Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo earned his third win of 2013 in Round 6 at Catalunya, leading every lap ahead of second-place finisher Dani Pedrosa of Repsol Honda. Pedrosa’s teammate, Marc Marquez, rounded out the all-Spanish podium in third.
Though conditions were close to ideal, they also contributed to high track temperatures which played a role in a number of crashes throughout the race. Before the end of the first lap, Go & Fun Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista found himself in the gravel after losing grip mid-turn, sliding across track and nearly clipping Lorenzo’s teammate, Valentino Rossi, in the process. Bautista was holding an inside line and Rossi swept out wide, keeping just far enough ahead to avoid getting tangled in an incident with Bautista for the second round in a row. Michele Pirro, riding as replacement for Ben Spies with Ignite Pramac Racing, ran off track at the same point in competition, but was able to keep upright and return quickly to the race. Paul Bird Motorsports’ Michael Laverty was another rider to suffer Lap 1 woes, with a mechanical issue forcing him to retire.
Competition continued with Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Marquez keeping ahead of fourth-placed rider Cal Crutchlow of Monster Yamaha Tech 3. Crutchlow started the race from the front row after his late fast-lap in qualifying and entered the round with a two podium finish streak. He was unable to make a bid for a third consecutive top-three finish though, sliding off track in a low-side crash similar to Bautista's just five laps into the race. The British rider’s misstep allowed Rossi to move up to fourth-place, where he’d hold to the checkers. LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl also advanced in position thanks to Crutchlow’s crash, settling into fifth-place and remaining there to the finish.
Ducati’s Nicky Hayden followed Crutchlow’s example just a few corners later, ending his day in the gravel after losing grip mid-turn. Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone had a similar crash of his own, as did Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera. Power Electronics Aspar’s Randy de Puniet pulled out of the race with mechanical issues, as did Cardion AB Motoracing’s Karel Abraham, bringing the total number of riders unable to finish the race to eight.
Out front Lorenzo kept up a strong defense, making it impossible for Pedrosa to find a line past.
"A perfect day, to be honest I didn't expect to win, I knew I had some chance but not like in Mugello where I was more convinced we could get the victory," said Lorenzo. "It was really difficult physically as it was the hottest race of the year. I kept pushing 100% all race because any mistake would have been a disaster."
During the final laps Lorenzo stretched a small gap on the two Repsol riders, who were engaging in a battle for second-place. Marquez challenged hard from third, creeping up on the inside a number of times before Pedrosa closed the door. At one point Marquez had a scare when he lost control of the bike slightly, managing a considerable wobble just before the contest ended.
The absence of so many competitors allowed for others to enjoy some vastly improved results. Crutchlow’s teammate, Bradley Smith, took a sixth-place finish, the best of his young career. He was followed by Hayden’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso, in seventh and top CRT rider Aleix Espargaro in eighth. NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Colin Edwards, who has struggled to finish inside the top-15 in many rounds lately, brought his FTR-Kawasaki across the finish in ninth. Pirro rounded out the top-10 followed by Came IodaRacing’s Danilo Petrucci in 11th.
Pedrosa remains the overall leader, though Lorenzo continues to chip away at the Honda rider’s advantage. The Mallorcan is now seven points adrift of the leader. Marquez holds to third overall, and Crutchlow remains fourth despite taking zero points at Catalunya. Rossi made up significant ground on the British rider, and now sits 11 points behind Crutchlow in fifth.
MotoGP Catalunya Results 2013:
1. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
2. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
3. Marc Marquez (Honda)
4. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha)
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
6. Bradley Smith (Yamaha)
7. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati)
8. Aleix Espargaro (ART)
9. Colin Edwards (FTR-Kawasaki)
10. Michele Pirro (Ducati)
11. Danilo Petrucci (Ioda-Suter)
12. Claudio Corti (FTR-Kawasaki)
13. Yonny Hernandez (ART)
14. Bryan Staring (FTR-Honda)
15. Javier del Amor (FTR)
16. Lukas Pesek (Ioda-Suter)
MotoGP Championship Points 2013:
1. Dani Pedrosa, 123
2. Jorge Lorenzo, 116
3. Marc Marquez, 93
4. Cal Crutchlow, 71
5. Valentino Rossi, 60
6. Andrea Dovizioso, 59
7. Nicky Hayden, 45
8. Stefan Bradl, 41
9. Alvaro Bautista, 38
10. Aleix Espargaro, 36