MotoGP: Lorenzo Completes Dominant Weekend With Victory At Jerez

Sunday’s MotoGP race at Spain’s Circuit of Jerez was not a close contest. Jorge Lorenzo led from start to finish, smashing the race lap record on lap two of 27, building a one-second cushion over Marc Marquez after the sixth go-around and winning by a comfortable 5.5 seconds. Valentino Rossi was a distant third, earning his 200th Grand Prix podium.

Saturday’s clear and sunny conditions during final practices and qualifying gave way to long periods of cloudy skies today and as a result, peak track temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit was 25 lower than yesterday’s high.

Cooler temperatures didn’t significantly influence tire choice, spec-tire-provider Bridgestone reported, with 23 of the 25 riders selecting the hard-compound front slick. The medium-compound rear slick was the most popular choice, while 11 riders chose the softer option. Only one rider went for the hard compound.

The win was Lorenzo’s first this season and first from pole position in the premier class at Jerez. “Due to the lining of the helmet in Doha, my illness in Austin, and the tires in Argentina,” he said after the race, “we couldn’t demonstrate our true potential. Today I was able to brake really late, enter well into the corners, and carry good corner speed and accelerate.”

On his cool-down lap, Lorenzo dismounted and ran to the edge of the lake near turn 11 but stopped short of actually taking a swim, helmet, leathers, and all, as he famously did after his 2010 victory. “I was thinking about jumping into the lake,” he admitted. “It’s not the same as when you are 23, so in the last second, I decided to stop and go back to the bike.” The four-time world champion turns 28 on Monday.

Marquez, broken left pinky numbed by painkillers, fended off a late-race charge by Rossi. “On the opening laps,” Marquez said, “I followed Jorge, but by lap five, I could tell that, although my finger was not a problem, I was unconsciously working more with my right arm and it began to stiffen up.

Jorge Lorenzo (99) and Marc Marquez (93) were this close for only a handful of laps during Sunday’s MotoGP race at Jerez.

“From then on, I decided to just try and finish the race strong. Then I saw that Valentino was closing in on me and I thought, ‘It’s going to be Argentina all over again,’ but I gathered strength, and this time I was able to maintain the gap between us.”

For several laps during the middle of the race, Rossi was the quickest rider on the track. “I wasn’t strong enough to fight with Jorge and Marc,” he admitted. “I had one moment in the race where I was not doing so bad, and I was close to Marc. We hoped for another good fight until the end, and I thought I could do it, because I got the gap down to one second, but I had to give up.”

Rossi has finished on the podium in eight consecutive races and continues to lead the championship. “I have scored a lot of points, two victories, and four podiums,” he said. “This time I extended my lead to Dovizioso, but it looks like Jorge also came back into the championship with this victory. He is just 20 points behind, but the championship is still long.”

Where, indeed, were the factory Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso? Iannone went backward at the start, dropping from third on the grid to 11th at the end of the first lap. He recovered to finish sixth, behind LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, running an updated chassis, and Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro.

Dovizioso ran off the track on lap two, rejoined in dead last, and raced through the field to ninth at the checkers. He remains second overall in the championship, 15 points behind Rossi. Lorenzo and Marquez are third and fourth, respectively.

American Nicky Hayden got a slow start and finished where he qualified, 18th. “I couldn’t get on the pace at the start of the race,” he said. “In the last laps, I gained a couple of places, but I expected more joy here. Fortunately we have a test tomorrow. We are evolving our electronics gradually, so I hope we can be competitive soon.”

The MotoGP World Championship returns to action at Le Mans on May 15-17 for the Grand Prix of France.

Sunday’s MotoGP race at Spain’s Circuit of Jerez was not a close contest. Jorge Lorenzo led from start to finish, smashing the race lap record on lap two of 27, building a one-second cushion over Marc Marquez after the sixth go-around and winning by a comfortable 5.5 seconds. Valentino Rossi was a distant third, earning his 200th Grand Prix podium.

Saturday’s clear and sunny conditions during final practices and qualifying gave way to long periods of cloudy skies today and as a result, peak track temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit was 25 lower than yesterday’s high.

Cooler temperatures didn’t significantly influence tire choice, spec-tire-provider Bridgestone reported, with 23 of the 25 riders selecting the hard-compound front slick. The medium-compound rear slick was the most popular choice, while 11 riders chose the softer option. Only one rider went for the hard compound.

The win was Lorenzo’s first this season and first from pole position in the premier class at Jerez. “Due to the lining of the helmet in Doha, my illness in Austin, and the tires in Argentina,” he said after the race, “we couldn’t demonstrate our true potential. Today I was able to brake really late, enter well into the corners, and carry good corner speed and accelerate.”

On his cool-down lap, Lorenzo dismounted and ran to the edge of the lake near turn 11 but stopped short of actually taking a swim, helmet, leathers, and all, as he famously did after his 2010 victory. “I was thinking about jumping into the lake,” he admitted. “It’s not the same as when you are 23, so in the last second, I decided to stop and go back to the bike.” The four-time world champion turns 28 on Monday.

Marquez, broken left pinky numbed by painkillers, fended off a late-race charge by Rossi. “On the opening laps,” Marquez said, “I followed Jorge, but by lap five, I could tell that, although my finger was not a problem, I was unconsciously working more with my right arm and it began to stiffen up.

Jorge Lorenzo (99) and Marc Marquez (93) were this close for only a handful of laps during Sunday’s MotoGP race at Jerez.

“From then on, I decided to just try and finish the race strong. Then I saw that Valentino was closing in on me and I thought, ‘It’s going to be Argentina all over again,’ but I gathered strength, and this time I was able to maintain the gap between us.”

For several laps during the middle of the race, Rossi was the quickest rider on the track. “I wasn’t strong enough to fight with Jorge and Marc,” he admitted. “I had one moment in the race where I was not doing so bad, and I was close to Marc. We hoped for another good fight until the end, and I thought I could do it, because I got the gap down to one second, but I had to give up.”

Rossi has finished on the podium in eight consecutive races and continues to lead the championship. “I have scored a lot of points, two victories, and four podiums,” he said. “This time I extended my lead to Dovizioso, but it looks like Jorge also came back into the championship with this victory. He is just 20 points behind, but the championship is still long.”

Where, indeed, were the factory Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso? Iannone went backward at the start, dropping from third on the grid to 11th at the end of the first lap. He recovered to finish sixth, behind LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, running an updated chassis, and Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro.

Dovizioso ran off the track on lap two, rejoined in dead last, and raced through the field to ninth at the checkers. He remains second overall in the championship, 15 points behind Rossi. Lorenzo and Marquez are third and fourth, respectively.

American Nicky Hayden got a slow start and finished where he qualified, 18th. “I couldn’t get on the pace at the start of the race,” he said. “In the last laps, I gained a couple of places, but I expected more joy here. Fortunately we have a test tomorrow. We are evolving our electronics gradually, so I hope we can be competitive soon.”

The MotoGP World Championship returns to action at Le Mans on May 15-17 for the Grand Prix of France.

“I am absolutely proud of myself and of the team,” Jorge Lorenzo said. “It’s important that we recover some points to Vale because he’s been very strong at the beginning of this season and always on the podium.”

“This is a track where we’ve always struggled a little because of my riding style and this year also because of my injury,” Marc Marquez said, “but today we achieved what we set out to do.”

“It was a difficult weekend,” Valentino Rossi said. “From Friday on, we were struggling a lot to find the right setting, and I wasn’t able to ride at the maximum level. In the end, it’s a podium, so it’s not so bad.”

“I kept the gap to Pol Espargaro behind,” Cal Crutchlow (35) said, “and I think it was just too difficult to chase Valentino, even at the start when I was caught up in the battle with Aleix and Pol.”

“I had a problem at the last corner on lap 2,” Andrea Dovizioso said, “when I made a small mistake and the bike almost switched off. I almost crashed because I lost my balance and had to go straight on into the gravel.”

“At the start I switched on the mapping for wet conditions instead of launch control,” Andrea Iannone said, “and as a result had to do the whole race with ‘wet’ setup because the procedure to return to dry settings is very complicated.”

Aspar Honda’s Nicky Hayden: “It was a pity not being able to lap faster at the start of the race because, seeing my pace in the second half, we could have done much better. I’m not satisfied because Jerez is a track I like.”

Jorge Lorenzo (99) and Marc Marquez (93) were this close for only a handful of laps during Sunday’s MotoGP race at Jerez.

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