Marquez beats Rins and Vinales on home soil to retake title lead

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Honda's Marc Marquez bounces back from his Americas GP crash in phenomenal fashion to take a commanding victory at the Spanish Grand Prix, beating second place Alex Rins and third place Maverick Viñales to take the Championship lead by a single point.

As the lights went green, Marquez and Andrea Dovizioso launched exceptionally well from 3rd and 4th on the grid to go into Turn 1 ahead of the Petronas Yamaha SRT machines, but Dovi was on the outside and Franco Morbidelli forced his way up the inside to push the Championship leader wide and down to 5th as Fabio Quartararo and Viñales slotted into 3rd and 4th.

So, 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 number 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. A 1:38.4 compared to Morbidelli’s 1:39.1 suddenly saw Marquez with 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, Viñales and Rins were being frustrated by Morbidelli.

However, the cruellest of luck then struck Quartararo. On Lap 14 as he wound his Yamaha up for the back straight, Quartararo slowed. The problem? A gearing issue, replays showing the youngest ever polesitter was stuck in third gear. A terrible shame for the rookie who looked set for a maiden podium as he returned to the garage in tears.

This left Rins to pick up the second place baton after he and Viñales had managed to navigate Morbidelli, with Rins pulling out a gap to over a second to Viñales but by this time, race leader Marquez was over three seconds up the road. A race for the final podium position it was then with Viñales having the two Bologna bullets swarming, Dovi and Petrucci could smell blood and just behind those pair, Morbidelli was having to fend off Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi – 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 Dovi and Viñales as Rins held the gap to his compatriot to over a second. There was no way through for Dovizioso though as we headed onto the last lap, with the number 04 putting in his personal best lap in on the penultimate lap.

Viñales was under pressure, but would he fold? No, as Marquez wheelied over the line, Rins rocked home second and the Yamaha man took his first podium since winning in Australia.

Dovizioso had to settle for fourth as he loses his Championship lead to Marquez, four manufactures finishing inside the top four in Jerez, with Petrucci picking up his best result of the year in fifth. Rossi would salvage sixth from 13th on the grid, yet another top-class Sunday performance from The Doctor, with Morbidelli eventually able to better Crutchlow for seventh and top Independent Team honours.

Takaaki Nakagami finished just two tenths off his teammate in eighth as a trio of Honda riders closed out the top ten – Team HRC’s Stefan Bradl crossing line in an impressive tenth. Aleix Espargaro crossed the line in 11th with Jorge Lorenzo 12th in Jerez. KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro and Johann Zarco pick up points in P13 and P14 respectively, with Tito Rabat taking his second point of the season in P15.

It was a disappointing day for rookies Joan Mir and Francesco Bagnaia as they both crashed, with Bagnaia’s teammate Jack Miller going down at Turn 13 in the latter stages while battling Aleix Espargaro.

Full Race Result:

Pos. Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'08.685
2 Alex RINS Suzuki 1.654
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 2.443
4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 2.804
5 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati 4.748
6 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 7.547
7 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 8.228
8 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 10.052
9 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 10.274
10 Stefan BRADL Honda 13.402
11 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 15.431
12 Jorge LORENZO Honda 18.473
13 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 20.156
14 Johann ZARCO KTM 26.706
15 Tito RABAT Ducati 28.513
16 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 36.858
17 Bradley SMITH Aprilia 41.39
18 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 41.57
19 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM 50.568
Not Classified
  Jack MILLER Ducati 3 Laps
  Joan MIR Suzuki 5 Laps
  Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 12 Laps
  Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 19 Laps