Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa won his first MotoGP race of 2013 at Jerez, beating his closest competition by a comfortable 2.4 seconds. Up to the final corner of the final lap it appeared that Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo would be runner-up in the contest, despite heavy pressure from Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, in third. Marquez saw an opening on the newly named “Jorge Lorenzo” corner in the final seconds, pushed inside and blocked Lorenzo from his line, bumping the Mallorcan off track briefly to take second-place. Shaking his head in disbelief, Lorenzo crossed the line in third.
Pedrosa jumped into the lead off the start, and held there through the opening turns until Lorenzo picked him off for the front. The two Repsol riders remained in hot pursuit from second and third, while Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, and Tech 3 Yamaha’s Cal Crutchlow drove hard from fourth and fifth. Rossi passed Marquez for third in the first lap, but the rookie GP rider didn’t give the Doctor any room, answering back on the following lap. Lorenzo maintained his position at the head of the pack, but Pedrosa was tenacious, finally finding a way to the front with 22 laps remaining, where he held without fail to the checkers.
"It was a beautiful race," said Pedrosa. "I was able to ride the bike well, even though it was difficult because the tires were really on the limit. I couldn't push too hard because of that, so I had to ride carefully. I was able to maintain a good advantage throughout the race and collect this win at home as a result."
Prior to the race, many riders expressed concern about grip levels at the circuit, since it was hotter on track than it had been during practice and qualifying and was greasy and slick. A number of racers fell victim to the conditions, the first being Paul Bird Motosport’s Yonny Hernandez, who slid off in the opening laps. Came Ioda Racing’s Lukas Pesek, Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet, Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl all followed suit soon after.
While Pedrosa was beginning to stretch a gap on the field, Lorenzo and Marquez concentrated on the battle for second. The two were able to distance themselves from Rossi, who ended a lonely fourth-place, and Lorenzo proved almost un-passable to Marquez. Every time the 20 year-old lined up a move, Lorenzo was there to block it. By mid-race Lorenzo had even distanced himself slightly from Marquez, but the young rider regained pace in the final laps and was on Lorenzo’s rear tire as the race drew to a close. Entering the final corner, Marquez was on the inside of Lorenzo as Lorenzo went out wide to cut across to the apex. Instead of cutting too, Marquez held in the middle of the track and blocked Lorenzo from completing his turn, instead bumping the 2012 world champion off-line. From there Marquez had a short straight to the finish to take second and the overall championship points lead.
Jerez podium with Dani Pedrosa (center) in first, Marc Marquez (left) in second and Jorge Lorenzo (right) in third.
"I think that, above all, the end of the race was really good for the fans," said Marquez. "I want to apologise to Jorge, because it was a racing incident –a last lap move that happens when you are on the limit. The most important thing is that we both finished the race, and I hope that that’s the end of it."
"I have always been positive so today also I am going to be positive, to finish the race with sixteen points is always a great result," said Lorenzo. "I was second for the whole race and then lost the place on the last corner so it wasn't the perfect race. I think I made two mistakes in the race, in the start I started really badly and in the last corner, I thought Marquez was further behind than he was so I didn’t take a defensive line, this was my second mistake.”
Behind Rossi, the battle for fifth was tight as well between Crutchlow and Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista. The two traded positions a number of times in the latter portion of the race, getting physical through nearly every turn. Crutchlow gained the eventual advantage though, finishing fifth, while Bautista came across the line in sixth.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden was over 10 seconds back in seventh while his teammate, Andrea Dovizioso prevailed in a battle with top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro of Power Electronics Aspar to finish eighth. Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, finished behind Espargaro in 10th and Ducati test rider, Michele Pirro, grabbed 11th.
Marquez is now the outright leader with a three-point advantage over Pedrosa, who moved to second. Lorenzo fell to third, but is only four points adrift of Marquez. After the race, Marquez attempted to speak with Lorenzo in Parc Ferme, but Lorenzo brushed him off with a wag of the finger for the aggressive move. The 2013 season is heating up and promises to be a memorable one; don’t miss Round 4 action from Le Mans on May 19, 2013.
MotoGP Jerez Results 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Marc Marquez (Honda)
3. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
5. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
7. Nicky Hayden (Ducati)
8. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
9. Aleix Espargaro (ART)
10. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
11. Michele Pirro (Ducati)
12. Hector Barbera (FTR)
13. Michael Laverty (PBM)
14. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
15. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki)
16. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda)
17. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki)
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (FTR)
MotoGP Championship Points 2013:
1. Marc Marquez, 61
2. Dani Pedrosa, 58
3. Jorge Lorenzo, 57
4. Valentino Rossi, 43
5. Cal Crutchlow, 35
6. Alvaro Bautista, 28
7. Andrea Dovizioso, 24
8. Nicky Hayden, 24
9. Aleix Espargaro, 17
10. Andrea Iannone, 13