Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 9th May 2017

Dani Pedrosa dominated this weekend’s Spanish MotoGP round at Jerez, in a topsy-turvy round that has seen the race for the 2017 world championship close right up.

Pedrosa, who started from pole position for the first time in over a year, led the 28 lap race from start to finish, heading home an all Spanish podium. Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda team-mate Marc Marquez finished second, with Jorge Lorenzo coming third, scoring his first podium since joining Ducati at the start of the season.

While the action on track was hardly classic, the race proved enthralling and provided plenty of twists and turns in what was the 3000th solo Grand Prix race in the history of the sport.

World champion Marquez, who had chosen a different tyre compound to his team-mate, was able to close the gap briefly mid-race but decided to settle for a safe second after experiencing some grip issues.

Although none of the riders would speak publicly about it, tyre problems were prevalent in Jerez, with the Yamahas of Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales suffering more than most. Rossi struggled to 10th but retained the championship lead, albeit at a reduced gap of just two points over Vinales, who was also below par in a distant sixth. Marquez is a further two points behind, in third, with fourth placed Pedrosa just 10 points from the championship lead in fourth.

Scott Redding was the top Briton, in 11th, on his Ducati, with Bradley Smith scoring points on the improving KTM in 14th. Sam Lowes finished just outside the points, in 16th, but there was disappointment for Cal Crutchlow, who crashed out while fighting for a podium finish.

Speaking after the race, Pedrosa said: “I’m super-happy with this win in Jerez, a track that I love very much, and in front of my family, my friends, and all these amazing fans. I’m enjoying this emotion so much, more than I would’ve done a few years ago, in a more ‘conscious’ way. I’ve had a great feeling all weekend, and the team have worked so well; we’re getting better race by race and I’m very happy for them as well. We knew we were in a position to have the race we actually did. I felt the tension a little bit before the start, but I remained concentrated and got away well at the start and just went for it. Today the track conditions were a bit worse than yesterday and the front was sliding quite a lot. I chose the hard front because of today’s high temperature, even if the medium was my favourite. The pace probably would’ve been faster with the medium, but anyway I was happy with my choice. When Marc started to push, we started a little battle like yesterday in qualifying. I knew he was very fast but I was determined to keep a gap on him. It was easy to make a mistake, to lose the front, so it was a matter of staying on the limit without going over it. It went well, it was a marvellous weekend, and we now must continue at this level. It’s also a special honour to be the winner of the 3,000th Grand Prix race and be alongside riders like Mick (Doohan, who won race number 2,000) and Angel (Nieto, who won race number 1,000).”

Pedrosa

Marquez added:“I’m happy with today’s second place here at Jerez, a track that isn’t among my favourites, and having been able to be competitive and fight at a high level is very positive. Today Dani was really fast, as he has been over the whole weekend, in the wet and the dry. We got closer and closer session after session, but it was difficult to keep his pace. Today I tried to push, to put pressure on him, but even before the race I knew that Dani is very strong here. He’s also very good when conditions are really warm like today, because for me the front tyre is too soft; I mean, I chose the harder option today but even that was too soft for me. I tried to manage during the entire race, and I pushed. In the end I had a few risky moments, so I checked where Valentino and Vinales were and said to myself, Okay, second place is fine. I’m very happy with the result, to be just four points off the top and to be back in the battle for the championship. The classification is very close and things are going to be very interesting.”

Having fought through to take his first podium for Ducati, an elated Lorenzo said: “A podium here at Jerez, in front of all my fans and after three complicated races, is the best present I could receive for my 30th birthday. It’s a result that gives me more satisfaction than many wins I scored in the past, because it was very difficult to achieve. To finish third on a Ducati at a traditionally difficult circuit for the Desmosedici is incredible! Honestly, I didn’t expect to be able to fight for the podium, and the choice of front tyre was the key. The start was a bit chaotic because of the number of riders ahead of me but I didn’t give up so easily and believed that I could recover to overtake (Joahnn) Zarco and finish third. The last few months have been tough, but the most important thing is that I’ve always believed in myself and that the team has shown its full trust in me.”

Lorenzo

Meanwhile, championship leader Rossi was downbeat. He told the press afterwards: “It was a very difficult race after a difficult weekend. I never had a good feeling with the bike and the tyres. We tried to work a lot, especially to fix the spin and acceleration, but unfortunately for the race we did worse. We tried to modify it a bit, but I was also in trouble with the front. At the end I had to slow down a lot and had a lot of vibration. It was OK to arrive right at the end, but it was a difficult weekend for the whole team. We expected to be stronger and more competitive at this track, looking at the results of last year. We need to try and understand what happened, tomorrow we have the test and we’ll see.”

The next Grand Prix takes place in France on the weekend of 19-21 May.

Spanish Grand Prix – race results

1

PEDROSA Dani 

26

SPA

45’26.827

2

MARQUEZ Marc 

93

SPA

6.136

3

LORENZO Jorge

99

SPA

14.767

4

ZARCO Johann

5

FRA

17.601

5

DOVIZIOSO Andrea

4

ITA

22.913

6

VINALES Maverick

25

SPA

24.556

7

PETRUCCI Danilo

9

ITA

24.959

8

FOLGER Jonas

94

GER

27.721

9

ESPARGARO Aleix

41

SPA

31.233

10

ROSSI Valentino

46

ITA

38.682

11

REDDING Scott

45

GBR

40.979

12

BARBERA Hector

8

SPA

43.199

13

BAZ Loris

76

FRA

43.211

14

SMITH Bradley

38

GBR

47.964

15

ABRAHAM Karel

17

CZE

51.279

16

LOWES Sam

22

GBR

1’08.885

Championship standings after four rounds

Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) 62

Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) 60

Marc Marquez (Honda) 58

Dani Pedrosa (Honda) 52

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 41