These just in from the scene:
Keep ’em coming! Sunday stages another stunner as Bagnaia vs Binder goes to the wire
Ducati and KTM test the limits of awesomeness in Jerez, with some sideways poetry, pitch perfect defence and a dash of chaos for some big names
Sunday, 30 April 2023
Two KTMS, one Ducati, and one hell of a race. Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) pounced in style to deny Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) the spoils at the Gran Premio Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España, but it went right to the wire – and was far from a two-man show. Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was right up in the mix as the podium battle tested out the adage rubbing is racing, but the Australian said it himself: “I love this so much.” And so do we!
It wasn’t without a dash of chaos, drama and, for some, bad luck, however, with former points leader Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) losing that moniker as he slid out. And before the race – that counts – even got going, the first start was Red Flagged after a crash for Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Miguel Oliveira (CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP™ Team), with Bezzecchi also “involved”, or rather the rider just to the inside of both. The Portuguese rider was a completely innocent party as he got caught up on the outside, and suffered a dislocated shoulder since treated at the Medical Centre. Quartararo? For the team he was certainly innocent of anything more than racing and running out of space. For the FIM MotoGP™ Stewards the Frenchman deserved a Long Lap…
He was fine to restart though, and as it had been on take one, take two was another KTM show from lights out as they slotted into a 1-2, with Binder leading Miller as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) slotting into third. Polesitter Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) lost out once again, with Bagnaia also past and into fourth, and he didn’t waste time attacking Martin either. A stylish swoop around Martin at Pedrosa corner and he was through.
It didn’t take long for Miller to decide he was heading through either, sliding down the inside of teammate Binder at the final corner on his mission for Sunday glory. The KTMs then got the hammer down in tandem too, starting to pull away, before Binder returned the favour and Bagnaia set the fastest lap so far to start reeling them in.
Once on the scene, Bagnaia wasted no time in getting past the Aussie, putting his factory Ducati in the tiniest of gaps at Pedrosa corner to sit up the KTM and making a little contact in the process. He raised his had to apologise, Miller raised his to say pfff. The number 43 was then under attack from Martin as well, but snapped straight back at the final corner. That pushed the Pramac well well wide, but no contact there as he slotted back in just behind Aleix Espargaro into fifth…
One lap later, and more penalty drama. Bagnaia was forced to drop one position after that earlier contact though, and the Italian dropped anchor to let Miller back past. It was a KTM one-two once again, but Martin soon got back past Aleix Espargaro to start bothering Miller again.
Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) then crashed out from behind Martin, joining earlier faller Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) as a DNF. And Bezzecchi was just about to join them, the Italian sliding out at Pedrosa, rider ok but ceding that points lead.
Back at the front, Binder was now six tenths ahead of Bagnaia, but as the final few laps dawned the Ducati was gaining, gaining and gaining. At the final corner with four to go, Pecco pounced to perfection and headed over the line with three to go in the lead. Could Binder respond?
At first it seemed like a no, but the number 33 dragged the speed from somewhere. He closed back in, and by the final lap it looked plausible if not likely that Binder would get close enough. By the final sector it looked like one motorcycle in the lead, and the last Lorenzo corner was coming.
The stage was set for a lunge, but Bagnaia was having none of it. The reigning Champion was incredibly strong on the brakes and shut the door to perfection, leaving Binder to have a brief look but find no way through. Split by just two tenths over the line, it was fitting it went to the wire after a stunning race.
Miller took third place and that’s now premier class podiums with three different bikes, as well as his first GP rostrum visit with KTM. Martin takes fourth place and was fuming at the Australian for his move, and Aleix Espargaro completed the top five.
Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) took sixth in a close, close finish with KTM wildcard and MotoGP™ Legend Dani Pedrosa (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). The number 26 was thousandths off but took another top ten after an incredible weekend on his return to competition. Behind them, Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) took eighth ahead of Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). One bit of late drama saw Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) lose out on that as a technical problem caused him a last lap DNF.
On Quartararo watch, the Frenchman was classified tenth after even more drama. He made progress, did the Long Lap but actually didn’t quite stay in the lines, and then had to do another Long Lap. So the comeback into the top ten was something to write home about. Will we see Yamaha make a statement about the penalty as they did after Assen last season? It seems a story likely to roll on.
With the Championship plot ever-changing in MotoGP™, there’s no telling what the next chapter holds as the paddock moves to the SHARK Grand Prix de France on the 12th – 14th of May. It’s no ordinary race weekend either: it’s the 1000th Grand Prix in history. Home heroes Quartararo and Zarco may have had different ideas of how they’d want to arrive into the weekend, but anything can happen – we’ve already had 10 riders on the GP podium this season and they’re both among them. It’s a date with destiny and history, and you don’t want to miss it!
MotoGP™ RACE RESULTS
PECCO BAGNAIA: “I’m really happy, sincerely. The progress we made this weekend is the best we’ve ever had. Friday I was in quite a bit of trouble with the front feeling, yesterday was better but today was unbelievable, my team did another step. I was looking at the bike yesterday and I saw something, we tried it, and everything was perfect today. We managed the tyres perfectly and finally we won in difficult conditions after two 0s. I was trying to understand if it was possible or not, and then to finish first… just want to say thanks to my team because they did an incredible job.”
BRAD BINDER: “It’s fantastic to finish a main race again! The last two I messed up! So happy to have got a solid podium, it was nice to be out front and lead the race. I kept seeing a little gap and thought I got the job done and said I had better make sure I don’t mess up the edge of my tyre, but I think I cooked it with three or four to go. It is what it is, last lap I managed my quickest lap of the race trying to get past Pecco. Hats off to him, he did a fantastic job today and he got me in the end. Huge thanks to my team and to everybody for all the support and we try again next time.”
JACK MILLER: “I had to work for that one! It was a long race and again today with the red flag I had to come back and regroup and do the same again but we got away to a good start. I was suffering a little bit there, as I assume most of the boys were with the right hand edge on the front, especially in the faster corners. I don’t know what happened, but I started putting in really fast laps near the end of the race. I was thinking that was a good lap but I wasn’t closing them down so I knew they were doing the same! Brad rode awesome, Pecco rode awesome. Some nice clean fun racing. Super happy to be a part of it and of course stoked to be up here on the podium with KTM for the first time. It’s an amazing feeling. A lot of us people doubted us at the beginning of this one but we are here already and hopefully we can stay.”
A little more on silencing those critics:
“I’m having a ball. I love this stuff, I love it so much. A lot of guys in this championship sit there and complain about the bike they’re on, how other bikes are better, and so on. If you really want it, go out and do it. It’s not hard. I wasn’t going to stick around where I was, I wasn’t feeling comfortable there and I wanted a new challenge. It’s called taking a risk on yourself, people in business do it all the time. If you trust in yourself enough, yeah it can come back to bite you on the arse, but I trust myself enough, and my ability and the people around me I have working with me. We took a risk and it feels mega when it comes off. I can’t thank first and foremost KTM for giving me this opportunity enough, and thank you to the people who doubt us. I love it. To be back on the podium, not just me but both bikes on the podium after so many riders last year were sitting there complaining how bad this bike was… Ha. Where is it now?”
Pecco Bagnaia notches up extraordinary victory in Spanish GP at Jerez de la Frontera
Pecco Bagnaia took another extraordinary victory in the MotoGP Spanish GP, held this afternoon at the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto. The Ducati Lenovo Team rider did an impeccable race at the Andalusian track, which led him to score his thirteenth success in MotoGP and his second of the season.
As had happened in yesterday’s Sprint race, today’s GP was interrupted shortly after the start due to a crash and restarted after a few minutes. Starting with the fifth fastest time, Pecco managed to move up to third immediately and subsequently overtook Jack Miller (KTM Factory Racing). But then he had to give up his position to the Australian rider due to a questionable race direction decision that deemed his overtaking manoeuvre unfair, even though there was no contact between the two riders.
However, Bagnaia maintained concentration and managed to catch Miller again and then reduce the gap to Brad Binder. With a few laps to go, the rider from Chivasso caught up with the South African rider, passing him with five laps to go. Thanks to today’s success, Bagnaia returns to the top of the overall standings with a 22-point lead over fellow Ducati rider Bezzecchi (VR46 Racing Team). Ducati remains at the top of the constructors’ standings, while the Ducati Lenovo Team is fourth in the teams’ standings.
Francesco Bagnaia (#1, Ducati Lenovo Team) – 1st
“Considering how the weekend had started, this may be my best win in MotoGP. The tussle was really incredible, and I had a lot of fun. We learned a lot from this GP, and it can help us grow as a team. Friday was a difficult day, but my team did an incredible job of allowing me to regain a good feeling with the bike. They understood my requests well, and today, thanks to the latest changes on the Desmosedici GP, we were able to win. Doing it here was really special, given the great warmth of the fans, so I’m thrilled.”
Luigi Dall’Igna (General Manager of Ducati Corse)
“All of Pecco’s victories are beautiful, but this one is perhaps even more so! After the crashes in the last two GPs, we needed a race like this! We had a tough start to the week, but we turned things around together, taking one last step forward today that allowed us to compete in the race. I am very pleased with the work done by the whole team, and congratulations again to Pecco for handling today’s race like a true champion.”
The Ducati Lenovo Team will remain in Jerez to face a day of post-race official testing at the Andalusian track tomorrow.
Lecuona closes in on points as Mir falls from forgettable Spanish GP
An arduous weekend in Jerez came to an end for the Repsol Honda Team with Iker Lecuona delighted at his steady growth while Joan Mir focuses on Monday’s Test.
The atmosphere was electric as the hills around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto were filled with fans from the early hours. With close to 80,000 fans in attendance, the scene was set for a thrilling Spanish Grand Prix as the MotoGP World Championship returned to Europe. Slightly cooler temperatures and the building of rain clouds in the distance saw some last-minute changes as the field headed out to the grid for the 25-lap race.
Another Turn 2 crash on the opening lap caused the red flag to come out and both Joan Mir and Iker Lecuona were sent back to the garage. As on Saturday, the pair handled the pressure without fault and recreated their strong stars.
Lecuona’s first full length MotoGP race with the Repsol Honda Team was a memorable one as he immediately got past former podium finisher Jonas Folger and worked to stay with HRC Test Rider Stefan Bradl. Keeping calm and managing his tyres until the end, the Honda WorldSBK rider finished in 16th – just on the edge of the points as several riders ahead made mistakes in the tricky conditions. Two race finishes from two starts this weekend is an ideal result for the 23-year-old after his last-minute call to replace Marc Marquez. Both Lecuona and the Repsol Honda Team leave the weekend content with his performance.
A complicated weekend for Joan Mir showed some promise early in the race as he made up a handful of places off the line. Slotting into the pack fighting for the top ten, Mir worked to stay in contention. Unfortunately, a fall on lap two at Turn 9 would end the double World Champion’s race – a dissapointing end to a complicated weekend. His and the team’s focus now shifts to the Monday Test where they will be looking to understand and solve all that went on this weekend.
“First of all I just want to say that this weekend was like a dream, to race the Spanish GP as an official factory MotoGP rider – and in the Repsol Honda Team, it’s a moment I have thought about since I was a kid. I need to say a massive thank you to HRC, Repsol and all of the crew here. Everyone worked so well and all of them helped me so much. Every time we got on the bike we went faster and felt better. In the race, for the first ten laps I was able to stay with the group but then I felt the front tyre drop a bit, I didn’t know how to manage it and I lost some time to the other riders. Then towards the end I understood more about the bike and the tyres and I was able to gain on Raul a lot. Maybe with half a lap more I could get him and get a point. I didn’t know there was a point on the table, but anyway it has been a great weekend and I am really happy. Thanks to everyone once again and now I get ready for the next WorldSBK weekend in Barcelona.”
“The hot temperatures of the weekend made everything more critical, we are still working to understand the bike and overcome some limits. When I try to push I feel like I arrive at the limit and I lose the front, it’s a combination of the bike and my style. Fortunately we have the test tomorrow to work on it and I think we can improve our base setting a bit tomorrow. Looking at what Honda was trying with Stefan this weekend, I think there are some things which will help us so I am optimistic for tomorrow. We are still in the early stages, just four races with this bike and we need to keep working to improve.”
More championship points for Fernandez as MotoGP™ hangs it out at Jerez
MotoGP 2023 – Round 4 of 20, Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto – Race
Augusto Fernandez aced MotoGP points again as the rookie captured 13th position at a warm but cloudy Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto for the Gran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España. GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 watched their rookie continue his rapid spell of learning and adaptation and exceed expectations. Team Jonas Folger classified 17th.
13th place for Fernandez in the first of three ‘home’ Grands Prix for GASGAS on the ’23 calendar
Jonas Folger grasps 17th position in his second competitive outing on the GASGAS RC16
Standout runner-up ride by David Alonso with a maiden podium finish in Moto3™
Augusto Fernandez and Jonas Folger showed the distinctive GASGAS red to native Spanish MotoGP fans for the first time this season and with a massive crowd at Jerez appreciative of the cooler climate, compared to the roasting conditions on Saturday. The Spanish Grand Prix, round four of twenty, ticked-off 24 laps and pushed tire preservation to the max as the riders looked for ways and means to overtake around the 4.4km, 13-turn narrow layout.
Fernandez was scraping elbows and fairings with Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli in the battle on the fringe of the top ten and once the race had been restarted in the wake of a first turn collision. Augusto maintains his line of points and improvement at the crucial time of the weekend by shining on Sunday. His 13th place ensured three more points to his total.
Jonas Folger completed his second Grand Prix distance since coming into the team for round three in the United States. The German was able to drop his lap-times and increase his comfort on the bike in the midst of the incredibly competitive class. Folger’s race time was 47 seconds behind the winner as he continues to find his edge in the thrust of MotoGP once again.
The red gets fast again in just 24 hours. The first one-day IRTA test means the bikes will stay unpacked at Jerez and the GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 crew will be trying new parts and setup solutions on Monday before thinking about round five at Le Mans for the SHARK Grand Prix de France in two weeks.
Augusto Fernandez, 13th: “Much better today. My pace was more competitive and I was in a more competitive group. Even my start was better. We made a big step and the top ten was not so far. The gap is getting smaller and now I am looking forward to the test tomorrow and working more on the GP bike. Just having that extra track time will be a big help because we miss that on the race weekends.”
Jonas Folger, 17th “We changed our engine mapping for the restart of the race and it helped me with better edge grip but I still ran into the same issue of losing some lap-time speed when the conditions get harder. It is tough for me to adapt and ride around those issues. We’ll use the test to try and understand what I can do and how the team can help me to take more potential out of the bike and the tires. A big thanks to the guys for the work this weekend. I’m happy.”
Nicolas Goyon, GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 Team Manager: “Another super-strong result for Augusto who managed to finish in the points for the fourth race in a row. He was under twenty seconds from the winner and this is also positive, and comparable with the time set by the Rookie of the Year at Jerez last year. He rides with his head and his talent and this is a nice reward for the team. Jonas struggled a bit in the heat but he finished the race and gathered some valuable experience and that was his target for the weekend. Thanks to the riders and the team: we’re happy, and now we’ll get ready for the test tomorrow.”
Results MotoGPGran Premio MotoGP™ Guru by Gryfyn de España
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati 39:29.085
2. Brad Binder (RSA) KTM +0.221
3. Jack Miller (AUS) KTM +1.119
13. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 +19.010
17. Jonas Folger (GER) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 +47.146
World Championship standings MotoGP
1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) Ducati, 87 points
2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA) Ducati, 65
3. Brad Binder (RSA) KTM, 62
16. Augusto Fernandez (ESP) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, 17
22. Jonas Folger (GER) GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3, 4
Points the reward for hard-working Bradl and HRC Test Team
Consistency throughout the weekend yielded a pair of points for Stefan Bradl on Sunday. A red flagged race did not fluster the German who made two strong starts to the race to stay with the group ahead. With data collection his primary focus, Bradl kept his cool in the hot conditions as those around him fell and finished 14th. The work continues for Bradl and the Test Team.
Stefan Bradl 6
Rider – MotoGP
“We have done a really good weekend I feel, we have learned a lot and gathered a lot of data. Our expectations were realistic, our target as the Test Team was to do our work, go through our plan and we did exactly that. We didn’t make any mistakes; no crashes and we were able to score some points which is a nice reward. The most important thing was being here, racing, looking at the other Honda riders and also the other competitors. I was able to give a lot of feedback to the HRC engineers on where we are stronger and where we need to keep working to make improvements to be closer to the others. Racing together with these guys is where we are able to learn a lot and helps us with working towards the future. A positive weekend, thank you to my team for all their efforts.”
NINTH POSITION FOR TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI
AT THE GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN
LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami has finished 9th in Jerez, grabbing solid points for the championship.
The Sunday race on Spanish soil has been quite demanding due to the hot temperatures and unexpected events, as the MotoGP grid had to restart it due to a red flag at the beginning. When being able to be on track again, Takaaki pushed, set his pace, and didn’t make mistakes. He crossed the line 9th, being the first Honda of today’s classification.
Takaaki Nakagami 9th
“The race was very demanding, and it was important to manage the situation considering the tire consumption, the temperatures, and the rest of the details. Overall I felt quite good, and despite wanting a better result, we’ve scored points and are always improving”.
Luckless Spanish GP for Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP
Jerez de la Frontera (Spain), 30th April 2023
GRAND PRIX OF SPAIN
The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team had a Sunday to forget at the Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto. However, Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli showed that relentless determination pays off. Despite both having to serve long-lap penalties, they secured points by finishing in 10th and 11th place respectively.
LOCAL TIME: 15:00 GMT+2
AIR TEMPERATURE: 28°C
TRACK TEMPERATURE: 33°C
WEATHER: SUNNY / HUMIDITY 40%
MORE CIRCUIT INFO
+15.846 / 24 LAPS
+17.209 / 24 LAPS
Pictures for editorial use only. Copyright © 2023 Yamaha Motor Racing Srl
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP‘s Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli defied the odds on a very difficult Gran Premio MotoGP de España Sunday. The teammates both had to complete long-lap penalties in the 24-lap restart, but still managed to finish in the points, taking 10th and 11th place respectively.
The dramatic start to the Saturday Sprint was repeated at the start of Sunday‘s Race. This time it was Fabio Quartararo who collided with Marco Bezzecchi and Miguel Oliveira, resulting in a red-flag situation. The race was shortened from 25 laps to 24 for the restart.
Quartararo was given a long-lap penalty by Race Direction as a sanction for the incident in the initial Race, to be completed in the restart. He had a good start from P16 and gained five positions on the opening lap. At the end of lap 4, the Frenchman completed the penalty and rejoined in 14th place.
But bad luck struck again. El Diablo was given another long-lap penalty as Race Direction deemed the first one incorrect. He served the second long-lap penalty at the end of lap 7 and found himself back in 16th place. Aggravated by the situation, the number-20 rider was pushing on the limit. He overtook Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez, and Fabio Di Giannantonio, and with multiple riders crashing out and retiring from the race, Quartararo salvaged a top-10 position. He was close to challenging Takaaki Nakagami for ninth on the final lap but came just short. He took the chequered flag in tenth place, 15.846s from the race leader, despite the two long-lap penalties.
Morbidelli had a good launch from P14 in the restart, completing the first lap in 13th place. However, the Italian was given a long-lap penalty by Race Direction following the four-rider incident in Saturday‘s Sprint, to be completed in today‘s race. Yamaha had put in an appeal on behalf of Morbidelli, but the appeal was denied.
The number-21 rider served his long-lap penalty at the end lap 3, falling back to 18th place. But he didn‘t let that dampen his spirit. He manoeuvred his way past Stefan Bradl on lap 8 and then followed his teammate at a distance, overtaking Raul Fernandez, Augusto Fernandez, and Di Giannantonio, showing good race pace. With various riders crashing out or retiring from the 24-lap contest, Morbido crossed the finish line in 11th place, 17.209s from first.
Today‘s result sees Quartararo in 11th in the overall standings with 40 points. Morbidelli is in 12th place with 34 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team are 6th in the team championship with 74 points, and Yamaha remain 5th in the constructor‘s championship with 49 points.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will stay on in Jerez for a one-day MotoGP Official Test on Monday, after which they will have a week off before they start Round 5, the Grand Prix de France, held at the Le Mans track.
We had a nightmare weekend here in Jerez. Like yesterday‘s incident involving Franky, we feel that the long-lap penalty for Fabio for the opening-lap incident in today‘s race is overly harsh. Fabio wasn‘t overtaking recklessly; he was caught between two riders in a tight corner. To make matters worse, Fabio was given another one for crossing the white line coming out of the long-lap penalty loop. After the race we went to Race Direction to express our opinion about their decision, and after watching different views of the accident, they have not been able to convince us. Fabio‘s race was definitely compromised by the Stewards‘ decision, and we are convinced that also the penalty that was given to Franky yesterday was highly questionable. Despite of all that happened today, we were still able to score some points with both Fabio and Franky. The work in Jerez is not finished, because tomorrow we have an important test day. We will evaluate some updated aerodynamic items and a new exhaust.
I didn’t try to make an overtake at the race start, I was just trying to survive the corner. But I had Bezzecchi on the right and Miguel on the left. I touched Bezzecchi‘s and Miguel‘s bike, but only because I had no space. It was just a matter of trying to make the corner. From our side, there was no reason to give me the penalty, because I was just trying to do my best. Our race pace was good though.
It was a crazy start. We need to start thinking deeply about this, because there was another red flag and another scary and dangerous moment. But when it all goes fine, it’s an event. So, we need to start searching for a solution. After I got away unscathed through the first two corners, I started to do my race and got caught up in the group. Unfortunately, at the beginning of the race, we really got tangled up in there. But after the long-lap penalty we were able to do some overtakes.
A RACE TO FORGET FOR ALEX RINS IN JEREZ
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Alex Rins hasn’t been able to finish the race in Jerez due to a crash at the first stages.
The Sunday race on Spanish soil has been quite demanding due to the hot temperatures and unexpected events, as the MotoGP grid had to restart it due to a red flag at the beginning. When being able to be on track again, Alex Rins suffered a crash right after that second start. The rider is fine and hasn’t suffered any consequences—a weekend to forget for the Spaniard and the crew.
Alex Rins DNF
“We need to understand what happened during the race. I didn’t feel good with the clutch and I crashed. The important thing is to analyze every detail to improve for the upcoming races. Tomorrow we’ll have a test and try different parts, so let’s be focused: we would like to take a step forward”.