It's always nice when you wake up and it's blowing a gale outside with driving rain, and you put your TV on to see glorious sunshine in some foreign land. It's made even nicer when you remember the last time you went to a race, the weather was the same in the UK and you had to watch your feet as the ground underneath you on a hill got slippy.
Anyway, bike racing is always better in the dry, so I'm not too bitter about the beautiful conditions in Jerez, although for the start of the Moto3 race, there was a bit of humidity, and a bit of cloud cover was keeping the temperature down.
A lightning start from Fabio Quartararo was only beaten by a good getaway from Miguel Oliveira into the first corner, as Brad Binder forced his way through the field early on. Danny Kent went from second down to fifth, before getting underneath Phillipp Oettl to claim fourth back. First time round turn 13, Romano Fenati barged Oettl out of the way to claim fifth himself. On lap two Quartararo and Oliveira swapped first, as Kent pushed past Binder to go third.
Efren Vasquez recovered from a start on the sixth row to push up to eighth after two laps. Kent flew past Quartararo for second, and went after Oliveira, whose KTM was looking good in the early stages. Maria Herrera crashed out on lap four, taking a big hit and being carried away on a stretcher - she was awake and moving, though.
Kent took the lead on lap five, parking his bike on the racing line and taking first. Karel Hanika, who was having a good battle with Efren Vasquez, lost the back end going into a corner and dropped the bike. Quartararo then got past Oliveira, and Kent started to open up a little bit of a gap. A lap later, Oliveira returned the favour, and Vasquez managed to close the gap to the leading group.
Kent wasn't managing to break away like he did in Austin and Argentina, the lack of real straights in Jerez meaning he couldn't fully open up the engine and streak off. Oliveira was keeping him honest. That said, Quartararo knows Jerez well, and knew where to put his bike on turn one to reclaim second.
The KTMs would not let Kent get away. Binder put a move on Oliveira, who was then passed by Quartararo. A few turns later, at 13, Quartararo got underneath everybody. Kent dropped from first to fifth, with Vasquez passing him too. Binder would take the lead later in the lap, and Kent got back up to third. Niccolo Antonelli's bike broke underneath him, and he had to park up.
Next lap, Kent got a good drive into turn one, and went past both Quartataro and Binder. Hiroki Ono squared up, lost his bike, and took out Jakub Kornfeil from ninth. Back at the top, Vasquez started to tail off and watch the front four from afar.
A moment from Kent saw him fall down to third as Quartararo and Oliveira went past - Quartararo had the pace in the straights, but Oliveira is so good at getting in and out of the corners. Kent wouldn't be done though, and with three laps left took the lead again.
Last lap - Oliveira hits the front, Quartararo second, Kent third. Binder was done in fourth. Kent got to first on the back straight, Oliveira shut the door coming out of it. Turn 13 - Quartararo got in too quickly, had to recover and ran wide. Kent got the line, and the win. Oliveira finished second, with Brad Binder making the most of Quartararo's error to finish third. Vasquez was a distant fifth. What a race.
|1||Danny Kent||Leopard Honda||41'19.552||25|
|2||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM||+0.097||20|
|3||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM||+0.296||16|
|4||Fabio Quartararo||Estrella Galicia||+0.882||13|
|5||Efren Vasquez||Leopard Honda||+2.906||11|
|6||Romano Fenati||Sky VR46 KTM||+11.035||10|
|7||Francesco Bagnaia||Mapfre Mahindra||+11.126||9|
|8||Jorge Navarro||Estrella Galicia||+11.761||8|
|9||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Honda||+15.861||7|
|10||John McPhee||Saxoprint Honda||+15.964||6|
|13||Livio Loi||RW Racing||+18.800||3|
|14||Jorge Martin||Mapfre Mahindra||+24.592||2|
|15||Alexis Masbou||Saxoprint Honda||+24.703||1|
Kent's third win in a row made him the first Brit to do so since 1977, when Barry Sheene won three in a row on a 500cc, and the first in the lightweight class since 1969, when Dave Simmonds won seven in a row on the way to the 125cc championship.
Kent now has a whopping 31 point lead in the championship. An entire race win, and then some, ahead of the field. He's going to take some stopping this year.
|Moto3 Championship Top 5|
|1||Danny Kent||Leopard Honda||91||25|
|2||Efren Vasquez||Leopard Honda||60||11|
|3||Fabio Quartararo||Estrella Galicia||52||13|
|4||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Honda||47||7|
|5||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM||44||16|
Qualifying saw the return to form of Tito Rabat, as the world champion claimed pole ahead of the super-rookie Alex Rins. Championship leader Johann Zarco could only qualify in ninth, while Sam Lowes started sixth. Julian Simon's fourth row qualifying spot was wiped off as he came in under minimum weight, meaning he started from the back of the grid.
A poor start from everyone on the front two rows, apart from Tito Rabat, who got away well. He was soon joined by Jonas Folger, while Taakaki Nakagami started well to get to fourth half way round. Alex Rins settled into fifth at the end of lap one, having a battle with Sandro Cortese. Thomas Luthi was making an attempt at keeping up with the first two, while Sam Lowes was down to 13th after two laps.
Rabat was opening up a good lead, with Folger struggling to hold on. Rins caught up to Luthi to fight for third, while Zarco fought his way through the field, making it up to fifth after five laps. Lowes was down to 19th, with the bike clearly not working for him.
Folger managed to claw back some of the gap to Rabat, while Rins got past Luthi. Zarco was on the move, making a lot of time up on Luthi in fourth, and going much faster than the leader Rabat was. Indeed, a mistake from Rabat saw Folger take the lead. Folger started to lead the charge away, as Rins reeled Rabat in. Axel Pons dropped his bike out of tenth.
Zarco managed to get on the back of the front group, but Luthi''s pace was keeping him honest. Rins was comfortable in third as Rabat clawed back the gap to Folger in first. Xavier Simeon was easily sixth, as Ricard Cardus crashed out of 20th.
With eight laps left, Zarco finally got past Luthi, as Folger opened up almost a second on Rabat. Zarco was catching on Rins, who had no answer to the pace of the first two. Nakagami had fallen all the way down to 18th, with Mika Kallio (who won in Jerez last year, on the same chassis) in 19th. Lowes was 21st, and hoping for snookers.
Folger won at a procession. Rabat was reeled in by Rins and Zarco, with Zarco going past, but Rins clipped Rabat's back end and falling off, eventually finishing 18th. Luthi picked up fourth, with Xavier Simeon being rewarded for a steady ride with fifth.
|3||Tito Rabat||Estrella Galicia||+2.222||16|
|5||Xavier Simeon||Federal Oil Gresini||+11.086||11|
|7||Luis Salom||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+12.965||9|
|8||Simone Corsi||Athinà Forward||+14.434||8|
|9||Alex Marquez||Estrella Galicia||+18.073||7|
|10||Marcel Schrotter||Tech 3||+21.958||6|
|12||Hafizh Syahrin||Petronas Raceline||+25.339||4|
|13||Lorenzo Baldassarri||Athinà Forward||+26.779||3|
That wins puts Folger back up to second in the championship, as Zarco extends his lead to 16 points after Rins' mistake cost him any points whatsoever. Lowes drops to sixth, while Rabat's podium has him in seventh.
|Moto2 Championship Top 5|
|3||Alex Rins||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||49||0|
Qualifying was the Jorge Lorenzo show, as the former world champion finally came to the party, breaking his own lap times with each run. Marc Marquez (broken finger and all) qualified second, albeit almost 0.4 seconds behind Lorenzo, with Andrea Iannone impressing in third. Pol Espargaro got his Tech 3 into fourth, and championship leader Valentino Rossi starting from fifth. Aleix Espargaro again impressed by getting sixth, while American Nicky Hayden started from 16th.
The main news pre-race was the choice of tyre on the Suzukis. The temperature still wasn't too hot, and they took the gamble on it staying cool and the tyre staying good.
A superb start from Lorenzo and Pol Espargaro, with the Tech 3 bike slotting behind Marquez into third. Rossi gained a place, as the Ducati of Iannone went backwards to 11th. Aleix Espargaro held fifth for the first lap, as Marquez kept Lorenzo honest. Cal Crutchlow was sixth, with Andrea Dovizioso behind him.
Lap two saw Dovizioso drop down to the bottom of the field, going wide after struggling on the first lap. Crutchlow had a mini-battle with the Suzuki'd Espargaro, getting past him around the same time Rossi made a move on the Tech 3 Espargaro into third.
Four laps in, Lorenzo had a gap of half a second on Marquez, while Rossi wasn't making any impression on the gap ahead of him. Dovizioso started to work his way through the field, and Iannone was back up to eighth. Bradley Smith was riding well in seventh, with Crutchlow on the back of Pol Espargaro, forcing the Spaniard into a mistake. Mike DiMeglio and Karel Abraham both crashed out, as Lorenzo opened up a gap of 1.4 seconds to Marquez. Loris Baz crashed out, after suffering with grip issues all weekend.
Lap 12, and the race was effectively over. Lorenzo had a 2.9 second gap to Marquez, who looked to be settling for second. Unfortunately for him, Valentino Rossi is Valentino Rossi, and was closing the gap up to the defending champion.
Half way through, Iannone had caught the Suzuki of Aleix Espargaro, but the Spaniard was doing well to hold him off. Hiro Aoyama fell off at turn five, seemingly driving straight into the tyre wall. The sooner Dani Pedrosa can get back, the better for Honda. A lap later, Iannone madde sixth his own.
Marquez managed to fight back against Rossi, opening up the gap slightly after it had been down to 1.5 seconds. The Pramac Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Yonny Hernandez were having a good battle between themselves, as Maverick Viñales and Scott Redding exchanged positions just behind them. Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro were comfortably fourth and fifth, with Iannone making imprints on Espargaro's gap.
Lorenzo took the win, fully deserved after a dominant performance. Marquez did well to finish second, with Rossi in third. Crutchlow was comfortably fourth, with Pol Espargaro coming fifth ahead of Iannone. Aleix Espargaro came seventh, with Smith closely behind in eighth. Dovizioso did well to come ninth, with Yonny Hernandez in tenth. Alvaro Bautista did extremely well in coming in the last points place.
|1||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||44'57.246||25|
|2||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||+5.576||20|
|3||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||+11.586||16|
|4||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||+22.727||13|
|5||Pol Espargaro||Tech 3 Yamaha||+26.620||11|
|7||Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki Ecstar||+35.445||9|
|8||Bradley Smith||Tech 3 Yamaha||+36.296||8|
|10||Yonny Hernandez||Pramac Ducati||+51.072||6|
|11||Maverick Viñales||Suzuki Ecstar||+51.674||5|
|12||Danilo Petrucci||Pramac Ducati||+52.421||4|
|13||Scott Redding||Estrella Galicia||+53.052||3|
|15||Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia Gresini||+57.344||1|
Rossi's 200th career podium opens up a 15 point gap to Dovizioso in the championship, while Lorenzo's first win of the season brings him to third. Marquez is fourth, while Cal Crutchlow leads the satellite bikes in sixth, just ahead of Bradley Smith. Hector Barbera's 10 championship points sees him as the lead open class rider.
|MotoGP Championship Top 5|
|1||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||82||16|
|3||Jorge Lorenzo||Movistar Yamaha||62||25|
|4||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||56||20|
Ride Of The Day
Hard to say, really. Jorge Lorenzo has been impressive all weekend, and deserved his win. Jonas Folger was fast and impressive in the Moto2 race. I think, though, I have to give it to Danny Kent. He said during the week that he wanted a fight, and boy did he get it. We saw in the last two races that he was able to get away, and dominate a race. But today? He couldn't get away. He tried, but he was pulled back.
Now, sometimes when a dominant rider gets pulled into a fight, he can't handle the pressure. Not the case today. A mature, confident ride from Danny today, and he knew what to do and when. Well done.
Next Time Out
In two weeks time, MotoGP goes to Le Mans for the French Grand Prix. We'll keep you covered.