Montmelo, Barcelona – Andrea Dovizioso took a stunning second win of the season at the Catalunya Motorcycle Grand Prix, making him the first Ducati rider to take back-to-back wins since double MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner in 2010.
South African brothers Brad and Darryn Binder, however, had a rough weekend at Montmelo, with Brad qualifying 21st for the Moto2 race and having to work very hard for 18th in the race, while Darryn collided with Juanfran Guevara on the last lap of the Moto3 race and crashed out of 15th.
There was drama off the line as Honda’s local hero Dani Pedrosa got a good start from pole, but a wheelie from Jorge Lorenzo on the second Ducati Team machine saw him almost run into fellow front-row starter, satellite Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci, who in turn bumped defending title-holder, Honda’s Marc Marquez. Petrucci then dropped back, giving way to the world champion, as Lorenzo blitzed Pedrosa and took over the lead.
Championship leader Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) ran off the track at Turn 1 and rejoined way down the field, facing a fight-back from outside the points after a tough weekend – with Yamaha factory team-mate Valentino Rossi unable to make big progress from 13th on the grid either.
Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa, with Dovizioso on the hunt in fourth and satellite Yamaha rider Jonas Folger a big winner off the line to move up into fifth. Then Marquez dived through for the lead, with Pedrosa needing no invitation to follow him through, relegating Lorenzo to third – and soon to fourth behind team-mate Dovizioso as he began to struggle after his lightning start.
Pedrosa then chose his moment to attack for the lead – and immediately after that Marquez was too busy trying to stay ahead of Dovizioso to strike back, while the top three were uable to pull away from satellite Yamaha rider Jonas Folger or Petrucci, just behind him.
After a handful of laps playing high-speed chess, Dovizioso then went round the outside of Pedrosa to take the lead, pulling a small gap before Marquez followed him through. A three-way fight then broke out between Ducati privateer Alvaro Bautista, Johann Zarco on the second satellite Yamaha and Lorenzo for sixth, delivering some spectacular wheel-to-wheel action, with Zarco initially leading.
The drama wasn’t over, however, as some riders ran out of rubber and others made big gains in the closing stages – in particular Lorenzo, with an electrifying late charge.
Dovizioso came home a clear 3.544s in the lead, while Marquez and Pedrosa kept it calm to take second and third respectively after a tough Italian GP. Lorenzo charged through to take fourth at the flag, with Zarco getting the better of Folger in a last-minute duel between the Tech 3 team-mates. Bautista, after a late run-off, came home seventh, ahead of Rossi, Ducati privateer Hector Barbera and Vinales in 10th – his championship lead cut to just seven points.
Alex Marquez took a superb second Moto2 win at his home Catalan GP, shooting away from pole position and never seen again. Mattia Pasini followed up his home heroics and win in Mugello with another podium in second, while championship challenger Tom Luthi completed an all-Kalex rostrum.
Marquez got a brilliant start from pole, easily away into the lead as team-mate Franco Morbidelli shot off the second row to dive up the inside of Pasini and Luthi, and take second into Turn 1. Luthi ran wide, rejoining behind Pasini, while Miguel Oliveira (KTM) needed no invitation to slice through.
Lorenzo Baldassarri dropped back slightly at the start from the front row as Marquez continued to pull away, with the gap hovering around four seconds by mid-race distance and the game changing from ‘charge’ to ‘control’.
Pasini, Morbidelli and Luthi then got into a three-way battle for second, with Mugello winner Pasini holding the advantage in the final countdown, while Swiss veteran Luthi relegated the championship leader to fourth, before Morbidelli was caught and passed by first Oliveira and then Baldassarri, dropping back to sixth despite his lightning start.
Oliveira put in a late charge to finish fourth and bag another impressive points haul for the new KTM Moto2 chassis, while Baldassarri made up for the disappointment of his DNF at Mugello by completing the top five.
Rookie home hero Jorge Navarro threatened Morbidelli for sixth for a number of laps before the championship leader was able to pull away, leaving Navarro to take seventh at the flag following an impressive rookie ride at the track at which he took his first ever win in Moto3.
Fabio Quartararo was the next rookie home in eighth after a spectacular dice to decide who would complete the top 10, with Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 ) striking late to move up into ninth despite missing the previous race at Mugello due to injury, ahead of Hafizh Syahrin.
Joan Mir increased his advantage in the Moto3 title standings again, going from third to first in the final few corners to take a stunning win. Romano Fenati also put in a late charge for second, with polesitter Jorge Martin completing an all-Honda podium on his home circuit.
Juanfran Guevara (KTM) got the hole shot into Turn 1 as Martin was slow away from the line and dropped back slightly. Fenati soon passed Guevara for the lead, however, with championship leader Mir and fellow title hopeful Aron Canet (Honda) pushed Guevara down the order. As the rhythm began to settle, a front group of five emerged from the melee – Canet, Fenati, Martin, Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda) and Mir – with Enea Bastianini (Honda) pushing to bridge the gap.
Second row starter Marcos Ramirez (KTM) dropped back slightly in the initial laps to lead the second group in seventh, with team-mates Gabriel Rodrigo and Guevara tucked in, just behind works KTM rider Niccolo Antonelli – until Rodrigo made contact with Ramirez in the final chicane and crashed out of contention, promoting Honda privateer Tatsuki Suzuki to a place in the fight.
Bastianini's late arrival in the leading group shook things up, as the six riders chopped and changed positions – including a run off for Di Giannantoni – but he tagged back onto the rear of the group as Ramirez and Suzuki started to come into contention.
Also on the charge was Nicolo Bulega (KTM) as he moved through the second group to also try and hunt down the leaders. As the leading group crossed the line to start their final lap, Martin was leading Fenati, Bastianini, Mir, Canet and the Bulega. Then Mir made the decisive move on Martin for the lead, and Fenati swept around the outside of the polesitter into the final chicane – and that’s how they finished.
Bastianini beat Canet for fourth at the flag, with Ramirez putting in another impressive performance to complete the top six. Di Giannantonio took seventh, ahead of a stunning ride from Andrea Migno (KTM) who worked his way up from 20th on the grid to tag onto the frontrunners at the death.
His team-mate Nicolo Bulega was ninth, with Suzuki completing the top 10. There was more drama further back on the final lap, as Guevara – running 14th – came together with Darryn Binder (KTM) and both riders crashed out.