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Andrea Dovizioso takes his second win in a row one week after Mugello, this time in the Catalan GP at Montmelò. The Italian is now just seven points away from the lead of the championship. Jorge Lorenzo crosses the line in fourth place
Andrea Dovizioso scored his second GP win in seven days with another superb performance in the Catalan Grand Prix. Just one week after winning the Italian GP at Mugello, the Ducati Team rider powered to victory, for the fourth time in the premier class, in front of almost 100,000 spectators at the Montmelò circuit outside Barcelona.
Starting off well from row 3, Dovizioso crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in third, and he moved up to second on lap 8 after passing his team-mate Lorenzo and then Marquez. Andrea hounded Pedrosa until lap 17, when he attacked his Spanish rival to take the lead, which he maintained until the chequered flag and finishing with a gap of more than three and a half seconds over Marquez.
Jorge Lorenzo was also on great form today, the Spanish rider taking the lead almost immediately from the front row after qualifying second. The man from Majorca stayed up at the front for five laps, before losing a few places and slipping down to eighth. He then began a storming recovery that took him back up to fourth place with four laps remaining and he crossed the line in the same position.
In the overall standings, Andrea Dovizioso confirmed his second place but he has closed the gap on leader Viñales to just seven points, while Lorenzo lies seventh with 59 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1st
“I’m so happy but also a bit surprised by this win! I had a great feeling before the start because I knew that we could be very competitive, not because we were the fastest out there on the track, but because yesterday we worked well to prepare for the race. It was a strategic race more than anything else and we were good at interpreting the limits of the track and the tyres. The track was very difficult and all the riders had problems with grip, which dropped off a lot and so we concentrated on administering tyre consumption and on consistency, and this decision paid off. In the race I was able to be very fast without pushing hard when I found myself behind Pedrosa and this helped me a lot in the last ten laps, when I passed him and then pulled out a small gap over the two Hondas. I can truly say that today we were on really great form!”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 4th
“This second win in a row for Ducati is another fantastic result for the team. As for me, it’s the first time that I have finished the race less than ten seconds away from the winner, as well as being the first time that I have started from the front row and have been in the lead for a few laps: this means that we are constantly improving. Pity that today I lost a bit of pace from lap 6 onwards and I was passed under braking a few times, losing a lot of time at the mid-race point when my pace was slower than the leading group’s, but towards the end I managed to gain a few places to finish the GP in fourth. Now we have to continue to work to be more consistent in the race and try and improve soon on my third place at Jerez.”
Claudio Domenicali (CEO of Ducati Motor Holding)
“Being on the top step of the podium once again, just one week after our extraordinary win at Mugello, confirms that we have been working really well and so we don’t only feel the thrills of the win, but also the determination that pushes us on to do even better. Once again I want to thank all the men and women who work in Ducati Corse and everyone who supports us and spurs us on, including our fans, because now we are much closer to first place in the championship. Until a few months ago all this would have been unthinkable and so it has been vitally important to keep a cool head even in the difficult moments we have gone through!”
Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
“Today we have obtained another magnificent result just seven days after our splendid win at Mugello! We knew that the Montmelò track was a tough one for us: last year we suffered a lot and it was for this reason that recently we did two days’ testing which surely helped, seeing as here our bikes were in good shape, even those of our satellite teams. Andrea rode intelligently and did a really great race, but also Jorge finished the GP well in fourth after a great start. I’m really very happy, and I want to thank everyone in Ducati Corse for their great commitment!”
Michelin saw its tyres power Andrea Dovizioso to his second MotoGP™ victory in a week as the Italian rode to success during today’s Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya from Montmelo in Spain.
Starting from seventh on the grid Dovizioso (Ducati Team) got away with the leaders as pole-setter Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) led into the first corner. Pedrosa was passed on the opening lap by Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), a position the Spaniard held for five laps before succumbing to reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), who in turn surrendered the lead to his team-mate Pedrosa on lap-eight. Pedrosa held the advantage for nine-laps before Dovizioso overtook him on the home-straight, leaving the Italian to take his second victory in consecutive weekends.
This weekend’s proceedings have been dominated by the condition of the Montmelo track with grip a premium for all concerned. The MICHELIN Power Slick tyres had to work hard all weekend to extract the optimum performance from the smooth surface and today’s race – which saw the circuit revert to last season’s 4,655m layout after the riders expressed safety concerns on Friday evening about the new chicane and these views were upheld by the organisers – was no exception. Despite the lack of adhesion, the tyres still performed well and the lap-record was beaten in the race, as Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) set a new best-time of 1’45.969 on lap-three. Dovizioso also used his tyres to produce a personal race-time that was over 38-seconds quicker than his 2016 time, as he also narrowly missed the race-duration record in the process. The medium and hard front and rear compound slick tyres were the choice of all the riders – albeit in differing configurations – in the extremely demanding and hot conditions. As track temperature reached over 55°C during the race the durability of the tyres responded well to this challenge as the robustness of the latest tyres were put through an exhausting analysis throughout the 25 challenging laps.
Following Dovizioso home was Marquez in second with Pedrosa third to fill the podium places. Lorenzo took fourth, with Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) again performing well in his first season and continuing to challenge the Factory riders as he secured the First Independent Rider award by finishing fifth, just in-front of his team-mate Folger. Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) was seventh, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) coming home in eighth ahead of the Ducati of Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing). The final top-10 place went to current World Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), as he retained his lead in the title chase, but now with a reduced margin ahead of Dovizioso.
Michelin and the MotoGP field will now remain at Montmelo for a day of testing tomorrow, before heading to the north of Europe and the Dutch TT at Assen in The Netherlands, a race that will take place at the historic track on Sunday 25th June.
Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team:
“The track was very difficult, there were lots of bumps and the grip from it was completely zero. It was difficult for everyone to manage the tyres and get the best from them. The drop in the tyres was there, but that was the key for us as we understood very well what we had to do and we managed it better than the competitor. My bike worked well today with the Michelins and we managed the tyres in the best way. “
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“With how difficult the track has been to manage this weekend we are pleased with the results from today’s race. We had a new lap-record, narrowly missed the duration record and the tyres again showed their durability in very demanding situations. To have 55°C on the ground and very little grip due the bad condition of the circuit and produce these results is testament to the resilience of the tyres. If we had foreseen how hot it would be or how the track had degraded – even since the test here – then our allocation might have been different, but the teams adapted well and we saw three manufacturers in the top-five and several overtaking manoeuvres, which is always exciting for the fans. It was also quite clear that the importance of testing at a circuit before an event can be vital to set-up and understanding performance. We now have a test here before moving to Assen, which I’m sure will be another exciting event.”
Double podium for Repsol Honda Team in Catalunya
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa scored the Repsol Honda Team’s third double-podium finish this season by finishing in second and third position, respectively, in scorching-hot conditions in Catalunya. It was a very positive result that allowed Marc and Dani to move up in the Championship standings to third and fourth, just 23 and 27 points off the top.
With air temperature at 33° C and a track temperature of 54° C, conditions were very tough on tyres. Both Marc and Dani got off well at the start and rode at the front for the entire race. Marc took the lead on lap six before being passed by his teammate and Dovizioso on lap eight. Dani led for a further nine laps before being passed by the Italian, who ultimately went on to win the race.
Marc moved to second on lap 18 and pushed hard to try and stay close to the leader, but like his teammate, finally settled to keep his hard-earned podium finish, which brought his career tally to the symbolic total of 93.
The Repsol Honda Team will remain in Catalunya tomorrow for a one-day test.
“I’m really happy with how this weekend ended because with five crashes, four yesterday and one this morning, the situation was quite tough mentally. Anyway, my team helped me a lot to regain confidence in myself and in the bike. Before the race I said to myself that I was the same Marc as last year and that my style is to always keep pushing and never give up, something I think makes the difference sometimes. So I started the race with victory as a target. At the start I was really lucky when Petrucci hit me, as the contact was completely lateral; otherwise it would have been a disaster. From then on I tried to remain focused and calm and when I finally passed Dani for second place, I tried to push to close on Dovi. In a couple of laps I realized that I couldn’t, that today was Dovi’s day, so I settled for second. The Championship is kind of a rollercoaster so we don’t really know what to expect from race to race. We must only think about ourselves, keep the concentration high, and try and give 100%.”
“I’m happy with today, as a podium finish is always nice considering how tough is to get one in MotoGP these days. Last week we had a terrible race, whereas here we took pole and made the podium in front of my home crowd, which was just amazing. To be honest, we expected to be a bit better but conditions were very difficult for the tyres the whole weekend, and also today the grip wasn’t very good. I tried to lead the race, to stay on front, but I could see Dovi coming on the straight, cutting the gas to not get too close, saving the tyres a little bit better than me. I tried to save them all the way, but I just couldn’t do it enough. In the end I realized it was more worth it to stay on the bike and get some good points. We had chosen the medium rear for the race and at the end it was on the limit, but I still think it was a better choice than a hard-hard combination. A rider’s choice is more a matter of feeling than being strictly related to performance or durability. It was difficult, but we managed to get on the podium and this is great. We look forward to the test tomorrow, to take some additional steps, improve the feeling on the front, and work to be more consistent. The Championship is open, and we must be more consistent every weekend.”
CRUTCHLOW IN THE POINTS IN CATALONIA
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow produced a battling performance to finish just outside the top ten in the Catalan Grand Prix on Sunday. It proved a largely frustrating weekend for the British rider who suffered three falls on Friday and Saturday, but he fought hard to ensure he came away with five points from the seventh round of this season’s MotoGP World Championship.
Crutchlow always faced an uphill task after qualifying in 17th place for Sunday’s showdown and was 18th fastest in the morning warm-up. But, despite further difficulties with his tyre choice, the 31-year-old demonstrated his ability and fighting spirit to make up six places over the course of the race, eventually finishing 11th just behind factory Yamaha rider – and championship leader – Maverick Viñales.
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso claimed victory at the Circuit de Barcelona, his second in a row after triumphing at Mugello last time out, with Honda factory pair Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa completing the podium.
Cal Crutchlow – 11th
“I survived and I managed to finish which is probably the main thing. It wasn’t the greatest day I’ve ever had on a motorcycle, but I was pleased enough having started in 17th. We had our issues in the race and we’ve had them all weekend but, as mad as it sounds, I was actually quite confident of going towards the podium today. I chose a hard tyre thinking that everybody else’s would drop, but ours wasn’t even good on the warm-up lap, so that made things so tough in the race.
“I think we managed well this weekend. We had the odds stacked against us after qualifying in 17th and making the mistakes we did. But Honda did a great job to get Marc (Marquez) and Dani (Pedrosa) on the podium, but it’s difficult when the Ducati bike is making up four tenths on Pedrosa in a straight line. We just have to continue to work hard, but it was a great job by Dovi (Andrea Dovizioso) and I’m really pleased for him.”
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ, AFTER A PERFECT WEEKEND, FORCED TO STOP IN THE RACE
ALBESIANO: “LOST CHANCE AFTER SHOWING GREAT COMPETITIVENESS”
It was a finale that does not do justice to the commitment and potential Aleix Espargaró and Aprilia demonstrated at Barcelona. The Spanish rider was forced to abandon his home race before the end, during the eighth lap, after starting rather well from the second row of the grid, a spot he had earned yesterday with an excellent fifth place time in qualifying. A technical problem which is currently being assessed stopped him, but it does not overshadow the good work done by Aprilia Racing Team Gresini throughout the recent championship rounds.
In particular, during the Spanish weekend Aleix and his RS-GP were consistently, and with a reassured naturalness, in the stop positions of every session.
Now the team is committed to continuing their work, also solving the inevitable problems that accompany development of the RS-GP project, completely new and still very young, but already capable of achieving an excellent competitive level. The round with the missing result has simply been postponed.
On the other hand, a poor feeling kept Sam Lowes from battling for the points zone, to which he had been close until a few laps from the end. The English rookie gathered a lot of experience in what may very well be the most complicated race of the season.
“I am very disappointed right now. We did a great job throughout the weekend and today we had the pace to make a play at least for the top-5, maybe even something more. I had a good start, but as early as the first laps I realized that performance was not the same as in warm up. Obviously, I kept going until the bike stopped. A technical problem has stopped us early in two races where we were competitive. It is not pleasant, but these things happen in racing.”
“I accumulated most of the gap behind the points zone today in the last 4 laps. Unfortunately, I no longer had the right feeling to push, whereas up to that point the sensations had been good. It was not an easy weekend for us from many points of view, but finishing a difficult race like today does a lot for my experience as a MotoGP rider.”
ROMANO ALBESIANO – APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“Unfortunately, we missed a chance today after demonstrating that we were consistently competitive throughout the weekend. We still do not know the extent of the problem that stopped Aleix. We are already working to fully understand the problem and adopt any technical counter measures needed.”
FAUSTO GRESINI – TEAM MANAGER
“It is a pity. It’s hard to say anything else. We had a practically perfect weekend and Aleix had the chance to aim for an extraordinary result. We are in a stage of tangible growth, but we are still not reaping what we deserve. We need to continue development. The RS-GP is still a work in progress and a hiccough or two are to be expected. It is only logical that in the heat of the moment this leaves a bitter taste in our mouth.”
KTM A STRONG FOURTH IN MOTO2 AT CATALANGP, MOTOGP TEAM LOOKS FORWARD TO 3-DAY-TEST
RACE 7th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya (ESP)
99,873 fans were at the Catalan MotoGP today to see Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliviera consolodate his fourth position in the Moto2 World Championship with a superbly tactical ride in 32 degree heat on a track that was a sizzling 54 degrees celcius. The ever close Moto3 race saw Marcos Ramirez 0.74 seconds off the win to be sixth over the line and the best KTM in the 32 rider field, while in the main MotoGP race it was just one KTM RC16 on the grid as Bradley Smith opted not to race after injuring his left little finger in qualifying yesterday. His former Moto2 World Champion team mate Pol Espargaro made a great start however cornering problems meant he finished just outside the points at a track where KTM hadn’t tested in the run up to this their debut season in the top class.
KTM Rally Raid and Dakar heroes Nani Roma and Marc Coma were trackside watching all three classes in temperatures similar to a Dakar stage that they won in Mauritania or Argentina. Enduro legend Jonny Walker was also supporting his KTM a Grand Prix team mates as he took time out from training for next weekend’s Erzberg Rodeo in Austria where he’ll be gunning for a fourth outright win.
The Circuit de Catalunya was going to be a tough weekend for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad due to the track not being in the test programme last year before the team’s debut in MotoGP this season, but the team worked extra hours researching set ups and data related to the new chassis that both riders now have in the garage. Although finishing just outside the points, Pol Espargaro raced hard today, gathering valuable data before an important three day test with the KTM RC16 here Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Bradley Smith didn’t ride today after injuring his little finger yesterday in qualifying, but all being well, looks set to be back in action in two weeks time in Assen, Holland.
Espargaro: “I think we struggled here more than we expected. We knew it was going to be hard because of the long corners and when we need to turn, we run into some problems, especially with this asphalt as it is quite old and the grip is so low. When we have less grip it’s a bit harder to turn, but to our advantage we have a three day test after this race here at Catalunya where we can improve the bike and try some new parts to try to work forward with this project.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “Pol was fighting to the end of today’s race in very difficult conditions out there. It was not easy at all, but the test we have over three days is very important for the engineers here and the team back at the factory in Austria. We have some ideas where we will be able to confirm some things as well as explore other avenues. There are parts already here being fitted on the bike for this test so I know we can find something. The main reason that Bradley did not ride here is because we wanted to have him back for the next race at Assen; there was just too much of a risk of infection if he’d have raced today, a risk we were not prepared to take. Bradley is missing from this test which is a big bit of bad luck for both of us but we will now split things up over the test slightly differently between Mika (Kallio) and Pol.”
Miguel Oliveira, already a three time podium man in Red Bull KTM’s first season of Moto2, rode an excellent race today to bolster his fourth position in the Championship standings now the season is a third in. In his 100th Grand Prix, Miguel backed up the fifth he made last weekend at Mugello by being within one second of a taste of champagne on the podium. It was superb ride on a baking hot day. Team mate Brad Binder rode equally as hard as he recovers with more and more laps with his improving-from-injury left arm. Both riders will remain here in Barcelona for two days of testing with their KTM Moto2 bike on Tuesday and Wednesday as more upgrades and parts will be tried on the KTM.
Oliveira: “It was quite a difficult race. In fact, practically until just before the warm-up we didn’t know which tyres we were going to run. It was a gamble, although we opted for the option that most riders used. It was tough, because we never had grip, right from the beginning. It seems that only Alex Marquez found a way to get the bike going well all weekend, and he did a great job. We have taken a lot of valuable information and now we have two days of testing that will be of much help.”
With the track temperature at 11am already 45 degrees celcius, it gave the Moto3 riders some of the hardest conditions seen at a European race in recent years, but it was Spaniard Marcos Ramirez who headed the KTM charge over the line as part of the leading group, taking sixth place. Magnificent Mugello winner Andrea Migno was eighth as part of the six KTM RC250 GPs scoring points with Niccolo Antonelli and Bo Bendsneyder eleventh and fiftheen over the line. As with the other Red Bull KTM teams, the Moto3 team will stay on to further test on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Aki Ajo (Team Manager Moto3): “It’s been a positive weekend. Mugello was not easy, but after some changes to the bike and working with the riders I see some progress. Niccolo (Antonelli) has worked consistently throughout the weekend and had a good race. The final position for him was not the best, but he remained quite close to the winner and that reflects a step forward. We will try to give more in the coming races. Bo (Bendsneyder), unfortunately, did not have a good race, although at the end he was able to improve a little. I think that in the next race in Holland, his home GP, things will be much better for him. Now it’s time to focus on two days of testing here, in which we will try everything possible to keep improving.”
Next Race: June 25, 2017 – TT Circuit Assen (NED)
Montmeló (Spain), 11th June 2017
A slippery Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya race resulted in valuable championship points for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team‘s Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, after a challenging weekend at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Rossi had a good opening lap, moving up one place to twelfth but had to give back the place as he got into a fight with Johann Zarco. The Doctor progressed to tenth by passing Scott Redding and making a brilliant move at the start of lap 4, overtaking Jack Miller and Hector Barbera at the same time.
Having breached into the top-10, the Italian set a personal best lap in his attempt to cut through the field. Finding himself behind Zarco on lap 5, he put his head down and overtook the fellow Yamaha rider less than a lap later. With Aleix Espargaró retiring from the race, Rossi was lying in eighth, but a mistake on lap 10 saw him move back behind Zarco.
Rossi was eager to follow the Frenchman past Jorge Lorenzo and Alvaro Bautista, but suffered a sudden tyre drop and was unable to keep in touch with the battle for sixth. A late crash by Danilo Petrucci saw him cross the line in eighth place, 20.821s from the front.
It was a lonely ride for teammate Viñales during the Catalan Grand Prix: his solid efforts today were overshadowed by a lack of grip. He started the race cautiously from ninth on the grid to slot into 16th position after the first couple of corners. Though unable to get a good feeling in the opening laps, he moved up one position and defended it from the pursuing riders.
As Espargaró retired from the race, the number 25 rider advanced to 14th place. Three laps later he felt his tyres come to him and was ready to start his attack, followed soon by an overtake on Redding on lap 12.
With Miller crashing out and slipping past Cal Crutchlow on lap 20, the Factory Yamaha rider saw a possible top10 finish in his future and put his head down. He overtook Barbera with 4 laps to go for tenth, and briefly rode in ninth position when Petrucci ended his race prematurely, but a last lap fight again with Barbera had Viñales take the chequered flag in tenth position, 24.189s from first, scoring six vital points for the championship.
Rossi‘s eighth place earned him eight points, making 83 in total, which puts him in fifth place in the standings, 28 points behind his teammate, who leads the championship by 7 points. The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team also hold the lead in the team standings by 22 points, whilst Yamaha remains the top manufacturer in the Constructor’s Championship by a 14-point margin.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back at the Barcelona track tomorrow for a one-day Official IRTA Test.
We expected today‘s race to be particularly challenging for us, as we encountered some difficulties in all practice sessions. We knew that under such circumstances like today – hot weather and low-grip asphalt – our bike is not as competitive as we‘ve seen it in other races. Eighth and tenth is not exactly what we were aiming for, but they‘re valuable points for the championship and now we put this race in our archive and focus on the next races. It‘s good that we are staying in Montmeló for tomorrow‘s test, so we‘ll be in the position to get immediate feedback about the new materials our engineers have developed. They‘ve brought two new frames with the aim to improve the performance of the bike in situations like today‘s and we will be back soon on the highest step of the podium.
I was really sad today, because I won here last year and also it is one of my favourite tracks. We knew it was going to be a difficult weekend, as we had some problems during the practice sessions due to the temperature of the asphalt and the level of grip. The race today wasn‘t positive, but I did my best to take as many points for the championship as possible. Tomorrow we will have an important test, where we will try many things, so this is positive. I hope that for the next two back-to-back races we will be able to return to the front.
It was a really difficult day, but there are some days that you just have to get the points and that‘s what we did. Tenth place was the best we could do, for sure that‘s not our normal placement, but for today that was the best and we have to be happy with the six points we took today and at least we are still first in the championship. We will continue to work hard to get a better result in the next races.