastest riders on Friday. However, a low-speed fall in qualifying left the three-times MotoGP World Champion 11th on the grid, for a race at a track where overtaking is notoriously difficult. The Spaniard found himself caught up in the pack during the early stages and unable to make significant progress. in his keenness to push forward he ran wide several times, which dropped him to 15th at one point of the race. He rallied in the closing stages, moving up to 12th place at the finish. Lorenzo celebrated his 32nd birthday yesterday.
MotoGP continues the European sector of the championship with the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, on May 19.