MotoGP riders reflect on the rough and tumble of the Catalan GP

Round Seven – Catalunya MotoGP

Marc Marquez – P1

“I chose the soft rear to try and push in the beginning and to try to not overheat the tyre but to try to be constant and fast. All of the Repsol Honda Team did a really good job this weekend; we worked hard and prepared well for the race. The team told me something had happened to Dovi, so I just kept pushing and focusing on my own race. We had the perfect strategy regardless and I want to thank all the fans who came out. Gracias! It’s always special when you can celebrate winning together with your brother, Alex rode well this weekend!”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Marc Marquez Celebrate
Marc Marquez

Fabio Quartararo – P2

“I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved today especially as it was a very hard race. We made our best start this year, since I only dropped two positions. Then I made a mistake at Turn 4, losing another four positions, and I was a little further back! Nevertheless, I found myself in the fight for the podium and a few laps from the end I managed to get into second and push. Thanks to adrenalin of fighting for the podium – and the medicine – my arm didn’t trouble me so much in the race. In the final laps my arm started to hurt a lot, but the reward of being on the podium is much greater than that. Twelve days ago I was undergoing an operation, and now I’m on the podium. Since the European races have begun, we have been very fast; this weekend the worst result in a session was second. The pace we have is very good, but we have to continue working as we have done so far. I want to thank the team for the opportunity they have given me and all the work they do. I am very happy to have achieved the first podium for Petronas Yamaha SRT.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Fabio Quartararo ParcFerme
Fabio Quartararo

Danilo Petrucci – P3

“I’m very happy with this podium. For sure, without the incident during the second lap it would have been harder to seize this result and I’m very sorry for Andrea, who lost a great chance to shine today. I tried to stay with Márquez but it wasn’t possible, and Rins and Quartararo were also very fast. With Alex, we passed each other many times and once he even hit me on the right side but I was able to reclaim the position quite quickly. Then, when Fabio passed me, I just tried to stay with him and pull away from the pack. We scored the best possible result today. After three podiums in a row, we’re close to third position in the championship: we need to keep the momentum going at Assen.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Petrucci Rins Quartararo
Danilo Petrucci

Alex Rins – P4

“I’m a little bit disappointed with my result because I felt I could have a really good result this weekend – but on the other hand, considering I had some problems during the race, it’s not a bad result. It was a complicated and difficult race and it was a shame to see the crash between Lorenzo and the others, especially as it gave Marquez even more of an advantage. The track was very hot, which made it hard on the tyres and I struggled with feeling, especially in the right-hand turns. Ideally I would have got a better start and gone with Marc, but in the end it wasn’t possible. Anyway, I’m quite pleased to have finished 4th despite my struggles.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Rins Petrucci Quartararo Miller
Alex Rins battles Danilo Petrucci

Jack Miller – P5

“It was a good race. I got off to a good start and fought with the front group for the whole race. The feeling with the bike was very good even though we couldn’t get the tyres to work as well as we could. This is a good result but I want to do better at Assen.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Petrucci Miller Mir Rins
Jack Miller chasing Petrucci

Joan Mir – P6

“It was a difficult race because the track temperature was so high. On the first few laps I tried to conserve the tyres and manage my race well. I hope to continue my season like this, finishing races and building my experience and confidence. This is the second strong race for me after Qatar and I’m really glad to have been able to get a good result. Tomorrow I’ll work with the bike in the test and continue to learn.”

Pol Espargaro – P7

“I’m really happy. I said on Saturday that the race would either be very slow or with lots of crashes and it was both! Today was really important to anticipate the braking, and not hit the limit with the brake or the throttle. It was very difficult. It was matter of being so precise, like a watch, and trying to do everything in the same place and with a lot of electronics. In the end the most important thing was the gap of sixteen seconds to the top guy – which is unbelievable because last year we were thirty-six away. We are ninth in the championship and six points from sixth. I’m impressed about the performance we made today.”

Takaaki Nakagami – P8

“The conditions were really tough out there all weekend. In the afternoons, as it was during the race, temperatures were high – over 50°C – which makes it really hard to manage the tyres. We knew that because we chose the soft rear, the end of the race was going to be difficult. From the beginning I tried to manage it, but even then the last five laps it was gone and I couldn’t keep the pace. Anyway, I’m pretty happy about getting into the top ten, especially from starting 16th on the grid. The start was key in this race, we were strong and got up to ninth on the first lap, and we could keep it going to the end.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Nakagami Morbidelli Bagnaia
Takaaki Nakagami

Johann Zarco – P10

“The second third of the race was good for me. The pace was quite strong and I was following Tito Rabat and sometimes overtaking and able to fight. I was happy to see the top ten group in front of me and not so far away. I was able to think about catching them, even if my speed was not quite enough. I was able to manage the race. Tomorrow we have many things to test and I hope we will go in a good way with the help of Dani [Pedrosa] to put fingers on good things to help us.”

Andrea Iannone – P11

“All told, we took home a good result, considering the fact that we started from the back of the grid because of some complicated qualifiers. Up to the mid-race point, I managed to maintain a good pace and, in fact, I was making up ground on the group in front of me. Then I had a significant drop in performance, struggling a lot with tyre wear. The bike started moving a lot and I was no longer able to do good lap times. In the tests tomorrow, we’ll be working a lot on this aspect to try to be more consistent from the first to last lap of the race. I’m sorry about Aleix. I hope he is not hurt badly and I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Miguel Oliveira – P12

“It was a difficult race as we expected. I started really good and recovered a lot of positions until I got to Turn 10 where I was in the incident when Bradley Smith took out Aleix Esparargo. I had to go very wide to avoid both of them and obviously, I lost a lot of time. I was last and it took me a few laps to get that time back. I had no one to fight for positions, so I just did my race and finished in the points, which was the target.”

Sylvain Guintoli  – P13

“It was a hard race because the track wasn’t very grippy, which meant a lot of sliding – which can actually be very fun, but it makes it more difficult to be fast and consistent. I struggled a bit off the start but then I found myself with Oliveira and enjoyed a fight with him for a while. I’m really glad to have scored points here and to help the team out. It’s been great to be back on the GSX-RR.”

Andrea Dovizioso – DNF

“After a great start, I took the lead and I was in a strategic position to ride the race we had planned. The rear tyre still wasn’t perfectly heated up so I wasn’t pushing the pace yet but, considering how the race eventually unfolded and the rhythm shown by other riders, I believe we could have been contenders for sure. I prefer not to comment about the incident, but the race still was entirely up for grabs at that point. Tomorrow we have another important test to keep improving our base, and we’ll try to make the most of it to bounce back immediately at Assen.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Start Dovizioso Marquez Vinales Lorenzo Petrucci
Andrea Dovizioso scored the holeshot

Cal Crutchlow – DNF

“The crash was completely my own fault. I was trying to pass Jack (Miller) and I locked the rear with the rear brake, one of the problems we have had this weekend on corner entry. There was always a possibility of it doing it if I went in hard on Jack, but I had to try to pass him because there was a chance of a podium, so I went down fighting for it at least. I’m disappointed about that, but we are at least pleased with the pace in the race, because at the point I crashed I was one of the fastest out on track, which hasn’t been the case of late. I found a better feeling and found that I am able to push the bike in certain ways, so we are pleased with what happened up to that point. What I take from the race is we had a great pace today and I hope we can take that to Assen in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Jorge Lorenzo – DNF

“You don’t have any options if you brake a little bit too late here, like happened with me. It was my fault, my mistake and I apologise. It was really unfortunate to take out Dovi, Maverick and Valentino – it wasn’t their fault obviously, it was mine. The only thing that matters today is the crash, I took out three riders unfortunately but if we think aside from this it was a weekend where we were able to make a step forward and I was consistent throughout.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Start Dovizioso Marquez Vinales Lorenzo
Catalunya MotoGP

Valentino Rossi – DNF

“This is a great shame, because we did a good weekend. We worked well during the practice sessions and we also made a good tyre choice. I felt really comfortable on the bike and I had a good pace already this morning, but it looked like this afternoon it was even better. I was very optimistic, but unfortunately in that corner I tried to overtake Petrucci and I already arrived a bit fast. At the same moment the crash in front of me happened, so I couldn’t avoid the bike of Jorge and I crashed. It’s a great shame, because I could have done a good race. I felt strong. On the positive side, it was a better weekend, compared to Mugello. I was competitive and enjoyed it a lot more, so we will start again from this point.”

Maverick Vinales – DNF

“Actually, I saw someone coming very fast on the inside, and I tried to pick up the bike to avoid a crash. Dovi was in front of me and I thought that just they were going to crash, but unfortunately they touched my rear tyre and I jumped. I couldn’t avoid it and I’m really disappointed, but on the other hand I’m really happy. We’ve made a good start and did some good first laps. We had prepared the bike really well with the full fuel tank, so the method we’ve tried this weekend is not so bad, it’s working. We’re going to try to reproduce our work in Assen and see if we get the same result, because we saw on the first lap that I was able to get to the front and push, and that was the most important for me. Who knows what would have happened if I could have followed Marc? But the bike was working well and the team was doing an excellent job this weekend, so we need to keep working like this.”

Franco Morbidelli – DNF

“We need to take the positives from this race, such as the fact that we had good speed with new tyres and recovered well from the crash yesterday, but it was a frustrating day for me. I got a very bad start, and then in the race I didn’t have a good feeling from the brakes. I think we made the right tyre choice, but I wasn’t able to make the most of it as I couldn’t stop the bike, so I went into safe mode. The first time I took a bit more of a risk, I went wide and crashed. It’s a pity, but in tomorrow’s test we will try to continue to understand more things and improve our package. I want to congratulate Fabio and all the Petronas Yamaha SRT family for their first MotoGP podium.”

Hafizh Syahrin – DNF

“I’m really disappointed because my engine stopped after just a few laps. I had a good pace and it’s hard for me to express my feelings as I was sure I could score some points here or even finish inside the top 10 after all these crashes in the race. The only thing I can do is to look forward to the next round.”

Pecco Bagnaia – DNF

“It’s been a weird weekend. We had some problems with the tyres but the pace in the warm-up was good. I couldn’t get off to a good start but my pace was very good during the race. I want to do well at Assen.”

Bradley Smih – DNF

“I’m sorry about what happened today, even more so because Aleix was involved. Unfortunately, in that braking section the situation was a bit chaotic, as often happens during the first laps. I hope he will have a quick recovery. Right now, we need to work with our full potential to develop the RS-GP.”

Team Managers

Razlan Razali -Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Principal

“We had a good feeling that a podium was going to come, but we just didn’t know when. We have been wishing for it every weekend and it’s incredible now that it’s finally arrived. There is a lot of emotion amongst the whole team and we are very happy with the result from Fabio. It’s a very important day for Fabio and the team, which is still less than a year old. We have only just come into MotoGP and we already have two pole positions and a podium. For me it is a great performance from the team and our riders. I am very proud of the whole project. We are a little sad for Franco, because he was fired-up for a strong result here. I think today’s podium will motivate the whole team to even better things. Congratulations to everyone who has been part of this amazing project for today’s milestone.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Trophy Quartararo
Fabio Quartararo

Wilco Zeelenberg – Petronas Yamaha SRT Team Manager

“We are delighted with Fabio’s second position. We have been looking forward to one of our riders getting onto the rostrum so I’m very happy with the podium. That said, as a team manager you have to look at both riders, and this race was a mixture of good and bad luck. It’s a pity that Franco crashed. He had a very good weekend, but for him to crash in the race was a shame. We have two riders and we want the best for both of them, and that’s what we’re aiming for in Assen.”

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“The best thing about today is that all three riders took points, which is a good result as a Team. Joan was very impressive today, showing us how well he can perform, and getting his best result so far. We’re seeing how fast he’s learning and growing with us. We all hoped Alex could get a podium here, but we’re still satisfied with 4th in the circumstances. Sylvain also provided some useful data for us this weekend and we’re grateful to him.”

Davide Brivio – Suzuki Team Manager

“I have to thank the riders for the great race today. Alex was fighting very hard at the front despite struggling with tyre feel, which was different to his feeling in practice and warm-up. Of course, we were a bit lucky, but finishing 4th on a day when we’re struggling is a real positive. Finishing in the Top 5 and taking some good points is important, even if we had hoped for more. Joan was with the front group again, like he was in Qatar, and it was really great to see. Getting his best finish has helped him to build his confidence. Sylvain did his usual great work with us, and he also had a good finish, so thank you to him too. Overall, it’s been a positive race all around.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Petrucci Rins
Alex Rins chasing Petrucci

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director

“It’s a very disappointing and difficult-to-accept end to an otherwise good weekend for our team. It’s especially cruel because there was nothing Vale and Maverick could have done to avoid it, and we were quite confident that we would be able to get a good result here today. We definitely started the race with a completely different aim than the outcome we got. It’s very unfortunate, but Grand Prix racing isn’t always fair. All we can do is look at the positives. Both our riders were in the mix to fight for a podium. It shows we are on the way up again, so we are really looking forward to the next round in Assen. Tomorrow we will try some upgrades during the IRTA test, focused mainly on improving the smoothness in acceleration.”

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Team Manager

“Finally we are very happy with the result we achieved because Barcelona has been one of our most difficult race tracks in the last two years – along with Mugello – and we made reasonable results at both places. We knew it would be very difficult here because the grip level was tough for all the riders. Pol managed the race in a very good way and we are happy that Johann made his first top ten and we hope this might give him a bit of confidence for the future. We made a step, and the whole team have made a great effort since the test in Jerez. Now we are looking ahead to Assen. We have a big list for the test tomorrow and things to confirm – without pressure at the races – as well as some new items on all aspects with engine, chassis and aerodynamics. Maybe we can make another step but we’ll know this after the test.”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya QP KTM RC

Hervé Poncharal – Red Bull KTM Tech 3 Team Manager

“That was a crazy race here in Catalunya! We knew it would be tough to finish because of the low grip level, but in fact it was a bit of an incredible first few laps with a lot of crashes. Unfortunately, Miguel, although he had a really good start, got pushed away on the first lap and lost a few positions, when Aleix Espargaro and Bradley Smith collided. He had nowhere else to go than into the gravel. Therefore, he lost everything and reentered the track in last position. From that moment, the mission was to finish the race, to stay on the wheels and see the flag and this is what he did. The pace was ok and I believe we could have been fighting with the guys in front, which are Andrea Iannone and Johann Zarco, but anyway. Even though this is not a outcome with everybody finishing the race, ending up 12th and scoring four points is a good result for the championship and a good reward for the hard work, so thanks to Miguel and his crew. On the other side of the garage, I am very, very sorry for Hafizh, who had a strong weekend altogether. This is one of his favorite tracks and I think he was ahead of Miguel and closing on Tito Rabat and everything was good until the engine stopped. We have to investigate what happened, but clearly, there was a technical problem, that didn’t allow Hafizh to carry on racing. It would have been good to see our two guys in the points, but the technical side decided something different. We just want to tell Hafizh ‘We are sorry! The day you have the best feeling on the bike and you can’t finish the race, is a great shame!’ But let’s take the positives; he’s better and better on the bike and this builds confidence. We have plenty more races to come, so hopefully he will get the same feeling in Assen and we can have our two guys fighting for the points again. So, sorry for the fans, the race would have been unbelievable, but it was destroyed after a few laps. Anyway, now we have a days’ test and a few days off and then head to the north of Europe with the first round in Assen. All on!”

Massimo Rivola- Aprilia Racing CEO

“This is undoubtedly a difficult time for us and Aleix’s injury is the most pressing issue right now. He is a supporting pillar of our team and we hope to see him back in the saddle as soon as possible. Even more disappointing is the fact that it was Bradley who caused the crash, who is working on developing the bike. These episodes should not occur. Andrea rode a good race, positive in the early stages and then dropping off toward the end, probably due to tyre wear. We are making significant efforts to grow our project, but at the moment, the results are not very comforting. We have an important test tomorrow for development in view of the future and this injury was the last thing we needed, but we are absolutely united in our determination to reverse the trend. It does not matter who hard and how long we need to work. We’ll get there.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager

“There is no denying that this has been a difficult weekend. We came here expecting the track to perform in the way it did last year and enable us to break records and set some fast times, but right from the first thing on Friday it was obvious the asphalt was in a poor conditions. This made things confusing because it was so dirty and gave little grip, and when the temperatures increased it changed the characteristics again. The whole team has work extremely hard to find the best solutions and we achieved that as the weekend continued. The options provided by our range gave all riders the chance to use a tyre that worked for them and this led to all six slick compounds being used. The different choices were highlighted by the first four – on four different makes of bikes – all choosing different configurations of tyres. We were pleased with how the tyres performed in such difficult conditions and it gives us very useful data should this situation happen again. We now have a test here tomorrow where we will be working on some tyres in readiness for the 2020 season and then it’s on to Assen, where we expect a close and exciting race, if conditions allow it!”

MotoGP Rnd Catalunya Start
Catalunya MotoGP


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