Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) today scored their second double podium of 2016, at the team’s home round of the championship.
The pair finished second and third at the end of a thrilling race, which turned into another classic duel between Marquez and Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Both men rode the outer limits in pursuit of victory, Rossi finally prevailing despite several sensational moves by Marquez, whose sixth podium from the first seven races puts him back into the championship lead.
On the podium all three men paid tribute to Moto2 rider Luis Salom, who tragically lost his life during Friday afternoon practice. The circuit layout was adjusted following the accident and the Grand Prix only continued following consultation with the 25-year-old Spaniard’s family, other riders and the MotoGP Safety Commission. Today’s racing went ahead after an emotional ceremony of a minute’s silence on the grid.
After the race Rossi dedicated his win to Salom, while Marquez transposed the nine and three of his #93 race number to #39, the number used by Salom.
Hot temperatures and slippery track conditions meant this afternoon’s MotoGP race was a test of managing used tyres. Four-time World Champion Marquez held second for the majority of the 25 laps, all the while planning an attack during the closing laps.
The 23-year-old Spaniard first took the lead at turn ten on lap 20, before once again exchanging places with Rossi on the start/finish straight. With two laps to go he was building for another attack when a small error cost him the chance to take his second premier-class win at the undulating track outside the city of Barcelona.
Nevertheless, Marquez now has a ten-point advantage in the World Championship, following the exit from the race of reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha), who was taken out by another rider.
Pedrosa ended the race just six seconds behind Rossi and may have finished even closer had it not been for some aggressive overtaking from Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) in the early stages. The three-time World Champion maintained an impressive pace, despite a late decision to use Michelin’s medium rear tyre, only easing off in the closing laps. The result strengthened his fourth place in the points standings.
Another rider with reason to cheer Briton was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) who rode to a sixth-place finish, his best result of the season, and good enough to make it three Honda riders inside the top six.
Despite a difficult and injury-plagued opening to the year, Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) showed signs that he is returning to full fitness with tenth place, his best result in the MotoGP class. The 21-year old made steady improvements with set-up overnight and was able to extract the maximum from his bike in the race.
Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) arguably put in the most heroic race of the day by riding to a brave 14th place despite fracturing his left collarbone just over two weeks ago in Mugello. The Spaniard showed plenty of the grit that took him to the 2014 Moto2 World Championship and gained a wealth of crucial race experience in the process.
The MotoGP paddock now has a two-weekend break before travelling north to the Netherlands for the Dutch round of the 2016 at the iconic Assen venue.