Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V) fought a valiant fight to take third place in this afternoon’s Spanish Grand Prix and maintain his points lead in the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. Team-mate Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) finished one place further back in fourth after a strong ride from seventh on the grid.
Twenty-three-year-old Spaniard Marquez harried second-placed Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) for much of the grueling 27-lap race, until he suffered a few slides in the later stages which convinced him that today discretion would be the better part of valor, so he eased off to conserve third place and his title advantage.
The 2013 and 2014 MotoGP World Champion – who recently won dominant victories in Argentina and America – is not only the sole rider in the current championship top three to have finished on the podium at all four races so far he is also the only one of the top three to have finished all four races. With four races completed and 14 remaining, he leads the title chase by 17 points from reigning World Champion Lorenzo.
All riders struggled with grip problems today, which was significantly warmer than both practice days. Many riders complained of a lack of straight-line traction that caused wheelspin, even in fourth, fifth and sixth gears.
Pedrosa rode a storming race from the third row of the rid, briefly getting ahead of Marquez on the first lap and later successfully fending off a determined Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki). At the finish he was just over three seconds away from joining the podium party. The result lifts the former Jerez winner to fourth overall, a few points behind today’s race winner Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Throughout practice the 30-year-old had struggled to extract the maximum from his bike/tire combination but when it mattered most he controlled the tire situation better than most.
Throughout this weekend the fastest three riders – Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez – had been well clear of the rest of the pack, but lap times were much closer further down the order. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) expected a close race and he got it but he had expected to be closer to the front. The Briton spent most of the race battling in a group that comprised five or six riders. He took the flag in 11th position, less than six seconds behind eighth-place man Pol Espargaro (Yamaha).
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