Dani Pedrosa is the first rider to win a back-to-back races and he also finally broke his Le Mans MotoGP duck. The Repsol Honda veteran now leads in the standings.
Pedrosa was forced to start sixth on the starting grid after a crash during qualifying left him unable to improve his postion with his spare bike, but he was able to get another of his lightning starts and found himself in the thick of things, first disposing of Jorge Lorenzo and then with Andrea Dovizioso. The two ended up swapping positions - with some mistakes by the Spaniard for the first half of the race until he managed to clear out and ride to victory.
It was a very good race for me. I’m so happy with this one because I lost some position sliding at the start but recovered at the first turn. I had no grip on the rear, but tried to stay in front with Dovi and Lorenzo. I started to have some good feeling in the wet, so I tried to push but made a couple of mistakes and almost went off twice.
I was able to hang on and just keep up the rhythm, so I could escape out in front and ride with good pace. The bike was working well; the tyres were spinning a lot with the drying line in the last laps, but I was able to manage the gap and bring home this victory which is so special.”
Unless you’re twenty years old and leading the MotoGP championship or made from very stern stuff like Cal Crutchlow it is hard to shrug off a crash, even one that hurts more your pride than your body as Dani Pedrosa found out today in qualifying at Le Mans.
The Repsol Honda rider crashed during Q2 at turn 3 - Dunlop chicane - and despite being able to return to track was unable challenge for the pole position that left him down in sixth a position that he isn’t used to, and disappoint for Pedrosa who will have struggle to do one of his usual lightning starts and hope that no one rear ends him.
“The afternoon’s practice sessions were difficult,” said Pedrosa. “I crashed in qualifying and then had to go back to the garage and only had a little time left on the clock when I got back out on-track. I wasn’t able to make the best use of the session, but at least I was able to clock a fairly decent time and place sixth. It is a pity because we could have been much higher up the grid. For tomorrow we will have to try to get a good start, come back up through the field and have a good race.”
Marc Marquez also suffered a crash but luckily for him it happened during the fourth free practice and he was still able to get used to his spare bike before qualifying in pole position for the second time this season.
“I was on my second bike, but to build that confidence again after a crash is quite difficult. It takes time. I took one or two laps, but then it was qualifying and I pushed like before. In terms of my rhythm: I’m happy, not so bad. Jorge (Lorenzo) had a very good rhythm but, you know, we will see how the weather and everything is tomorrow and we will try to do our best,” commented Marquez.
Despite the brief rain shower during the last five minutes of Moto3’s second free practice that left a slightly damp Le Mans surface that quickly dried out as the sun broke through the cloud cover.
MotoGP’s last free practice of the day saw lap times drop but it was another tight session with nine riders were again in less than one second, but this time they were separated by just a little more than seven tenths.
Dani Pedrosa once again topped the timesheets and he posted a best lap of 1:34.035, six tenths faster than this morning, while his rookie team mate Marc Marquez was second fastest, that he managed with his last final flying lap and he was +0.134s from Pedrosa and he demoted Valentino Rossi to third by just 0.004s
Rossi is having issues with his brakes overheating, but he was able to post his best time on used tires and after his team raised the front end of his Yamaha M1. Team mate Jorge Lorenzo was fourth fastest and just 0.166s from Pedrosa.
It was sunny, but very cold this morning for the first MotoGP free practice at the Bugatti circuit at Le Mans. The fastest rider of the session was Dani Pedrosa who was immediately set the pace in what turned out to be a tight practice with nine riders in less than nine tenths of a second.
The Repsol Honda rider is on a high after his first victory of the season at Jerez stopped the clock in 1.34.645, but Jorge Lorenzo was right on his tail and just 0.040s adrift.
Valentino Rossi was third fastest followed by Ducati duo Nicky Hayden and Andrea Dovizioso, who were 4th and 5th respectively, and just 0.327 and 0.427 from the top of the timesheets and effectively Le Mans seems to work for the Desmosedici, even in the dry.
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez are heading to Le Mans on a high. Pedrosa took his first victory of the season at Jerez two weeks ago and rookie Marquez with his second place is now the championship standings leader..
Dani has finished on the podium 6 times in Le Mans, with three victories in the lower classes - 2003 in 125cc, 2004 and 2005 in 250cc, but has never won on the French circuit in the MotoGP, but now that his racecraft in wet conditions has drastically improved he has big chance.
Marquez will have to learn to ride the Le Mans circuit with his RC213V, but considering his results in the last three rounds, this shouldn’t be a problem for him. The only question mark will be cold temperatures and rain which is always a strong possibility at Le Mans.
“We go to Le Mans and again we arrive there starting from zero, as I haven’t done any tests there. I’ll do my best and I’ll try to make the most of the situation. I hope it doesn’t rain so we can prepare the bike on a dry track, this is very important to find the right set up. I’m very happy at the moment but we have to keep our feet on the ground as the coming circuits are new for me in MotoGP. A huge part of our success in this first part of the season is down to the help that Honda and the team have given me and it had helped my riding a lot,” said Marquez previewing the upcoming round.
“After a fantastic weekend in Jerez and a productive test on the Monday, I’m looking forward to going to Le Mans. I had good results in the past and I enjoy the circuit, so I’m hoping that the bike works well there. Practice management in Le Mans can sometimes be difficult and complicated due to the weather but I’m finding my comfort again on the bike and I’m working well with the team. I will go to France and aim to use all of my experience and remain focused for the whole weekend,” said Pedrosa.
Video of Marquez analyzing the Le Mans circuit after the jump.
Has anyone noticed how many videos Repsol is releasing this season? The above is just another to promote their two MotoGP riders and the team.
The company is capitalizing on the fact that Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez are highly popular in Spain, with Marquez’ quotations in the media growing after each race weekend.
Personality Media, is a Spanish company who measures and evaluates the popularity of celebrities, athletes. ect in fourteen different categories to help marketing and advertising companies choose the right star to peddle their products.
And in their latest Q Scores (and this was before the Jerez GP) the MotoGP rookie already rates higher overall than his team mate Pedrosa has always led the most of the categories relative to MotoGP riders, however Marquez’ visibility has fastly grown, from a 20% in 2011 to early 2012, and he is now at 35% in these first months of 2013 season.
Pedrosa continues to be the best known rider rating 91%, followed by Jorge Lorenzo at 87%, while outsider Valentino Rossi comes in at 85%. which continues to testify his popularity is not on the wane. Strangely enough Lorenzo who won last year’s championship contines to trail Marquez, Pedrosa and Rossi in all the categories, and according to the media company they believe that it is due to the fact that reigning world champion isn’t perceived as ‘passionate’ and some seem to have trouble forgetting that chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that he had when he was much younger.
After the jump you can see the completed Repsol video.
It took Dani Pedrosa just six laps to take Jorge Lorenzo’s measure and pass the Yamaha rider, putting on a display of fast and controlled riding and take his first victory of the season, and shutting the mouths of his detractors who after just two races believed that he was under pressure from his more flamboyant team mate.
Pedrosa admitted that he didn’t push to the limit because he knew that he would have ruined his tires and knew that he was faster than Lorenzo after the first laps and after passing him administered his pace.
In tomorrow’s post race test, Honda does not have any new parts to test, so Pedrosa will work on set-up, “Now it’s been three races. I can feel more about what the bike likes and what I need for the rest of the championship. We are going to start to work on that.”
“It was a beautiful race. I was able to ride the bike well, even though it was difficult because the tyres 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. It was fantastic, especially seeing all the fans in the stands; this year we’ve had a lot of people come to watch this Grand Prix. I also want to say “Happy Mothers’ Day” to my mum and thanks to all my team, it’s been a great day! “ said Pedrosa.
Marc Marquez has the habit of the stealing the show. His battle with Valentino Rossi in Qatar, the domination in Texas and his wild riding and final corner clash with Lorenzo at Jerez gave him headline honors and first place in the standings.
The MotoGP rookie has already inherited Valentino Rossi’s place as a media personality and Dorna can rest easy that once the Italian rider retires from racing they have found a very worthy replacement.
After Yamaha’s domination in Qatar, Honda’s in Austin, Jerez de la Frontera was supposed to be an even playing field between the two major manufacturers, even if Lorenzo ended up on top of all the timesheets except for the warm-up session that went to Marc Marquez, and that should have sounded a warning bell in the reigning world champion’s head.
Jerez also turned out to be where complaints about tires came back into vogue and for the first time this year we’ve heard Lorenzo say he risked a lot because of the front tire and that he needs a more competitive Yamaha and the bike’s limits are the same, problems in acceleration and the need of more stability in corner exit.
“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. I was second for the whole race and then lost the place on the last corner so it wasn’t the perfect race. The perfect race is a victory and if not possible second, the next is third. Today we got another podium and we are quite close to the leader. On the other hand we have to improve the bike. 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,” said Lorenzo.
Even if Jorge Lorenzo was in pole position it was Dani Pedrosa who got the holeshot but it just took a few turns for the reigning world champion to regain the lead only to lose it on lap 6 when Pedrosa in a tight overtake pass the Yamaha rider and then clear out with pace that Lorenzo couldn’t keep and would ride to a solitary and uncontested victory, the 46th of his career and the 23rd in MotoGP.
The battle for second saw Lorenzo keep his cool, while Marc Marquez would try a number of aggressive maneuvers - a la Moto2 - with his Honda baulking at his attempts to get keep up and get past the Yamaha rider. After a few warning signals Marquez cooled down for a few laps giving up more than one second, then he tried again he was soon back on the tail of the Yamaha rider.
On the final lap the duel went down to the final turn - and ironically at Lorenzo’s corner - when Marquez in a desperate last lunge passed Lorenzo - who left the door open - and the two came physical into contact as Lorenzo tried to close the corner. Marquez would use Lorenzo as a bouncing board to get back on the racing line - very similar to Valentino Rossi’s controversial pass on Sete Gibernau at Jerez in 2005.
An estatic Marquez took second, while a very angry and upset Lorenzo came in third and he refused to accept Marquez’ apologies at the parc ferme.
It’s another sunny day at Jerez, as the cooler morning temperatures saw Marc Marquez take over the top of the timesheets with his final lap in the 20 minute warm-up session.
The Repsol Honda rookie was gunning to demote Jorge Lorenzo who had lead the entire session to second and he was faster than today’s pole sitter in all three sectors only to lose out in the fourth, but with his last flying lap he was able to improve in the last sector, and with a 1’39″231 lap he left Lorenzo 0.238s adrift and his team mate down in third.
Cal Cruthlow’s bruised kidney doesn’t seem have slowed him as he was fourth fastest, while Nicky Hayden struggling with tendinitis caught a tow from Lorenzo, which allowed him to put his Ducati into fifth, but he was almost nine tenths adrift. Aleix Espargargo was once again highly impressive with his ART, as he was 6th, and faster than his qualifying time and just 0.010 from the Ducatista.
Stefan Bradl seems to have recovered from his problems as he was 7th and he was followed by Valentino Rossi who was slow, as he was 1.1 seconds from the top of the timesheets. Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith closed out the top ten.
This afternoon’s race will be an incognita due to the higher track temperatures, tire choice and above all tire management.