2018 Jerez MotoGP Race Result: Making An Escape From Trouble

The Jerez circuit turned up the heat to a toasty 40 degrees as the premier class played their cards for the first trophy back at home. If practice and qualifying and the first couple of laps suggested a classic rumble for the win, it quickly turned into a classic masterclass from Marc Marquez, the reigning world champion battling mostly the elements to score his 37th premier class victory and add to his impressive podium tally at the track. Johann Zarco looked less than comfortable on the medium tire and had a lonely and unexpected journey into second position. Equally surprised would have been Andrea Iannone, who scored back to back podiums for Suzuki after dropping back rapidly at the start.

The poleman did not feature heavily in proceedings, Cal Crutchlow losing ground at the lights as Jorge Lorenzo made a trademark start of old by launching into the lead ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Zarco, with Crutchlow fourth, Marquez fifth and the two Suzukis following. Andrea Dovizioso held station at the start, with the Yamahas gaining one position behind him but Viñales was quickly demoted out of the top ten by Franco Morbidelli.

Back at the front, Marquez made his first move into last turn and managed to keep Crutchlow behind him, with another move on Zarco at the end of lap two. Meanwhile, Iannone was going backwards, dropping behind Dovizioso and Rossi and back into ninth.

By lap three, Pedrosa briefly got past the leading Ducati as Lorenzo and his softer front tyre were showing some signs of weakness but Lorenzo struck back right away. Marquez then made a brave move on his teammate in turn 11, with Zarco and Crutchlow hanging on the back of the Repsol Hondas. Dovizioso had taken the lead of the second group in an attempt to bring down the half-second’s gap, dragging Alex Rins, Iannone, Rossi and Petrucci with him.

Crutchlow made a move on Zarco on lap five and the Frenchman started having major struggles, dropping behind Rins and Dovizioso, who were also struggling to catch up with the four leaders. The Suzuki man’s challenge faltered on lap six, as he crashed out for the third race in a row. Teammate Iannone was making up for it already as the Italian started to make up the ground he lost at the start and was up to sixth.

Meanwhile, Marquez was stalking Lorenzo with Pedrosa and Crutchlow in tow. The poleman did not get a chance to place his bid for the lead as he slid out in turn one at the start of lap eight. Marquez finally made a move on Lorenzo in his namesake corner as Dovizioso joined the lead group, leaving Zarco over a second down the road.

Dovizioso was up into third after another move on Pedrosa in the final corner as they were starting lap ten and although the top four was in close proximity, gaps of over a second started popping up behind them between Zarco, Iannone and Petrucci. The Pramac man had company though, in the form of Rossi and Jack Miller. Viñales was in much less familiar company in between Alvaro Bautista and Bradley Smith outside of the top ten.

Despite continuing to set red hot sectors at the front at the midway point of the race, Marquez could not get away from the challengers behind, all with the same medium rear tire. The only one theoretically at a disadvantage was Lorenzo on a softer front and it soon seemed to make a difference as Marquez stretched half a second’s advantage. The next rival for the Honda man was some gravel dragged onto the circuit in turn 11 by Tom Luthi’s fresh crash but the world champion pulled another save out of the bag and carried on.

The scare did not seem to have dented his confidence much – as if it ever does – and the world champion was checking out by a second just a lap later. Dovizioso and Pedrosa were still stuck behind Lorenzo and battling each other as they desperately attempted not to lose touch with the leader. Marquez was not lending any helping hands as he extended his lead to two seconds with 10 laps to go. Lorenzo looked like easy prey behind him but the wolves could not get close enough and the story ended one lap later as the trio tangled in an odd incident which, in a shocking twist, did not involve Marc Marquez. Dovizioso overtook Lorenzo, taking both Ducatis wide and then tangling with Pedrosa as they were getting back on line, filling the litter box with three unhappy riders.

With Marquez six seconds ahead of the remaining pursuers, Zarco found himself on the podium and Petrucci, Iannone, Miller and Rossi were all of a sudden battling for the remaining podium position. Behind them, Viñales got a helping hand into eighth position purely through maths.

Iannone made a brave move on Petrucci in turn five with two laps to go as Rossi got ahead of Miller half a second behind them. The Yamaha man brought that gap down aided by the smell of silverware but the faith of third place was sealed by Iannone, half a second clear of Petrucci at the line. Rossi completed his lap around the world in fifth position, ahead of Miller in sixth. Viñales finally made it past Bautista on the final couple of laps and finished seventh, probably better than he could’ve hoped for 40 minutes earlier, when the tarmac was simmering on the grid. Bautista, Morbidelli and wildcard Mika Kallio all got somewhat lucky but overall very impressive top ten positions.

Besides being the big winner in Jerez, Marquez came out on top in the championship standings as well, 12 points ahead of Zarco. Viñales will be ecstatic to still be in third, 20 points down on his compatriot, as Iannone climbs two positions to fourth. Dovizioso goes from leader to fifth, 24 points down, followed by Rossi and Crutchlow.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'39.678
2 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +5.241
3 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +8.214
4 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +8.617
5 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +8.743
6 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +9.768
7 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +13.543
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +14.076
9 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +16.822
10 36 Mika KALLIO KTM +19.405
11 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +21.149
12 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +21.174
13 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +21.765
14 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +22.103
15 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia +36.755
16 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha +41.861
17 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +49.241
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 1 Lap
    Not Classified    
  99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati 8 Laps
  4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 8 Laps
  26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 8 Laps
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 9 Laps
  12 Thomas LUTHI Honda 14 Laps
  42 Alex RINS Suzuki 20 Laps
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 0 Lap
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Strange race, at moments exciting for the wrong reasons... But very telling about the situation : Honda and Ducati have made some gigantic steps forward. Suzuki is growing by the day, and Yamaha is still AWOL... 93 is in superb form, and the official Ducati team once again is facing big trouble in the garage.

My favorite moment is the way MM controlled the bike on the gravel scattered on that corner... awesome! decisive moment : that's when he made the break from the group, never to be cought up again.

And then the other decisive moment, the crash fest involving AD, DP, JL : what a bloody mess! I tend to agree with Pedrosa statement (one i read, i did not hear his precise words) : he was fast on his line, and Lorenzo had gone really wide and should have paid attention when plunging back for his line knowing full well that just behind him there was a faster Pedrosa. the helicopter view shows pretty well in my opinion, that Pedrosa is probably right. The bigger picture in this mess, tells us that Jorge was slower than Dovi, that if he had been smart enough and not blinded by useless pride he should have opened the door to Dovi, follow him, and then fight it at the last corner for a P2 or 3... I know, easy said from my armchair, and true this is not the gentlemen club... still : what's Ducati ROI with Lorenzo ? Are we gonna see a new mapping 8 thorughtout the season ?

another decisive moment : Rins and Cal, proving - sadly once agin - that they have the package, the speed, the talent, but they badly lack consistency.

finally the hopeless case of Yamaha team : it seems to me that 12 months later they are almost back to square one : it's physically painful to see them exiting the corners with almost no acceleration...  what a sad way to end one's career.


+1 for Jorge realizing earlier (than the takeout) that he could not match Dovi's speed and should have let him pass. I was waiting for a Ducati team instruction to be sent to Jorge via the electronic messaging for the same purpose as mgm noted, too. Seemed the ideal scenario for team instructions.

Lorenzo's pace was not so bad, as evidenced by Dovi's going wide on the pass attempt. And while I agreed with team orders in Valencia last year, I think in Jerez, it was up to Dovi to pass on his own merits, not for JL to just give up a position.

How do you seriously expect a former champion, die hard competitor to yield or give an inch when you finally have a bike almost doing what you want?? None of them would ever do that, especially this early in the season! So Dovi does a Marquez move on Lorenzo, and it’s lorenzo’s fault they crashed? It was a RACiNG incident... unlucky for them all, but they are all at fault. If AD & DP were faster, they should have been better at passing. Tough to watch none the less... I made a comment to MM93 to open a can of whoop ass at Austin to make for Argentina’s mess, I guess he has. Good luck to the rest of the grid, time to re-live 2014 MM domination. 

Brilliant win yet again by by Marc. When the weather conditions and track conditions are by and large stable throughout the weekend I make a point of watching the warm up. Marc and Dovi did one straight, long run each and had an impressive pace using the same rubber. Jorge on the other hand did one shortish run and parked the bike tenth with a couple of minutes to go. The arrogance! Like he was leading the championship and had no worries and was a dead cert winner! The incident between Dovi, Dani and Jorge in my opinion was just a race incident. Two, way quicker riders trying to get to grips with Marc before it was too late, swapping paint to be the first to get the mobile #99 roadblock behind them. Not to be. There is a great shot on GPOne.com  the moment it turned sour. Dani, flying through the air and a cartwheeling Honda heading straight for both Ducati's trajectory whilst both on their wheels. Clearly Jorge was chasing a pipe dream and he must have known it as soon as Dovi put the aero on and especially post warm up with the same tires Marc opted for. Respect for team mates? Hearken back to Moto2 and KTM. Binder was on top of Oliviera all weekend until this morning's warm up. Binder gave it his best shot, but when it was clear Oliviera would have him anyway, he let him go. Eh Jorge? Jorge scored nothing and just cost his team (Ducati Team), team mate and Dani a pile of points. Gabarini must be at the end of his tether as crew chief for Jorge. This title may well be already wrapped up. With Marc having such a huge lead, he can go back to his 2016 mode. The race aside and silly season. Great ride by Iannone. Suzuki must be thinking real hard about there factory boys right now and future signings. Jorge did himself no favours today on that front. If I were Domenicali, I would give Dovi what he is negotiating for right now and bring Miller into the factory squad within the week for 2019/20.

Andrea Dovizioso versus his team mate again. Not the desired result. I hope nobody was injured.

Again one of the bikes laid on the track for some time.

Yes MGM Ducati's return on the investment they put into Jorge Lorenzo. All those euros gone forever.

having witnessed Marco Simoncelli’s accident from close range i had a deja vu when Lorenzo veered down into the corner; if he has seen the footage in the meantime he will understand how lucky he was to walk away from it

Just like every other rider on the grid they all want to win! Lorenzo was fast enought to keep Dovi behind him. Dovizioso tried (as he had to in order to get around Jorge ) and the end result occurred which was not good for all three involved. I'm happy that none of them were seriously injured.

“Dovizioso overtook Lorenzo, taking both Ducatis wide and then tangling with Pedrosa as they were getting back on line, filling the litter box with three unhappy riders.”

Might be more accurate to saw Jorge outbraked himself a little and followed Dovi wide, and that Jorge then dropped back onto the racing line and collided with Pedrosa.
The way it reads, it may imply that Dovi made contact.

Lorenzo had every right to fight for position. Letting Dovi go or having Ducati give team orders would have been ridiculous.

When Jorge Lorenzo visited Kenny Roberts´ rancho in Hickman to ride a little dirt track a number of years back, the two rode together and ended up racing in spite of their huge age difference of 26 years and Roberts, who modestly (being from Modesto) described himself to me about that time as "probably the fastest 60-year-old guy in the world”) ended up on his ear. He caught Jorge but found he couldn´t get around. Roberts, who deals often in absolutes but never frivolously, said. "of all the guys who ever came to ride at the rancho, Jorge is the hardest guy to pass."  

(Roberts, at that time and on his own track, was still very, very fast and often instructed younger roadracers with no professional flat track experience…and passing them was never much of a problem.)

After Valencia 2017 and Jerez 2018, I am sure Andrea Dovizioso would agree with King Kenny. Should, in what was only the 4th race of a 19-race season, the guy with 6 points have yielded to his team mate who was leading the championship with 46 points and would have trailed by only four points if he had finished second? 

I´d say that Ducati signed Jorge Lorenzo because he is one of the best and a three-time MotoGP World Champion. For their big bucks Ducati got all of Jorge Lorenzo and part of that package is his ability to keep the door closed tight, as another three-time premier class champion observed one winter day in central California when he allowed his impatience to get the better of him much as Dovi´s did in Jerez. 


Agreed that while Dovi is a very late braker, Lorenzo enters w lots of corner speed. What he DOES do is often sweep out for a later curvy entry sweep which can leave a (most recently Jack Miller sized) opening. He didn't today. His lines were great. He nursed his soft tire. He was holding Dovi up just a bit here and there but w nothing Dovi could capitalize upon.

No need to mind the "should have let Dovi past" etc drivel above.

Correct though that Jorge tends to assume others should leave a bit of room for him if trying to overtake. To be fair, he offers that too usually when passing. Still altogether a no fault racing incident.

So sorry to see both Rins (again!) and Cal throw for bowling pins without any outside influences. You could see Rins being a bit ragged w the front a few turns before he lost it. Cal was doing well. I wondered if he didn't nudge the curbing a smidge from the overhead angle but have only seen it the once.

Poor Ducati! They really had a great race going. Both factory riders were smoking the rears a bit which was fun to see. Sad for Dovi in particular. He has had more than his share and then some of getting collected.

Marc didn't so much have a "save" as he worked with an unexpected supermoto/Stoner entry style. The kid is f*king amazing. He drifted and scrubbed a bit, unflinching, until continuing with his new lovely stepped out rear late entry. "Oh look! A nice new line!"

Dani skittled well, no collar bone of wrist impacts noted. Nice change.

Kallio wins the Orange cup. I would be inclined to swap his spot w Bradley. Wishing as usual that we could have seen a bit more of that battle. Happy to see that Marc's Dad's finger crossing was isolated to a wee screen-in-screen. And delighted to not have to see scowly Puig every time Dani makes a pass. Looks like lately Dani may be happy to avoid him lately too now that he eats his young.

Off to view some replays.

I realize that my previous post might be misleading. In a normal situation after just four races and two teammates who are potentially on the same level of winning the WC,  nobody expects team orders. And nobody expects that one rider is not fighting for his position and giving away anything, especially not to his team mate. But this is no normal situation. Quite the contrary. Ducati brought in fivetimeworldchampion-betterthanthou to... win the championship. One season and four races later it seems to me that the plan has failed. Spectacularly. So, in this kind of strange situation given the resources they throw at JL it would be fair to assume that the guy has a moral duty (let's call it a shred of team spirit) to participate in every way possible to help get this bloody championship. How many times Dovi almost crashed into JL because he was faster?  Yes you might argue that it was up to dovi to find a way to pass... but... was lorenzo going after MM or was he just playing defense?  Defense of what?  DOVI was going to pass him eventually but too late to ever close the gap to MM. In other words, given the very uneasy situation in the ducati garage and given his even more delicate situation, JL should have proven  for once to be smart and ready to make a tiny effort for the team. That's all I'm saying. 

Good to see ducati so strong in Jerez though.

When Wayne Rainey was fighting the Yamaha during a spell in ´89, Roberts told him, "Weiner, you can´t make a golf ball do what a golf ball won´t do."  You can´t make Jorge Lorenzo move over and give up the passing lane either. Every instinct that Lorenzo has tells him to go to the front, whether he is tenth or second, and, once in the lead, he is a bulldog. The debate about what Jorge should have done in Valencia 2017 and Jerez 2018 is a fair one, but the only opinions that have force on the subject are all clothed in Ducati red.

Team orders exist, but fans don´t like them and riders don´t either. Personally, I have never really been able to get over Luca Cadalora winning the British GP in 1993 when he was sitting on the rear wheel of his injured team leader who needed the points badly...but Luca had never won a 500 GP and his natural desire to win caused him to ignore the pitboard that said "P2 OK." 

If you rewind and watch Dovizioso´s angry reaction directed at Jorge after the carambola in Jerez, you´ll know what he thinks. It’s very clear to anyone close to the Ducati garage what Paolo and Davide think, and, although his body English in his command chair is as hard to read as that of the late Stephen Hawking, I have a pretty good idea and so do you. Will Jorge continue in Ducati? That depends on results. If he establishes himself over the next few races as a faster rider than Dovi and if he shows he can beat Márquez with a Ducati...well, sure! 

The seats available are now limited to one or two. One if you believe Honda will keep Dani and two of you don´t think so. And, if you are Suzuki, will you not be hesitant about letting Iannone? But that is another topic.


Ultimately I agree that it's a racing incident. I don't think any of them did anything wrong, just a culmination of circumstances, unfortunate for all involved, but glad all of them are fine.

No way should Jorge be giving up a spot to Dovi in the 4th race of the season, I know Dovi is one of the MotoGP darlings at the moment due to his awesome 2017 season, but really? Jorge not to fight for his position this early in the season? No chance... think about it.

Moths buzz around street lights at night because instinctivly they fly towards the sun to start their mating rituals. The night lights fool them into flight and lure them to their death. Ascribing the hard-wired behaviour of an instinct-bound lower life form without the cognitive awareness to understand events around it or the will to change its behaviour to a motorcycle racer (or to any other human being) is insulting in the extreme. Dennis, Lorenzo is a highly intelligent sportsman. The idea that he could be aware of what was happening in the race around him and extrapolate what possibly was required of him by others in that situation, but have instinct drive him to a behaviour contrary to his considered view is absurd. He and his peers are not slaves to instinct, they make choices and because they are choices and not the result of instinctive behaviour they can be held to account.

Now to the incident.

If Lorenzo was Xavier Simeon, a rider who pays Ducati to ride their bike, then he has every right to milk any situation for self-serving purposes. But Lorenzo is paid handsomly by Ducati to deliver championships (yes plural, we will get back to that) and therefore rides on the company coin to serve the company.  

After Marquez passed Lorenzo he was struggling to make a gap. At that point Lorenzo was the man to lead the pursuit. After four or so laps however Marquez started to gap Lorenzo. If it was Pedrosa behind Lorenzo then he must defend every line to keep it that way, that is the best way to serve the team that employs you. But it wasnt. It was his teammate who had a better pace & had caught and passed other riders, including Pedrosa, to arrive behind Lorenzo.  At that point Lorenzo should have let Dovi slip past, then held up Pedrosa. 

Should Ducati hold out a board with team orders? The fact this is a discussion point at all this early in the season is a symptom of the problem, not a problem in itsself.

Should Dovi have bided his time until Lorenzo's soft front tyre cried enough? Possibly. But even Marquez remarked about Dovi's unexpected pace in the post race press conference. Dovi quite possibly had the pace to challenge Marquez, Lorenzo didn't.

Lorenzo was hanging on in the face of the inevitable for the sake of it. How can we see this? Not just by how Dovi out braked himself trying to get past, but how quickly Lorenzo cut back across to Pedrosa. I do not belive that Lorenzo intended to collide or block Dani. In a split second Lorenzo had to go from covering off Dovi to covering off Dani. He overcooked it. As for the BS he didnt know he was there? Even if he did ask that his board not to display anbody except the rider immediatly behind that name would have swapped between Dovi & Dani & back again. He would have seen on the big screens around the circuit. He would have heard Dani's engine even as he was turning under Dovi. He knew. 

Championships. Hands up anybodywho thinks Ducati hired Lorenzo to win Lorenzo a world championship? They paid him a motza to bring Ducati a championship. There are three championships that matter - four actually but rookie of the year does not apply here - Riders Championship, Manufacturers Championship & Teams Championship. Lorenzo has failed to master the Ducati so the riders championship is out. But Honda won the triple in 2017 because Dani did his bit and Lorenzo in his first year at Ducati didn't 

If you think, like I do, that Lorenzo was all about achieving results for personal glory on Sunday then he has a strange perspective. If he let Dovi past and held off Dani to the end then Lorenzo would have helped earn 35 points for the teams championships, helped his team mate achieve in the riders and all for the benefit of his employer. He would have been a Ducati hero for the next two weeks. But this way he earnt nothing for Ducati and nothing for Lorenzo.  If you were HRC would you swap Dani for Lorenzo? Didn't think so. And Suzuki? Assuming the reported gossip is on the money, Lorenzo wants out of Ducati and in to Suzuki. But he has to out perform the incumbents. Rins is making that a possibility with his finishing record but Iannone - famous being the last teammate to torpedo Dovi - is the one who is making the most convincing pitch for Suzuki to sign. I'm sure Dovi likes the irony of that situation.