Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) bounced back from his Americas GP crash in phenomenal fashion to take a commanding victory at tJerez, beating second place Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and third place Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) to take the championship lead by a single point.
As the lights went green, Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) launched exceptionally well from third and fourth on the grid to go into Turn 1 ahead of the Petronas Yamaha SRT machines, but Dovizioso was on the outside and Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) forced his way up the inside to push the championship leader wide and down to fifth as polesitter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Vinales slotted into 3rd and 4th.
Plan A for Marquez was perfectly executed as he led the MotoGP freight train around the first lap, but would he be able to pull away from the pack straight away? The answer was no, Morbidelli and Quartararo weren’t letting the No. 93 get away. The top three were eking out a gap to Viñales and Dovizioso, with Rins making a good start from ninth to get himself into the top six.
It was as you were for the opening laps with a tenth here and a tenth there fluctuating between the top three, the other chasers losing touch ever so slightly. But then, on Lap 10, Marquez pulled the pin with a 1m38.4s compared to Morbidelli’s 1m39.1s that helped Marquez pull a gap of over a second, and it kept on creeping up until Quartararo was able to get past his teammate into second – Morbidelli seemingly starting to struggle. The flying Frenchman immediately gapped his more experienced teammate but the gap to Marquez was still climbing. Meanwhile, Vinales and Rins were being frustrated by Morbidelli.
However, the cruelest of luck then struck Quartararo. On Lap 14 as he wound his Yamaha up for the back straight, Quartararo slowed. The series’ youngest-ever polesitter was stuck in third gear. The rookie returned to the garage in tears.
This left Rins to pick up the second-place baton after he and Vinales had managed to navigate Morbidelli, with Rins pulling out a gap to over a second to Vinales but by this time, race leader Marquez was over three seconds up the road. Dovizioso and Petrucci could smell blood and just behind that pair, Morbidelli was having to fend off Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) and Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) – both of whom dispatched it Italian with relative ease.
With three laps to go it became a two-horse race for third, Petrucci losing touch with Dovizioso and Vinales as Rins held the gap to his compatriot to over a second. Dovizioso put in his personal best lap in on the penultimate lap the Yamaha man held on to take his first podium since winning in Australia.
Dovizioso had to settle for fourth and lost his championship lead to Marquez. Four manufacturers finishing inside the top four in Jerez, with Petrucci picking up his best result of the year in fifth. Rossi salvaged sixth from 13th on the grid, with Morbidelli bettering Crutchlow for seventh and top Independent Team honors.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) finished just two tenths off his teammate in eighth as a trio of Honda riders closed out the top 10– Team HRC’s Stefan Bradl crossing line in an impressive 10th. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crossed the line in 11th with Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda Team) 12th in Jerez. Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco pick up points in P13 and P14 respectively, with Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) taking his second point of the season in P15.
It was a disappointing day for rookies Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) as they both crashed, with Bagnaia’s teammate Jack Miller going down at Turn 13 in the latter stages while battling Aleix Espargaro.