Krugersdorp brothers Brad and Darryn Binder had mixed fortunes in the Moto3 race, with 19-year-old Brad finishing ninth while 17-year-old Darryn crashed out five laps from the end; he got the bike going again but it was too badly damaged to continue.
Lorenzo led from start to finish for a fourth consecutive race to close the gap to his team-mate in the standings to just one point, controlling the race from the front for the Factory Yamaha team’s second 1-2 of the season.
Honda’s Marquez was battling with Lorenzo for the lead in the opening stages of the 25-lap race but crashed out at turn 10 on the third lap, putting another big dent in his bid for a third consecutive premier-class title. He was now 69 points adrift of Rossi following his third crash in seven races.
Track temperatures reached almost 50 degrees, the hottest recorded over the weekend, as Lorenzo led into the first corner, while pole-sitter Aleix Espargaro dropped down to 9th after he struggled to get his Suzuki GSX-RR off the line. Lorenzo immediately set about establishing a fast rhythm, and by the time Rossi had moved into second on lap four, the Man from Mallorca already had a 1.5 second lead.
Rossi put in a tremendous effort in the second half of the race to try and deny Lorenzo a fourth straight win for the first time in his career, but could not get within a second in the crucial final stages. The nine-times World Champion had to settle for second, 0.885s behind Lorenzo, who took his 37th premier class win to equal the tally set by British legend Mike Hailwood.
Marquez’ works Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa rode a lonely race in third, coming home more than 19 seconds behind Lorenzo for his first rostrum finish since he underwent major right-arm pump surgery after the opening round in Qatar.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone took fourth after an epic dice with Bradley Smith on the satellite Yamaha Tech 3. Maverick Vinales on the second Suzuki GSX-RR recovered from way down outside the top 10 after a disastrous start from the front row to finish a career-best sixth, while Scott Redding (Honda) equalled the best result of his premier-class career in seventh, with Stefan Bradl (Yamaha) taking the Open class win in eighth.
Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) and Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia) completed the top 10, as a number of riders – including Yonny Hernandez, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Dovizioso, and both Espargaro brothers - crashed out on the slippery track surface; only 16 riders finished.
POINTS AFTER SEVEN ROUNDS
Kalex rider Johann Zarco bounced back from an elbow and fairing-bashing incident at the first corner involving similarly-mounted Dominique Aegerter and Jonas Folger to deny reigning world champion Tito Rabat (also on a Kalex) a second consecutive win in front of his home crowd.
Zarco, who led Rabat in the standings by 31 points before the race, fought his way through the pack before catching the leading group and making a block pass on Rabat at Turn 5 on the final lap to snatch the win.
Rabat led Speed Up rider Sam Lowes and Aegerter into the first corner, but it didn’t take long for Alex Rins (Kalex) to join in. Both Rins and Lowes took it in turn to lead, but Lowes was unable to maintain the and eventually finished fourth for a third consecutive race.
All the time Zarco was hunting down the lead group, eventually overtaking Lowes and catching Rabat and Rins with three laps to go. Rins ran wide at Turn 4 with just two laps to go, leaving Rabat and Zarco to battle it out on the final lap.
Zarco made his decisive move at Turn 5 and Rabat ran wide at Turn 10 while pushing to regain the lead, to see his hopes of a 12th Moto2 win disappear as Zarco crossed the line unchallenged to take his second race win of the season and extend his championship lead over Rabat to 40 points.
Rabat’s late mistake let Rins through to take his third podium of the season in second. Lowes took fourth, ahead of Rins’ team-mate Luis Salom and Thomas Luthi (Kalex) in sixth. Folger made a charging recovery from 14th after the first-corner incident to take seventh while Franco Morbidelli (Kalex), Aegerter and Lorenzo Baldassari (Kalex) completed the top 10.
Honda rider Danny Kent won the Catalan Moto3 Grand Prix in a thrilling finish that saw him beat similarly mounted rival Enea Bastianini by just 0.035s, after a spectacular battle for the lead that saw the top six finish within a second.
Kent’s team-mate Efren Vazquez made a daring move on the last corner to snatch third from Niccolo Antonelli, also on a Honda, with KTM’s Miguel Oliviera and Jorge Navarro (Honda, all over them like a rash.
Oliveira led into Turn 1 but it was soon clear that no one would be able to make a break, as Kent did in Texas and Argentina, thanks to the slipstream effect on the long straight. Within a few laps Kent, Bastianini, Oliveira, Vazquez, Antonelli and Navarro broke away from the rest of the field; a dramatic fight for the win ensued with the lead changing hands at almost every corner.
Every time Kent tried to break the leading group, they simply hauled him in on the start/finish straight. It came down to a thrilling final lap and Kent made his move, with only Bastianini able to go with him. Kent knew he had to lead out of the last corner, and he held his nerve to take his fourth win of the season - the first Briton to win four races in a Grand Prix season since Barry Sheene in 1977.
Vazquez managed to pass Antonelli in the last corner to secure the last step of the podium, Mugello winner Oliveira finished fifth, as the leading KTM rider, ahead of Navarro, who celebrated a career-best sixth.
Isaac Viñales on the works Husqvarna won the fight for seventh at the head of the chasing pack, ahead of Romano Fenati (KTM), Binder and Philippe Oettl (KTM), while Maria Herrera crossed the line 15th to score her first world championship point.
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Original source: Yamaha’s Lorenzo reigns in Spain