Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's race at Jerez:
Rossi Seals Superb Spanish Victory As Lorenzo Scores Second
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Valentino Rossi highlighted why he is the most successful rider at Circuito de Jerez today and rode one of the strongest races of his career to receive a standing ovation as he jumped onto the top step of the podium for the Gran Premio de España. Jorge Lorenzo also put in a stunning effort under the Andalusian sunshine and made it a perfect 1-2 for the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team dominated the scenes in Spain as Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo set off from first and second place of the grid. They didn't relinquish the first two places once to any other riders and gave Yamaha a perfect one-two podium.
Starting from pole the nine-time world champion had a strong start and took the holeshot with his team-mate following his every move like a shadow. Two laps of tense racing action followed as they pushed each other to the limit. Rossi tried to make his YZR-M1 as wide as possible as Lorenzo tried to steal the lead. He had a brief success, but Rossi immediately responded. Realising the threat that was coming from behind, the Doctor dropped the fastest lap of the race on lap three, a 1'40.090s, and created a 0.7s gap to his pursuers. With clear track in front of him and behind him, Rossi put the hammer down and checked out.
Determined to look after his tyres, the Italian lowered his pace a little in the final stages of the race, yet made sure to keep enough space between him and Lorenzo by responding in the right moments. He finished his lonely ride by taking the chequered flag 2.386s ahead his closest rival and took home his 113th career victory.
Teammate Lorenzo had a strong start and tucked in behind team-mate Rossi in second place. The local hero is known for being strong on the opening lap and built on the pressure on his fellow Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider. He was eager to find a way past the number 46 rider after a few attempts that weren't to last, but soon he had to focus on protecting his second place from a fast approaching Marc Marquez.
However, the race was far from over. With 10 laps to go Lorenzo was able to turn the tables on Rossi and started to close down the margin. It looked like a second battle for the win was about to take place when suddenly the Spaniard suffered from wheel spin on the long straight just as he started to reel in his team-mate. Keeping his head cool, Lorenzo finished the race calmly and secured his 100th premier class podium.
Rossi remains in third position with his first place podium finish, now on 58 points and seven points behind Lorenzo, who is in second place with a total of 65 points, 17 behind the leader in the championship standings.
The team will be back on track tomorrow at the Circuito de Jerez for a one-day test.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"It was an incredible Grand Prix for the whole team. We finished a perfect weekend in first and second place and led almost all the session. What we accomplished here is an important result, especially because of the significant gap to the other manufacturers at what is one of the home Grand Prixs of our title sponsor, Movistar. Valentino has been strong since Friday and we are thrilled for him to take home such a stunning victory. He had a good start and rode a perfect race and led from the first to the last lap without making any mistakes. He did everything right and fully deserved this win. It was unfortunate that Jorge was slowed down by wheel spin towards the end of the race, because he was also looking very strong, especially at the start and also just after the mid-way point of the race. He again showed that he is an incredible professional and clever rider to be able to ride around the problem and take home valuable points for the championship. I want to thank the entire team staff who made this result possible. Now we have a few hours to enjoy today's achievements and then we will focus on tomorrow's test."
1st / 45'28.834 / 27 laps. Championship: 3rd / 58 points
"I think that this was the perfect weekend. We started to go faster from Friday morning and we worked very well. The bike, in the race, was fantastic and we worked very well with the team so I have to say "thank you" to the whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, especially my crew. I had a good pace and a good start and felt good with the bike from the beginning, so I could push. Sincerely, it was a special taste to have a win like this, so thanks a lot!"
2nd / + 2.386 / 27 laps. Championship: 2nd / 65 points
"The positive thing is that the Yamahas went better and also 20 points and second place is good for the championship. Because Rossi crashed in Austin, he is still behind in the championship standings and we made up some points to Marquez. The only thing is that we could have won the race without the problem on the front-straight. Going through the gears the bike didn't stop spinning and I couldn't fully open the throttle. Just when I started recovering metres on Rossi this problem started, so I had to slow down a lot and I didn't have the chance to fight with him for the victory, but sometimes this happens. Now Michelin have to find out what is going on. They improved the front tyre and now I am sure they'll work on the rear to solve these kinds of issues."
Positive podium for Marquez at Jerez, fourth place for Pedrosa
The Repsol Honda Team obtained a solid result at the Red Bull GP of Spain today, with Marc Marquez standing on the final podium spot and Dani Pedrosa finishing in fourth.
Dani made one of the best starts from row three and was able to put his RC213V into third within just a few corners, before his teammate moved past him at the end of the first lap.
From then on, with air and ground temperatures much higher than over the previous days, the race hinged largely on tyre-wear management, with the leading trio of Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez all on the same hard front and medium rear Michelin tyres, basically keeping the same respective positions through the entire race. On the podium, Marc showed the Japanese flag in support of the Kumamoto earthquake victims.
The precious points gained today by the Repsol Honda men mean that Marc retains the lead of the Championship standings while Dani moves up to fourth.
A post-race test is scheduled for tomorrow, 25 April.
“Honestly, today Valentino [Rossi] was on another level, like I was in Austin, and the most important thing is that today we accepted finishing third in the race. I learned a lot from last year and and I didn’t want to make a mistake. I was very focused from the start and I tried to ride strongly and stay with Jorge [Lorenzo], but I could tell that with the higher track temperatures - 11º C higher than yesterday - it was very difficult for me to manage the front tyre well. I almost crashed several times, so in the end I made a difficult decision in front of our fans, as we preferred to secure 16 points that will be very positive at the end of the season, which is very long. We must have patience until we take a step further with the bike’s acceleration and find something else that allows us to fight for the win.”
“We knew it would be a difficult race and we got the position we knew was possible, because the whole weekend the front three were faster than us. I started well, riding hard in the early laps. Then I saw I had difficulties with both the front and rear tyres. I concentrated on keeping my position and I rode at a safe pace so as not to make the rear tyre go off too much as well. I saw that Aleix [Espargaro] was recovering ground on me, but I had him under control and was only focusing on preserving the tyre. Near the end, when I didn’t have him on me, I decided to pick up the pace again. I was able to escape and get closer to Marc [Marquez], so perhaps pushing so hard at the start cost him in the end. Tomorrow we have a test in which we will try to work and improve my feeling on the bike.”
SPIRITED RACE FOR TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR IN JEREZ
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 24.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaró and Maverick Viñales both put in spirited performances at today’s Jerez MotoGP™ World Championship race in Spain to finish in fifth and sixth positions.
Espargaró, who qualified his GSX-RR sixth on the grid, kept his position off the start of the 27-lap race around at 4.42km Jerez de la Frontera circuit, before moving to fifth and then hunting down the fourth-placed rider. His race-pace was solid and faster, and therefore he managed to get very close to the fourth place, even though this wasn’t enough to overtake. He finally settled for fifth, equalling his result at the previous race in Austin. His performance today also confirmed that he is finally finding his confidence back with the GSX-RR and the development work done so far has been effective.
Viñales slipped to sixth on the start, but rode a consistent pace throughout in what was a lonely race for the 21-year-old Spanish rider. His struggle with the rear grip continued, preventing him from being more competitive, but the weekend, overall, was positive although not quite as good as he wanted.
With four races of the 2016 MotoGP™ World Championship now run, both Team SUZUKI ECSTAR riders are setting themselves in good positions with Viñales now sixth and Espargaró seventh, with only one point between them; 33 to 32 respectively
Both riders will stay at Jerez de la Frontera tonight for a day of official testing tomorrow, where the team will have the opportunity to further investigate the rear grip issues and introduce some modifications in the set-up that will hopefully help the riders to find more efficiency.
Satoru Terada – Project Leader:
“Today we finished the race in fifth and sixth and I think this result is ‘so-and-so.’ Of course we need to get closer to the top, but I can also say that we are improving and we made steady progress, as this race also proved, but we still need to step-up more. Apparently we are struggling with the tyres or the set-up because we lack in rear grip, so we have to improve this area particularly. Tomorrow we have the chance to make a one-day test and we already have some ideas that will be applied to the machines and we will examine the outcome. In particular we will work on the settings, because we believe we can find better solutions working on the mechanics rather than electronics.”
“I’m happy, I was waiting for this GP because since FP1 in Argentina we have been making continuous steps forward; in every session in Argentina and Austin we registered improvements and I knew we were getting closer. Here we really focused on the preparation for the race, I suffered a little bit in qualifying because I wasn’t able to run fast with the softer tyre, but doing such a fast lap in qualifying with the harder tyre meant that we were ready and competitive for the race. In fact the race pace trials we did during the weekend gave me good feelings towards the race. I was very focused on the grid and I made a good jump, recovering immediately one position in the first corner and then another one right away. Then I tried to catch-up to fourth position and almost succeeded, but unfortunately towards the end of the race the rider in front of me could keep a faster pace and I settled for fifth. It’s a good result, after a slow beginning to the season, but I’m getting closer to the top with good results but, most-importantly, improving my feeling on the bike. Tomorrow’s test will be very important, we still have issues with the rear grip - especially in slow corners - but Suzuki is doing a great job to support us and deliver some solutions, therefore we already have some ideas that we’re going to test and hopefully these will be positive ones. We are not so far from the fastest, we can improve a lot yet; and this leaves me confident for further improvements.”
“Finally the result of the race is not bad, but it was very difficult as I struggled for the whole race with the rear grip and I regret we could have achieved an even better result. We are not exploiting the bike 100%, we still miss something in the set-up or in the tyre performance and this forced me to push very hard in race. We are making a lot of progress, the Suzuki Factory is giving full support to us, but now that we see we can be closer it’s a pity that we cannot get even closer. I think tomorrow’s test will be very important and we will work on the set-up to find better grip on the rear and try to be more effective.”
Iannone finishes seventh in Spanish GP at Jerez, while Dovizioso retires
The Spanish Grand Prix at the Jerez de la Frontera track failed to produce much satisfaction for the two Ducati Team riders today. Andrea Iannone finished the fourth round of the season in seventh place, while team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had to retire on lap 10.
At the start Iannone was not able to get away well and he crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in fourteenth place. Despite having very little feeling with the front tyre, the Italian embarked on a recovery that took him to seventh place by lap 22 and he finished the race in that position.
It was another luckless day for Dovizioso, who started from row 2 thanks to the fourth quickest time he set in qualifying yesterday. The Italian completed the first five laps in fifth position but was passed by Viñales and then slowed by a problem with his Desmosedici GP’s water pump on lap 10, which forced him to retire.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 7th
“I didn’t expect such a difficult weekend, and right from the start of practice I did my best to do a quick fix on the situation. In the race I started some way down the grid and this penalized me, especially because I didn’t make a good start and the feeling with the bike in the early laps was not at its best. It’s a pity because then I managed to improve lap after lap, making up a lot of positions, and in the end my pace wasn’t bad. A seventh place is for sure not our target, but we took home some important points for the championship”.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team # 04) – DNF
“It was a pity because another no-points score in the championship was the last thing I needed. We had a problem with the water pump: some water came out and finished on the rear wheel and I almost crashed three times so had to retire. If however we try and look at the positives, we are working well, my feeling with the bike is good and this is the most important thing for me, even though it’s true that here at Jerez we never managed to be as competitive as in the first three GPs. On a personal level it’s important for me to be sure that I haven’t made any errors in the last three races, and this gives me the confidence to try and be competitive again immediately, starting from Le Mans”.
APRILIA IN THE POINTS WITH STEFAN BRADL
BAUTISTA CRASHES OUT WHILE BATTLING FOR A TOP TEN SPOT
ALBESIANO: “WE IMPROVED THROUGHOUT THE WEEKEND, WE HAD THE POTENTIAL FOR A BETTER RESULT”
Alvaro Bautista crashed out in the sixth lap of the Spanish GP race while battling for a top ten spot astride his Aprilia RS-GP in the group made up of Laverty, Barbera and Crutchlow. For Alvaro, who suffered no physical consequences from the crash, this ended a weekend where his performance had been steadily improving. After just missing out on qualifying for QP2 twice and taking the best spot on the fifth row anyway, Bautista confirmed the progress his Aprilia had made in the race as well.
The crash was partially compensated for by the result earned by his Aprilia Racing Team Gresini teammate, Stefan Bradl who, despite lagging behind the entire weekend, rode a shrewd race, staying in the points zone and in the finale overtaking Hernandez to take fourteenth place and two championship points.
The team from Veneto still has the satisfaction of a weekend that highlighted the Aprilia RS-GP machine's progress. Now there will be tests at Jerez tomorrow and the next few races will be new rounds to improve a promising project.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
“The race certainly did not go as we had hoped and up to our potential. Both Alvaro and Stefan got off the line well, immediately moving up a few positions. Bautista was in the group that was jockeying for a spot in the top ten. He crashed but these are things that happen when you're trying to push to the limit. Bradl, on the other hand, set up a more cautious race, bringing home a few points, thanks in part to a nice move just in the final phases. We were expecting a better result and it was within our potential, especially after what we saw in the practice sessions, but in any case we worked hard once again this weekend, improving and identifying other areas that need work to move the RS-GP project along”.
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
“Alvaro was riding a great race and he was really close to the top ten. In general we had a good weekend where we definitely took some steps forward. The bike is growing. We can see the improvements and it would have been interesting to cross the wire with the rider who had been having the better weekend. That's the way racing goes, but from tomorrow, with the day of testing, we'll be focused once again on development”.
“After a good start that earned me a few positions, I was battling with the group between eighth and eleventh place when I lost the front end in a fast corner. It's a shame and I'm sorry for the entire team that worked so hard, but that's racing and it's only right to make a go of it. In any case this was still a very positive weekend. We did well during practice, I felt at ease in the race and I didn't have any problems battling in that group. Anyway, now we need to look forward and keep improving the bike the way we have been doing so far”.
“The final result is positive. We worked hard on the settings to find the right feeling with the rear tyre. It was a rather demanding weekend in terms of grip. We also tried to take another step forward during the warm up session but it didn't pan out, so in spite of going back to the previous solution I had a few misgivings at the beginning of the race. I got off the line better than I had in the last few races and in the first laps I felt good. Then I felt a drop in performance from the front tyre that forced me to slow down. Lap by lap I found my pace and I was also able to catch up our rivals, overtaking Hernandez at the end and earning a few points”.
Miller and Rabat battle hard in scorching Spain
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat gained plenty of knowledge but unfortunately no points at the end of a demanding MotoGP race at the Jerez track in Spain today.
With ambient temperatures considerably higher than those experienced in practice and qualifying, tyre preservation took on greater importance in a physically demanding 27-lap race that was played out in front of a packed crowd of over 100,000 vocal fans.
Australian Miller did a fantastic job of conserving his tyres in the opening laps to come on strong in the latter stages of a race that saw the 21-year-old post lap times comparable to those competing around 10th position.
Miller’s impressive pace and determination to shrug off the on-going discomfort of a right ankle injury suffered in Texas went largely unrewarded, as he had to settle for 17th position. But he can take great encouragement from his second finish of the season going into an important one-day test at Jerez tomorrow.
Rabat also rode a strong race to try and preserve his 100% point scoring record in 2016. But the sizzling hot track temperatures saw him drop his pace in the face of deteriorating rear grip in the closing stages, as he opted to gain and experience and finish for the fourth race in a row.
Without the pressure and time constraints of a race weekend, Rabat is looking forward to a full day on track for tomorrow’s test session, where he plans to further work on his riding style.
Jack Miller: 17th
“It was a tough weekend but I am happy to have got through it safely and with a solid finish under my belt after the injury problems in Austin. I struggled throughout the race in the hairpins and it really showed in the early laps. I had no confidence and couldn’t make any passes but I have to be positive because the heat made it a very physical race and my body held up really well, so all the training I’ve been able to do while still hurt has paid off. In the second part of the race I felt good because I’d worked hard to conserve my tyres. Maybe I saved them a bit too much but it was important to finish and learn a lot. I look forward to the test tomorrow without any pressure where I can just focus on improving the bike in the hairpins, which is something I’ll need to be better with at the next race in Le Mans."
Tito Rabat: 18th
“I can’t be too happy with today’s result but I am happy that we made important progress in solving some of our wheelie issues under acceleration. I’ve struggled a lot in that area and we found a good direction this weekend. I finished the race again which is important to get data and experience for the future and I am happy with my rhythm at the beginning of the race. I struggled in the final laps when the grip went down but I think I made another positive step this weekend. I could follow a few riders and it was only in the last laps that I dropped back when the tyres started to wear. We have the test now in Jerez tomorrow and I can try and use what I have learned in the first four races to improve my riding style and be more competitive in the next few races.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It was a difficult race for Jack and Tito when you look at their final position but at least from mid-race distance we can take encouragement from the fact that their lap times were comparable to those close to the top 10. With a better qualifying I think both could have finished inside the points, which is where we need to be. Where we finished is not where we want to be but both of them finished and gained more experienced and credit to Jack because conditions were much hotter today and he rode a brave and determined race, despite his physical problems with the ankle injury.”
Octo Pramac Yakhnich finishes Jerez weekend with no satisfaction
A weekend to forget for Octo Pramac Yakhnich which ends a disappointing #SpanishGP and tomorrow will be again on track for official testa. It will be an opportunity to understand the causes of the poor grip which was the basis of the difficulties of these three days in Spain.
There is not much to tell about the first European roung of the 2016 MotoGP season. Scott Redding and Michele Pirro confirmed the great difficulties encountered in free practice and qualifying where their bikes have never found grip to be competitive. Started respectively from 17th and 20th position, Scott and Michael have never managed to lap enough fast to move close the top 10. The biggest problems were for the British rider who has done everything possible to finish the race ending up in 19th position. Michele Pirro also has gritted his teeth and in the last corner he managed respond with pride to Miller’s attack defending his final 16th position.
19th - SCOTT REDDING
Nothing worked today and throughout the weekend. And I must admit that it is not possible to ride in these conditions. During the last few laps I also had to slow down a bit to get to the finish line without running the risk of falling. Even in the straight spinning was impressive. You can always learn something from the bad days but it's really hard to figure out what we should have done to improve this weekend. We spent three days trying to find grip and we never succeeded. And I do not think it was only our fault.
16th - MICHELE PIRRO
I'm really sad and sorry. In Argentina and also in Texas we showed to be very competitive. We arrived in Jerez, where we worked hard during tests with these tires, and nothing seems to work. It is frustrating because last year I have worked hard together with all the Ducati test team. We have made a lot of tests, even during Christmas holidays and in August. Things went very well and all this work was erased with this race. During this weekend I had the feeling of not being able to do anything to improve. We tried so many things but it is as if everything had changed. I think there is a lot to think about.
Tenth place for Barbera at the Spanish Grand Prix
Expectations for the Spanish Grand Prix were high after the great performance showed by the Avintia Racing riders during qualifying practice. But the higher temperatures today changed the track conditions completely and Hector Barbera was not able to fight for a better result and finished the race in tenth place. It is certainly a positive result still and well within the targets set by the rider and the team, but not enough to make Hector happy after his strong pace during practice and qualifying. Nevertheless, the Avintia Racing rider leaves Jerez with eighth place in the championship standings, only five points behind the fifth. After four races, he still is the best Ducati rider.
For Loris Baz, once again the race was not easy. Like at the last race in Texas, another rider hit him on the first lap, and although he managed to stay on his bike this time, he dropped back to last place. But the young Frenchman made a great recovery to finish the race in 13thposition, taking championship points for the second race in succession. In two weeks he’ll race at home and he hopes to finish higher up.
Hector Barbera - P10
“This was a very difficult race. The weekend had been almost perfect and we did a great job so far, which makes this tenth place a little disappointing. The track condition changed completely for the race and from the second lap onwards, I struggled with the traction control that was cutting too much power. I tried all the mappings I had for the race, but non of them worked and, even leaned over, the bike was cutting power, so I was losing time on every corner exit and I was not able to attack in the braking points. I was not comfortable riding the bike and I’ve been fighting the whole race. We continue adding points and this is the most positive, and despite our problems, we are still in the top ten. To be honest, our real position is between fifth and tenth, but we have to go one step back with the electronics, because we changed something in Argentina and it’s clear that it doesn’t work.”
Loris Baz - P13
“Today it was important to finish the race, but once again I was close to crashing on the first lap, when Redding blew me off the track. When I came back I was last, and on the next lap, I made a mistake and I went wide again. I lost too much time and with these two problems, I had to change my race strategy. We chose the soft front tyre and the plan was to save it during the first part of the race with a full tank, but I was forced to recover and the tyre was really bad at the end, so the last few laps were very difficult. Positive is that we took three points and we learned a couple of things that we will change for the next races. The season started here for us and I want to use this experience to get a better result at Le Mans.”
Espargaro signs off in top independent position at Jerez
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro pulled off another solid performance today to clinch 8th in Andalucía. The 25 year old kicked off the fight from the third row on the grid and leapt forward when the lights went out before completing the opening lap one place higher. He quickly set into his formidable race pace and by the mid point of the GP, he remained in 7th. The Spaniard kept pushing but despite his best efforts, he was overtaken by the Factory Ducati of Andrea Iannone in the final third of the race. Nevertheless, he comfortably finished ahead of the pursuing riders in 8th in what was his fourth top ten result this season. Now, Espargaro confidently looks on to the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team's home Grand Prix in a fortnight's time.
Meanwhile, Bradley Smith gave his all today after a tricky qualifying campaign and he met the chequered flag in the race in 12th position. The young Briton launched from the middle of the fifth row of the grid and whilst muscling his way around the track, he was pushed back to 15th by the close of the first lap. However, he dug deep as he intended to rise through the field and by lap 10 he snatched 12th. His progress continued and he opened a gap to the pack behind before powering to the end in this position. The 25 year old will use the test day tomorrow at the Jerez circuit as an opportunity to improve so that he can repeat his 2015 form at Le Mans, the next round of the MotoGP World Championship.
8th / + 30.750 / 27 laps. Championship: 5th / 36 points
"I am pleased to walk away from Jerez with another strong set of points but it certainly was a challenging race. The weather changed so much from the practice sessions and it was very hot out there today, so that it was tough to choose the tyres and then ride a decent race yet we did what we could. At the beginning I was just adjusting to the conditions, but I upped the pace in the middle and then went quick at the end. I feel, along with some of the other satellite riders for sure, that the gap to the factory guys is still considerable. We saw them going and just had to think about the end of the race otherwise we would wear the tyre and not finish. It's a pity that you cannot extract all of the potential from your bike because the tyre is limited. Having said that we are in a development stage, so for sure this will improve in the future. Anyway we still managed to get 8th but we need a bit more so that we can fight a bit higher in the opening laps which we will aim to discover tomorrow. In the final third of the GP, Iannone had a bit more traction than me when exiting the corners. My rear tyre was worn so I didn't want to push too hard and risk it all. Le Mans is next, which is the Monster Energy sponsored race and the home GP for my team. I like the track but not the weather as it changes a lot! We are all motivated and in a good position in the championship so I know we can have a positive time there."
12th / +39.669 / 27 laps. Championship: 12th / 20 points
"Without a doubt it was a tough weekend for me but at least I got something out of it in terms of points, and I am determined to have a more successful time at the next round in France. In the race I had an ok start off the line but the Aprilias and Ducatis were really strong during the opening laps. Unfortunately I also lost some positions in the first lap due to contact with another rider so I ended up behind Hernandez and Bautista. I felt like it cost me some time following them, but with the lack of grip I experienced on the rear tyre, I could not push any harder at the beginning and already after ten laps I knew that I was in trouble. Therefore, I just tried to be as smooth as possible and reach the finish flag. The good thing is that we managed to improve my feeling with the front over the weekend and I felt more comfortable when compared to the previous races, so tomorrow in the test we will focus on trying to find a solution to the rear. However, saying that is very easy and this may not be the case in reality. Yet, we will work hard and take full advantage of tomorrow so that we can be strong in Le Mans like last year."
CRUTCHLOW SECURES FIRST POINTS OF 2016 IN SPAIN
Cal Crutchlow brought home his factory LCR Honda at the Spanish Grand Prix in Jerez on Sunday, to take his first points of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. Having had a difficult weekend all round, the positives of keeping in the battle despite feeling uncomfortable throughout the 27-lap event, mean that the team can now start to build from this platform.
Track temperatures were at their highest of the weekend by the time of the MotoGP race, and Crutchlow was unable to replicate the solid sequence of laps he put in during the morning warm-up session. Having started from tenth on the grid Cal strived to keep tabs on the Ducati riders ahead of him, but struggled with grip in the latter stages, eventually settling into a rhythm which meant he was finally able to open his account for the season.
The LCR Honda Team now stay on for a day’s testing at Jerez, before moving onto France for the fifth round of the MotoGP series.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 11th (5 points)
“The weekend was tough and I am pleased that I finished the race. We believe we had a tyre problem because earlier I had a good warm-up with race distance on the tyres. I feel I rode a lot smoother in the race, but just wasn’t going anywhere. The last ten laps were a real struggle. We’re not too sure why just yet, but we just know there was a lot of vibration and I had to change to sixth gear on the straights where I’d normally use fifth – just to try and stop the spin.”
“There are no excuses, we have what we have. I finished eleventh, but finished the race. Obviously that doesn’t make me happy at all. Before the race I felt I could have been battling with Dani Pedrosa if I’m truly honest. I have no doubt in my mind I could battle up there today, but for some reason the Honda pace dropped a lot across the board with ten laps to go. Honda are working so hard though, and we will at least give them some information on full race distance which can hopefully help things.”
SCINTILLATING ROSSI SHINES FOR MICHELIN IN THE SPANISH SUN
Valentino Rossi gave a riding masterclass today to take his sixth premier-class victory on Michelin tyres at the Jerez circuit in Spain and his first MotoGP™ win of the season
Staring from pole-position, the nine-time World Champion got the hole-shot on his Yamaha and led into the first corner with the following pack in close attendance. Rossi increased his lead on the first of the 27-laps around the 4,423m Spanish circuit and showed his intent early on, with current champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha and the Honda mounted championship leader Marc Marquez leading the chasing pack. Rossi rode a faultless race throughout and never came under pressure as he stretched his lead at the front, before crossing the line to take victory by over two-seconds from Lorenzo, with Marquez securing the final podium position in third.
Rossi chose to use a hard MICHELIN Power Slick on the front of his Yamaha, coupled with a medium rear – the same as the other podium finishers – and with tyre conservation an important issue around the difficult Jerez circuit, the Italian served up a superb performance which saw him start from pole and lead a race from the beginning to the chequered flag for the first time in his career.
A large and enthusiastic crowd at trackside, all bathed in beautiful sunshine – which was a contrast from the foggy conditions that greeted the paddock first thing this morning – saw Honda’s Dani Pedrosa take the fourth position and the Suzuki pair of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales claimed fifth and sixth places respectively. Andrea Iannone battled his way through the field on his Ducati from eleventh on the grid to claim seventh, with the satellite Yamaha ridden by Pol Espargaro securing eighth to give the Spaniard the honour of First Independent Team Rider. Eugene Laverty in ninth and Hector Barbera – both riding Ducati satellite machines – rounded out the top-ten. In the championship classification, Marquez retains his lead, but with a reduced margin over Lorenzo in second and today’s winner Rossi in a close third.
Michelin will remain at Jerez for one more day for a full and comprehensive tyre test on the Monday, before heading back home to France for the next round of the MotoGP World Championship, which will be staged at Le Mans on Sunday 8th May.
Valentino Rossi – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP:
“I am so happy about this result because I felt good about the bike and the tyres from Friday onwards. I hoped I could be strong in Jerez this year, because last year I struggled a lot, so for me it was great. This victory was very important because it arrived at the right moment; it is a really important victory, starting from the beginning right to the end, so it was great!”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“This weekend we have had some very positive moments, the front tyres have improved a lot and the riders now have a lot of confidence in them. We brought a new compound here and that has worked very well in the different conditions – especially on the colder track in the morning – and we are very pleased with the results. We have also only had two crashes this weekend which is certainly a good sign of improvement, especially when you consider the number of falls in both Moto2™ and Moto3™, and how difficult the track conditions were. This afternoon the surface was over 40°C and that was more than 20° warmer than this morning, so tyre wear was an important factor and we are very pleased with the durability that our tyres showed. We now have an important test tomorrow, where we hope we can confirm the casing construction that we will use for the rest of the season.”
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“We have had a good weekend here at Jerez and have learned many things, it was also very important for us to use all five versions of tyres in the race, three fronts and two rears, to see how they performed in race conditions. We have had a difficult situation to overcome this weekend as well though. On Saturday we lost the use of six of the tyre fitters due to illness, which was diagnosed as a gastro virus. They were treated by the MotoGP Doctor and made a bit of a recovery overnight, so that they were able to do their job today. This was a setback and we had to delay the start of yesterday’s Free Practice session to allow the technicians enough time to assist the remaining fitters to make sure all the tyres were on the rims and that they were warmed up and safe to use in the afternoon. We can do without these situations when we need to concentrate on the race weekend, but we are happy they’re now getting better and hope that they make a full recovery soon.”