MotoGP: More From The Spanish Grand Prix

MotoGP: More From The Spanish Grand Prix

© 2020, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Quartararo scorches to first MotoGP™ win amid drama for Marquez

The Frenchman takes a sublime victory ahead of Viñales and Dovizioso, with the reigning Champion crashing out and breaking his humerus

Sunday, 19 July 2020

MotoGP™ is back. In a day of drama, thrills and spills, Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) claimed his first MotoGP™ victory – and France’s first since 1999 – in a truly stunning and dramatic Gran Premio Red Bull de España, putting an Independent Team Yamaha on the top step for the first time in MotoGP™ and taking the Petronas Yamaha SRT team’s first win. The Frenchman capitalised on a Lap 5 mistake from race leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he suffered a run off, and Quartararo didn’t look back – pulling the pin to stamp some authority on Round 1 for the premier class.

 

Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.
Fabio Quartararo. Photo courtesy Dorna.

 

We witnessed a stunning comeback from the number 93 after his mistake, with the reigning World Champion unleashing unbelievable pace mid-race – but he then suffered a huge crash at Turn 4 with four laps remaining, breaking his right humerus and soon heading for surgery. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) put in an impressive performance to bank 20 points and take second in the wake of the drama, with Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) completing the podium after a late lunge on Jack Miller (Pramac Racing).

Viñales got a storming launch from the middle of the front row and grabbed the holeshot into Turn 1, with Miller getting his Ducati off the line like a rocket to initially go P2. The Australian was wide though which let Marquez come through into second after a fairly average getaway, with polesitter Quartararo slotting into P3 at Turn 2 as he then got the better of Miller.

However, the Desmosedici grunt saw Miller get up the inside of Quartararo down into the Dani Pedrosa corner, as Viñales got out the seat around Turn 8 in an early scare for the number 12. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) was then past Quartararo on Lap 2 as the Frenchman initially fell back, but he was back through at the final corner on that lap as Marquez and Viñales went toe-to-toe at Turn 4, before Marquez managed to make the move stick at Dani Pedrosa corner. Was this the break?

Lap 5 would prove a game-changer and say no. Going through Turn 4, we witnessed something we’ve seen so many times before – a miraculous save from the reigning Champion. Somehow, the number 93 picked his HRC machine up from an almost certain crash and managed to keep it upright through the gravel, coming back on the track in 16th. A huge moment, but it was far from race over for Marc Marquez. Far, far from it…

At the front, Viñales was leading for a couple of laps, but Quartararo had got the better of Miller and was soon right on the tailpipes of the number 12 Yamaha. A mistake at Pedrosa corner was then followed by another one heading intoLorenzo corner on Lap 9 after the pace had slowed into the 1:39s, and as Viñales went wide, Quartararo and Miller were through. Slightly further back, however, attentions we starting to turn to Marc Marquez.

In just five laps, Marquez had managed to get himself from P16 to P10 and was lapping around a second quicker than most of the leading group. Lap 12 saw Marquez set a 1:38.3 – the fastest lap of the race – that was a good 0.4 faster than Quartararo, and even more than the riders in the podium hunt. Lap 13 soon passed and doing the passing was Marquez. He’d got the better of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and a struggling Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to move up into P8, and a podium finish seemed well within his grasp. At the Lap 15 stage, Quartararo’s lead snuck past the two-second mark for the first time, but the shark music was playing as the cameras started to show an orange missile quickly making its way towards the back of the fight for the podium places.

With 10 to go, Marquez was a second quicker than third place Viñales, and the reigning Champion getting back into a podium position now seemed a formality rather than a possibility. With eight laps to go, Marquez was just two seconds away from the podium as he hunted and passed Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Bagnaia, Dovizioso… suddenly, Marquez had Miller and Viñales right in front of him.

Quartararo was over five seconds clear, but all eyes were on Marquez vs Miller. Six laps to go, Turn 13 was Marquez’ chosen passing place on Miller but the Australian bit straight back at Turn 1. A man on a mission, Marquez was straight back up the inside at Turn 2 and made the move stick. Now, Viñales was next on the list – and he would prove the rider right behind Marquez when the eight-time Champion ran off track at Turn 4.

Coming across the line with four laps remaining, Marquez was plotting his move into P2. However, there was about to be another twist – and a vast one at that. Coming out of Turn 3, Marquez was launched off his RC213V in a vicious way. Tumbling heavily through the gravel, the reigning Champion was taken to the medical centre – and has a broken right humerus.

Back at the front, Quartararo crossed the line to take an incredible maiden MotoGP™ victory, making some history and converting some searing premier class pace into a winner’s trophy. Viñales was able to grind out a P2 despite struggling with his front tyre from “lap seven or eight”, and the battle for the final podium spot went down to the final lap. With two to go, Dovizioso made his move on Miller at Turn 6 to hold P3, with Morbidelli then almost crashing after colliding with Miller on the inside of the corner. This allowed Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) through in P5 – the Spaniard in the fight all race – but Morbidelli would eventually get the better of Espargaro at the last corner, on the last lap. Viñales took P2 from Dovizioso, with Miller leading Morbidelli and Espargaro over the line. P2-P6 were covered by just 2.3 seconds.

Bagnaia couldn’t keep up the pace in the latter stages as the Italian slipped out of contention and finished P7, with Oliveira placing P8 – his equal best result in the premier class. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) crossed the line ninth, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) closing out the top 10.

There were only 15 finishers in a brutal MotoGP™ race in Jerez. Johann Zarco (Reale Avintia Racing), Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) – who recovered from an incident in the opening stages to sometimes sit as the fastest man on track – Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Bradley Smith completing the points. Rossi suffered an issue and was out of the race with seven to go, with Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech3), Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) also not finishing.

There aren’t enough superlatives to describe what we just witnessed in the MotoGP™ class as 2020 kicks off in style, but with some serious drama on the side. Tune in again next weekend for the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucia!

MotoGP™ podium

1 Fabio Quartararo – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – 41:23.796

2 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +4.603

3 Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team – Ducati – +5.946

Fabio Quartararo: “The best moment of my life for sure. I haven’t realised it yet. It feels so strange without the fans, I would love them to be here to cheer with them. But honestly, this race was for them, for all the people affected by coronavirus and for my family, my brother always supporting me, my parents…

“It was a really tough race because first of all, I didn’t do a very good start. I was fifth behind Pecco and Jack and I knew that behind the Ducatis, it’s so difficult to do our corner speed, especially on the last sector. I overtook Pecco in the last corner, also Jack. Then I saw Marc’s mistakes and then it was difficult to catch Maverick. He did a small mistake in Turn 6 and then I did my own mistake but honestly it felt so strange because yesterday in FP4, the grip was really good.

“After the Moto2 race we know the grip is normally low, but I didn’t expect that much. If you check the pace from yesterday and today, it was almost one second slower. So it was difficult to understand the track, but the most important thing is that we had our first victory today.”

Marini storms Jerez for first Moto2™ win of 2020

The Italian holds firm in the face of pressure as Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Nagashima and Martin complete the podium

 

Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Luca Marini (10). Photo courtesy Dorna.

Sky Racing Team VR46’s Luca Marini clinched an impressive victory at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España after holding off a charging Tetsuta Nagashima (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in the final half of the race, the Italian taking the chequered flag for a fourth career Moto2™ win and his third in seven races. Nagashima was on the podium once more after his Qatar GP win, joined this time by teammate Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo).

Poleman Martin took the holeshot, with impressive rookie Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team Moto2) moving into second from Row 2 of the grid. However, it was a nightmare start for HDR Heidrun Speed Up’s Jorge Navarro as the Spaniard crashed out on the exit of Turn 1 after a firm touch from Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), and further down the field, there were some elbows from Sam Lowes (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Marcel Schrotter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) down the start-finish straight, in fourth and fifth by the end of Lap 1.

At the end of Lap 2, Marini started to make his way to the front, first moving past Canet for second place. But World Championship leader Nagashima was keen to not let the Italian get the jump on him and he quickly followed him through, with Marini then hitting the front with 20 laps to go thanks to an extremely smooth move through Turn 8. Once again though, it didn’t take long for Nagashima to stay on the leader’s tail by diving past Martin at the final corner on the very same lap.

Now in the lead, Marini seemed to decide it was time to pull the pin and see if anyone could match his pace, immediately pulling out a half a second advantage in just one lap as the lead group began to stretch. Teammate Bezzecchi went down out of third place just moments after squeezing in front of Martin at Turn 8, too, before Schrötter crashed out one lap later, this time out fifth place at Turn 11. It was beginning to turn into a race of attrition in the baking hot, tricky conditions at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto.

With 13 laps remaining, were we starting to see a repeat of Qatar as Nagashima set a new fastest lap of the race? Not this time, as the laps ticked by with Nagashima only managing to close in by half a tenth and Marini holding firm. The battle for the podium was getting closer than ever though, with Martin coming under all sorts of pressure from Lowes, with the Brit cutting the gap down to less than a second in the fight for the final podium place.

Suddenly though, Nagashima reeled Marini in by 0.439 seconds with only five laps to go and Sky Racing Team VR46 held their breath. It wasn’t to be though, and Marini kept cool under the pressure to take his first win of the year; Nagashima forced to settle for second.

Martin took the final place on the podium, with Lowes in fourth and Canet ending up in fifth in only his second intermediate class race. He was five seconds clear of teammate Hafizh Syahrin, with the Malaysian enjoying his best performance since returning to the class from MotoGP™ as he took sixth.

ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team’s Remy Gardner took seventh ahead of Lorenzo Baldassarri (FlexBox HP40), with the Italian unable to make it three consecutive Moto2™ victories in Jerez after success in 2018 and 2019. Completing the top ten were Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) and Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), with Stefano Manzi (MV Agusta Forward Racing), Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40), Augusto Fernandez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Simone Corsi (MV Agusta Forward Racing) rounding out the points.

That’s it from the Spanish GP but not from Jerez – rejoin us next weekend for another stunner in Andalucia.

Moto2™ podium

1 Luca Marini – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex 39:23.297

2 Tetsuta Nagashima – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex +1.271

3 Jorge Martin – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex +4.838

Luca Marini: “It was a very good race, I think in Qatar it could have been the same if we didn’t have the problem with the front, like Jorge and Tetsu were also so strong in Qatar. I think we had to really work a lot on race pace and we started well from Friday. I need to improve a bit in qualifying, but the second row was quite good for the race. It was very hot, although not like for MotoGP!”

Arenas wins a classic Moto3™ melee to the line

The Spaniard doubles down in 2020 as the final corner serves up some drama for the lightweight class

 

Albert Arenas (75) and Ai Ogura (79). Photo courtesy Dorna.
Albert Arenas (75) and Ai Ogura (79). Photo courtesy Dorna.

It’s 50 points from 50 for Moto3™ Championship leader Albert Arenas (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3) after the Spaniard emerged victorious from the stunning and dramatic lightweight class race at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España. On the last lap, title challenger John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) crashed on the exit of Jorge Lorenzo corner on the final lap, with Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia) and Tony Arbolino (Rivacold Snipers Team) slicing through to stand on the Jerez rostrum.

Off the line, polesitter Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) got the perfect launch, as did second-place Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46), but it wasn’t the same story for McPhee as the Petronas Sprinta Racing rider got swamped and ended up in P8 on the opening lap from the front row of the grid. Turn 1 saw two fallers as Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) and Carlos Tatay (Reale Avintia Moto3) tangled, thankfully unhurt, as Suzuki started to push at the front. A three-tenth gap would soon get swallowed up by the classic Moto3™ freight train though.

The riders were line astern but coming down the back straight, it was almost disaster for Arbolino. The Italian was in the slipstream and went to the inside, caught the grass and the bike spat him out the seat. A scary, scary moment that could have ended more than just Arbolino’s race, but thankfully it was a lucky escape. In the early stages though eyes were on Sergio Garcia (Estrella Galicia 0,0) as the Spaniard proved a man on a mission – going from the back of the grid to P10 on the opening three laps.

Arbolino was the fastest man on circuit though as he slotted himself into P2, undeterred by his moment and splitting the Sky Racing Team VR46 bikes of leader Celestino Vietti and Andrea Migno. With the top 17 riders split by two seconds – Moto3™ was well and truly back. Vietti was the man who held the lightweight class baton for a number of laps, with Arbolino and Arenas looking feisty behind the number 13 sophomore as the positions inside the top 10 continued to change corner by corner.

With 12 to go, Arbolino led for the first time but soon, reigning Junior World Champion Jeremy Alcoba (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) and Championship leader Arenas were at the front, with CIP Green Power’s Darryn Binder now second from 21st on the grid – something we’re very used to seeing from the South African as he made some incredible trademark progress. And after a sluggish start, McPhee was now second behind Arenas – the top two from Qatar – as the riders approached the final 10 laps.

As Garcia was handed a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits though, his dream of the fairytale, 2016-echoing-victory-from-the-back seemed to fade, and the fight went on without him.

With eight laps remaining it really was anyone’s to win, with the top 12 joined at the hip in a classic Moto3™ encounter, but Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Ayumu Sasaki and Deniz Öncü seemed to be closing in on the leading group – as was Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), joining them in reeling in the freight train.

With four to go, McPhee made his move. An aggressive pass on Arenas at Turn 11 was followed by a two for one purchase at Turn 13 on Arbolino and Binder. With two to go, McPhee led but now Arbolino and Arenas were getting impatient. Arbolino struck for the lead as disaster struck for Binder, who slid out so close to the end.

On the final lap, McPhee was back in the lead as the number 17 dived up the inside of Arbolino, but down the back straight the Italian was tucked back into the slipstream and hit back at Pedrosa corner. Arenas then got past McPhee at Turn 9, and finally Jorge Lorenzo corner – the last corner – awaited. And drama followed.

McPhee dived up the inside but ran slightly wide, with Vietti then touching Arbolino on the exit, who in turn made contact with McPhee – who crashed with the finish line in sight. There was no such drama for Arenas, who crossed the line after a perfectly-judged final corner for his second win of the season and to increase his Championship lead.

Ogura had a wonderful final handful of laps to finish second for his second podium of the season, with Arbolino forced to settle for P3 after going into the last corner first. Migno claimed P4 as he picked up his first points of 2020, as teammate Vietti finished P5 to also earn his maiden points haul of the season. Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was a protagonist in the lead group for the entirety as the Spaniard collected P6 after finishing P10 in Qatar, with Suzuki and SIC58 teammate Niccolo Antonelli finishing 8th and 9th despite coming across the line less than a second behind the winner – that’s how close it was again in Moto3™. Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) completed the top 10.

Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), Stefano Nepa (Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3), Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), teammate  Alonso Lopez and Jeremy Alcoba completed the points.

All it all it was another incredible race, and we expected nothing less from the Moto3™ riders as they now get set to do it all again at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto in seven days time. Can Arenas continue his 100% win streak in 2020? We’ll find out shortly…

Moto3™ podium

1 Albert Arenas – Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3 – KTM 39:26.256

2 Ai Ogura – Honda Team Asia – Honda +0.340

3 Tony Arbolino – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda +0.369

Albert Arenas: “Incredible. This race was amazing, really hard, because of the heat and the tyre, the rear soft was so slippery at the end but I knew I had a good feeling when the tyre came down and I could stay fast in the corners despite the spin. But I’m so happy for the team, we made a last minute change before the race, I had a different strategy in Warm Up, I went out the pits and alone, I think I was 24th, bit backwards but I was working for the race. We refined that and… incredible. The last lap I said ok the podium is a good result, but I knew that if I did the right things at the right moment the victory was possible. Tony closed the door really well but I had made an outside overtake in thef final corner so I knew it was possible, then I saw McPhee was too fast and I waited… incredible, man. Thanks everyone, I’m really happy.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM Tech3:

Oliveira equals best ever MotoGP result – Lecuona beaten by the Jerez heat

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira delivered a fantastic opening to the season today with equaling his best ever MotoGP result from Austria 2019, finishing well inside the top 8 of the premier class. Yet, Iker Lecuona likewise showed an amazing performance at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, until he had to give up due to physical conditions.

With a long wait, the 2020 MotoGP World Championship season finally got underway today in scorching hot weather conditions at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto. Starting from P15 on the grid, Oliveira did a great job to improve on his position in the course of the race, being 13th after lap one and getting closer to the top 10 before half time of the 25 laps heat battle. The Portuguese star eventually emerged in eight position on the line to reach his best ever result aboard the KTM RC16 again. At the same time, Lecuona, launching off from the final position, made great progress in the first half of the race, following his teammate and being well placed in P12. Unfortunately, due to the incredible temperatures, he decided to enter the pit with five laps to go.

Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.
Miguel Oliveira (88). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.

Miguel Oliveira
 

Position: 8th

Championship: 8th

Points: 8

 

“It was a very, very happy ending of this weekend. After struggling a little bit in the practices, I think we deserved this good result. To start the season with a top 10 is better than we expected. For sure, we still have a lot of work to do for the next race, but I’m glad for my performance, the way the team came back after a difficult Qualifying, so I am really, really happy to give this result to the team. They deserve it. It’s also my first race after Motegi in October last year. I’m just happy and hope we can improve next weekend.”

 

Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.
Iker Lecuona (27). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM Tech3.

 

Iker Lecuona
 

Position: DNF

Championship: –

Points: –

 

“To be honest, I already regret my decision to return to the garage. It was only five laps to go, I should have just taken a bit of speed out and try to finish the race, as the points would have been in reach anyway. I missed out on what could have been a possible top 10 result, but I felt really dizzy and didn’t want to risk to crash or put someone else in danger, so I stopped. Before that, I was quite strong, managed to be close to Miguel all the time and fought all the race with Petrucci. So, I’m even more disappointed now.”

 

Hervé Poncharal

Team Manager

“What an unbelievable first MotoGP race of the 2020 season here in Jerez! We knew the race was going to be incredibly tough for the riders, for the tyres, and we knew that the hot conditions will bring the riders and the bikes on their limits. We saw a lot of things happening. Our two guys got a good start. Miguel put his head down and kept a strong pace, that we knew from the weekend, because even though the Qualifying was a bit disappointing, we were sure that his pace was strong and this is what he showed. To end up the race in eighth position, which is equaling his best ever finish in MotoGP class, is a great start to the championship. We saw also the other three KTM’s very steady and fast on that circuit. Big congratulations to Miguel, he deserves a huge applause. He and the team worked hard and this is how you start a season on a strong foot. We were really, really happy until five laps to go with Iker as well, because he did also a great start, he was pushing, doing very close lap times to Miguel, but then what we were fearing happened. You have to be really on top physical form and we could see during the weekend that he was struggling to do these 25 laps in a row in these conditions, so it was a huge pity. I think he did a great weekend, he worked hard, he pushed hard and he deserved to see the flag, but anyway, at the end of the day, it’s easier to work on your physical condition than to make a slow rider a fast rider. Iker is a fast rider, he surprised everyone here, but he has got to work on his physical condition and I think he understood today that this is a crucial and very important point. Let’s hope we can have another strong weekend next week and meanwhile, let’s have a good rest for the next two days, as all of us have been suffering a lot.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Team:

FIRST POINTS OF THE SEASON FOR THE HUBLOT REALE AVINTIA RACING TEAM

 

Tito Rabat on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Avintia Racing.
Johann Zarco on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Avintia Racing.

The Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Team started the season at the Jerez-Ángel Nieto Circuit with a good result from Johann Zarco and Tito Rabat, who crossed the line in 11th and 14th position respectively.

The French rider, who started the race in a late position due to a crash during the qualifying session, made a great comeback that allowed him to score his first points with the Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Team. From the start, Zarco showed a superior pace to his rivals and in the third lap he was already in the points, where he kept on going until he finished the race just one place away from the top ten.

For his part, Tito Rabat has had a somewhat complicated start to his career. The Barcelona-based rider, who started one place ahead of his teammate, was relegated to last position in the early stages of the race. Despite this, Tito managed to recover positions until he reached 14th, thus adding the first two points of the season for him.

Next weekend the Grand Prix of Andalucia will be held at the same track in Jerez, where the Hublot Reale Avintia Racing Team will once again have the opportunity to show the team’s potential and fight for the top positions.

 

JOHANN ZARCO – P11

“I’m happy to finish the race and it was very important because it’s a long time since I did not finish a race, almost ten months, and this means that step by step I can comeback I can comeback to the high level. I understood many things during the race and many things that I can ask to Ducati to find a better feeling and better pace during the race. I expected to be faster, but it was too difficult to go to 38s and I was every lap doing 39s and this did not help me to catch the guys in front. I’m happy to be here again next week, it would be useful to improve myself and to have a clear target and to see if I can make well my work and work well with the team.”

 

TITO RABAT – P14

“During the first laps of the race we had a lot of fun.  After the start we followed the race group, then Smith was lagging behind and I got off the group.  From here I tried to shoot despite having problems with the front axle, it was really difficult to go faster.  It was a long race, I have been cutting back a little bit lap by lap the group of Zarco that was my first objective, although we could not achieve it.  Looking ahead to next weekend we will work to improve the feeling with the front end”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

FIRST RACE OF THE MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN JEREZ

BRADLEY BRINGS HOME THE FIRST POINTS FOR THE 2020 APRILIA RS-GP

DISAPPOINTMENT FOR ALEIX WITH A CRASH INTERRUPTING HIS COMEBACK

In the first official race, held in extremely difficult conditions, the new Aprilia RS-GP put its first championship points on the board thanks to Bradley Smith, lacking in grip but skilfully maintaining concentration. His fifteenth-place finish does not do justice to all the hard work done in the Italian garage, but the many crashes, some even with serious consequences, confirm just how much the scalding Spanish asphalt in Jerez was at the limit. The English rider’s excellent start is worth a mention, gaining no less than 5 positions in just one lap.

Espargaró had started the race with his usual quality, aggressive straight away in the early stages of the race and comforted by a good feeling, especially in braking. It was precisely an extreme late braking manoeuvre, made even riskier by his full fuel tank during the third lap, that led to a sudden loss of grip, resulting in a crash. The disappointment of Aleix and his entire garage is understandable, attenuated by the fact that he will be back on the track in Jerez already in a few days for the second race of the season.

 

Aleix Espargaro on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.
Aleix Espargaro on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.

 

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“I am deeply sorry for Aprilia, the fans and for myself. I felt good from the start. I was faster than the riders ahead of me and, in fact, I was overtaking when I lost the front end. Unfortunately, with a full tank, it’s difficult to push, but my desire to take the RS-GP to a good result was very strong. Fortunately, we’ll be back on the track in just a few days. To be honest, I wish we were racing again tomorrow, because I think that an important result is within our reach. Next weekend, we’ll need to get off on the right foot straight away from Friday. Clearly, we’ll have clearer ideas so we can aim for better qualifying first and then for a solid race.”

 

Bradley Smith (38) leading Tito Rabat (53) at Jerez. Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.
Bradley Smith (38) leading Tito Rabat (53) at Jerez. Photo courtesy Aprilia Gresini Racing.

 

BRADLEY SMITH

“The goal today was to do all 25 laps of the race in order to gather fundamental data on the reactions of this new bike. I started very well, but staying in the slipstream of a lot of other riders straight away created quite a few problems for me. The tyre temperature and pressure was off the charts and I didn’t have much grip at all. This will have to be our main focus for our work next weekend. We don’t have any experience with this bike, but every time we go out, we learn something new and I have full confidence in the guys at Aprilia.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Monster Energy Yamaha:

VIÑALES SPEEDS TO SECOND IN SPANISH GP

Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 19th July 2020

GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN

RACE

Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales gave a strong performance at the Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto (Spain) today, collecting his first 20 championship points of the 2020 MotoGP season. Valentino Rossi had a difficult race at the Jerez track and was forced to retire due to a technical issue.

2nd MAVERICK VIÑALES +4.603 / 25 LAPS

NC VALENTINO ROSSI NC / -7 LAPS

The Gran Premio de España promised to be a red-hot battle and it certainly delivered. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Maverick Viñales led the race in the opening laps and later vigorously fought for and defended his second place, to take 20 valuable championship points. Valentino Rossi didn‘t find a good pace and was ultimately unable to finish the race due to a technical issue.

Viñales had a dream start from P2 on the grid, taking the holeshot. Having gambled on the soft front tyre, the opening stages were crucial for the Yamaha rider. A big moment in Turn 8 was a sign of how hard he was pushing, but he skillfully kept the YZR-M1 in the lead, completing the first lap of 2020 as the race leader.

On lap 3 of 25 the action that MotoGP fans had been craving ensued. Viñales and Marc Marquez scrapped for P1. The number-12 rider fought back brilliantly and kept stalking his compatriot, applying pressure. Marquez went wide in Turn 4 and off track, allowing the Yamaha to blitz past.

It looked like the race was going Viñales‘ way, but tyre degradation spoiled the party. A wobble on lap 8 let Fabio Quartararo and Jack Miller close in, and going wide again in the last corner meant the home hero was now in third place. But he regrouped quickly and prepared to make a comeback.

With 7 laps to go, he attacked Miller in Lorenzo‘s corner to regain second place. Marc Marquez was again right on his YZR-M1‘s tail a few laps later. While Viñales was preparing for another head-to-head with him, the 93-rider suffered a monstrous crash exiting Turn 3. During the final laps Viñales cruised to the finish line, taking his first 20 championship points of the season.

It was a disappointing day for Rossi. The Italian had a decent start from ninth but lost some positions after the first corners and crossed the start-finish line for the first time in tenth place. However, The Doctor is known to always soldier on. He regained two places again, overtaking Miguel Oliveira and passing the off-road Marc Marquez, but it remained a difficult battle for the Italian. Unable to move up the order, he was riding in tenth position when he suffered a technical issue, resulting in an NC.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

We were expecting a difficult but very exciting race. The main issue, we thought, was going to be managing the tyres, because this track is so demanding, and the heat just adds to it. We expected that there would be three riders who could run the pace at the front: Marc Marquez, Fabio, and Maverick. Maverick had a great start and rode strong opening laps, leading the race. It was a shame that the soft tyres didn‘t last as well as we expected, but he did a great job to take second place from Miller and defend it until the very end. These 20 points are a good start and very important for the championship. We are also happy for Fabio. We would have liked to fight him for the win, but this is a great first victory. It wasn‘t all smiles here, though. Valentino had a difficult time in the race to begin with, and in the end had to retire because of a technical issue. We are very disappointed about this. We have to work hard next week to get better results.

 

Maverick Vinales on the podium at Jerez. Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Maverick Vinales on the podium at Jerez. Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

I‘m so happy about the start and the first laps, because I was right there at the front. I took the lead and tried to escape. I wish it was already next Friday, I want to work on the next step at this track. When I lost the front for the first time, I started to travel, especially on the edge of the tyre. I couldn‘t turn the bike. So that‘s the point that we need to improve on. Maybe the soft front tyre wasn‘t the best decision, but we brought the bike home in second place, which is the most important thing. We got 20 points for the championship, and now we have a second race here in Jerez, where I think we‘ll have good potential. If we do a good job, we can be back fighting at the front again. The guys did an amazing job all weekend. It was very important to be on the podium at this race, but for the next race we need to find a bit more. We will take our performance from this week as a point of reference and try to improve ourselves, as always. I hope Marc is doing well, because it was a nasty crash. I hope we can fight again at the next race. I want to say ’Congratulations‘ to Fabio, because it‘s not easy to win your first MotoGP race, but he controlled it well.

 

Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.
Valentino Rossi (46). Photo courtesy Monster Energy Yamaha.

VALENTINO ROSSI

It was a tough weekend, because we suffered a lot in the high temperatures with the rear tyre. It looks like we were not able to make the rear tyre work in the right way. In the race I was not very fast from the beginning, I didn‘t have the rhythm of the group that was fighting for the podium. After some laps I had a problem with the rear tyre, because I lost a lot of grip and performance. After that, unfortunately, I had a problem with the bike. On the straight I got a red alarm, and I had to retire. It is a very strange situation because we will race here two times in a row. From one point of view this is very strange, but from the other side we can take this data and try to make things better and find some solution. It was a bad crash for Marquez at a bad point, it was a big highside. I wish him well.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by PETRONAS Yamaha SRT:

Fabio Quartararo takes first MotoGP race win

Dream start to 2020 season for Fabio Quartararo with first MotoGP victory; Franco Morbidelli equals best MotoGP finish with fifth; PETRONAS Yamaha SRT tops team standings

Fabio Quartararo kicked off his 2020 season in style this weekend after taking his first ever MotoGP race win, which puts him at the top of the riders’ standings ahead of next weekend’s race. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli helped make it a weekend to remember for the team by equalling his best ever MotoGP finish (fifth) and helping place PETRONAS Yamaha SRT at the top of the teams’ standings.

Starting from pole position, Quartararo made a good start but lost places going into the opening corners of the first MotoGP race of the year. The Frenchman soon recovered and started to make his way towards the front of the race, where he battled fellow Yamaha YZR-M1 rider Maverick Viñales for the lead. It didn’t take Quartararo long to make his way past and start to pull out a gap to his rival. Fabio made no mistakes from then until the chequered flag came out to proclaim him a MotoGP race winner. The 2019 Rookie of the Year will now go into the next race of the year, which is also to be held at the 4.4km long Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto, as points leader and confident of another good result.

It was also a good day for team-mate Morbidelli whose qualifying difficulties left him starting the race from tenth, which then became eighth due to the withdrawal of two riders. The Italian rode a smart race and rapidly started to make his way through the pack, to challenge for a podium finish in the closing laps. A small mistake made by Franco could have turned into something worse, but he was able to make a great save and cross the line fifth, equalling his best ever MotoGP result.

Fabio and Franco will not have to wait long before they are back out on track again, with the first practice sessions of the Gran Premio de Andalucía only days away (24-26 July).

Razlan Razali

Team Principal

It’s an amazing feeling to see the first win for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team and first win for a Yamaha satellite team for over 20 years as well as the first win for French rider in MotoGP for over 20 years. It’s a fantastic feeling so thank you to Fabio and all of the team for their effort to get here. It’s an amazing feeling and I can’t describe it much more than that at the moment!

This is what we have been working so hard for and I’m pleased that our story continues on an upward trajectory. Let’s try for more of the same next week! To add to the win, we can see that Franky was strong in the race and matched his best-ever MotoGP finish on the first outing of the season.

For John McPhee in Moto3 everything was looking set for another podium finish and quite likely the top step until a crash on the final corner of the final lap. We can only admire John in his effort to go for the win. Of course, there’s disappointment at the ultimate result, but everything points to very strong potential this season. It was a difficult race for KIP and we’ll reflect on where improvements can be made before the next race. In Moto2, we’re all aspiring for stronger results and that’s what we’re working on with Xavi and Jake, and the next opportunity for this is just a few days away.

Johan Stigefelt

Team Director

This was a great weekend. It started with some difficulties for Fabio, which was tough, but we upped our game and the team worked super hard the whole weekend. He had good pace in free practice and qualifying, with the new lap record, and he showed the speed in the race. It was not an easy race in the beginning for Fabio, having to overtake the Ducatis, but he kept calm and when he had the opportunity he made it to the front and extended a gap. We can’t ask for more, it’s a dream come true today. It’s a big hurdle that we’ve gotten over, from only starting this team a short while ago. To win in the first race of our second season is something amazing.

We came out as the best team today and Franky has helped us achieve that. He was fighting really hard at the end of the race with bikes that were much faster than his. Finish top-five with both guys is great. Franky was very close to the podium this time and I’m really happy with his effort and his work. I’m really looking forward to next weekend. This was only the first race of the season but as a satellite team to be on top it’s incredible. Now we need to try to maintain this momentum.

Massive thanks to our partners, especially PETRONAS for believing in us from the very beginning. Also thank you to all the fans for their support, it’s a shame they couldn’t be with us this weekend but we hope that we’ve given them something to cheer about.

 

Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Fabio Quartararo (20). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

Fabio Quartararo

1st (41’23.796)

It feels incredible. I don’t think the feeling has sunk in yet, I think that will come when I watch the race again. It’s a shame that my family, friends and fans are not here to see it, but it feels so good to finally be on the stop step of the podium. It was an amazing race and we were so consistent even though the track was really bad. There was very little grip and the tyres just dropped off so fast. I felt great on the bike so thank you to my team, partners and to Yamaha for that. I had one of the scariest moments of the race in the same place where I had the problem last year, I was worried it was going to happen again! All was good, but the last ten laps felt like they took so long to complete. Every lap we got closer to the end I was feeling better and better, just having some fun.

This win is for my family, my brother especially, my best friend, my manager, all the fans who can’t be here, my team and also to those people that have suffered a lot during the last 4 months. I also want to wish a speedy recovery to Alex [Rins], Cal [Crutchlow] and Marc [Marquez].

 

Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.
Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy PETRONAS Yamaha SRT.

Franco Morbidelli

5th (+6.844)

It was a really good race. Starting from where I was, I was aiming for a top-five finish but surprisingly we were in the fight for the podium in the last two laps. I didn’t act in the right way in those two laps, I could have been a bit cleverer, but despite this it was a positive race. We came from behind and had some good battles, even though it was a tricky race. Now I will rest a bit and try to prepare for the next race. Our weak point this weekend was qualifying. Having the speed that we did it was not acceptable to start tenth, then ninth, then eighth. With such a narrow circuit it is not great to start from the third row. The front two rows are where you need to be to fight for the podium, so this will be our aim next weekend.

Also congratulations to Fabio. I’m really happy for him as he deserves this victory and he was unbelievably fast today. First and fifth position for the team shows the great job that every member of the team is doing. We are heading in the right direction!

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Ducati:

Andrea Dovizioso steps on the podium at the Spanish Grand Prix, third in the race at Jerez.

Top Ten for Danilo Petrucci who finishes in ninth position

Andrea Dovizioso climbed on the third step of the rostrum at Jerez de la Frontera, where the Spanish Grand Prix took place this weekend. In what was a very challenging GP, which put bikes and riders to the test due to the high temperatures, the Ducati Team rider was able to manage well his race strategy.

As he got off the line from the third row of the grid, Andrea put himself in the fifth position already after a few laps, finding a steady pace immediately. Fourth towards the end of the race, the rider from Forlì was able to defend himself from Morbidelli’s and Pol Espargaro’s attacks. Dovizioso managed then to fill in the gap on Jack Miller and, with two laps to go, he went past the Australian rider of the Pramac Racing Team claiming the third spot on the podium.

Dovizioso’s third place today represents his best result in the premier class at the Jerez Circuit, while for Ducati it is the fifth third place conquered at the Spanish race venue.

Despite still not being 100% fit and suffering some neck and back pain after Wednesday’s crash, his teammate Danilo Petrucci was able to end a tough weekend with a top-ten result by finishing ninth in today’s race.

At the end of the first Grand Prix of the 2020 MotoGP season, Ducati occupies the second position in the Manufacturers’ Standings, while the Ducati Team is second in the Team Standings.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Andrea Dovizioso (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Andrea Dovizioso (#04 Ducati Team) – 3rd 

“This podium is like a victory for me. It was a challenging race, and I didn’t think I could get this result, but luckily I didn’t give up until the end and managed not to make any mistakes. In this morning’s Warm-Up, the team did a great job, as they improved my feeling with the Desmosedici GP, giving me the chance to be constant today in the race. Unfortunately, I still didn’t feel completely comfortable on the bike and, above all, I lacked speed. Surely, thanks to the feedback of this race, we will be able to be more competitive in the next GP, which will be held again here in Jerez”.

 

Danilo Petrucci (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.
Danilo Petrucci (04). Photo courtesy Ducati.

 

Danilo Petrucci (#9 Ducati Team) – 9th

“It was a tough race for me. In addition to the neck pain, I am suffering some stomach issues probably due to the painkillers I’ve been taking these days, and today I wasn’t in the condition to do more. In the race, I tried to hold on and managed to finish into the top ten. Hopefully, I can recover and be 100% fit for next week. I am confident to have the potential to stay with the other Ducati bikes and fight for the top five positions”.

The Ducati Team will be back again at Circuito de Jerez – Àngel Nieto for the Andalusian Grand Prix, from 24th- 26th July 2020.

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

CRUTCHLOW FORCED TO WITHDRAW FROM SPANISH GP

19 July 2020 | Spanish GP Race

Cal Crutchlow was forced to sit out the opening race of the delayed 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Spain, after he was declared unfit by MotoGP’s Chief Medical Officer.

The LCR Honda CASTROL rider suffered a heavy spill at turn eight during the 20 minute morning warm-up session, and although he quickly got to his feet, he was taken to hospital in Jerez for a precautionary CAT scan.

Although the results of the scan returned a negative, the medical team decided that for safety reasons they wanted the Briton to rest up for a minimum of eight hours, which meant his participation in the Spanish Grand Prix was not possible.

Immediately after the MotoGP race, Crutchlow returned to the hospital in Jerez to submit to further checks on his left wrist after feeling increasing pain. Scan results showed a tiny fracture on his left scaphoid bone.

In consultation with MotoGP medical staff, it has been confirmed that Cal will undergo arthroscopic surgery to insert a small fixing pin to assist healing. Depending on the MotoGP medical team’s checks, Cal will be allowed to participate in next weekend’s Andalusian GP if everything goes as planned.

 

Cal Crutchlow.
Cal Crutchlow.

Cal Crutchlow – DNS

“Unfortunately this morning in the last lap of the warm-up I crashed going into turn eight. It seemed that when I braked on the kerb, the front of the bike slid and I was unable to save the crash. What was going to be a normal crash escalated when I went into the deep gravel trap and started tumbling, hitting my head quite a few times, particularly my face. I was a bit dazed after the crash, and a bit sore in my whole body, especially my hands.

“After further assessment at the medical centre I was sent for the CT scan on my head and neck and it all came back fine. With the facial bruising I had, however, Dr. Angel Charté felt I needed eight hours rest, which I think was the right decision.

“When I returned to the circuit I began to feel some pain in my left wrist, so went for another scan of the scaphoid, which it seems has been broken in the crash. Dr. Mir will operate on the wrist in Barcelona on Tuesday morning, and I will return to the circuit on Friday and hopefully to action. I look forward to seeing the LCR Honda CASTROL Team there, and hopefully to work hard with them again next weekend.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Marc’s astonishing comeback without reward as Alex makes MotoGP debut in Jerez

 

Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Marc Marquez (93). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

 

Points and top rookie honours for Alex Marquez as Marc Marquez’s miraculous comeback is cut short.

245 days since the 2019 Valencia GP, the MotoGP World Championship roared back to life at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España as the premier class made a welcome return to racing. Temperatures were once again the main talk of the grid, the track at 53°C as ambient temperatures pushed above 30°C.

Tension was palpable on the grid as the reduced 20-rider field waited for the lights to go out. Marc Marquez’s race got off to a lightning start and he quickly moved into the lead, until a moment on Lap 5 almost ended his race but for another Marquez miracle save. Dropping down the order, Marc lapped at an incredible pace once back on track and produced one of the most impressive rides of his career as he charged back from 19th and a 9.3 second deficit. Consistently lapping in the mid to low 1’38s while those at the front were in the high 1’38s, the Honda RC213V rider quickly closed the gap to the podium battle with his superior pace. Charging through the field, Marc joined the battle for second place with five laps to go with Viñales just a few metres ahead. Unfortunately, a vicious high side at Turn 3 would end the dream comeback and result in a broken right humerus.

Alex Marquez did well on his MotoGP debut, the rookie keeping his cool during the frantic start to the race and steadily working his way forward. A calm head allowed him to avoid any major mistakes and learn from the experienced riders around him. His patience was rewarded with a 12th place finish and top rookie honours on his MotoGP debut, a satisfying result for the Moto2 and former Moto3 World Champion.

The Repsol Honda Team would like to wish Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins speedy recoveries. Marquez and Crutchlow will travel to the Hospital Universitari Dexeus in Barcelona, where they are aiming to be operated on by Dr Xavier Mir and his team on Tuesday, July 21st. Marc has suffered a transverse diaphyseal fracture to his right humerus while the Britain from the LCR Honda Team, who crashed in Warm Up, has suffered a small fracture on his left scaphoid.  He will undergo arthroscopy surgery to insert a small fixing pin.

Round Three of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship, the Andalucía GP, takes place next week from July 24 to July 26.

 

Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.
Alex Marquez (73). Photo courtesy Repsol Honda.

Alex Marquez

12TH 

“First of all I’d like to wish Marc, Cal and Rins a speedy recovery. It is never good to see other riders get injured. Otherwise, it was a pretty good first race, I think we have a good base to now work from. Today was also a really good test physically because in this heat it was quite tough. It was a tricky race for everyone in the heat. I was fast during the middle of the race but I need to focus on the first five laps and the last four laps. But this is part of being a rookie, learning these sorts of things. Fortunately, we have next week to try it again.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

NAKAGAMI FINISHES AS TOP HONDA IN 2020 OPENER

19 July 2020 | Spanish GP Race

After eight months without racing action, the MotoGP World Championship finally got under way behind closed doors at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on Sunday. For LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami it was a first race in nine months, since he went under the knife following his home Grand Prix in Japan.

The 28 year-old has since recovered well from that shoulder operation, and on his comeback in Spain steered his machine to finish in tenth place in difficult conditions. The top-ten finish meant Nakagami ended up as top Honda rider in the race and sets a great platform for the team to build on into the season having dealt admirably with the sweltering heat and slippery track conditions.

The LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team will hope for even more when they return to action at the same venue in just 5 days’ time, with back to back races for the first time in MotoGP history on the greatly revised 2020 calendar due to the Covid-19 lockdowns around the world.

 

Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Idemitsu.
Takaaki Nakagami (30). Photo courtesy LCR Honda Idemitsu.

 

Takaaki Nakagami – 10th

(1’39.541)

“We finished the first race, and that’s good but honestly, I am not particularly happy specially for the LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team because this weekend they did such a great job to help me ride in a positive way. Unfortunately, I had issues with the front from the beginning of the race.

As there were lots of crashes around me during the race, I tried to stay focused so as not to lose the front and, in the end, I finished tenth. The positive thing is that we race again next weekend at the same circuit and hopefully then we will be able to fight again and show our true potential.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

Spanish GP – Amazing day for Pramac Racing, Jack P4 and Pecco P7

Pramac Racing did an amazing job in the first MotoGP of the year. Jack and Pecco had a wonderful weekend ended in a very positive way. Jack Miller after a great start was able to be in the Top 3 for most of the time, protagonist of a beautiful duel with Vinales. The Australian rider closed in 4th position (+ 6.668 from the leader). Pecco did a very good race too, he started super fast and he was able to be in the top 5 for most of the time. The Italian rider finished in 7th position (+13.027 from the leader), in the end of a very positive weekend

Pecco Bagnaia

I’m quite happy. During the first laps when I was in the head group I tried to manage the tires because we knew that the race would be long. I’m satisfied for the great work done with my team this weekend and also for the big step in front that I made. I was in top5 for 15 laps and last year I never ride a race like this. Next weekend we will have an advantage because we already know the tires for the race and I can focus and improve the rest. I can say that I learned a lot from today.

Jack Miller

Was really good race for me in general, if you look compared from last year here in Jerez. The most important thing was finished today, the bike was great, the feeling was good. We manage the tires very well, and now we know what we have to do to improve. We will take the 4th position end we will come back next week with a clear picture in mind.
More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:

ESPARGARO RACES TO EYE-CATCHING 6TH PLACE AT JEREZ MOTOGP™ OPENER

MotoGP 2020 – Round 01, Circuito de Jerez–Angel Nieto (ESP)

 

Pol Espargaro (44), Brad Binder (33), and Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM.
Pol Espargaro (44), Brad Binder (33), and Franco Morbidelli (21). Photo courtesy Red Bull KTM.

 

The Gran Premio Red Bull de España produced some strong performances by the Red Bull KTM collective as Pol Espargaro vied for a podium finish, Brad Binder impressed with his speed in his debut outing in the premier class and Miguel Oliveira equaled his best MotoGP classification.

Temperatures hovered at 55 degrees across the asphalt of the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto for the first of thirteen rounds in 2020 MotoGP and the opening episode of two ‘closed-door’ events at the compact Spanish circuit. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing and Red Bull KTM Tech3 showed increased competitiveness and excellent speed with the KTM RC16 after 25 intense laps of MotoGP’s return to action.

Pol Espargaro finished 6th and was less than a second from 3rd position. The Spaniard fought inside the leading group from the first moments of the race and strived to overtake Jack Miller and Andrea Dovizioso. A final corner attempt to snatch 4th position meant he allowed Franco Morbidelli just enough space to sneak through. Esparagaro was 6th at the finish line. The difference was just three tenths of a second from 4th.

Espargaro was joined in the opening laps by excellent rookie Brad Binder. The South African ensured that the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing bikes formation-flew in the midst of the top ten. A mistake under braking on lap seven saw the Moto3 and Moto2 race winner run off track and lose time down to last place but he then set a fiery pace to work his way back to 13th.

Red Bull KTM Tech3’s Miguel Oliveira banished some tricky moments in practice and qualification to ride steadily and effectively to 8th spot: equaling his highest MotoGP ranking yet, set at the 2019 Grand Prix of Austria. Teammate Iker Lecuona was also on the fringes of the top ten but suffered with heat exhaustion and had to withdraw from the last quarter of the race distance.

Pol Espargaro: “It’s been a very good day and I’m happy with the result but you always want more! We were just one second from the podium: very close. I needed to be closer to the guys in front to pass but the front tire temperature was growing like crazy-fast in a few corners. We normal struggle at Jerez so to take this result and in these temperatures is very good. We are happy and now we are convinced we can get push for better in the short-term. All four KTMs on the grid are powerful and strong, especially on the race pace. We are in the game now.”

Brad Binder: “In general, it is not too bad. I’m super-happy with the way the bike is. I need to say sorry to my team because today we could have done a good job and taken a good result but at the end of the day we live and we learn. I made a mistake and I won’t do it again. I knew I could be there in that group with the guys, I didn’t know I would be able to sit there quite comfortably. That was a bit of a shock for sure. I’m really happy that my training in the off-season worked because this is a whole new ball game. I must be happy. The whole package is working so well so I must say thanks to KTM for all their work and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in the next races. Let’s keep our heads up and keep this work ethic going.”

Miguel Oliveira: “It was a very, very happy ending to the weekend. After struggling a little bit in the practices, I think we deserved this good result. To start the season with a top ten is better than we expected. For sure, we still have a lot of work to do for the next race but I’m glad for my performance and I am really, really happy to give this result to the team. It’s also my first race after Motegi in October last year. I’m just happy and hope we can improve next weekend.”

Iker Lecuona: “To be honest, I already regret my decision to return to the garage. It was only five laps to go, I should have just taken a bit of speed out and try to finish the race as the points would have been in reach anyway. I missed out on what could have been a possible top 10 result but I felt really dizzy and didn’t want to risk a crash or put someone else in danger, so I stopped. Before that, I was quite strong, managed to be close to Miguel all the time.”

Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “We’ve started an unusual season with such a long time between the races and a lot of things have happened since last November. We knew our bike from the winter tests would perform better than last year, but we haven’t been able to show it until this weekend. This is a result of all the excellent effort from everybody at the factory and all those connected to the project. When it comes to the riders then Pol made a very clever race. This short season means that a mistake in the first GP would have been costly but he still gave the maximum. Brad was outstanding to be in the leading group and until he saved his crash. His comeback and lap-times were amazing. It was a big lesson for him. Miguel struggled in the sessions but was already better from warm-up and managed a super 8th position. We could have had three bikes in the top ten. Iker learned how tough this category can be and how the bikes and the riders push to the limit. He showed us that he’s fast but still needs to get prepared for MotoGP. We are not worried though; he is the youngest in our group and he will pick it up.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Red Bull KTM Ajo celebrated a double podium result in Moto2 with Tetsuta Nagashima finishing 2nd and grabbing a second trophy after his win in Qatar while Jorge Martin followed up his Pole Position on Saturday with his third top three classification in just his second Moto2 term.

In Moto3 Gaviota Aspar Team Moto3’s Albert Arenas blasted to his second Grand Prix victory in a row after emerging from a chaotic race with many riders vying for podium positions. The Spaniard – who conquered the opening event in Qatar in March – headed three other KTM RC4s in the top six with SKY Racing Team VR46’s Andrea Migno in 4th and the Italian was followed by teammate Celestino Vietti and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Raul Fernandez.

Albert Arenas: “Incredible! This race was amazing and really hard in the heat and with the tire, but I knew I had a good feeling when the tire dropped. I could keep the corner speed, even with the wheel spin. I’m really happy for the team; we made a late change to the set-up before the race and it worked. On the last lap I knew a podium finish would be a good result but also I knew if I did right things at the right moment then victory would be possible.”

MotoGP remains in Spain and will tackle Jerez again but this time for the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía on July 26th.

Results MotoGP Gran Premio Red Bull de España 2020
1. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Yamaha 41:23.796
2. Maverick Viñales (ESP), Yamaha +4.603
3. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati +5.946
4. Jack Miller (AUS), Ducati +6.668
5. Franco Morbidelli (ITA), Yamaha +6.844
6. Pol Espargaro (ESP), Red Bull KTM +6.938
8. Miguel Oliveira (POR), Red Bull KTM +13.441
13. Brad Binder (RSA), Red Bull KTM +29.640
DNF. Iker Lecuona (ESP), Red Bull KTM Tech3

Results Moto2 Gran Premio Red Bull de España 2020
1. Luca Marini (ITA) Kalex 39:23.297
2. Tetsuta Nagashima (JPN) Red Bull KTM Ajo +1.271
3. Jorge Martin (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +4.838

Results Moto3 Gran Premio Red Bull de España 2020
1. Albert Arenas (ESP) KTM 39:26.256
2. Ai Ogura (JPN) Honda +0.340
3. Tony Arbolino (ITA) Honda +0.369
4. Andrea Migno (ITA) KTM +0.546
5. Celestino Vietti (ITA) KTM +0.634
6. Raul Fernandez (ESP) Red Bull KTM Ajo +0.682

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Michelin:

MICHELIN SHINES AS BRIGHT AS THE SPANISH SUN AS QUARTARARO IS VICTORIOUS

Michelin’s premiere of its new rear construction MotoGP™ tyres saw the all-time lap-record tumble in the sweltering Spanish sun this weekend as Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took victory in today’s eagerly awaited Gran Premio Red Bull de España  from the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto at Jerez in Spain.

The start of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship has been on hold due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, but due to impressive efforts by Dorna, FIM, IRTA, local authorities and many others, the season was able to get underway at Jerez today. Major protocols were put in place to allow racing to go ahead, including having no fans filling the grandstands and hills around the track, but the racing was the star of the show and a much needed boost, as it was broadcast to millions watching around the globe.

Extreme heat has been a factor all weekend and today’s race was no different as track temperatures soared to 53°C, making this the one of the hottest races since Michelin returned to MotoGP in 2016, the current high was at Catalunya in 2017, when the asphalt was recorded at 54°C. This intense heat around the 4,423m circuit has certainly been a thorough test for the MICHELIN Power Slick tyres, but one which the rubber has handled admirably and gives testament to the skill of the Michelin technicians that had to choose the correct allocation for a race that is usually held in the cooler temperatures of May.

Quartararo had been on form all weekend, breaking the outright lap-record on Saturday morning before surpassing that in qualifying as he set a time of 1’36.705 to take pole position. This lap was recorded using a hard front slick and a soft rear, the same configuration as favoured by most riders in today’s 25-lap race – including Quartararo – a detail that emphasises Michelin’s quest to build race tyres that have the facility for record-breaking single laps, whilst giving consistency, performance and grip for a long and demanding race such as today’s. The Frenchman got a good start to the race, but was led into the first corner by Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), before reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took over at the front. Marquez started to pull away, but a mistake saw him slide into the gravel, he managed to stay onboard and re-joined the race in last place. He made an impressive battle through the field as he showed the immense grip from the  MICHELIN Power Slick tyres to force his way into contention for second position, but he crashed and lost his chance of rescuing any points. Quartararo had made his way to the front on lap-nine and rode a smooth and demanding race to the flag, working in harmony with his tyres to increase the gap over his rivals and take victory by 4.603 seconds. The 21-year old Frenchman was only just born when France won its last premier class Grand Prix, after Regis Laconi was victorious on a Michelin-shod Yamaha at Valencia in 1999.

The battle for the podium places saw Viñales take second with a hard-charging Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) in third; earlier in the weekend Dovizioso had set the record for top-speed at Jerez when he recorded a maximum of 296.7Km/h, adding another new record to Michelin’s collection. Fourth was Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) coming home in fifth. Sixth place went to Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), followed by Francesco  Bagnaia (Pramac Racing). Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was eighth, ninth place went to Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) rounded out the top-ten.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock will now remain at Jerez as the second round of this truncated season will take place at the same venue, but this time a new event will be contested as the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía takes centre stage on Sunday 26th July.

Michelin’s new MotoE™ tyres give Granado a resounding victory

Michelin saw its latest generation of MICHELIN Slick MotoE tyres lead the way during this weekend’s proceedings, as the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup took centre stage as the first race to take to the track during the restart to this unusual season and Eric Granado (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) showed the full potential of the new tyres as he took control from early on and raced to a comprehensive victory.

After taking the top-spot on the grid during Saturday’s E-Pole, Granado was beaten to the first corner by Lukas Tulovic (Tech 3 E-Racing), but the Brazilian soon secured first place and pushed his latest evolution of Michelin tyres – which feature new compounds and a new rear tyre construction, allied to  the introduction of bio-materials and regenerated materials which are both more efficient and more environmentally friendly – to the full to take the chequered flag by a gap of over three-seconds. The battle for the remaining podium places was a frantic affair in the Spanish heat as a group of riders battled for the positions, exploiting the grip to the full, before last year’s World Cup winner Matteo Ferrari (TRENTINO Gresini MotoE) took second, ahead of Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP).

Michelin’s new tyres for MotoE are specially designed for the racing demands of the 100% electric Energica Ego Corsa motorcycles and performed strongly all weekend in the excessive heat that baked the circuit, plenty of data has been collected and will be analysed ahead of the next race, which will see the riders stay at Jerez for the second round of the World Cup, to be staged during the Gran Premio Red Bull de Andalucía on Sunday 26th July.

Fabio Quartararo – Petronas Yamaha SRT:

“The race was really difficult as I made a bad start, but I managed to get to the front and that felt great. I was so pleased to get my first victory and the tyres were feeling good. I had amazing grip from the tyres for the qualifying lap and felt so great in those conditions and I can’t wait for the qualifying next Saturday.”

Eric Granado  – Avintia Esponsorama Racing:

“It has been a great weekend and we worked a lot on the set-up of the bike. The new front tyre is a different feeling and at the start of the weekend I was struggling to understand it, but then – as always – when you have a change you have to set-up the bike to get the best from it and now we have a really good feeling from the tyres and I can really push the front. When I overtook Tulovic I was able to push on the front and I had a good feeling on the bike, for me the bike and the tyres were perfect and everything was ok. Now it is time to rest and think about next week and to try and maintain the good performance.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“The selection was similar for all riders today, all went with the soft rear, with just two choosing a different front, the soft, and everybody else on the hard. The soft rear featured the new construction which made its racing debut today and performed really well for everybody. The consumption was not that high, because we chose compounds we expected would work in this heat, so much so that the hard was not needed despite track temperatures of over 50 degrees every day. The soft rear gave good grip for the whole race and everything was under control because it worked so well. It was not easy to decide on the range for this week, because we usually come in May and then back in November for a test, so temperatures are much lower. We expected it to be hot, but not like it was and I want to show my respect to the Technicians that used computer simulations and previous data to make such a strong selection for this weekend.

“It was great to break the all-time lap-record this weekend and get the highest top-speed, these are always important for us as they show reward for the hard work. Congratulations to Fabio Quartararo on his first win, of what I am sure will be many MotoGP victories. He set a stunning lap in qualifying, demonstrating the one-lap ability of our tyres and then showed a maturity in the race to use the same configuration of tyres to take a comfortable victory.

“MotoE gave us another exciting race and Eric Granado showed how hard you can push on the new tyres, especially the front. The latest evolution of MotoE tyres has worked really well here this weekend, we introduced them with the sustainable materials and the new compounds, plus a new rear construction and the performance was impressive, especially when the track was so hot in the afternoons. MotoE is an important discipline Michelin and to be able to kickstart the MotoGP race-day with all the bikes using Michelin tyres was certainly a good moment for us. We will now assess all the information ahead of next week’s World Cup and look forward more exciting races as the season progresses.”

 

 

 

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki Press Office:

NO POINTS IN SPAIN FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR

Joan Mir: DNF (24 laps)

Alex Rins: DNS (Ruled unfit)

The opening round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship at the Circuit of Jerez – Angel Nieto didn’t go to plan for Team Suzuki Ecstar as bad luck struck both riders, resulting in no points scored on Sunday.

Alex Rins was ruled out of the race early as circuit medics declared him unfit following the crash and shoulder injury he suffered on Saturday afternoon. He will undergo treatment with the hope of being able to ride next weekend.

Race day also ended badly for Joan Mir from his 10th place grid spot. He had been hoping to use the pace found during Saturday morning to carve through the pack and secure a strong finish. However, a poor start saw him get squeezed out and pushed back to 13th.

On the second lap of the race, after getting into 11th place, Mir lost the front of his GSX-RR at Turn 9 and he was unable to prevent a crash which ended his race.

Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:

“Finally, the start of the season hasn’t gone well for us. It’s a real pity what’s happened this weekend – we lost Alex due to his injury and then also Joan couldn’t finish because of the crash. We had a lot of potential and we weren’t able to show it. Fortunately, we have another race here next weekend. Joan will be able to perform better and we also hope that Alex can come back.”

Davide Brivio – Team Manager:

“It’s been a really difficult weekend for us, with Alex not starting and then Joan not finishing. We had a lot of hope for Joan, because he had good pace and we know he could’ve done a nice race. But starting from the fourth row made it harder, and he needed to do a lot of overtakes, one of these moves didn’t pay off and it ended like that. We’ve learned some things this weekend, and we hope to come back with both riders next weekend.”

 

Joan Mir on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.
Joan Mir on the grid at Jerez. Photo courtesy Team Suzuki Press Office.

 

Joan Mir:

“The truth is that our weekend wasn’t bad, the problem was just in the race. I tried to make up as many positions as possible at the start of the race but I had a poor start and I lost the front of my bike and crashed. It was my mistake and I want to apologise to the team. The good news is that we have another race here next weekend, and we will show our potential.”

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