GRAN PREMI MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA – MotoGP™ Race Classification:
1. M. OLIVEIRA – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – 40:21.749
2. J. ZARCO – Pramac Racing – +00.175
3. J. MILLER – Ducati Lenovo Team – +01.990
4. F. QUARTARARO – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +01.815
5. J. MIR – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR – +05.325
6. M. VIÑALES – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – +06.281
7. F. BAGNAIA – Ducati Lenovo Team – +08.175
8. B. BINDER – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing – +08.378
9. F. MORBIDELLI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – +15.652
10. E. BASTIANINI – Avintia Esponsorama – +19.297
11. A. MARQUEZ – LCR Honda CASTROL – +21.650
12. L. MARINI – SKY VR46 Avintia – +22.533
13. T. NAKAGAMI – LCR Honda IDEMITSU – +27.833
14. J. MARTIN – Pramac Racing – +29.075
15. L. SAVADORI – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – +40.291
I. LECUONA – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 27:01.887 – 17 laps
V. ROSSI – Petronas Yamaha SRT – 25:24.511 – 16 laps
A. ESPARGARO – Aprilia Racing Team Gresini – 16:52.680 – 11 laps
M. MARQUEZ – Repsol Honda Team – 11:51.134 – 8 laps
D. PETRUCCI – Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing – 08:33.342 – 6 laps
P. ESPARGARO – Repsol Honda Team – 06:49.922 – 5 laps
MotoGP™ World Standings:
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 118
2 Johann ZARCO Ducati 101
3 Jack MILLER Ducati 90
4 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 88
5 Joan MIR Suzuki 76
Oliveira plays his cards to perfection to put KTM back on top in Barcelona
The Portuguese rider just outpaces Zarco, with Miller taking third after two penalties for Quartararo on Sunday
Sunday, 06 June 2021
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) put in an outstanding performance in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya to take back to the top step, the Portuguese rider storming Barcelona for back-to-back podium finishes and his first win in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing colours. First he out-duelled Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to keep the lead before just outpacing Johann Zarco after a late charge from the Pramac Racing rider. The number 5 took second, with Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) completing the podium. The Australian crossed the line fourth, behind Quartararo, but was promoted to third following the first of two penalties for El Diablo on Sunday.
Miller was king of the brakes into Turn 1 to take the holeshot off the front row, blocking Quartararo as Oliveira then shuffled the Frenchman down to third too. El Diablo, in a very busy opening handful of laps, looked a bit impatient and a mistake at Turn 7 saw him drop to P5, with Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) making a phenomenal start from 10th to get into the top three in the early stages. Oliveira then took the lead from Miller on Lap 2 and was able to stretch a one-second advantage out, but Quartararo was able to carve his way back up to P2 by Lap 7.
Oliveira was doing an outstanding job out front, but some low 1:40s saw Quartararo able to reel the KTM back in, with Mir, Miller and Zarco line astern behind the World Championship leader. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) lurked too, two seconds off the top five in P6 and P7.
On Lap 12, Quartararo made his move for the lead. A good exit from Turn 4 saw the Frenchman able to slice his way up the inside of Oliveira at Turn 5, but the latter returned the favour at the start of Lap 14. The KTM grunt, coupled with a dose of slipstream, saw Oliveira able to stick with the Frenchman and then re-take the lead into Turn 1, with just 1.3 covering the front five: Oliveira, Quartararo, Mir, Miller, and Zarco.
By nine to go, Oliveira and Quartararo were edging clear but Zarco and Miller were both past Mir and just 1.2 behind Quartararo, who, in turn, was staying tucked up behind the race-leading KTM. Who had something to spare?
By five to go, Zarco had closed the gap to the front two to under a second and it was fourth place Miller who was the fastest of the leading quartet. And with four to go, Oliveira was really starting to stretch his legs again, suddenly 0.9 clear of Quartararo as the latter had his closest title rival homing in on him: Zarco.
The Pramac Racing Ducati tagged on and then passed Quartararo on the straight, the Yamaha following that up with a moment at Turn 1. The polesitter was forced to run wide and slotted back on track in P3, and we saw a unique situation unfold – Quartararo’s leathers were undone, his chest protector was thrown clear and Miller was right behind him after his off-track excursion too.
Up ahead, Zarco was just half a second down on Oliveira as the riders headed onto the last lap, and the Frenchman had been 0.4 quicker on the previous lap. Could he do it? The gap was down to under four tenths through the second split but the Ducati man wasn’t close enough into Turn 10, the last real overtaking spot, and in the end he was forced to settle for second. Oliveira held his nerve to claim a phenomenal Catalan GP victory: his first in factory colours, his third in MotoGP™ and third for KTM, making it back-to-back podiums after his second place at Mugello.
Zarco took the flag just 0.175 behind in a marvellous second place, and Quartararo was handed a three-second penalty for gaining an advantage when going wide at Turn 1. That put Miller on the podium as the Australian had another good weekend, starting to rake in some serious points after a tougher start to the year.
Quartararo was classified fourth in the direct aftermath of the race, but the Frenchman was then handed another three-second sanction for riding with his leathers undone and without the required chest protector. That shuffles him back to sixth in the final results.
Mir faded slighty in the final stages but is ultimately classified fourth for more good points, and from 10th on the grid it was a solid Sunday. The number 36 was able to keep Viñales at bay, and the number 12 is now fifth to end the day just ahead of his teammate Quartararo in the final results. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) was 1.8 down on Viñales at the chequered flag in a quieter outing for the Italian in P7. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) took P8, just 0.2 behind Pecco after shadowing the Italian for much of the race.
Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) was another rider to have a quiet afternoon, the Italian finishing a lonely P9. 3.6 adrift of Morbidelli in P10 was rookie and reigning Moto2™ World Champion Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama), his third top 10 of the season. Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) – who crashed on the sighting lap and was forced to start from the back of the grid upon his return from injury – and Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) picked up the remaining points on offer in Barcelona.
Both Repsol Honda Team machines suffered DNFs in the early stages, Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez going down uninjured at Turn 4 and Turn 10 respectively. Aleix Espargaro and Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) were two others who, like Marc Marquez, crashed at Turn 10. Danilo Petrucci and Tech3 KTM Factory Racing teammate Iker Lecuona also crashed out on Sunday afternoon – all riders ok.
And that’s that. Oliveira and KTM deliver an outstanding Sunday performance to win their first race of 2021, following up from their first podium of the season too. The Austrian factory are back in business this season after a tricky opening few rounds, with Ducati also impressing on Sunday once again. And in terms of the World Championship, Zarco has closed the gap to Quartararo after a dramatic day in Barcelona for the latter. Now, it’s just 14 points… and next up it’s the Sachsenring. What awaits in Germany? We’ll find out in two weeks!
MotoGP | Round 7 – Catalan GP 2021 | Sunday 6 June 2021
Podium for Jack Miller, third in the Catalan GP. Pecco Bagnaia closes the race in seventh place.
With Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing Team), second today across the line are two the Ducati Desmosedici GP bikes on the podium at Montmeló.
The Catalan GP, the seventh round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship, ended with another podium for Jack Miller, who, with the third place today in the race, brings to three the number of podiums scored so far this season alongside the two wins at Jerez and Le Mans.
The Australian rider, who departed from the front row of the grid from second place, took an early lead after the start, but he eventually dropped back after a few laps. Despite this, Miller continued to ride at a consistent pace, managing the tyre wear and waiting until the race’s final stages to try to get closer to the podium. Fourth with nine laps to go, Jack got behind the Desmosedici GP of Johann Zarco, with whom he was able to catch first Mir and then Quartararo. The latter was first overtaken by the Pramac Racing Team rider and then went wide between Turn 1 and Turn 2, cutting the chicane to rejoin. Because of this mistake, the Frenchman had to serve a three-second penalty, which saw him drop back to fourth at the end of the race and hand the third step of the podium to Miller, who was right behind him at the finish line.
Francesco Bagnaia ended a difficult race in seventh place. As he started from the third row, from ninth place, the Italian suffered the consequences of his tyre choice, which saw him struggle during the race. After dropping back to twelfth after the start, Pecco finally secured seventh place and other important points for the overall standings, which currently sees him fourth with 88 points. After today’s race, Miller moved up to third place, 28 points behind leader Quartararo. At the same time, Ducati and the Ducati Lenovo Team remain in second place in the constructors’ and teams’ standings.
Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 3rd
“Today, it was crucial to gain some points on Quartararo! In the race, I managed the rear tyre well, while the front tyre was a little overheated all the time, but we still managed to have some great battles. On the last lap, I was very close to Quartararo, and I would have had another chance to pass him, but I saw him cut the chicane, and I knew he would have had to take a penalty because he had gained a lot of time there. So, I tried to stay as close to him as possible and not make any mistakes to secure third place. This is the first time I’ve been on the podium at Montmeló, and I’m thrilled with this result, both for the whole team and for me!”
Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) – 7th
“Unfortunately, my race today was affected by our tyre choice. We wanted to try the medium, but unfortunately, it did not turn out to be the best solution. I tried to manage the consumption until the end, but I never felt completely comfortable. It was a difficult weekend, and we finished seventh. Now we have to stay focused and try to get back to fighting for the top positions starting from the next race. Tomorrow we will already get back to work during the day of testing that we have here at Montmeló”.
With the Catalan GP weekend over, the Ducati Lenovo Team riders will remain at Montmeló for a day of post-race collective testing.
Although the CatalanGP was ultimately a disappointing one for PETRONAS Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, Franco Morbidelli was able to secure a handful of points after finishing ninth. Team-mate Valentino Rossi’s race was brought to an early conclusion after a crash on lap 16.
Despite maintaining his fifth position off the line, Morbidelli didn’t have the best start to the CatalanGP and found himself 14th after the opening two laps. Settling into the race, the Italian started to make steady progress in recovering positions and was into the top-ten by the halfway point of the 24-lap race. Able to gain another place on lap 17, Franco then had the hard task ahead of trying to close down the gap to those riders ahead of him. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, it proved to be an impossible undertaking and Morbidelli crossed the line ninth. With 40 points in the World Championship, Franco will leave Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya tenth in the standings.
Team-mate Rossi also had a difficult start to the race, dropping down to 17th by lap three – even though he had moved into ninth going into the first corner. As the speed increased in the first part of the CatalanGP, the Italian struggled to settle into a good rhythm. As the laps ticked by, Rossi wasn’t able to mount a fight through the pack due to lack of rear grip, but had moved up into 13th and held station inside the points positions as the race entered its second half. Unfortunately Valentino’s race came to an early end on lap 16 due to a Turn 10 crash. He will head into the next round of the 2021 season 19th in the championship standings with 15 points.
Morbidelli and Rossi will be back out on track at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya tomorrow, as they take part in an official MotoGP one-day test.
It was another strange weekend for both of our MotoGP riders, and the pace was not what we expected it to be for either Franco or Valentino. To make matters worse, Valentino unfortunately crashed. Ninth for Franco was not what we hoped for, but we will work hard to improve this for the GermanGP.
It was a fantastic first podium for the Moto2 team with Xavi. This is a podium that the team have been waiting for over the last four years, and it’s a great feeling to have achieved this. We’re very happy for Xavi and the team, hopefully he can continue to improve and challenge for the top step in the upcoming races. Jake’s struggles continued this weekend and it’s something that the team will be looking into before Sachsenring.
The Moto3 race was an unusual one with some interesting tactics from other riders. It was really unfortunate for John to crash while leading it. However, it was a solid fifth position for Darryn. He was consistent throughout and was rewarded with good points.
I was hoping for more but in the race I realised that I wasn’t able to truly show my speed, and several riders overtook me in the early stages. After that I was able to settle into a good rhythm and I felt okay with the bike until the end. It’s a top-ten though so it isn’t too bad; I’m satisfied with that. Tomorrow we have the test here and we’re just planning to get on track with some new tyres, maybe look at small things with the brakes. I hope that at Sachsenring it will be better for us.
DNF (+9 laps)
We expected a lot more from the race today, because I had a good pace yesterday morning. I tried the hard tyre in FP4 and I felt good, I was fast after a few laps on them, so we decided to use the hard rear in the race. Unfortunately, from the first lap, I didn’t have the grip I expected on the rear and I lost time each time. In the end I had some vibration and crashed in Turn 10. It’s a great shame and something we need to understand. Tomorrow we have a test here, I think we will try the medium tyre, to understand the feeling it gives, and there might be some other things we test as well.
ALEIX BATTLES IN THE LEADING GROUP BUT CRASHES OUT
PRUDENT RACE AND A POINT FOR LORENZO SAVADORI
After a weekend of ups and downs with a few difficulties but also the signs of growth that we have by now come to expect, Aleix Espargarò’s race had started with high hopes. Battling in the podium zone from the start, skilfully fending of the attacks of his adversaries, and maintaining his composure just in case, the hometown rider was taking full advantage of the rear tyre choice and a change made to the settings after warmup.
However, his extremely aggressive braking caused some problems for the front until the decisive crash on turn 10 that brought his race to an early end. The glass is half full, though, allowing for optimism on tracks that are more favourable to him and his Aprilia.
Lorenzo Savadori, on the other hand, struggled more with a less-than-perfect setup on this track characterised by grip that is precarious, to say the least. His lack of experience in the category certainly had an impact, keeping him and his team from being fully ready for race day on Sunday. Skilfully maintaining his focus, Lorenzo is still leaving Montmelò with a championship point.
“I think the soft rear tyre was the right choice for today, partly because, with the medium in warmup, I didn’t feel at all good. In the race I was able to be competitive. I lost a bit of time with Marc and when Maverick overtook me, but other than that things were going as expected. Unfortunately, on this track, with poor grip, it is hard to exploit the Aprilia’s speed on the turns, whereas the bikes that accelerate well on the straights have it easier. Pushing hard on the braking sections to make up lost ground, the front tyre temperature rose a bit and when I stressed it on turn 10 I crashed. I’m disappointed with the end result and I apologise to my crew for that, but I’m not disappointed with the overall performance. On this track where we struggle, it was still an encouraging weekend.”
“Unfortunately, we were unable to figure out the tyre and setup situation this weekend, so we were a bit unprepared for the race. At the beginning I managed to stay with the group, but from the seventeenth lap on, the drop in performance was clear and I was just trying not to make any mistakes in the finale. It’s all part of the experience. We’ll just have to do better in the upcoming races.”
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team had high hopes for a podium at the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya. Fabio Quartararo put up a strong fight and held on to third place in the race, despite unexpected circumstances concerning his rider gear. However, the incident did make him take a shortcut. Race Direction accordingly gave him a 3-second penalty, that put him in fourth place. Maverick Viñales had a brave ride, setting similar lap times to the frontrunners, and finished in sixth place.
Quartararo started well from pole and emerged through the first corners in third place. He got into a hard fight. A mistake on lap 2 dropped him back to fifth and he lost another position to Johann Zarco, but that was only temporary. He was soon back into fifth position hunting down the leading quartet.
The Frenchman promptly closed the gap and started picking off the riders ahead of him one by one. With 18 laps to go, he was in second place and eager to chase down Miguel Oliveira, one second in front of him. The championship leader knew he had the pace with some clear space in front of him.
The number-20 rider had the bit between his teeth. Five laps later, he put his YZR-M1 in first place and tried to clear off, but Oliveira used the slipstream to retake the lead. Quartararo had to be clever, picking a strategy that would keep him firmly ahead. However, left-side tyre degradation and an unexpected situation with his rider gear spoiled his plans. He fell back to third. Still, El Diablo bravely soldiered on and managed to hold on to his position until the chequered flag. A 3-second penalty for taking a shortcut after running wide cost him a place on the podium, putting him fourth in the results.
Viñales managed the tricky opening stages well. He started from sixth on the grid and held seventh place after the first lap. The busy mid-pack meant that occasionally some fairing paint was exchanged. The Yamaha man lost a bit of momentum when hit by another rider, but he was good to continue in eighth place.
With Marc Marquez crashing out on lap 8, Top Gun moved up to seventh, and he was also making progress reeling in the rider ahead of him. With 14 laps to go, Viñales made his move on Aleix Espargaró, so he could try for a top-5 placement. Though he managed to close in on Joan Mir in fifth, the ride to the front had asked too much of his medium-medium tyres. He crossed the finish line in sixth place, 6.281s from first.
Today‘s results see Quartararo hold on to the lead in the championship standings with a 17-point advantage and a 118 points total. Viñales remains in sixth, with a 74 points total. Yamaha is still in first place in the Constructor championship with 145 points, and the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team is also in first place in the Team standings with 192 points.
Tomorrow the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Barcelona circuit for an official one-day IRTA test. The next MotoGP race weekend is scheduled to take place in two weeks‘ time, at the Sachsenring in Germany from 18th – 20th June 2021.
It’s a bit of a disappointing end to an otherwise good race weekend. We knew the final laps of the race would be decisive but, even though Fabio tried to manage the tyres as good as possible, we lost some performance on the left side. We don’t know what happened yet with Fabio, but regardless of what caused the situation, he showed what a fighter he is by hanging on to third place. The 3-second penalty moved him back to fourth, but that’s still a good result when an issue beyond our control happens. Maverick‘s result doesn‘t fully represent the positive momentum he gained this weekend. He fell back to eighth in the first laps, and that cost him some valuable time, but his mid-race pace was similar to that of the front group. Keeping in mind that he made a lot of changes this weekend, to be able to close in on the leading five riders is a positive sign of things to come. The team will have an official one-day IRTA test here tomorrow. After that we will enjoy a week of rest, before we start the next back-to-back race weekends in Germany and The Netherlands respectively in two weeks‘ time.
Unfortunately I can‘t explain what happened yet, we are still looking into it. It‘s a bit disappointing but, anyway, we can still be satisfied with our race, because I feel like I gave it 100%. I‘m happy because our pace was fast all weekend. In the race I didn‘t feel that good. We had a moment in Turn 7. I went wide, then retook the lead, and then had an issue. But getting fourth on a bad day is actually quite good.
I‘m happy. It‘s been a very positive race. For sure, when you start there, from the second row, it‘s difficult. You are fighting with everyone, and I just lost too much time. On the first lap I lost 3-4 seconds, which is what we missed to be at the front. But at the end of the day, I think we were riding fast. In the middle of the race we had a good pace, and I was managing the tyres quite well, but then I arrived behind Mir. I couldn‘t overtake and I was too slow. Anyway, this weekend has been positive. It has given us a lot of motivation and concentration for tomorrow‘s test.
The challenging mix of curves and speed presented by the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya could not halt KTM’s impressive march in MotoGP as Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Miguel Oliveira triumphed in style for round seven of the series.
– Oliveira leads 21 of 24 laps for a maiden victory in 2021
– The Portuguese earns his third GP win in two seasons and first in Red Bull KTM Factory Racing colors. Oliveira follows a 2nd place in Italy with 1st in Spain
– 8th place finish for Brad Binder
Created in 1992 and now three decades hosting a MotoGP Grand Prix, the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya is a popular venue for track day activity and the Catalan asphalt was slick, bumpy and difficult for teams to judge in terms of grip and tire abrasion.
Cloudy skies covered the event that saw race fans welcomed back to the grandstands with a limited attendance at the site a short distance north of the city of Barcelona. Temperatures hovered at 25 degrees as the MotoGP KTM quartet pondered between Medium and Hard tire options for the 24-lap chase.
Starting from the top of the second row it was Oliveira’s RC16 that made the strongest jump away from the grid. The Portuguese slotted into 2nd place and then the lead by the start of the second circulation. Oliveira set the pace from the front while running a Hard-Hard tire combination but also expertly managed his grip to deflect the attention from Fabio Quartararo and then Johann Zarco to earn the full 25 points; pulling 45 from a possible 50 in the last two meetings.
Brad Binder rode just inside the top ten and had a close fight with Pecco Bagnaia. The South African lost out in the chase to 7th place but by just two tenths of a second. Iker Lecuona fell out of 9th position with just seven laps remaining when tumbled at Turn 13 while teammate Danilo Petrucci crashed out at Turn 9 in the first quarter of the race.
Oliveira is now 7th in the world championship points table with Binder in 9th and 11 adrift from his teammate. A one-day IRTA test on Monday will follow the Grand Prix in Barcelona.
Round eight of nineteen will see MotoGP venture into the tight twist of turns that is the Sachsenring in Germany and another circuit that missed the limited 2020 calendar. The Liqui Moly Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland will take place on June 18-20.
Miguel Oliveira: “This is almost hard to put into words. I had one of the best races of my career so far. Everything was so hard; the tire management and keeping my cool when Fabio was putting pressure on me for so many laps. I really kept cool when he overtook me and took my chance on the straight to get him back. It was a perfect race, and I cannot thank the Red Bull KTM guys enough for giving me a perfect machine to get back here to the top of the podium. I also want to thank the fans. Everything has been amazing, having the public here and getting back to normal.”
Brad Binder: “It was a really tough race. I didn’t get the best of starts because someone hit me in Turn 2 and I lost a few positions. I tried to fight my way through but I was really struggling to get out of the corners. I was catching the group in front of me but then with three laps to go my rear tire was finished and it was like my speed fell off a cliff: it was impossible to keep going forward. I would have liked to have done a lot better than eighth place because I felt we had the potential, but I struggled with that rear traction today.”
Iker Lecuona: “I think the end of the weekend didn’t reflect our potential. Before the crash, I had a very good race. I kept the gap to [Franco] Morbidelli and I tried not to lose too much time to the front guys. I felt quite good but I made a mistake in turn 13 and lost the front. We have been working very hard so I need to say thanks to my crew and also the guys from Danilo’s side, who helped to fix my both bikes from yesterday. Thanks to the team and sorry for the crash. For sure, we learned a lot, we are very competitive and on the way to the top. Tomorrow in the test, we will continue to work in order to improve.”
Danilo Petrucci: “We knew this could be a difficult racebut mainly for the straight, which is the trickiest part for us. The first laps, I was not holding the slipstream of the others there, so I really struggled to stay in contact. On the rest of the track, I felt quite ok. I overtook Valentino [Rossi] in turn four and tried to catch Marc, but I lost the front without any warning and crashed. I didn’t expect this at all. I’m disappointed and very sorry for the team.”
Mike Leitner, Red Bull KTM Race Manager: “The emotions are very high! Today shows that the KTM MotoGP project is heading in a great direction. Miguel rode an outstanding race. What a performance. There was not a single mistake through the whole distance and at a difficult track. Brad also had a great race even if he is not too happy but these types of races make riders strong. The Moto2 project is also going really well and it’s so nice to watch. I have to say a big thank you to all the KTM people both at the track and at home in Mattighofen. We have to keep pushing because we can see the progress we make. The race team have been fantastic. The start of the season was not so easy for us but nobody lost belief. We have all kept strong and this is also an achievement.”
Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “This is why we go racing. The level of competition on the track and in the pitboxes in MotoGP is so high and to have days like today give enormous pride to the company and everyone wearing an orange shirt. We kept believing, kept working and kept pushing. We have such a strong team of guys and experts and that’s what you need to succeed. This is the perfect motivation for us for really open the gas fully for the rest of the season.”
JOAN MIR BRINGS HOME HARD-FOUGHT FIFTH IN CATALUNYA
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 6.
GRAN PREMI MONSTER ENERGY DE CATALUNYA
MotoGP™ Race Classification:
Joan Mir: 5th
The seventh round of the MotoGP™ World Championship saw a battle of tyre choice, high temperatures and high attrition.
Suzuki’s sole representative for the weekend, Joan Mir, got an impressive start from his 10th place grid spot, going eighth, before very quickly carving through to fourth on the first lap. On the following lap he had made his way into a strong third, which he defended very well against attacks from his rivals. He then briefly moved in a super second place, but on Lap 7 he found himself back in third.
As the race wore on, tyre choice became the dividing factor between the field and Mir began to struggle with his medium-medium compounds, especially on the rear of the bike. Despite this, he stayed focused under pressure from the Ducati pairing of Zarco and Miller behind him, holding them off until Lap 16. After that he switched his attention to bringing home the best possible finish; in the closing laps he saw off a chasing Maverick Viñales to achieve a very useful fifth place finish. With this result he also maintains fifth in the Championship standings.
Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader and Team Director:
“In spite of only getting 10th on the grid yesterday, as usual Joan made a good start and recovered positions very quickly to get up to the front. Due to the tyre choice and maybe a few other factors, Joan couldn’t keep hold of a podium position, but 5th is still a nice result and it’s very important for the championship, so we’re feeling pleased. There are still a lot of races left this season, it’s a very long championship, so we will work to improve and continue getting strong results. I’ve realised this weekend how important it is to have two riders in the box, for comparisons and for judging the situation, but hopefully Alex will come back for the next race. Anyway, overall, this Top 5 result from Joan has been important for us.”
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“Today we couldn’t replicate last year’s race where we managed a double podium, but last year we had the advantage of better tyre longevity. This time around we couldn’t manage the same durability of the tyres, and this is a pity and a shame for Joan. However, Joan did a very good job to hold onto a Top 5 finish in this difficult race. We will continue pushing and developing, we also have a test here tomorrow which could be useful. So now we’ll be turning our focus towards the next races and trying to build on our championship points. Hopefully at the next round in Sachsenring Alex will be able to rejoin the team and begin riding again.”
“We didn’t make the right decision with the tyres today, I switched to the medium-medium on the grid and then I had to battle against the rear spinning and it was a struggle, especially in the last part of the race. It’s a shame because I felt I had podium pace, but in the end I still achieved 5th place which isn’t bad. I tried my best to manage the situation and stay on the bike. The first four riders in the race had the hard rear tyre and it seems that was the better choice, but we will learn from this mistake – both me as a rider and the team too. Tomorrow we will try a few things and let’s see if there’s something that can help us in the future.”