Tag Archives: 2021 MotoGP

MotoGP riders reflect on crazy qualifying at Le Mans

2021 MotoGP Round Five Le Mans Qualifying

Rain, shine, or something in between? Saturday at the SHARK Grand Prix de France presented quite a challenge for the MotoGP grid, but the final few minutes of Q2 eventually delivered a stunning shootout for pole on a dry track. And who came out on top? Home hero Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), the Frenchman taking back-to-back poles at Le Mans to pip teammate Maverick Viñales to the top and make it a factory Yamaha team 1-2 on the grid for the first time since 2017. Third went to Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team), the Jerez winner just a tenth off pole.

Fabio Quartararo has qualified on pole for the first time in three successive races since he did it four times in a row from Malaysia 2019 to Andalucia 2020. This is his 13th overall premier class pole, equalling Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi.

MotoGP Rider Quotes Qualifying

2021 French GP Qualifying MotoGP front row
1 Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – 1:32.600
2 Maverick Viñales – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – +0.081
3 Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – +0.104

Fabio Quartararo – P1

“I think this was the qualifying I was the most nervous for. Not because it’s in France, but I was supposed to go out with a soft front and medium rear wet tyre combination, and I never tried the medium. In mixed conditions we are bad, but I saw it was dry and said, ’It’s time for slicks.‘ And then on the last lap I was like, ’Okay, now is my time to send it and do my best. I either get front row or I crash.‘ There were some wet patches in the last sector. I was sideways everywhere, but we made it. The goal was front row, but pole position is even better.”

This is the second successive premier class pole for a French rider at Le Mans and the fourth overall: Fabio Quartararo (2020/2021), Johann Zarco (2018), and Christian Sarron (1987) (since 1974 when pole started to be officially recorded).

Maverick Vinales – P2

“It went quite well today. We’ve secured a good starting position, and this is important. But I made many mistakes during the lap, and this cost us the pole position. Anyway, I have a good rhythm, which is good for tomorrow, and in FP4 I just kept running with used tyres to see how that would work for us, and it actually went quite well. So, I’m very happy, and let’s see if we can improve to be faster for the race.”

Maverick Viñales, who won the MotoGP race at Le Mans in 2017, has qualified second for his best qualifying result since he was also second in Aragon last year. This is the first Yamaha factory team 1-2 in qualifying since Mugello in 2017.

Jack Miller – P3

“Just before Q2, the sun came out, so we decided to keep one of the bikes in full dry configuration. I went out first on wet tyres, but I soon realized that the track was almost dry, so I came back in as quickly as possible to change my bike. The conditions here are really unpredictable, and you have to try and make the most of all the opportunities. In fact, just before I set my fastest lap, it started raining again! Starting from the front row is really important, considering that it will probably rain tomorrow. Anyway, we’re ready to face the race in whatever weather conditions”.

Winner at the Spanish GP, Jack Miller has qualified third for his third successive front row start at Le Mans. He will be aiming to become the first Australian to win back-to-back MotoGP races since Casey Stoner in 2012 (Jerez and Estoril).

Franco Morbidelli – P4

“I’m happy with this fourth position. It has been a difficult day with tricky conditions, but we were able to overcome them and had a good strategy in qualifying. We were rewarded with this place at the head of the second row, so I’m happy about that. My knee is okay and Clinica Mobile has been helping with some treatment for it. It feels alright while I am riding. It’s going to be a tough race and we know that it will be important to start it from the front two rows. Let’s see what we can do, we’re ready to fight for the podium tomorrow.”

Franco Morbidelli has qualified fourth which is his best qualifying over his four visits to Le Mans in the premier class. He will be aiming to stand on the podium for the first time in back-to-back races since Valencia and Portugal last year.

Johann Zarco – P5

“I am happy, I cannot complain. The track conditions were strange, so we started out with rain tyres with the aim to test them in case of wet conditions tomorrow. As soon as we set up the dry tires, I was able to play the game my way. I set a good time and I feel I am ready for tomorrow.”

Johann Zarco has qualified fifth as the second Ducati rider, which is the fifth successive time he starts from the front two rows of the grid. He will be aiming to become the fifth different French rider to win in the premier class so far.

Marc Marquez – P6

“This morning in the wet I was feeling more ‘normal’, because it’s less demanding on the physical side. I was riding well in FP4 and also in Qualifying, but the conditions weren’t perfect and the grip was low which meant slower lap times. When it’s like this I am riding better but when you have to really push to the limit, that’s when it is harder with my physical condition. It was a bit of a shame in Qualifying as I was the first rider to take the flag and it looks like one more lap could have been a big help. But I am pleased with what we have accomplished today.”

A crash for Marquez on Saturday

 

And a save…

Takaaki Nakagami – P7

“Qualifying was very tricky as we always had to keep checking the track condition. There was some wet, some rain and some sunshine. It went really quickly from wet to dry and our strategy was really good as we waited at the start of the session and then realised we could go with slick tyres. Lap by lap we tried to develop the lap time and I felt really good on the bike. In the last minutes I slightly misread the conditions as I felt some rain drops and slowed down and missed the opportunity to improve the lap time. Anyway, P7 is good and we are ready for the race and have good confidence, I’m really looking forward to it.”

Takaaki Nakagami

Pol Espargaro – P8

“I’m disappointed with myself. After some hard races, we had a chance to fight for the top three or even pole. I was taking it easy two laps from the end because it started to rain but these two laps cooled the tyre a bit too much, then when I asked more from the tyre it couldn’t take it and I went down. I was two tenths faster than Fabio and Jack through the first sector and they ended on the front row. We showed the potential we have, which is good, but it’s also a shame because there was a lot on offer today. Tomorrow is a new day and a lot can happen in the race.”

Third last year at the French GP, Pol Espargaro, who crashed at the end of Q2, has qualified in eighth place, which is his best qualifying result since he joined Honda this season.

Valentino Rossi – P9

“We did the right strategy, going with the slick tyre, in qualifying and it gave us a small advantage. Unfortunately I had a moment in the second lap because I touched a damp patch, and I could not be at 100% in the final two corners without taking too much risk and I did not have complete confidence after this. This weekend though we have improved the pace, compared to the first few races, and the feeling. We will see tomorrow what happens because the weather is really unpredictable. The race is about 42 minutes long and in that time today it changed from wet to dry three times, this will make it very difficult. Personally I would prefer it to be a dry race, because this is where I feel more comfortable. Starting from the third row we have to try to have the best race possible.”

Valentino Rossi has qualified ninth which is his best qualifying result since he was fourth at the opening race of the season in Qatar (this was also the last time he scored points). He has qualified ninth twice at Le Mans in the premier class (2011 and 2018) and both times he went on to finish third.

Miguel Oliveira – P10

“It was a good day overall and I was competitive in every condition. It was a bit chaotic and strange day for the weather but we could be competitive. In qualification it was a shame to crash but I got to the first sector to find it was raining there! The marshals were not showing the rain flags and by the time I realised it was fully wet it was too late. It was unfortunate because I think I could have done much better than I did but we have good pace for tomorrow and I’m confident. I’m having fun on the bike and everything is coming easy. For sure we are optimistic for the race.”

Miguel Oliveira

Lorenzo Savadori – P11

“I am incredibly happy with these qualifiers, especially because it honours Aprilia’s hard work and the trust this team has always placed in me. In these conditions, with the bike moving around a lot, I am able to find a good feeling because the sensations come close to the ones I’m used to coming from the factory derivative categories. In fact, in the dry, where it takes a lot of precision and stability, I am still lacking the experience to ride the way I’d like to. As for tomorrow, above all, we need to be ready and reactive to the changing weather. Managing the race will be fundamental.”

After passing through Q1, Lorenzo Savadori joined Q2 for the first time and qualified 11th as the first Aprilia rider for his best qualifying result in MotoGP.

Luca Marini – P12

“With the whole team we did a great job to better manage the mixed conditions on the track. It was important to make the right decisions and not make mistakes. We reached Q2 and I must say that I have a good feeling in the wet. It is a kind of condition in which to continue working because it opens up more possibilities. In the dry it would have been impossible to think about getting into Q2, but on wet asphalt the bikes are more similar and the slopes are different. In the dry, we fight more, I lack confidence, experience, we only rode a little here, but the difference from the beginning is not bad at all. For tomorrow I don’t think we will change much on the bike even if we are not at 100%, but the Warm Up is very early in the morning and probably in the wet. We continue to work on the data to take a step forward in the race”

Luca Marini

Aleix Espargaro – P13

“A pity about the qualifiers. Unfortunately, I made a mistake not boxing to put on the medium rain tyre. With the track drying out, the soft tyres got too hot and the bike moved around a lot, especially at the front. I tried to do a slow lap to let them cool, but it wasn’t enough. The position definitely does not reflect the feeling I had. If it’s a dry race tomorrow, I think we’ll be fast, despite not having much data. In the eventuality of a wet track, things will be less predictable but I’m comforted by the fact that the 2021 RS-GP works well in any conditions.”

Joan Mir – P14

“Overall it hasn’t been a bad day, but this isn’t the best track for us, and I feel that 14th place on the grid is not showing my real potential – I felt quite strong in both conditions, in wet and dry, and my pace was quite nice. I lost a couple of laps at the end of qualifying, I think maybe I overcooked the tyres or something because the track dried out quickly. But anyway, it’s all useful experience and lessons that I will use in the future, and I am pleased because I’ve already improved my performance in the wet compared with last year. The team have done a really great job with the bike. Starting 14th on the grid is manageable as long as I stay focused; it’s not so different to other recent grid slots, so I’m optimistic.”

Suzuki riders Joan Mir and Alex Rins are P14 and P15

Alex Rins – P15

“It’s been a difficult day ‘at the office’ and I have quite a bad grid position for tomorrow. I made a mistake with my strategy; I chose the medium front and soft rear tyres to start, and I think with the medium rear I would’ve been able to push more and then maybe my grid place would have been better, but there was no time to stop. Let’s see what the weather is like tomorrow, we could have wet, dry, or mixed conditions and for sure it will be a big show. If the race is dry I think I have a chance for the podium because I feel good in the dry and my base settings and confidence are good. If it’s wet or mixed I will flow with the bike, work with a good strategy – prepared for all scenarios – and give my best.”

Francesco Bagnaia – P16

“After a good session in the wet this morning, I wasn’t able to repeat myself in Q1 this afternoon. In qualifying, we made a wrong tyre choice and unfortunately, I didn’t have time to come back in and change it. Today it went like this and, as always, tomorrow we will try to fight for the best possible result in the race”.

Francesco Bagnaia

Danilo Petrucci – P17

“It was a crazy Qualifying and I needed to recover from a difficult setup from yesterday. To be honest, with the weather today we couldn’t really do anything, but at least we managed to close the gap to the front. For sure, it’s not the place we want, but at least we understood the way to follow. We need to continue like this. Tomorrow it would be very, very good to score some points and be in the mix. It won’t be easy, but I’m happy about the work the team did today.”

Danilo Petrucci

Iker Lecuona – P18

“It was a difficult day. This morning in wet conditions I felt really good and very fast. In dry FP4 I was well inside the top 10, so I felt pretty good and strong to make it to Q2, but it started to rain a few minutes ahead of Q1 and that made our life difficult. Finally, I was struggling a lot and it’s definitely not the position we wanted and we deserved because we have been working very well throughout the weekend. Tomorrow we try to push!”

Iker Lecuona

Álex Márquez – P19

“In the morning in the wet we were not bad; we had a good shape and I was happy with that as I had a good feeling. Then in FP4 it was half and half conditions, but I felt we took a step in the dry compared to yesterday and I was feeling ok with the lap time. Then in Q1 it started raining and it was a good opportunity for us to go to Q2, but it seems that whatever I try this year, goes wrong. I’m sad for me and sad for the team, but tomorrow we have another chance and I will try again.”

Álex Márquez

Tito Rabat – P20

“The track conditions are not easy, I am trying to do everything possible and tomorrow I will give my all. I would like to have a good race tomorrow. I slipped in turn six, but I didn’t hurt myself. There were not any consequences.”

Tito Rabat

Brad Binder – P21

“Difficult, difficult day. I haven’t had the speed this weekend. I haven’t been uncomfortable…but I haven’t been fast! I need to translate the good feeling tomorrow into speed. Qualifying was a bit of a disaster because there were yellow flags for two laps and I had to sit up and not cook the rear tyre and then just ran out of time. Not the best scenario. Tomorrow we’ll have to wait and see. I’m sure we can do a far better job.”

Brad Binder

Enea Bastianini – P22

“It was a great chaos and I wasn’t lucky, because they gave me the checkered flag and I couldn’t finish the last lap well because there were yellow flags and I would have done 1’44.5 that they canceled me. It would be a better starting position but in the end we started on the 22nd. For tomorrow I would like it to be the dry race because already in FP4 I had a good rhythm that has positioned me 12 and only improve T4 which is where I lose a bit. In case it has to rain tomorrow that I’m not yet comfortable with this bike, I prefer the Warm Up to also be in the wet to pick up the pace and ride the bike better in these conditions.”

Enea Bastianini

French GP Qualifying Report

In Q1, a drying track made it anyone’s game and there were a few spills, some thrills and definitely a couple of surprises. Crashing early on despite his impressive pace in a damp FP3, Lorenzo Savadori (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was jogging back to the pits as the rest got down to really testing out the conditions… but there was a real phoenix moment on the way.

As the track improved more and more, so did the laptimes at the top. But none more than Savadori. The Italian was back out and flexing his wet weather prowess once again as the clock ticked down, and crossing the line the Italian topped the session by a whopping eight tenths of a second. From whom? Fellow rookie Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia). Tagged on to the back of Championship leader and compatriot Francesco Bagnaia, Marini improved and then improved again on his final push to top the session, just before Savadori’s final wonder.

Fabio Quartararo has qualified on pole for the first time in three successive races since he did it four times in a row from Malaysia 2019 to Andalucia 2020. This is his 13th overall premier class pole, equalling Sete Gibernau and Loris Capirossi.

The two rookies moved through then, leaving Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) just knocked out by his teammate, as well as reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) next up and his teammate Alex Rins. Championship leader Bagnaia? He’ll be 16th on the grid…

And so Q2 began, with no more rain having come down. Decisions needed to be made for the Q2 runners at the beginning of the pole position fight, and we witnessed Valentino Rossi and Petronas Yamaha SRT teammate Franco Morbidelli gamble on slick tyres.

It looked like the Petronas Yamaha SRT squad had made the right call as Miller, Quartararo and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) pulled straight back in to switch. Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) and Savadori were also all on slicks, but Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) wasn’t and was soon on his way back to pitlane for a tyre change – as was Viñales.

Rossi was on a good lap before visiting the gravel trap

By then, the riders on slick tyres were lighting up the timing screens. Rossi was out of the seat at the final corner; his lap was ruined and Morbidelli eclipsed Zarco’s best wet tyre lap, but then Miller demolished them all to go 1.2s quicker than anyone. Pol Espargaro slotted into an early P2 as Quartararo and Savadori clocked into P3 and P4, Morbidelli next to improve to move back up to second. Incredibly though, Miller then cut his best by a second again, and Pol Espargaro once more came through as the Aussie’s closest challenger.

It was far from over. Everyone was constantly improving, and Zarco briefly went provisional pole, Miller beat him by nine tenths and then Pol Espargaro finally demoted Miller to second by 0.157s. Marc Marquez then joined his teammate on the front row with four minutes to go, and Nakagami made it three Hondas in the top four for the time being.

Winner at the Spanish GP, Jack Miller has qualified third for his third successive front row start at Le Mans. He will be aiming to become the first Australian to win back-to-back MotoGP races since Casey Stoner in 2012 (Jerez and Estoril).

Morbidelli hit back next for second, but not for long. Marc Marquez beat teammate Pol Espargaro by 0.113s, before Nakagami split the two to make it a Honda 1-2-3… and rain then started to fall at Turn 1. It looked like the three HRC men had timed their laps to perfection, but no. Suddenly, Viñales and Zarco set red sectors, before Quartararo did too.

Viñales was the first to cross the line and break Repsol Honda hearts to grab provisional pole position off Marc Marquez, Zarco then took second and Morbidelli also got the better of the number 93’s time.

Quartararo was the rider to watch though and, laying it all on the line in the final sector, it was going down to Yamaha vs Yamaha for pole. Could he hold on? he could. El Diablo beat his teammate’s time by 0.081s, and a shadowing Miller came through to snatched a late front row as well.

Yamaha 1-2 on the grid

The first factory Yamaha 1-2 since 2017, when a certain Viñales went on to win, joined by the most recent race winner? Another stellar Saturday that – for the third time in a row – belonged to Quartararo. Arm pump surgery to home GP pole is the story of his last couple of weeks, that’s two in a row for Quartararo at Le Mans to boot.

Morbidelli and Zarco’s final flying laps ensure they have solid grid positions for the French GP, in fourth and fifth, with Marc Marquez left down on the outside of the second row by the end of the shuffle. Nakagami and Pol Espargaro – who suffered a late crash at Turn 7 – will also have to settle for les than it seemed had been promised, taking P7 and P8 respectively.

Rossi was able to better his time on the last lap to earn P9 and his best grid position since the season opener with Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top 10, despite a crash, ahead of Q1 graduates Savadori and Marini. With Bagnaia and the Suzukis looking for quick progress too… Sunday promises plenty.

Marc Marquez, who has won three times in MotoGP at Le Mans, has qualified in sixth equalling his best result since he came back from injury in Portugal earlier this season. This is, however, his worst qualifying in the class at the track.

MotoGP Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Fabio QUARTARARO YAMAHA Q2 1m32.600
2 Maverick VIÑALES YAMAHA Q2 +0.081
3 Jack MILLER DUCATI Q2 +0.104
4 Franco MORBIDELLI YAMAHA Q2 +0.166
5 Johann ZARCO DUCATI Q2 +0.277
6 Marc MARQUEZ HONDA Q2 +0.437
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA Q2 +0.520
8 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA Q2 +0.550
9 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA Q2 +0.791
10 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM Q2 +1.267
11 Lorenzo SAVADORI APRILIA Q2 +1.658
12 Luca MARINI DUCATI Q2 +1.665
13 Aleix ESPARGARO APRILIA Q1 (*) 0.868
14 Joan MIR SUZUKI Q1 (*) 0.872
15 Alex RINS SUZUKI Q1 (*) 0.973
16 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI Q1 (*) 0.980
17 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM Q1 (*) 1.307
18 Iker LECUONA KTM Q1 (*) 1.774
19 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA Q1 (*) 2.596
20 Tito RABAT DUCATI Q1 (*) 3.040
21 Brad BINDER KTM Q1 (*) 3.361
22 Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI Q1 (*) 3.573

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 66
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 64
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 50
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati 48
6 Jack MILLER Ducati 39
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 35
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 33
9 Alex RINS Suzuki 23
10 Brad BINDER KTM 21
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 19
12 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 18
13 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 17
14 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 17
15 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 16
16 Stefan BRADL Honda 11
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 9
18 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 8
19 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 5
20 Luca MARINI Ducati 4
21 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2
23 Iker LECUONA KTM 2
24 Tito RABAT Ducati 0

Moto2

There’s something about Red Bull KTM Ajo rookies in 2021! Moto2’s Raul Fernandez clinched his maiden intermediate class pole position thanks to a 1:50.135 in a damp Q2 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, beating Marco Bezzecchi (SKY Racing Team VR46) to the top by over two tenths. Q1 graduate Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) completes the front row, the American pulling some pace out of the bag on Saturday after a difficult Day 1.

2021 French GP Qualifying Moto2 front row
1 Raul Fernandez – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 1:50.135
2 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.240
3 Joe Roberts – Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex – +0.379

A dry Q1 saw Roberts, Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Simone Corsi and MV Agusta Forward Racing teammate Lorenzo Baldassarri earn themselves a shot at pole position in Q2, but a spanner was thrown in the works before the green light. Rain once again started to fall at Le Mans, but once more, it didn’t stay around for long. It was in the air and the surface was damp but tyre choice was far from cemented.

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) was out on slick tyres at first and his closest Free Practice challenger Raul Fernandez initially went out on wet tyres, then got a box call, but the Spaniard went straight back out on the wets. Roberts ran straight into the gravel at Turn 8 in some early drama too, as then Lowes pulled into pitlane for… wets.

On track meanwhile, Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was the early pacesetter from Ogura, but there was plenty of drama to come. Ogura crashed unhurt on the exit of Turn 7, Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) went down at Turn 14 shortly afterwards and then Jorge Navarro (MB Conveyors Speed Up) was the next to crash at Turn 8. Raul Fernandez was just behind his compatriot and ran straight on too. Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Corsi were the next riders to crash as the field tried to find the limit.

All that while at the top, Roberts was provisional pole, but it didn’t last too long. Raul Fernandez pulled out 1.2s on the American with four and a half minutes to go, but the number 16 soon returned the favour to go back to P1 by 0.6s. Roberts improved his lap again thereafter to go a second clear of the competition, but Gardner was on a charge and was next to take over. Lowes, back out on the wets, moved himself into third in the meantime… but Raul Fernandez was lighting up the timing screens. This time round, it was seventh tenths in his pocket at the top.

With conditions continually improving, Roberts then slotted back into P2 as Gardner made a mistake in the third sector to end his hopes of a pole position. No such mistake came from his teammate. Raul Fernandez pulled out even more time to take over at the top once more, with Bezzecchi then shooting up the timesheets to slot into second. Roberts was demoted to third, but holds on to an impressive front row after a tougher Friday. And Raul Fernandez? No one had an answer for the Moto2 rookie sensation and the young Spaniard claimed his first intermediate class pole position.

Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) left it late to claim P4 in qualifying, his best of the year, and the Spaniard is joined by compatriot Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) on the second row. Gardner slipped down to P7 in the closing stages and was over a second adrift of his teammate after running wide at Turn 8 on his last lap.

Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP40) recovered from his big Friday crash to pick up a best Saturday result of the season in eighth, just ahead of his teammate Stefano Manzi. And Lowes? There’s work to do for the man second in the Championship after his worst Q2 of the season, the Brit starting down in 10th.

That’s it from a tricky Saturday at Le Mans, with the weather likely to change again on Sunday! Can the rookie hold on, or will it be another shuffle come race day?

Raul Fernandez has qualified on pole position for the first time in Moto2, becoming the first rookie to do so in the class since Aron Canet at the Styrian GP last year. Only one rider has won a Moto2 race from pole at Le Mans, however: Francesco Bagnaia in 2018.

Moto2 Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Raul FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 1m50.135
2 Marco BEZZECCHI KALEX Q2 +0.240
3 Joe ROBERTS KALEX Q2 +0.379
4 Aron CANET BOSCOSCURO Q2 +0.647
5 Augusto FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 +0.661
6 Bo BENDSNEYDER KALEX Q2 +0.997
7 Remy GARDNER KALEX Q2 +1.011
8 Hector GARZO KALEX Q2 +1.080
9 Stefano MANZI KALEX Q2 +1.225
10 Sam LOWES KALEX Q2 +1.896
11 Nicolò BULEGA KALEX Q2 +2.088
12 Xavi VIERGE KALEX Q2 +2.138
13 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI   ITA MV AGUSTA Q2 +2.452
14 Marcel SCHROTTER KALEX Q2 +2.618
15 Fabio DI GIANNANTONI   ITA KALEX Q2 +3.263
16 Ai OGURA KALEX Q2 +4.301
17 Simone CORSI MV AGUSTA Q2 +5.274
18 Jorge NAVARRO BOSCOSCURO Q2 +6.571
19 Tony ARBOLINO KALEX Q1 (*) 0.483
20 Somkiat CHANTRA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.520
21 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA   ITA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.560
22 Marcos RAMIREZ KALEX Q1 (*) 0.567
23 Thomas LUTHI KALEX Q1 (*) 0.615
24 Cameron BEAUBIER KALEX Q1 (*) 0.840
25 Albert ARENAS BOSCOSCURO Q1 (*) 0.885
26 Jake DIXON KALEX Q1 (*) 0.893
27 Hafizh SYAHRIN NTS Q1 (*) 1.005
28 Celestino VIETTI KALEX Q1 (*) 1.287
29 Barry BALTUS NTS Q1 (*) 1.479
30 Tommaso MARCON MV AGUSTA Q1 (*) 1.818
31 Alonso LOPEZ BOSCOSCURO Q1 (*) 2.483

Moto2 Championship Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Remy GARDNER Kalex 69
2 Sam LOWES Kalex 66
3 Raul FERNANDEZ Kalex 63
4 Marco BEZZECCHI Kalex 56
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Kalex 52

Moto3

Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) pulled out an incredible two seconds on the field in a damp qualifying session at the SHARK Grand Prix de France, the Italian getting into the groove on slicks and the clock proving his only rival by the end of the session. 2.001 is the gap back to a career best qualifying for Riccardo Rossi (BOE Owlride) in second, with Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the front row. The gap from Migno back to Rossi is the largest margin for the rider on pole in Moto3 history.

2021 French GP Qualifying Moto3 top three
1 Andrea Migno – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda – 1:47.407
2 Riccardo Rossi – BOE Owlride – Honda – +2.001
3 Jaume Masia – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – +2.204

All eyes were on Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in Q1, with the Championship leader not moving through on Friday – and FP3 then dawning wet. The bad news continued as well, with the number 37 not quite able to make it happen and left a little out of position on the grid outside the top 20. Polesitter in Jerez, it was Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) who topped the session from Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) to move through, the two joined by Filip Salač (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3). And then the rain came down…

A few drops at first saw many head out early, but they soon scuttled back into pitlane as it became a very real, although brief, downpour. Suzuki was the first to set a real time once riders headed back on track, before Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) took over. Early drama struck for Rossi and Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) as they both tumbled out at Turn 11, but riders ok and able to get back out. The rain wasn’t coming back either, so it seemed like whoever went last could well be first..

Masia took to the top three minutes later, but the Spaniard was soon deposed by Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3). And then came Migno. Fastest and then improving a couple of minutes later to go even faster as he got the slicks in the zone, the Italian was on a roll. So too was compatriot Rossi, however, and the BOE Owlride man was able to take over on provisional pole in an impressive bounce back from his earlier crash. But Migno remained on track, and the red sectors were lighting up the timing screens…

Incredibly, as he rounded the final corner and gunned it to the line, the Italian had over two seconds in hand, taking his second pole position of the season in stunning, if damp, style to start the SHARK Grand Prix de France from the front with the largest margin ever. Rossi retains second for his best ever qualifying, with Masia locking out the front row.

Former Le Mans winner John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) heads up Row 2, joined by Rodrigo and Antonelli despite the crash for the latter early in the session. Salač, despite a highside at the final corner, is another whose damage control was on point as he takes seventh, up and back on track right after the incident. Sergio Garcia (GASGAS Gaviota Aspar Moto3) and Suzuki complete Row 3.

Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), Stefano Nepa (BOE Owlride) and Ryusei Yamanaka (CarXpert PrüstelGP) lock out the fourth row, ahead of Öncü, Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) after a crash for the latter dented his Q2.

That leaves Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) down in P16 and the South African will be joining Pedro Acosta on the charge forward on race day. Will it be wet, will it be dry? Will there be yet more drama waiting in the wings?

Andrea Migno has qualified on pole position for the third time in his GP career along with Valencia in 2019 and Portugal earlier this year. Over his last two poles, he went on to finish on the podium, second in Valencia and third in Portugal.

Moto3 Combined Qualification

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Andrea MIGNO HONDA Q2 1m47.407
2 Riccardo ROSSI KTM Q2 +2.001
3 Jaume MASIA KTM Q2 +2.204
4 John MCPHEE HONDA Q2 +2.233
5 Gabriel RODRIGO HONDA Q2 +2.277
6 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM Q2 +2.487
7 Filip SALAC HONDA Q2 +3.187
8 Sergio GARCIA GASGAS Q2 +3.379
9 Tatsuki SUZUKI HONDA Q2 +3.520
10 Romano FENATI HUSQVARNA Q2 +3.555
11 Stefano NEPA KTM Q2 +3.738
12 Ryusei YAMANAKA KTM Q2 +3.896
13 Deniz ÖNCÜ KTM Q2 +3.968
14 Jason DUPASQUIER KTM Q2 +4.103
15 Ayumu SASAKI KTM Q2 +4.925
16 Darryn BINDER HONDA Q2 +5.104
17 Jeremy ALCOBA HONDA Q2 +6.627
18 Dennis FOGGIA HONDA Q2 +6.938
19 Kaito TOBA KTM Q1 (*) 0.270
20 Carlos TATAY KTM Q1 (*) 0.283
21 Pedro ACOSTA KTM Q1 (*) 0.356
22 Maximilian KOFLER KTM Q1 (*) 0.373
23 Yuki KUNII HONDA Q1 (*) 0.616
24 Andi Farid IZDIHAR HONDA Q1 (*) 0.643
25 Takuma MATSUYAMA HONDA Q1 (*) 1.264
26 Izan GUEVARA GASGAS Q1 (*) 1.415
27 Lorenzo FELLON HONDA Q1 (*) 1.764
28 Adrian FERNANDEZ HUSQVARNA Q1 (*) 4.061
29 Xavier ARTIGAS HONDA

Moto3 Championship Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Pedro ACOSTA KTM 95
2 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM 44
3 Andrea MIGNO Honda 42
4 Romano FENATI Husqvarna 40
5 Jaume MASIA KTM 39

MotoE

Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) is two from two on Saturdays so far in 2021, the Brazilian ultimately coming out on top in a wet, delayed and difficult E-Pole at Le Mans. If the session is declared wet it’s a maximum of six laps each, including in and out laps, with all riders on track in a shortened session. So after a delay, a number of crashes and then plenty Yellow Flag infringements, the number 51 takes it… and that despite his first MotoE highside! Second went to impressive rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team), with 2019 Cup winner Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) emerging in third.

But let’s rewind back to the start. Just before most of the MotoE riders were about to head out, there was an almighty downpour and the Red Flags came out, with those who had headed out quickly making it back. The rain didn’t stay around long but it was certainly still wet, wet, wet on track by the time the session restarted, and it was Dynavolt Intact GP’s Dominique Aegerter’s 2:03.417 that proved the first benchmark time.

Lukas Tulovic (Tech3 E-Racing) then hit the deck at Turn 3 on his second flying lap, before Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac MotoE) crashed at the final corner. Granado next pulled out three seconds on his second lap to take over at the top with a real stunner, before the Brazilian was next to crash as he highsided at Turn 3. Thankfully he was back up on his feet quickly, but in the meantime rookie Pons had cut the advantage to 0.1s…

Aegerter was then at the summit with a 2:00.251, 0.064s ahead of Granado, but Pons then moved the goalposts to a 1:58.384. Aegerter, on his next lap, returned to P1 by 0.101s but just ahead of him, Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) crashed at the final corner.

Initially it was Aegerter on top but there was post-session drama. Because of a number of crashes, a whole host of riders were having their laps cancelled for Yellow Flag infringements – including the Swiss rider. Pons and other parc ferme attendee Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) also had their laps chalked off, and so did fourth place Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team). This promoted Granado to P1, with all the other changes eventually seeing Pons hold onto P2, with 2019 Cup winner Ferrari completing the front row. The two veterans said of the drama that it’s nice to have the dice roll your way, but one day the luck won’t be on your side with the rule – and that overall, safety comes first with Yellow Flags.

So on Row 2, Xavi Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and title leader Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) will sit ahead of Aegerter, in P4 and P5 respectively, with the Swiss rider shuffled down to sixth.

Andrea Mantovani (Indonesian E-Racing MotoE) was another rider to profit from cancelled laps in P7 as Aldeguer slips to P8, and the 16-year-old is one place ahead of former MotoGP rider Hernandez. Okubo, who was in parc ferme, will be starting P10 in the end… just ahead of reigning Cup winner Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40), who will be one rider especially eager to make short work of the start, as will Tulovic next to him.


MotoE EPole

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 51 Eric GRANADO ENERGICA 2m00.315
2 71 Miquel PONS ENERGICA +0.101
3 11 Matteo FERRARI ENERGICA +0.340
4 18 Xavi CARDELUS ENERGICA +1.122
5 61 Alessandro ZACCONE ENERGICA +1.882
6 77 Dominique AEGERTER ENERGICA +3.102
7 9 Andrea MANTOVANI ENERGICA +3.457
8 54 Fermín ALDEGUER ENERGICA +4.527
9 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ ENERGICA +4.930
10 78 Hikari OKUBO ENERGICA +5.546
11 40 Jordi TORRES ENERGICA +5.652
12 3 Lukas TULOVIC ENERGICA +6.320
13 19 Corentin PEROLARI ENERGICA +8.837
14 80 Jasper IWEMA ENERGICA +9.106
15 14 Andre PIRES ENERGICA +9.396
16 27 Mattia CASADEI ENERGICA +9.430
17 21 Kevin ZANNONI ENERGICA +10.033
18 6 Maria HERRERA ENERGICA +12.593

MotoE Top Five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Alessandro ZACCONE Energica 25
2 Dominique AEGERTER Energica 20
3 Jordi TORRES Energica 16
4 Mattia CASADEI Energica 13
5 Miquel PONS Energica 11

Source: MCNews.com.au

Le Mans MotoGP Preview | Schedule

2021 MotoGP Round Five Le Mans


As MotoGP heads to Le Mans lets start with a short recap of Jerez; it looked like Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) was going to be heading into his home Grand Prix with three wins in a row and a nice cushion of points at the top of the Championship. But the course of true racing never did run smooth, and arm pump put paid to that as Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) swept through to take an emotional first win in red. His teammate, Francesco Bagnaia, further compounded the Ducati delight in second, and he’s now atop the table to boot. That makes an interesting equation in the standings, with Quartararo already back training after surgery, Yamaha and Ducati sharing the wins so far… and another home hero in Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) waiting in the wings.

Fabio Quartararo led for most of the race in Jerez

A Ducati 1-2 – the factory’s first since 2018 – and it wasn’t the Red Bull Ring, Motegi, or Qatar… it was the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, where in recent history few have managed to get the Italian machine to look like the best bike on the grid. That’s a warning shot as Miller fired back following his tougher start to the season and Bagnaia just keeps on being quick, but so was Quartararo’s pace before he ran into trouble. Yamaha have a great record at Le Mans, but Ducati can also find plenty in the Sarthe circuit to suit. In 2019 it was a Borgo Panigale 2-3-4 behind only Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), last year it was a Ducati win.

That will have Miller, Bagnaia and home hero Zarco very eager to get on track. The Frenchman has also already been on the podium at Le Mans on different machinery, and on the podium this year with Ducati… so it could be a good mix as the red wall looks to continue its march. But Quartararo is no stranger to going from arm pump surgery to podium, and he’ll really, really want to bounce back this time. Can he?

Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco battled for much of the race at Jerez, but they were nowhere near the front

Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), meanwhile, has had a more muted run since winning the first race of the season, but the last time he won in Qatar he also won in France. Franco Morbidelli’s (Petronas Yamaha SRT) momentum has gone the other way this season and he arrives building on each previous race, so he’ll be eager to show once again why he was runner up in the title fight last year. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) wants to get on that bandwagon too, and the ‘Doctor’ said big positives were found in the post-Jerez test…


Suzuki

At Suzuki there are also some mixed fortunes. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) has now been one of the fastest riders out there on Sunday only to slide out of contention, so there’s either keeping it together this time around or easing off a little on the table. In MotoGP the latter isn’t often likely – as Rins himself showed last year in France with one of the most direct approaches to a three-in-one overtake attempt ever. The Spaniard was spectacular in the tough conditions before he then overcooked it… with rain possible this year, could redemption be on the cards?

Defending MotoGP champion Joan Mir in the thick of battle at Jerez but never threatened for the lead

Reigning Champion Joan Mir, meanwhile, has been consistent as ever. He’s had a podium in Portugal but otherwise put in solid rides for points at venues he says don’t suit him or the bike quite perfectly. Now into the top four overall, Le Mans is another where he doesn’t expect to be slicing through to win from pole, but the Spaniard has been the best at balancing risk, reward and brutal overtakes for some time now, so he can’t be counted out.


Aprilia

As 2021 rolls on, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) has become a fixture nearer the front too. The Noale factory continue to home in on the race win in terms of time, and it’s a mark of how big the step forward has been that Espargaro was slightly disappointed with their actual position in Jerez.

Podium finishes for Aleix Espargaro threaten in 2021

KTM

Also disappointed in Jerez for different reasons was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) after the South African’s upward trajectory from a difficult first race out ended in an early crash, so can KTM fight back in Le Mans? Both Binder and teammate Miguel Oliveira were upbeat after the Jerez test, saying they’d spent a lot of time focusing on getting the bike to work better with the softer tyres without compromising their positives. That does seem a key for the factory in 2021 so far. A KTM was on the podium last year in the wet at Le Mans, but the Austrian factory were also in the top six in the dry in 2019 – a year before their breakthrough fourth premier class album full of chart toppers. What will we see this time around? Tech3 KTM boss Hervé Poncharal gives us his take on the weekend ahead.


Hervé Poncharal
Tech3 KTM Team Manager

“The next Grand Prix is the French one and it’s already the fifth round of the 2021 MotoGP World Championship. Time flies since we started in Qatar and it was only about half a year ago when we came back from Le Mans. Although it’s the home Grand Prix for the team, not having a French rider in our garage, makes it a bit more normal, but it’s still always a pleasure to come to Le Mans and see the bigger interest from the media. Yet, it’s a shame we won’t have any spectators there.

“I believe the circuit is going to be quite interesting for our KTM RC16 machine. Last year with Miguel and Iker we have been pretty fast in both, dry and wet conditions, which is important because it looks like it’s going to be wet this year. Clearly, after the positive step we made in Jerez I’m expecting both, Danilo and Iker to make another step this weekend. We need to carry on pushing with both in order to give the right feedback to the KTM engineers and we need to qualify better.

“Our target is to have at least one rider inside the top 10, but also to be as close as we can to Miguel and Brad, who are the benchmark inside the KTM family and there is no reason for our two guys not to catch up with them. The grid is incredibly close. In FP3 in Jerez the top 10 have been separated by just 0.2 seconds, which is showing the competitiveness of this class. We are not lost, we just need to make another small step forward to be fighting for the top like last year.

“The test we did on Monday in Jerez was for sure a help for our riders in order to feel better on the bike and although we didn’t find anything very special I think both, Danilo and Iker understood a bit better how to ride and setup their machines with the current 2021 environment.

“If it’s wet this weekend, it will be interesting to see how our bike and the whole grid is performing in these conditions. With Danilo we have the last MotoGP rain winner, so let’s hope to repeat that performance in Le Mans in case it’s wet again on Sunday. I really hope Danilo will find his magic rain riding with the KTM as well. Le Mans is always a very special event and I’m quite sure Claude Michy, the organizer has reserved some interesting surprises for us.”


Honda

At Honda, there was plenty, plenty to see in the test. A brand-new air intake, chassis, exhaust and more added to five different aero combinations made quite the impression, although last time out it was someone reverting to their 2020 chassis that made the biggest dent in the race: Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu). The Japanese rider equalled his best ever result in fourth and will be looking to keep that rolling, and he had a solid Le Mans last year. His teammate Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), meanwhile, is still looking to get back to where he left off last year… but last year, the then-rookie put in an absolute stunner for his first premier class podium in France. Will good memories see him take a step forward? And has the Jerez test helped Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) do the same?

Finally, there’s Marc Marquez. His return in Portugal was impressive after so long on the sidelines, and his speed remained at times in Jerez. But it was undoubtedly a more difficult round for the eight-time World Champion as he suffered two fast crashes that saw him then only complete seven laps in the test on Monday. But that was then and this will be now, with Marquez having always been one of the sport’s best at resetting. What can he do with some more time to recover and more time on the bike? We’re about to find out…

The first four rounds of the 2021 championship have seen records broken at every circuit. These have included race duration records, race lap records, all-time circuit lap records and all-time circuit top speed records, with that in mind it is safe to say that more records could tumble this weekend…


MotoGP Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 66
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 64
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 50
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati 48

Moto2

After four races, there are five riders starting to make some breathing space at the top of the Moto2 standings. But it’s been far from a predictable season, and Le Mans offers those on the chase another chance at taking a bite of the podium, victory or top five cherry. So what are we expecting in Sarthe?

Sam Lowes and Remy Gardner have battled hard this season

Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) heads into Le Mans with the points lead despite his worst finish of the season so far last time out, although that was a fourth place, which goes some way to explaining his impressive position in 2021. He’s still looking for a win though and with podium form last year at the venue, will likely be feeling pretty confident of at least fighting for the rostrum once again. Can he go one better and tick off the victory box this season? Or is there still no rush to be rash when you’re top of the pile?

The one man ahead of him in 2020, however, was the man just behind him in the standings now: Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team). Judging it perfectly at the front and moving through to lead after a heartbreaker for Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing), the number 22 will be looking to at least head Gardner home. He’ll also likely have a bit more of a spring in his step in France after recovering from his sky-high DNF in Portugal to take a solid third place and re-engage consistency mode under a little more pressure. Rookie Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is only as far behind Lowes in the standings as Lowes is behind Gardner, however, so can he move forward again after running out of grip to hold onto the podium in Jerez?

Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46), meanwhile, did the opposite and steamed away from the squabble for second to take it pretty comfortably by the flag. He took a podium in France last year and after a more muted opening three races, arriving back in Sarthe fresh from his first rostrum of the season is a good springboard to start getting back into the fight for the win. Speaking of which, there’s another Italian with the ultimate springboard on the way into Le Mans: Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2).

Diggia has come close to the top step before in Moto2, but the dream finally came true in Jerez as the Italian got the perfect launch and then showed perfect poise – and speed – all the way to the flag. It was pretty much faultless and brings him back into within striking distance of the top, so can he push on from here? Sometimes, a win can unlock more than just a bottle of prosecco, and the Italian already had a podium earlier this year so it was far from a surprise to see him in the fight for glory.

From there and the five fastest riders so far, there’s a small gap back to those on the chase, so who can break the stranglehold near the top? So far, only Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) has done so; the Spaniard taking second place in Portugal. Can he find that form again and iron out his ups and downs? Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) is actually ahead of Canet overall though, the American with one DNF but some solid consistency otherwise, and he’s been close – rubbing-is-racingly close – to the podium this season. Never having found Jerez the best match, will Le Mans bring the American further into the fray? Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) is another looking for a step forward and he has podium form at Le Mans, as well as having come close to it again last season, and Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) is now in the groove after a tougher first race. The Japanese rookie has made a few waves of late getting in the mix near the front…

And then there’s also, of course, the 2020 man of the moment… for a while at least. Jake Dixon had never led a Moto2 race before or been very close to doing so until his incredible display of form in 2020 before disaster struck, but that moment saw the Brit kick on and bounce back to greater heights for much of the rest of the season. He’s already been quick in 2021 despite still being on the comeback from his wrist injury and surgery, so will the good memories outweigh the bad? The Sarthe weather could also play into his hands, and those of Lowes; the others who’ve shown pace in tougher conditions… and cause a bit more of a headache for the likes of Raul Fernandez and Ogura.


Moto2 Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Remy GARDNER Kalex 69
2 Sam LOWES Kalex 66
3 Raul FERNANDEZ Kalex 63
4 Marco BEZZECCHI Kalex 56
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Kalex 52

Moto3

The races keep coming and Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) just keeps stealing the headlines. He’s now the only rider in history to have ever taken four podiums in his first four Grands Prix, despite saying of Jerez that it’s somewhere his riding style doesn’t suit, but now it’s Le Mans in the crosshairs and that’s unfamiliar turf for the number 37. Qatar was, of course, the same, and that went pretty well for the now-Championship leader. But with pre-season testing beforehand there was a little more time to get to know the venue, so the Sarthe circuit is most definitely a whole new challenge in terms of both the track itself and the position the history-maker finds himself in.

Moto3 Jerez 2021 podium
1 Pedro Acosta – Red Bull KTM Ajo – KTM – 39:22.266
2 Romano Fenati – Sterilgarda Max Racing Team – Husqvarna – +0.417
3 Jeremy Alcoba – Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3 – Honda – +527

With such a mammoth 51-point lead, however, there’s room to “relax”. The Spaniard enjoys the highest leading margin after the opening four races of a 125cc or Moto3 season since the current point system was introduced in 1993. But even before that was the case, the words of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in the Jerez pre-event Press Conference ring true: tenth is ok. A win is ok. A point, a crash… it’s all ok. Because regardless of the records set already, he’s still a rookie.

That said, there are a few riders who’ll be ignoring that and heading into Le Mans looking to depose the new ruler. Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) arrives closest on the chase thanks to his consistency – and a Doha podium – followed by Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team), who has one 0 but two fourths and a third. Their ability to stay out of trouble, in terms of either causing it or getting tangled in it, has paid dividends and they’ve both been quick to boot. Migno also took a top five in France last season, and the year before, prefaced by a podium in 2018. On both past and current form, the Italian has arguably the best CV at Le Mans.

Then there’s Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), fresh from a podium and some similarly artful dodging of the drama that befell many at the final corner. The veteran seemed to consciously stay out the melee before striking late, and he’s another who’s been consistent. He also has form at Le Mans and although it’s from 2016, he finished just 0.099 off the win in second. The fact that a 0.099 deficit has to be quantified as being second place also speaks to how incredibly close the class is. The man who followed him home in Jerez, meanwhile, is looking for a little less drama in a different manner: Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) may once again have impressively recovered from a Long Lap Penalty to take a rostrum finish, but he’ll want to head into race day with a clean sheet this time round and rid himself of some Sunday hurdles.

So what of that aforementioned drama? Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) would have made different headlines in Jerez if not for that late move that set off the skittles, but the Turk nevertheless put in an impressive performance and will be looking for more of that race-leading feeling. Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will also be focused on bouncing back as soon as possible; both also fuelled by the knowledge that they were once again fast, just unlucky. Experience remains on their side.

Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) was another who was fast and after his late race blunder first time out in 2021, the Japanese rider has since been a consistent force in the front freight train on his best roll of continual form pretty much ever. Can he crank that up even further this time? Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) will also want redemption after a highside out the lead, and John McPhee’s (Petronas Sprinta Racing) bad luck only continued in the Spanish GP. But the Scotsman is the only man in the field who’s won before at Le Mans… so could this be the turnaround he needs?


Moto3 Championship top five:

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Pedro ACOSTA KTM 95
2 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM 44
3 Andrea MIGNO Honda 42
4 Romano FENATI Husqvarna 40
5 Jaume MASIA KTM 39

MotoE

After a Round 1 with plenty of thrills and a couple of spills in the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, it’s already time for the grid to head back out for another showdown, this time at Le Mans. Arriving ahead after his first electric victory is Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE), who turned consistent speed into an impressive Sunday charge, and the stage is set for Round 2 at the SHARK Grand Prix de France.

MotoE

Zaccone will definitely be on everyone’s radar after his impressive weekend at Jerez, but Le Mans could be a tougher one. Looking ahead to the round in the post-race Press Conference, the Italian explained that the Cup’s 2020 visit had been challenging with the mixed conditions really hampering those who, like him, had never ridden Le Mans before. With only six or seven laps in the bag before E-Pole and then the race, it was a tall order. So he’ll be pushing to keep that consistency, but who else will come out swinging?

2020 contender Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP), second in Jerez, will surely be at the front once again, and the Swiss rider has plenty of experience at the venue despite some bad luck last year in Race 1 and a fourth in Race 2. Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40), meanwhile, won the first MotoE race in France before a solid sixth on in Race 2 to take home the Cup. After starting the season on the podium he’ll be eager for more at what’s so far been a happy hunting ground in MotoE. Incredibly, he’s also the only rider on the grid returning this year who already has a podium at Le Mans in the series.

On the other side of the coin, Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) will be looking to bounce back. Once again the fastest man on track and putting on an impressive show in E-Pole, disaster struck for the Brazilian on race day as he slid out the lead. His speed was very much on show, however, so can Le Mans see him iron out the cracks? Last year it wasn’t his best venue, but consistent speed rather than lap records is what he’ll be looking for… so could his less dominant speed at Le Mans so far work to his advantage?

Just off the podium fight, Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) made a step in Jerez but will still be looking for more, as will 2019 Cup winner Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE), although the latter moved through from the back of the grid after exceeding track limits in E-Pole and took home sixth. That’s a good step as both work on getting more from the updated tyres for this season, and experience did shine on race day.

That said, the man who just pipped Ferrari to fifth was rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team). Pons, after some impressive performances in preseason, had a more muted first weekend until Sunday when he moved up to complete the top five and depose fellow debutant Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team) as top rookie. Can Aldeguer, who took a front row start before he and Lukas Tulovic (Tech 3 E-Racing) crashed out together in Jerez, hit back at Le Mans?

Hikari Okubo (Avant Ajo MotoE) put in a solid rookie race too in seventh and he’ll want more, ahead of a step forward from Andrea Mantovani (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) at Round 1. Maria Herrera (Openbank Aspar Team) also made some progress, despite afterwards heading in for arm pump surgery. She beat Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac MotoE) by a tenth first time out, but Hernandez has some serious experience at the track, having been on the podium in the 24 hour race in 2019. That worked well for last year’s MotoE podium finishers Mike di Meglio and Josh Hook…


MotoE top five

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Alessandro ZACCONE Energica 25
2 Dominique AEGERTER Energica 20
3 Jordi TORRES Energica 16
4 Mattia CASADEI Energica 13
5 Miquel PONS Energica 11

Source: MCNews.com.au

Comprehensive wrap from Jerez MotoGP Test

Jerez MotoGP Test

MotoGP riders and teams stayed on at Jerez on Monday for an official test session and it was Maverick Viñales that, as he does so often, topped the test with a 1:36.879. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP rider putting in a characteristically busy day at the office as he did 101 laps. 

Maverick Vinales

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was second just 0.034 back, with Joan Mir making it two Suzukis in the top three although the reigning Champion was four tenths off Viñales as the duo on top pulled clear.

Yamaha were represented by Viñales, Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Valentino Rossi ((Petronas Yamaha SRT) as Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) sat the test out following his arm pump troubles on Sunday.  Still, it was a busy day. Adding to Viñales’ full century at the top of the timesheets, in which the number 12 went a few tenths quicker than qualifying, Morbidelli did 67 laps and was P9; Rossi 73 laps for P12.

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

First of all, I want to say that the team is obviously sad that Fabio couldn‘t attend the test today. However, as stated before, his health is the most important thing to us. Following his arm pump problem in yesterday‘s race, Fabio will get a medical check-up and more news should follow soon. In the meantime, we had a full day of riding to do here in Jerez. Maverick‘s Spanish GP was compromised by a turning issue. Today we spent a good amount of time looking into that area and we saw clear improvement. He also did a good long run in the afternoon and completed a total of 101 laps, far more than any other rider. We finished the test on top, which is positive, but the main thing we got out of this test is an increased confidence with the bike for Maverick – this is something really important for the upcoming race in Le Mans. We know that the Bugatti circuit fits the characteristics of our bike well, so we are hoping for a good race weekend there.”

Maverick Vinales
Maverick Vinales – P1

We didn‘t try any new parts. I was just trying to give a bit more and learn about myself, trying to brake a little bit later. It seemed to be working. I was really good in the morning, the conditions were amazing, so we could ride very fast. In the afternoon the conditions were a bit more tricky, but we were still riding very fast. I did a long run, and I was actually quite happy. So, I‘m quite confident for Le Mans, because I think today we found what I needed in Portimao and here in Jerez. I have more confidence with the bike now. I did more laps and adapted a little bit more. I just feel good now. I think in Le Mans we can concentrate on being a bit faster.

Maverick Vinales

Fresh from his podium finish yesterday, Morbidelli’s day began in the second hour of the test, when the track opened again following an early red flag stoppage. With a new front fender and new swingarm to try, the Italian got down to work, completing 31 laps before the lunch break. Franco was also able to assess new front fork settings, with the aim of improving the stopping capability of the bike. Completing a further 36 laps after in the final two hours after his lunch break, bringing his total to 67, Morbidelli ended the test ninth with a best time of 1min 37.627secs.

Franco Morbidelli – P9

We had the opportunity today to work with some new parts and provide my feedback on them, which is nice, but we mostly focused on trying to improve the braking. It was an area that I didn’t have a perfect feeling with, so it was something we could look to better and I think we have found something today that has improved my feeling under braking, so this is good. I hope that the things that we have found here also work in Le Mans. It will be important to do a good job there and I hope that we continue to be strong going forwards, I will be trying my best to be.

Franco Morbidelli

Team-mate Rossi also began his Jerez test once the red flag period was over and, like Morbidelli, he could also test the new front fender and new swingarm on his Yamaha YZR-M1 throughout the day. In addition to this Valentino was able to evaluate settings on the electronic side of the bike. Ahead of the mid-session lunch break the Italian had completed 36 laps, before taking to the track again with under three hours on the clock. At the end of the test Rossi had improved upon his personal best of the last 4 days, setting a 1min 37.700secs, and made a big step forward with his race pace. He completed a total of 73 laps, 37 in the afternoon, and was the 12th fastest rider.

Valentino Rossi – P12

Today was a good test for me because we improved the feeling with the bike, the pace with the race tyre and in the time attack. It was a long day because the conditions were good, so we did a lot of laps. The team and I worked on the balance of the bike, the settings and we can see the improvements, as I was better under braking and in corner entry. We also have some other new bits for the bike, which is good and helps. I’m happy because we were able to improve today, after a difficult weekend, and I have a much better feeling with the bike. It is just a one-day test, we need to see what happens at Le Mans but I am leaving here with a good feeling.”

Valentino Rossi

Rins led the Suzuki charge and despite finishing the test just after lunchtime, the Spaniard put in 59 laps. Once again, he was testing the “possible” 2022 engine that he, teammate Mir and test rider Sylvain Guintoli tested in Qatar. He also worked on improving on used tyres, impressed with the pace as it was a step up on the weekend. He headed to Barcelona for a check up on his shoulder in the afternoon. Mir did 64 laps.

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

Today has been useful; we got good feedback from the riders and we found improvements, which is always the goal of a test day. We feel pleased because we think we’ve found some steps for the next races and also useful information for the future. Both riders put in a lot of laps and their times are strong, so we leave here feeling satisfied.

Alex Rins – P2

Today was a good day for us, we tried several things, including trying the 2022 engine. I was happy and confident with the bike and pleased with how everything went. We also worked on the set-up in terms of suspension and a few small things, and I feel like we’ve improved our base. I was able to set fast times even on used tyres, faster than yesterday, so I’m happy with the result.”

Joan Mir – P3

Honestly, I think we had a great day, we did a lot of work and I’m feeling happy. We tried the 2022 engine again and we found what we expected – that it’s not massively different but it’s an improvement, and the characteristics were what we expected. We took a lot of useful information. I also tried different geometry on the bike to try and get better feeling from the front of the bike, and I’m happy with what we’ve done. My lap times were pretty nice, and it’s been a very useful day.”

Joan Mir

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was the top Honda in the test as he was on race day, both times in fourth. He did 71 laps. Five different aero packages were seen at Honda between him, eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) and LCR Honda Castrol’s Alex Marquez, which gained a few glances up and down pitlane.

Nakagami tried aero, but then mainly focused on setup. He said he was more consistent and really comfortable, looking forward to Le Mans, and that the 2020 chassis is working well. He also warned against seeing that change back as something signifying the new chassis was negative.

Takaaki Nakagami – P4

Today was a busy test day, we tried many new items and a different set-up of the bike. It was a really good test for us and many things worked pretty well. The feeling on the bike is much better than on Sunday, so I’m happy about the performance. The lap time is much more consistent and the feeling is better, so I think we’re ready for the next race in Le Mans.”

Takaaki Nakagami

Teammate Alex Marquez also felt he made improvements on Monday, and did 75 laps to end the day in P15. That was just ahead of Marc Marquez as the eight-time World Champion only did seven laps, feeling some after effects of his crashes during the weekend.

Álex Márquez – P15

Today we tried a lot of things and we worked so hard from 10:15 in the morning to 18:00 in the evening to improve. It’s true that we found something compared to the GP and we were able to improve the rhythm, so this is positive. We tried new aerodynamic package, new parts and a lot things for Honda to give feedback to the factory. It was a long day, a productive day, I would have liked to make a time attack to be further up in the standings, but I think our main priority was to build up the confidence again.” 

Álex Márquez

Pol Espargaro focused on aero, electronics and ergonomics, things he says seem fairly small but when a rider is adapting to a bike, can make a big difference. He says he’ll remain on the same chassis, as he thinks there remains a good margin of improvement. The number 44 was spotted riding at least three different HRC bikes during the test though – his standard, one with different aero and a completely carbon coloured bike.  Just around midday, Espargaro suffered a fall at Turn 1 but was unharmed and quickly returned to the garage. In the closing hour of the day Espargaro suffered a second fall, avoiding any injury.

Pol Espargaro – P6

We did 89 laps today; it has been a very busy and productive day for us. We have worked on many things, electronics, aero, ergonomics – they seem simple or small topics but when you’re still new to a bike they can make a big difference together. We have performed well today, I was close to Taka who has been the strongest Honda this weekend so I am happy. No matter what, we have learned a lot today and it has been very good for me to have a day like today where we can ride and try things without the pressure of a race weekend. Now we look to Le Mans.”

Pol Espargaro

The day in Jerez was short for Marc Marquez, completing seven laps over two runs before calling an end to his test. After a physically demanding weekend, Marquez and the Repsol Honda Team elected to focus on his continued recovery and allow the maximum amount of time to prepare for the French GP.

Marc Marquez – P16

Today we didn’t really test, just one run because on the second run my body was already locking up. My neck and my right shoulder were stiff, it’s similar to after Portimao but I was not as locked up as I was after Portugal. The crash I had on Saturday didn’t help with my physical condition. I thought that maybe today when my body had warmed up it would be better, and I could try but straight away I could tell I wasn’t at a good level for riding. We spoke as a team and decided to stop the test, we need to understand that we’re improving step by step and the next target is Le Mans where we will try to improve again.”

Marc Marquez

At Ducati, most recent race winner Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) was straight back to work on Monday as he and World Championship-leading teammate Francesco Bagnaia completed a combined total of 84 laps, one day after securing the Bologna factory’s first 1-2 since Brno 2018. Bagnaia was tenth, Miller in P18.

Francesco Bagnaia – P10

It has been a very positive day. Finally, we completed some work that has been pending since the last pre-season test in Qatar. We completed the entire programme today and were able to close the day early. Today, my pace was good, so I’m satisfied with the job done and ready for the next race at Le Mans”.

Francesco Bagnaia
Jack Miller – P18

After the race, there is always a lot of rubber on the ground, and the conditions are always favourable to have a test day. Also, the weather today allowed us to work well. We focused on some aspects that we normally don’t have time to work on during the weekend: we repeated tests and tried different setups to understand which one works best. It’s always important to do these double-checks and, above all, we gathered a lot of useful information. Now we will have a few days to rest, but I can’t wait to get back on track at Le Mans“.

Jack Miller

Zarco was the fastest Borgo Panigale machine, however, putting in 75 laps. The Frenchman said he was focusing a lot on suspension rather than new parts, looking for a way to get the full potential of the new bike. Stand-in teammate Tito Rabat also tested on Monday, P20 after 65 laps. Rookie Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) moved up into eighth after 66 laps after a good day’s work, with Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) in P13 after 54 laps.

Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder said the key focus at KTM was about the tyres

Zarco was quickest Ducati on Monday
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

This test day was really important. We had a big agenda and many ideas from the company. The hours were just flying by and all the riders did some fine work. We had a big ‘menu’ of test items for the chassis and we worked a lot on electronics and the suspension also. I think we did a good job and hopefully we can get the benefit out of it in France. Thanks to the factory for the big effort to keep giving us solutions and to both teams for pushing all the way through this week in Jerez.”

KTM MotoGP
Sebastian Risse – KTM Technical Coordinator MotoGP

I think overall we can say we had a pretty good day. There were quite a few items piling up in the last few weeks because neither the tracks nor the situations allowed us to test during a GP weekend. So, we were looking forward to this opportunity here to work through a wide range of things for the bike. There was a lot and I think each rider found some positives. We did not have time to give everybody everything yet so we will put together a plan to do that in the coming GPs. Of course, only a race scenario can show where we really are but I think we have some more tools at our disposal for the next rounds.”

Miguel Oliveira

Oliveira was trying to make changes to make the bike work better on the softer front without compromising their existing positives. He found an improvement in pace and was pretty positive. Oliveira was top KTM in P7 after 72 laps.

Miguel Oliveira – P7

We took profit of the day to look at different solutions on the bike set-up and the soft front tyre and medium rear; as we would in a race simulation. We had many good laps. It was important to understand how to use soft compounds and our front feeling while also trying not to lose with the modifications we’ve already made to gain an advantage. We want to keep the positive characteristics of the bike.”

Miguel Oliveira

Binder repeated Oliveira’s words that the focus was on making the softer tyre work, purposefully staying away from using the harder front that normally suits them better. He said they found something that seemed to make life a little easier and ended the day in P11 after 66 laps.

Brad Binder – P11

We had a busy day. We wanted to work more with the softer front tyre and think ahead to some of the tracks ahead. We did our homework and I’m definitely happy with some of the conclusions we reached to try and make life a bit easier for us. A lot of laps! We had a couple of small new things and managed to assess those. The best part of a test is that you can see which ideas work and which ones don’t. We got some good information for the guys.

Brad Binder

Danilo Petrucci in the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing ranks was seen sporting a different tank/seat area, the Italian seemingly trying some ergonomics to improve his feeling on the RC16. He was P19 after 63 laps, teammate Iker Lecuona 64 in P16.

Danilo Petrucci – P19

We tried a different balance of the bike to make the rear tyre work a bit better. Especially in the latter part of the race we feel good, when the tyre is already worn a bit, also in braking. But we can’t really use the rear tyre when we have some extra traction in the beginning, which means that in Qualifying we struggle quite a bit and also the first part of the race yesterday has been pretty difficult. Overall today I understood the bike more, although I didn’t find what I was looking for. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to Le Mans, which is a track that I was on the podium the last three years. I hope there, we can find a good way.

Danilo Petrucci
Iker Lecuona – P16

The target was to improve and trying to adapt myself and also the bike to the soft tyre. today I struggled a bit but, finally, with the team we tried many things on the base and I managed to be quicker. Also, our pace was better than during the race. In general, I think we were working very well today. We will see what happens in Le Mans, but for the moment I’m fairly satisfied.”

Iker Lecuona

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro had a tougher day at the office following his closest ever finish to the MotoGP winner, crashing early and then calling an early end to his test not long after, feeling under the weather after the incident although not sustaining any injuries. He ultimately did 12 laps and was P14. Lorenzo Savadori did 54 laps, however, and completed the timesheets.

MotoGP will reconvene next in two weeks time for round five at Le Mans.

Official Jerez MotoGP Test Times

Pos Rider Bike Time
1 12 Maverick VIÑALES YAMAHA 1m36.879
2 42 Alex RINS SUZUKI 1m36.913
3 36 Joan MIR SUZUKI 1m37.310
4 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA 1m37.348
5 5 Johann ZARCO DUCATI 1m37.435
6 44 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA 1m37.506
7 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 1m37.508
8 10 Luca MARINI DUCATI 1m37.559
9 21 Franco MORBIDELLI YAMAHA 1m37.627
10 63 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI 1m37.690
11 33 Brad BINDER KTM 1m37.698
12 46 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA 1m37.700
13 23 Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI 1m37.717
14 41 Aleix ESPARGARO APRILIA 1m37.885
15 73 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA 1m38.170
16 93 Marc MARQUEZ HONDA 1m38.303
17 27 Iker LECUONA KTM 1m38.374
18 43 Jack MILLER DUCATI 1m38.455
19 9 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 1m38.608
20 53 Tito RABAT DUCATI 1m38.826
21 32 Lorenzo SAVADORI APRILIA 1m39.024

Source: MCNews.com.au

MotoGP riders reflect on Jerez MotoGP

2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España
MotoGP Rider Quotes


Jack Miller – P1

“So, where do start on that one? From when the chequered flag dropped – well, maybe a corner or two before that to be honest – I was on this massive rollercoaster of emotions. One minute crying like a baby, the next one fist-pumping and high-fiving everyone in sight. The feelings are hard to put into words really. So I’ll do my best – and I better do it quick because my voice is pretty much gone after talking for the last two hours solid, and it’ll be completely gone by tomorrow I’d reckon.

Jack Miller

“It’s been a long time – I was told the win at Assen 2016 was my 25th MotoGP race, today was my 103rd. The last time I won was a big old shock in the wet, I was a kid really … this one, I’ve worked my arse off so much since to arrive here and get this, so it means so much.

Jack Miller

“Everyone at Ducati has had my back despite me being well off my best this year until this weekend, and I can’t tell you how much that means. Of course you hear the noise from the outside, and believe me I was desperate to do well. Nobody can put more pressure on me than I do on myself, it’s just the way I am. I want to do well for me, for the team, and get the results I believe I can achieve. So for everyone at Ducati to stick with me, be there for the bad and all of that, makes the good even better for me and I hope for them as well. It feels amazing to get a 1-2 here with my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia), it’d been a long time since Ducati won here, Loris Capirossi in 2006. I was 11 at the time! So, that’s a fair way to snap a drought!

Jack Miller

“It’s hard to be too reflective so soon after a win, but what this weekend does show me was that the approach I took for Jerez paid off. I came here wanting to be quiet and put my head down, work away methodically in FP1 on Friday and FP4 before qualifying just to do laps on my own, do my own thing. So when Fabio (Quartararo) started to come back to me in the race, and I knew I wasn’t under pressure from behind and sitting in second, it was time to go for it. Get out front, do the laps like I’d done them in practice, put my head down. I’d done the time out there by myself, and now it was time to repeat that. There were a lot of laps left – nine I think it was – and that’s a long time to be out the front by yourself when there’s that much on the line. But you’ve got to have a crack at it, don’t you? I don’t think I’ve ever ridden that precise in my entire life, 25 laps in a row like that felt fantastic.

Jack Miller

“I’ve never won a race like that in my life, they’ve always been battles or something like that at the last corner. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to do the old Jorge Lorenzo-style race, get out the front and cruise home the last five laps, so I’m glad I did that – but it’s not as easy as it looks. The more time you have to think, the more you can trip yourself up.

Jack Miller battling with Quartararo

“To hear everyone clapping and applauding in the pit lane when I came back in after the race, that’s one of the biggest memories I’ll have from today. I try to be a genuine person, try to be happy and say hello to everyone, and maybe this connection means something … I feel like there’s a lot of people who want me to do well. I don’t try to be anyone else, just be me and hopefully people like that. Some of them might not, but that’s OK, I’ll just be genuine. So coming back into the pit lane, seeing all these people who were happy for me for just being me … that was awesome.

Jack Miller

“Winning takes a bit of a load off, but we learned something this weekend about how to work and that’s what we need to do week after week now, because we know it works. But that’s for Le Mans in a couple of weeks. We have a test here at Jerez on Monday and there might be a few beers going down at some stage in the next little while too. I want to thank everyone for their support and I’ll try to do it again soon.”

Jack Miller

Francesco Bagnaia – P2

“Today in the race, I felt really comfortable riding the Desmosedici GP bike, thanks to the great work done with my team over the weekend. I started to push after the first four laps not to stress the rear tyre too much: my pace was good and allowed me to catch up with my opponents and pass them. In the end, I was even catching Jack, but with two laps to go, I preferred to defend the second place. Today’s result is really incredible, and I hope we can continue like this in the next races, which will be held on tracks favourable to our bike. Tomorrow we will have another day of testing, so we have to stay focused”.

Francesco Bagnaia

Franco Morbidelli – P3

“It was an incredible race and I was able to push so hard throughout the entire race. This morning my Crew Chief Ramon [Forcada] was able to work a bit of magic to increase our grip and improve my feeling on the bike. The whole team has done a wonderful job this weekend and it meant that I was able to ride really strong and aggressively. I’m really pleased with this result and that I could reward the team with this podium. It feels wonderful to back up there, especially as the championship is a lot tougher this year, it is very competitive. I’m enjoying this moment a lot and I hope it continues in the next races.”

Franco Morbidelli

Takaaki Nakagami – P4

“I’m really happy about my performance during the race. I had a good start and from the beginning to the end I gave my best. We had good pace, really consistent and I’m happy about that myself, but we missed another podium chance, only by six tenths so I have mixed feelings. The team looks really happy and it was a good weekend, we were really consistent and P4 is a great result for me and the team. I’m really looking forward to the next race in Le Mans. We need to carry on like this, we’ve definitely found good pace.”

Takaaki Nakagami

Joan Mir – P5

“For sure I expected more from this race, but I gave 100 per cent. It’s easy to say now ‘maybe we should’ve changed this or that’ but in reality you’ll never know if these things would’ve helped. After all I was competitive and I fought for the podium, and I wasn’t far away from that, so I’m satisfied with the work done here in Jerez. This isn’t the best track for us and the hot conditions made things harder too, but I’m glad to take the points for 5th place and we’ll look to improve again in Le Mans and hope to get some stronger results in the next races.”

Joan Mir

Aleix Espargaro – P6

“I’m happy with the solidity we are demonstrating. I managed the race well, with a good start and maintaining my position in the early stages. The pace was extremely high. I didn’t have a lot of grip, so I had to change my riding style a bit, lifting the bike up and not fully exploiting the RS-GP’s extraordinary cornering capabilities. I was in the leading group until overtaking Fabio. It took me a bit longer than expected and that cost me a couple of seconds which turned out to be decisive. Not too bad. We continue racking up points and our gap has never been so consistently narrow. I also had some problems with my right forearm in the finale. It will need to be checked and managed in the best possible way.”

Aleix Espargaro

Maverick Vinales – P7

“Our rhythm was quite good, but everyone was going very fast, and it was very close in terms of lap times, so if you don‘t start at the front it‘s going to be a hard race. If we had started from the front, it would have been a different kind of race. But we did have a problem in the slower corners, and that‘s something we need to work on. On the rest of the track the bike was fantastic, but I had to brake really early to turn, and I lost too much in that area. I think if we solve that, the bike will be fantastic, so overall we are on a good level.”

Maverick Vinales

Johann Zarco – P8

“We brought home eight important points. I committed a few mistakes at the start of the race and in the first corners, but the race-pace was good nonetheless and so I don’t want to complain. I want to congratulate the Ducati team who have done an incredible job, I am very happy for Jack and Pecco, they deserve this!”

Johann Zarco and Vinales

Marc Marquez – P9

“Of course today we would have liked to be further ahead but we should be happy. In Portimao we finished 13 seconds behind the leader and here only ten, this is the main target. Like in Portimao I felt strong in the middle of the race, but I lost some time at the start and the end of the race and overall I felt like we have made a big step compared to our last race. I can now understand more about the bike. Tonight we will decide if I will test tomorrow, it is important to do some laps if we can to keep understanding everything with the team. It hasn’t been the best weekend in Jerez, but an important step and I want to say a big thank you to Honda and my team this weekend for their incredible work.”

Marc Marquez

Pol Espargaro – P10

“It wasn’t a good race for us speaking honestly, we had much better pace in FP4 and in Warm Up where I was feeling a lot better. The traction on the circuit was less than in the morning and I never really felt comfortable in my race pace, I was pushing and on the limit a lot. I finished just behind Marc, but it isn’t where I want to be. We get some points for tenth but 11 seconds away from first is too much. We have a full day of testing tomorrow which is going to be super important for us and allows us to try some different options for the future.”

Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez

Miguel Oliveira – P11

“Tough race for us. I didn’t have the grip or the feeling from one lap. The tyres started to overheat, I couldn’t go faster and that blocked my progression. I tried to remain calm and limit the mistakes to bring the bike to the end of the race. When the fuel level dropped I could be a bit more competitive but we are still far from where we want to be. So, we still have some work to do to improve this year’s package.”

Miguel Oliveira

Stefan Bradl – P12

“In the end we finished 12th which is alright, I am happy. Of course there are always some points which could have been better but overall I am very happy with the performance of the weekend, it has been very strong. Maybe in the race I could have been smoother because I felt a little arm pump at the end but aside from this the race was okay. Thank you to Honda HRC for making this happen and to my team, they’ve had a busy weekend but we have managed everything well. No big mistakes this weekend, more points and some good data collected has us pleased.”

Stefan Bradl #6

Fabio Quartararo – P13

“The arm pump problem was clear today. For more or less 10 laps I could hold Jack Miller at bay by one second, but then I suddenly had no more feeling in my right arm. We were in a great position to win here. I could have even gone a bit faster. Our strong point of riding on the used tyre was finally not necessary, because I didn’t have any power left in my arm. I will take my time today to think over the situation and try to make the best decision about how to deal with arm pump as soon as possible. My home Grand Prix is coming up next, and I want to be fit there, that’s important to me. I know that the bike works well there and that I will perform well. I want to solve this problem as fast as possible, but in the best way.”

Fabio Quartararo

Danilo Petrucci – P14

“It was a difficult race but we managed to take some points. We are still trying to find a good setup on the bike. We have to manage to use this tyre as we are quite slow at the beginning of the race and able to do a good pace later. For sure, it was hard, because we were already far from the front guys quite early on. Anyway, it was one more race to gain experience.Tomorrow there’s the test here and we can try something new. We are working very hard to improve the bike and to fight closer to the front. I would like to thank all my team for their hard work. We have to continue like this and I’m sure the results will come.”

Danilo Petrucci

 Iker Lecuona – P15

“Honestly, I’m quite happy. I worked very hard during the race and also the team worked very hard to improve during this weekend and to help me. I’m satisfied, because I finished inside the points and I did a lot to achieve this.I also learned a lot during the race because I lost contact to Danilo and I managed to recover and nearly pass him on the last lap. I think I regained the confidence to go fast.”

Iker Lecuona #27

Luca Marini – P16

“I made a mistake at the start: in the rush to recover, I went straight in braking on several occasions, and I lost a lot of seconds from the strongest guys. After the first 7 laps I started to ride better, I made the steps forward I had seen in the data and I did a very good second half of the race. The result is not positive, the points were so close and the gap from the very first riders was not bad at all. We are putting together many pieces; I have made progress on the use of the gas and the management of the rear tyre. There are still many aspects to work on, but I’m happy because Jerez is not an easy track for the Ducati GP19 while the new one is really fast. I was behind Tito (Rabat) and the bike was very very fast. Congratulations to Dall’Igna and all the Ducati engineers because they have done a great job, Jerez is notoriously a track for other manufacture”.

Luca Marini

Valentino Rossi – P17

“It was a difficult race because I did not have the speed and I suffered a lot with grip issues, in fact the pace that I had during the race was pretty much the same as in practice. In the beginning I found it hard to stop the bike. It did improve a bit and I wanted to try to score some points, but it was not possible today. It has been a difficult start to the season, but I do think that we can be competitive, so we need to work to understand how to improve the pace. We have a test tomorrow, so we will be able to try some things then. Hopefully this will give us some answers ahead of the race in France.”

Valentino Rossi

Tito Rabat – P18

“I was growing more and more confident during the race and I am happy with how it went. To fight at this level is never easy. I would like to thank everyone for the opportunity that has been given to me, I really had a lot of fun.”

Tito Rabat behind Savadori and Rossi

Lorenzo Savadori – P19

“The final result is a pity because we had the pace and the potential to battle in the points zone. Unfortunately, after a good start, I had some problems with the front tyre pressure that forced me to slow down. In the finale, things stabilised, but at that point it was too late to recover the lost ground. I’m disappointed. A decent result was within our potential, but even races like the one today are important for better understanding the MotoGP’s dynamics.”

Lorenzo Savadori

Alex Rins – P20 

“The crash today was a shame, it was bad luck really. There’s a bump at that corner, and normally it’s not much of a problem, but with the full fuel tank it felt quite bad and then the rear stepped out, I released the brakes, braked again, and went wide – that’s where I lost the front, on the dirty part off line. But despite losing part of the aero-fairing, I rejoined, had nice pace and I actually felt very good. I was faster than the leading group. I’m really sorry to all the team who have worked really hard as always. Let’s continue to work for the next races, and I hope to qualify much better so that I can be at the front and stay there.”

Alex Rins #42

Enea Bastianini – DNF

“I’ve made a bad start, with some problems. I had the pace and good feelings with the brake, after 4 or 5 laps I overtake to Marquez, but I went outside and it has pass me again, behind him I make a time of 38.4, 38.5 so I think little by little I could have improved. It was a shame the fall on Turn 2, I’m sure I could have made a good race. I keep the positive, we’ve been competitive. This morning the feeling with the bike was much better, tomorrow in the tests we will try new solutions.”

Enea Bastianini

Brad Binder – DNF

“I felt great in warm-up this morning and then made a good start in the race but unfortunately going into Turn 2 on the second lap it looks like I was a bit too relaxed, got on the brakes at the wrong moment and when I tipped into the corner the front just washed out. It’s a good lesson for the future to ignore where you are in the pack and keep your marks. It’s also disappointing because I had good pace all weekend and I felt good. We could have done a decent job today. Sorry to the team because they worked well all through the GP and they deserved a result.”

Brad Binder

Álex Márquez – DNF

“Not even one lap today. In the warm up I think we made a step forward; we were a little bit better and we were in the top 10. I was looking forward to the race, to making a good start and a good first lap to recover some positions. But sadly, at turn eight a rider took me out and when I opened my eyes I was on the gravel! That was a shame and it was a difficult weekend, and also race. Tomorrow we have an important test so we’ll try to improve and be confident from the beginning.”

Álex Márquez tussling with Rossi

Team Managers

Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager

“I think I’m the happiest person in the world right now: Jerez has always been a difficult track for the Ducati bikes, so to be able to finish first and second today is crucial for us, especially from a technical point of view. Both riders had a sensational race and were fantastic. They knew how to run a mature race: Jack kept a good rhythm and perfectly managed the race, while Pecco did an incredible performance, ending second and taking now the championship lead. Congratulations to both of them, to the team and all of Ducati Corse”.

Team Ducati

Massimo Meregalli – Monster Yamaha Team Director

“We had a difficult and disappointing race today. Fabio had a problem with his right arm. Because of the arm pump he had no feeling and was in a lot of pain. It’s such a shame. It happened suddenly while he was leading the race by 1.4s and with the pace to win. He was completely happy with the bike and was cruising to a victory. But our main concern is Fabio’s wellbeing. Tomorrow he will get his arm checked. Maverick rode a steady race. His starting position held him back a bit. It’s important to start from the front, especially with the lap times being so close. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to let the bike turn the way Maverick wanted, and this is what we will focus on tomorrow during the test. Overall, these weren’t the race results we had envisioned, but Fabio’s form in the first half of the race shows we have great potential.”

Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director

“In the Warm-Up session this morning we evaluated tyre options and we decided that Joan would use the soft front and Alex the medium front, and this choice wasn’t bad. Joan made a good start and managed the race well, getting 5th position in the end. Maybe with a few more laps he could’ve gone for better position, but we will never know. It was a pity that Alex crashed in Turn 6, especially because he had strong pace even after he rejoined and he had podium potential. Let’s learn from today and try again next time out.”

Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager

“We have become stronger at this track, and despite the qualifying positions we had hopes of the podium for our riders, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Joan was very patient and consistent and he got a nice 5th position, so we’d like to thank him for the sensible ride. Alex also had podium pace so it was a real pity for him to have the crash, we’ll look into what happened and then begin working for the next races. Anyway, overall I’m happy with the way we are going.”

Razlan Razali – Petronas SRT Team Principal

“That was a great MotoGP race with a fantastic podium for Franco in third. We needed that result and it’s great to see him back up there. I am absolutely thrilled with this podium and we need to continue this momentum to the next race in Le Mans. It wasn’t an easy weekend for Valentino, as he couldn’t find the best feeling on the bike; but tomorrow we will have an important test to try to find an improvement.”

Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager

“We cannot be happy with 11th position because we had some expectation after Brad’s good qualification yesterday and consistency in warm-up. We saw a lot of crashes here and unfortunately Brad had one on the second lap, so his race was more or less over then. It was hard for Miguel to make much time from 16th on the grid and he was in traffic for too long. We have to accept 11th but we can see how high the competition is and now we need to work in the test here tomorrow to find something extra with the bike. It was positive that three of our bikes finished in the points even if it is not our goal just to be part of the pack. The target now has to be better at Le Mans.”

Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager

“It’s been a tough weekend, but an interesting one for Tech3 KTM Factory Racing. Clearly, this has been the best weekend so far of the 2021 season. Both, Danilo and Iker were a lot closer to the front runners and I think we are not going to be in front from just one race to another, but we need to catch back and this is what we did this weekend.

“I think both riders and their crews worked very hard, very well. The grid positions where of course far from ideal, but we could see that we were very close to Miguel in the first 70% of the race, which is the benchmark at the moment and we could stay with him. Not only Danilo, but also Iker, they never slowed down, they kept their heads down, the lap times were very, very consistent, which is nice. We still have a lot of work to do, which is what we are going to start tomorrow, because we have a very important test.

“For some people it will be difficult to understand, but we are reasonably happy with 14th and 15th position. We have the feeling, that we’ve done the job. This is almost the best result we could have reached this weekend. Again, both of them are in the points. We had the Rossi family behind us and we kept them at bay without cracking under any pressure.

“I would like to thank both, Danilo and Iker. This is their best weekend since the beginning of this season and I just hope we can keep this positive frame of mind, work hard tomorrow and I think in Le Mans we can make another step. Now the target is to try to eventually finish in the top 10, which is not easy. We know there is a lot of water under the bridge before we can be higher up, but this is our mission.

“I am very happy to have announced the next five years together with KTM and I think this is showing how much both parties, Tech3 and KTM are committed. We believe in each other and there will be better days for sure.”


Jerez MotoGP Race Results / Standings

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Jack MILLER Ducati 41m05.602
2 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +1.912
3 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +2.516
4 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +3.206
5 Joan MIR Suzuki +4.256
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +5.164
7 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +5.651
8 Johann ZARCO Ducati +7.161
9 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +10.494
10 Pol ESPARGARO Honda +11.776
11 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +14.766
12 Stefan BRADL Honda +17.243
13 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +18.907
14 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM +20.095
15 Iker LECUONA KTM +20.277
16 Luca MARINI Ducati +20.922
17 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +22.731
18 Tito RABAT Ducati +30.314
19 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia +37.912
20 Alex RINS Suzuki +38.234
Not Classified
DNF Brad BINDER KTM 14 Laps
DNF Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 14 Laps
Not Finished 1st Lap
DNF Alex MARQUEZ Honda 0 Lap

MotoGP Championship Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 66
2 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 64
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 50
4 Joan MIR Suzuki 49
5 Johann ZARCO Ducati 48
6 Jack MILLER Ducati 39
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 35
8 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 33
9 Alex RINS Suzuki 23
10 Brad BINDER KTM 21
11 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 19
12 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 18
13 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 17
14 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 17
15 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 16
16 Stefan BRADL Honda 11
17 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 9
18 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 8
19 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 5
20 Luca MARINI Ducati 4
21 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2
23 Iker LECUONA KTM 2
24 Tito RABAT Ducati 0

2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship calendar

Round Date Location
Round 1 Mar-28 Qatar, Losail (night race)
Round 2 Apr-04 Doha, Losail (night race)
Round 3 Apr-18 Portugal, Portimao
Round 4 May-02 Spain, Jerez
Round 5 May-16 France, Le Mans
Round 6 May-30 Italy- Mugello
Round 7 Jun-06 Catalunya, Barcelona
Round 8 Jun-20 Germany, Sachsenring
Round 9 Jun-27 Netherlands, Assen
Round 10 Jul-11 Finland, KymiRing (subject to homologation)
Round 11 Aug-15 Austria, Red Bull Ring
Round 12 Aug-29 Great Britain, Silverstone
Round 13 Sep-12 Aragon, Motorland Aragon
Round 14 Sep-19 Sam Marino, Misano
Round 15 Oct-03 Japan, Motegi
Round 16 Oct-10 Thailand, Chang International Circuit
Round 17 Oct-24 Australia, Phillip Island
Round 18 Oct-31 Malaysia, Sepang
Round 19 Nov-14 Valencia, Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Round 20 TBA Argentina, Termas de Rio Hondo
Round 21 TBA Americas, COTA

Source: MCNews.com.au

Emotion charged Jerez MotoGP | Race Report

2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España
MotoGP Race Report


There are few sweeter feelings for a rider than standing on the top step of the MotoGP podium, but doing it for the first time in five years and the first time as a factory Ducati rider adds something special.

Jack Miller steals a moment to reflect and compose himself

Add in two muted races, a little dash of drama, surgery and then a crash last time out on the run up to the Gran Premio Red Bull de España and Jack Miller’s (Ducati Lenovo Team) emotion in parc ferme is even easier to understand.

The relief was palpable for Jack Miller with many of his supporters joining him with tears from afar

It was a masterclass to boot as the Australian got the holeshot, fought it out at the top, reeled in early leader Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and then kept it pinned, coming home to lead the first Ducati 1-2 since 2018 as teammate Francesco Bagnaia showed more speed for second. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) went one better than Portugal to complete the podium, keeping that momentum just as hoped and taking top Independent Team rider honours. Quartararo eventually finished just inside the points.

Miller took the line into turn one

Starting from the outside of the front row, Miller grabbed the holeshot as poleman Quartararo lost out slightly. The Frenchman was swamped into the first corner and found himself down in fourth, just ahead of Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro, who had a strong start to find himself in fifth. Down the back straight for the first time it had settled into Miller leading the way, from Morbidelli and Bagnaia that way round early doors.

There was quick drama a little further back for a couple of riders. LCR Castrol Honda’s Alex Marquez crashed out on the opening lap and he was later joined in the gravel by Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder, who crashed out at the start of Lap 2.

At the front though, Bagnaia and Quartararo began to duel for third. First, the Frenchman moved up the inside in the opening sector before the Bologna bullet of Bagnaia motored back past down to Turn 6. Then, for a second time, Quartararo got in front of Bagnaia, this time at the final corner. Going defensive into the first corner to make sure it stayed like that, the job appeared done.

On Lap 3 we had faller three of the Spanish GP as Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) made it a fortnight to forget with a second consecutive crash, wide at Turn 6 and the front-end then washing away to end his Jerez hopes and loe his chance to unleash what looked like some impressive pace.

Meanwhile, Quartararo dived up the inside of former teammate Morbidelli for second as his charge back to the front continued, with Aleix Espargaro finding a way through on Bagnaia for fourth at the same time.

Quartararo, Morbidelli

El Diablo’s plan was coming together. He hit the front soon after with an inch-perfect move on Miller into the final corner, and alarm bells were surely ringing for Morbidelli in third as the factory Yamaha man put the hammer down immediately and stretched out four-tenths over the Australian in the space of a lap. A new lap record around the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto a lap later and Round 4 of the MotoGP World Championship was following the 22-year-old’s script to a tee. So far…

Miller has admitted in recent weeks that he’s been in the trenches following a disappointing start to the year, but he was certainly gritting his teeth and digging in. Quartararo was only able to go a tenth quicker than the Ducati man and the gap was at three quarters of a second with seven laps completed. As the Frenchman edged his lead out to over a second for the first time, Aleix Espargaro slipped a place back to fifth after falling into the crosshairs of Bagnaia’s Ducati down the back straight too. But as one Ducati rider moved forward, another crashed out: rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) hit the deck at Turn 2 – his first DNF of the year, although he continues leading the Rookie of the Year standings.

Bagnaia, meanwhile, had seen off the close attention of Aprilia’s Espargaro and had attached himself on to the rear wheel of Morbidelli. His first look up the inside came down the hill into Turn 6, but no way through. The pair of VR46 Academy partners continued to look inseparable in the fight for the final podium place, before Bagnaia finally got his own way at the final corner. He capitalised on a mistake from the Petronas man perfectly, moving through.

Suddenly at the front, it wasn’t the plain sailing we’ve become accustomed to for Quartararo once he’s out in the lead. The Frenchman’s advantage was cut from nearly two seconds down to nothing in the space of just one lap and it was well and truly game on for Spanish GP glory, with ten laps remaining. Incredibly, Miller then took the lead down the start-finish straight to start Lap 16 of 25, with Quartararo’s progress halted and the Frenchman seemingly fading. In the space of half a lap, the Australian was half a second clear and it only grew.

As Miller got to 1.5 clear, Quartararo behind was nearly a second slower than Bagnaia and Morbidelli and his hopes of a podium finish had evaporated. He was a sitting duck as both the Ducati and Yamaha men scythed through and they were queuing up behind the World Championship leader soon. With seven laps to go Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Aleix Espargaro all pushed their way past to demote him down to seventh, but the Aprilia ended up a slight loser in that fight too as he lost out to both Nakagami and Mir in the shuffle.

Quartararo started to get reeled in and then passed by the majority of the field

Five laps of a remarkable race remained and Quartararo soon pushed outside of the top ten by Pol Espargaro; a statement that was unthinkable just ten minutes earlier. A couple more laps ticked by and it seemed there could be drama brewing at the front too. Miller’s lead was cut down to just a second by teammate Bagnaia as some tension suddenly appeared for the Aussie. Could the Thriller hold on for a first Ducati victory? They were a nervy final few laps but the number 43 kept his cool and, for the first time since the 2016 Dutch TT, took victory in a MotoGP race – Ducati’s first in Jerez for 15 years.

Jack Miller took the flag

Bagnaia put in another top performance to come across the line in second too, making it a first 1-2 for Ducati in just under three years and the first they’ve ever had at Jerez. There was huge delight for Morbidelli in third as well and the Italian thumped his chest with joy and declared it “as good as a victory” in Parc Ferme. There was yet more Jerez delight for Takaaki Nakagami as the LCR Honda Idemitsu man matched his career-best MotoGP result with fourth place too, the Japanese rider seeing off a late charge from Mir, who was forced to settle for fifth.

Jack Miller returns to the pits victorious

Aprilia finished the closest they have ever been to a MotoGP race winner, 5.164 seconds adrift of Miller, but in sixth so Aleix Espargaro still wanted more, such is their step forward so far in 2021. Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales clinched seventh place, ahead of Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco in eighth.

Maverick Vinales and Johann Zarco battled for much of the race

Repsol Honda completed the top ten as Marc Marquez bounced back from his Warm Up crash – and Saturday crash – to take a commendable ninth place as he returns from injury. The final place inside the top ten went to the eight-time World Champion’s teammate Pol Espargaro, ahead of Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and HRC wildcard Stefan Bradl.

Quartararo eventually limped home in thirteenth and, as a result, surrendered the lead of the MotoGP World Championship. The Frenchman was in visible pain on the cool down lap from major arm pump issues. So, as we head to Le Mans for Round 5, Bagnaia leads the premier class title chase for the first time in his career but has just a two point lead over what will be a fired-up Frenchman on home soil next time out. Danilo Petrucci (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and teammate Iker Lecuona completed the points.

Bagnaia is the new championship leader

So that’s it from the Spanish GP and a day Jack Miller will remember forever. Tune in for more from the classic Le Mans circuit in just two weeks’ time, and could we see yet another shuffle as MotoGP continues to deliver in one of the greatest eras ever. Can Quartararo bounce back or is the French town to be painted red?

MotoGP Jerez 2021 podium
1 Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – 41:05.602
2 Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – +1.912
3 Franco Morbidelli – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +2.516

Jack Miller – P1

I just tried to do what I could, I did a lot of laps all weekend by myself and I knew I had reasonable pace and when Fabio came past I thought ok I’ve got a bit better pace. I dropped down into the 37s for a few laps there with him but I wasn’t able to maintain that, but neither was he. I didn’t expect him to drop back to me but he did. I was just able to.. I knew I had a bit of a gap behind me and if I could get past Fabio, I could see he was struggling. Get past him, get my head down, make no mistakes and just try to punch out the laps. Those last seven or eight laps were the longest of my career. I mean, it’s just indescribable what I’m feeling right now, it’s a flood of emotions: happy, sad, everything. I wish my parents were here to celebrate it with me but they’re back at home, I know they’ll be celebrating. I want to thank everyone for all their support, I’ll try do it again soon.

The relief was palpable for Jack Miller with many of his supporters joining him with tears from afar

Jerez MotoGP Results / Standings

Source: MCNews.com.au

Quartararo on pole from Morbidelli and Miller

2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España


MotoGP Qualifying

Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has now taken every MotoGP pole position that he’s contested at Jerez, as the Frenchman made it four in a row since he entered the premier class in 2019 – including two last year, both of which he converted into wins.

Fabio Quartararo

It was close as ever though, with Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) pulling a stunner to take second, just half a tenth back, and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) taking third and with it his first front row of the year. The three are split by just 0.105.

First, however, came a blockbuster Q1 with a good few key names looking to move through – including eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Morbidelli, Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and nine-time World Champion Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT). Marquez found himself there after a high speed trip into the gravel in FP3 and via a double-check at local hospital, but the Spaniard was fit to contest the session and that he did.

Marc Marquez

However, neither he nor fellow frontrunner Binder had an answer for Morbidelli as the Italian got into the 1:36s, topping the session to bounce back from a late cancellation of his best lap in FP3. Binder took second and slammed past Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) at the final corner in more of a Sunday move than a Saturday one, but the South African moved through as Marc Marquez languished, suffering his worst qualifying ever in the premier class so far in P14.

Once the pole shootout of Q2 was on, it was a familiar duo at the top though: Quartararo and Morbidelli. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was hanging on in third as his impressive Jerez pace continued, but Miller was on a charge and tagged onto the back of teammate Francesco Bagnaia. That would prove the key change in the final minutes as Quartararo found himself competing against only himself, shaving a little off his best but looking impervious and imperious as the Ducati duo pipped Nakagami down to fifth.

And so it’s four from four in Jerez for Quartararo now, even though the Frenchman said the lap wasn’t perfect, and it’s his former teammate Morbidelli alongside him on the front row in a familiar but now different liveried sight. Miller takes his first front row of the season in third and pips Bagnaia to the honour as the Italian is forced to settle for fourth, but both Bologna bullets will likely be huge threats once the lights go out.

Jack Miller

Nakagami’s return to the 2020 chassis seems to be going rather well as he lines up fifth, with Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) for company on the outside of Row 2. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) had a more muted day at the office and lines up seventh, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) for company in P8 and P9 respectively.

Reigning Champion Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) starts tenth despite some FP3 heroics to make a big leap up the timesheets, with more work to do on race day once again… although he’s no stranger to a podium taken from further back. Binder shook off his final corner divebomb to take P11 in Q2, and HRC test rider and wildcard Stefan Bradl impressed as ever, taking 12th.

Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) bounced back from a carbon copy of his teammate’s Turn 7 crash, and not long after him, to qualify 13th, just ahead of said teammate Marc Marquez. Rookie Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama) takes P15 as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) saw himself relegated to 16th after having a lap scrubbed for track limits. Rossi starts alongside the Portuguese rider, down in P17.


Fabio Quartararo – P1

It felt really good today. Jerez is one of the tracks that I really like. I have ridden a Yamaha four times at this track and four times I got pole position. It‘s quite an amazing moment, I‘m really happy about this. But I will say that today‘s Q2 session was a qualifying where I was more on the limit. I thought I was going to crash in Turn 6 and Turn 13. I made a mistake in Turn 6, but ultimately what matters is that we got the pole position today. Tomorrow it‘s not going to be easy, but I feel prepared and that I have good potential. The medium and hard tyre are both working well, so we will use the Warm Up tomorrow to decide which one we will use.

Fabio Quartararo

Franco Morbidelli – P2

The feeling with the bike has been great today and I knew that if I had the right chance I could do something good. We had good potential today, but we had to go through many difficulties to get there. We were able to overcome them though and I’m really happy about that, plus the team did a great job as well today. I wanted to go all or nothing on one lap in qualifying, to be on the limit, and I ended up folding the front. I was prepared for it though and was able to recover it, which I’m really happy about. I have a good feeling going into tomorrow and I’m able to maintain my rhythm for quite a lot of laps, so I’m quite confident about what I can do. I need to see what the other riders can do but starting from the front row is good for our podium chances.”

Franco Morbidelli

Jack Miller – P3

Starting from the front row here will definitely be a big help: Jerez is a very tight and technical track where it’s quite difficult to overtake and, if I can get a good start, I can then try to manage the race in the best way possible, and stay calm especially in the first laps. After a complicated start to the season, it is a relief to be back at the front for me. Obviously, this was only qualifying, and we still have the race tomorrow to look forward to, but for now, I’m happy to have been able to tick this first target off the list.

Jerez 2021 MotoGP front row
1 Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP – Yamaha – 1:36.755
2 Franco Morbidelli* – Petronas Yamaha SRT – Yamaha – +0.057
3 Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team – Ducati – +0.105

MotoGP Combined Qualifying Results

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Fabio QUARTARARO YAMAHA Q2 1m36.755
2 Franco MORBIDELLI YAMAHA Q2 +0.057
3 Jack MILLER DUCATI Q2 +0.105
4 Francesco BAGNAIA DUCATI Q2 +0.205
5 Takaaki NAKAGAMI HONDA Q2 +0.253
6 Johann ZARCO DUCATI Q2 +0.299
7 Maverick VIÑALES YAMAHA Q2 +0.315
8 Aleix ESPARGARO APRILIA Q2 +0.330
9 Alex RINS SUZUKI Q2 +0.369
10 Joan MIR SUZUKI Q2 +0.399
11 Brad BINDER KTM Q2 +0.712
12 Stefan BRADL HONDA Q2 +0.747
13 Pol ESPARGARO HONDA Q1 (*) 0.491
14 Marc MARQUEZ HONDA Q1 (*) 0.573
15 Enea BASTIANINI DUCATI Q1 (*) 0.759
16 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM Q1 (*) 0.830
17 Valentino ROSSI YAMAHA Q1 (*) 0.999
18 Luca MARINI DUCATI Q1 (*) 1.009
19 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM Q1 (*) 1.149
20 Alex MARQUEZ HONDA Q1 (*) 1.153
21 Iker LECUONA KTM Q1 (*) 1.223
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI APRILIA Q1 (*) 1.409
23 Tito RABAT DUCATI Q1 (*) 1.725

Moto2

Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo) may have only described his pole position lap at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España as “decent”, but the 1:40.667 is actually a new lap record and secures the Australian his first pole of the season.

It was close though, with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) just 0.071 off and Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) within 0.086 as they complete the front row. Polesitter in the first three races, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) crashed out but will start the fourth showdown of the season from fifth.

Q1 saw rookie Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) take to the top and the American moved through along with teammate Marcos Ramirez, Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) as the Italian denied compatriot Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40) on his last push for the top.

So the stage was set for Q2, and the pace was hot from the off as Gardner slammed in a 1:40.667 to lead the way. Di Giannantonio and Bezzecchi got within a tenth, but the Australian held on at the top as the clock ticked down. Some drama then hit for Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) as he slid off, although he was able to get back out, before Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) also hit the deck but was also able to rejoin.

Meanwhile, red sectors started to appear for Lowes. Two tenths under in the third split, the Brit was making a march for the top – but a bobble at the final corner put paid to that. He did improve but stayed fourth, and not long after suffered more drama as he crashed at Turn 2, out the fight. And that was all she wrote, with the front row unchallenged and Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) then pushing Lowes down a place further to fifth.

That means Championship leader Gardner takes his first pole of the season and becomes the first rider other than Lowes to start from the front this year. ‘Diggia’ takes second, with Bezzecchi back in the mix in a big way on Saturday to take a front row in third and within 0.086 of the top. Raul Fernandez is fourth, ahead of Lowes who is at least in sight of some of his biggest rivals. Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completes the second row.

Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) took P7 ahead of Roberts and rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), with Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) completing the top ten despite an earlier crash. Canet, another crasher, took P11 ahead of Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up).

Remy Gardner – P1

I guess I could say I know this track really well! I’ve done a few laps around here. Everyone’s fast here so it’s always tough in Jerez, but I feel good, the bike was working pretty well from FP1, there wasn’t much to play around with on the bike side. The lap was decent, wasn’t perfect but enough to get me on pole so I’m happy.

Jerez 2021 Moto2 front row
1 Remy Gardner – Red Bull KTM Ajo – Kalex – 1:40.667
2 Fabio Di Giannantonio – Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 – Kalex – +0.071
3 Marco Bezzecchi – Sky Racing Team VR46 – Kalex – +0.086

Moto2 Combined Qualifying

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Remy GARDNER KALEX Q2 1m40.667
2 Fabio DI GIANNANTONI KALEX Q2 +0.071
3 Marco BEZZECCHI KALEX Q2 +0.086
4 Raul FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 +0.141
5 Sam LOWES KALEX Q2 +0.166
6 Xavi VIERGE KALEX Q2 +0.371
7 Augusto FERNANDEZ KALEX Q2 +0.543
8 Joe ROBERTS KALEX Q2 +0.568
9 Ai OGURA KALEX Q2 +0.584
10 Jake DIXON KALEX Q2 +0.599
11 Aron CANET BOSCOSCURO Q2 +0.662
12 Jorge NAVARRO BOSCOSCURO Q2 +0.791
13 Nicolò BULEGA KALEX Q2 +0.854
14 Marcos RAMIREZ KALEX Q2 +1.037
15 Bo BENDSNEYDER KALEX Q2 +1.047
16 Cameron BEAUBIER KALEX Q2 +1.069
17 Albert ARENAS BOSCOSCURO Q2 +1.266
18 Marcel SCHROTTER KALEX Q2 +1.278
19 Stefano MANZI KALEX Q1 (*) 0.175
20 Hector GARZO KALEX Q1 (*) 0.213
21 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI MV AGUSTA Q1 (*) 0.249
22 Somkiat CHANTRA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.293
23 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA KALEX Q1 (*) 0.328
24 Tony ARBOLINO KALEX Q1 (*) 0.367
25 Simone CORSI MV AGUSTA Q1 (*) 0.397
26 Thomas LUTHI KALEX Q1 (*) 0.533
27 Yari MONTELLA BOSCOSCURO Q1 (*) 0.666
28 Hafizh SYAHRIN NTS Q1 (*) 0.816
29 Celestino VIETTI KALEX Q1 (*) 0.851
30 Taiga HADA NTS Q1 (*) 1.706
31 Tommaso MARCON MV AGUSTA Q1 (*) 1.963

Moto3

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) seemingly can’t stop taking pole position at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel-Nieto. The Japanese rider took a stunning third straight pole at the venue in qualifying for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, hitting the top early and no one able to depose him. Via a trip through Q1, Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) nabbed a late second place, with the front row completed by Portimão polesitter Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) after more impressive speed from the Italian on Saturday.

On a sunny but cool day at Jerez, Q1 got qualifying going and the first big question since his pitlane start in Doha was asked of Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the Spaniard found himself looking to move through. Seemingly immune to the pressure, however, the number 37 topped the session with his last flying lap and headed for Q2 ahead of fellow rookie Izan Guevara (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team), Carlos Tatay (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) and eventual front row starter Alcoba to fight for the top 18 positions on the grid.

Once Q2 was underway, it was 2020 Spanish and Andalucia GP polesitter Suzuki on top with exactly two tenths in hand over Migno after the first runs for most, but there was one bit of drama not long coming for Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The South African had a mammoth highside at Turn 7 – rider perfectly ok – but lost his chance to improve further, stuck watching the timesheets to see how far his 1:46.288 for a provisional P4 would get shuffled down the order.

As it turned out, it wouldn’t be by that much. The field headed back out with only a couple of minutes remaining on the clock but only a handful of riders were able to make it count, with many missing the cut once again. The first improvers were Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) and teammate Deniz Öncu as they moved into the top ten, but as the clock ticked down there was a dearth of red sectors and only a few more riders to cross the line. Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was one of the few improvers as he shot up into third for a provisional front row, with Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) and Alcoba looking like the only two remaining threats on the top – in that order on the road. Could they make an assault for pole?

Fenati was first over the line and he did enough to shoot up into fourth at least, but it was short-lived as Alcoba blasted over the line just behind him. From Q1, the Spaniard took second and with that just pushes teammate Rodrigo onto Row 2, to start just ahead of Fenati.

And so Suzuki remained unthreatened at the front and the Japanese rider takes a third straight pole at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, ahead of Alcoba in second and another impressive Saturday from Migno as the veteran Italian completes the front row. Rodrigo is shuffled down to head Row 2, which is completed by Fenati and Petronas Sprinta Racing’s John McPhee.

Binder, despite his earlier crash, was seventh quickest and only lost a few places to his forced exile on the sidelines, and he’s joined on Row 3 by Sasaki and 2019 Jerez winner Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3). Öncü completes the top ten ahead of the last of the late lunges from Q1 graduate Izan Guevara, who pipped Filip Salaç (Rivacold Snipers Team).

That means that Acosta is forced to settle for P13 for his first Moto3 race on home turf, with veteran teammate Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) also facing a fight back from 15th.

Tatsuki Suzuki – P1

During the winter I got Covid just one week before the winter test in Qatar so I missed the three days of testing, and that’s why I wasn’t quite competitive form the beginning of the season. I was struggling at the end of races on a used tyre, so this weekend me and the team worked a lot on the used tyre, normally we use two or three new tyres in FP1 and 2 but we used only two. As you see on Day 1 I wasn’t fastest but we knew with a new tyre we were quite competitive, so this afternoon in Q2 I really focused for the first flying lap, cause you know it can be a big mess In Moto3, especially in the last moments, so we decided to do good a lap as soon as possible. Unfortunately I took the flag and couldn’t improve on the last lap but let’s say I was a bit lucky and it’s nice to be here on pole position again this year.

2021 Jerez Moto3 qualifying top three
1 Tatsuki Suzuki – SIC58 Squadra Corse – Honda – 1:45.807
2 Jeremy Alcoba – Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3 – Honda – +0.125
3 Andrea Migno – Rivacold Snipers Team – Honda – +0.200

Moto3Combined Qualifying

Pos Rider Bike Q Time/Gap
1 Tatsuki SUZUKI HONDA Q2 1m45.807
2 Jeremy ALCOBA HONDA Q2 +0.125
3 Andrea MIGNO HONDA Q2 +0.200
4 Gabriel RODRIGO HONDA Q2 +0.241
5 Romano FENATI HUSQVARNA Q2 +0.359
6 John MCPHEE HONDA Q2 +0.378
7 Darryn BINDER HONDA Q2 +0.481
8 Ayumu SASAKI KTM Q2 +0.505
9 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM Q2 +0.633
10 Deniz ÖNCÜ KTM Q2 +0.642
11 Izan GUEVARA GASGAS Q2 +0.715
12 Filip SALAC HONDA Q2 +0.759
13 Pedro ACOSTA KTM Q2 +0.860
14 Jason DUPASQUIER KTM Q2 +0.907
15 Jaume MASIA KTM Q2 +1.036
16 Carlos TATAY KTM Q2 +1.253
17 Xavier ARTIGAS HONDA Q2 +1.710
18 Yuki KUNII HONDA Q2 +1.879
19 Ryusei YAMANAKA KTM Q1 (*) 0.441
20 Andi Farid IZDIHAR HONDA Q1 (*) 0.599
21 Sergio GARCIA GASGAS Q1 (*) 0.616
22 Adrian FERNANDEZ HUSQVARNA Q1 (*) 0.625
23 Dennis FOGGIA HONDA Q1 (*) 0.639
24 Riccardo ROSSI KTM Q1 (*) 0.692
25 Stefano NEPA KTM Q1 (*) 0.701
26 Kaito TOBA KTM Q1 (*) 0.729
27 Maximilian KOFLER KTM Q1 (*) 0.976
28 Lorenzo FELLON HONDA Q1 (*) 1.548

MotoE

Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) will start his 2021 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup campaign from pole position at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the Brazilian putting in a stunner in E-Pole to head the grid by two and a half tenths. Lukas Tulovic (Tech 3 E-Racing) returns to the front row in Spain as the German made a big step forward from Friday to take second, with rookie sensation Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team) starting third for his debut race in MotoE.

As the first few riders put in their times, it was Maria Herrera who set the first benchmark that outlasted a few rivals, with the Openbank Aspar Team rider cutting two tenths off her previous best during Free Practice. Next the rider to beat was Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) as he took another two tenths off the top, before drama hit for his compatriot Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE).

2019 Cup winner Ferrari was up, setting red sectors, before the Italian made a key E-Pole mistake: track limits. Seemingly just on the green at Turn 4, everyone held their breath to wait for the official confirmation of whether Ferrari was in or out, and when it came it was bad news: he has to start from the back.

Back on track, Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) was the next to head the timesheets as he shaved another chunk off for provisional pole, but it wouldn’t last long as rookie Aldeguer headed out. Faster still, he took over on top. Next out was Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40) but the Spaniard slotted in behind Zaccone, so there were just three riders left: Tulovic, Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Granado.

Tulovic was up first, the German putting his almost signature Saturday speed on display to take another slice of time off provisional pole, setting a 1:48.012 and taking over. So could Aegerter do it? Surprisingly, not quite. The Swiss rider took third behind Aldeguer, so a front row would all come down to whether the last man out could leapfrog Aegerter or all three: Granado.

Despite fearing the green after falling foul of track limits in 2020, it was something special as the Brazilian lit up the rear tyre and took a stunning four tenths out of the time to beat by the end of the third sector, with pole his if he could hold on. A sideways trip into the final corner saw him lose a little time, but keeping it well within track limits and pinned to the line saw him take E-Pole by a quarter of a second.

That’s a full house of sessions he’s now topped this weekend, the best case scenario as Granado aims to repeat his Jerez win last year. Tulovic, who recovered from a small allergy that dampened his progress on Friday, takes second and aim at his first podium as rookie Aldeguer impresses once again on the outside of the front row.

Aegerter heads up Row 2 ahead of Zaccone, with Torres taking sixth. Seventh went to Casadei, joined on the third row by Xavi Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and Herrera as she took a step forward up the timesheets. Rookie Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) completes the top ten.

MotoE E-Pole

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 Eric GRANADO Energica 1m47.778
2 Lukas TULOVIC Energica +0.234
3 Fermín ALDEGUER Energica +0.515
4 Dominique AEGERTER Energica +0.595
5 Alessandro ZACCONE Energica +0.6
6 Jordi TORRES Energica +0.729
7 Mattia CASADEI Energica +0.836
8 Xavi CARDELUS Energica +1.028
9 Maria HERRERA Energica +1.031
10 Miquel PONS Energica +1.07
11 Hikari OKUBO Energica +1.248
12 Andrea MANTOVANI Energica +1.312
13 Corentin PEROLARI Energica +1.936
14 Yonny HERNANDEZ Energica +2.03
15 Jasper IWEMA Energica +2.552
16 Kevin ZANNONI Energica +2.792
17 Andre PIRES Energica +4.422

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au

MotoGP riders reflect on Jerez Day One

2021 MotoGP Round Four – Jerez
Gran Premio Red Bull de España


MotoGP Friday Quotes

Francesco Bagnaia – P1

“Jerez is a track that I like and that suits my riding style with the Desmosedici GP. Last year I was fast, but this year I’ve definitely taken a step forward. This morning, even though I was struggling at the beginning with the low temperatures, after a few adjustments, I was able to regain feeling with my bike and set the fourth fastest time. In the afternoon, we worked on the race pace, first with the hard tyre and then with a used medium tyre, with which I was able to put in a good lap time. In the final minutes of FP2, I finally tried the time attack. I’m pleased with the way we’ve worked so far and confident for tomorrow’s qualifying”.

Francesco Bagnaia

Fabio Quartararo – P2

“First of all, I’m feeling good on the bike, that’s important. We have great pace, but we are struggling with used tyres, which is strange. Last year, when the conditions were much hotter, I felt zero drop on the rear tyre. Today, I felt quite a big drop in the morning and the afternoon, so we need to check what’s happening. We already have a clear idea of what to try tomorrow, and I think it’s going to work. I’m feeling great and have great confidence with the bike.”

Fabio Quartararo

Aleix Espargaro – P3

“It’s only Friday, but being fast right from the first lap is important. Especially looking at the pace in race configuration, I think I was one of the more competitive riders. Tomorrow I expect the track conditions to change and that could shake things up for everyone. In any case, there is no doubt as to our speed, even if I was unable to improve a lot in the time attack on the soft tyre. On a track like this one, overtaking is no simple thing, so our goal for tomorrow will have to be the first three rows at the very least.”

Aleix Espargaro

Franco Morbidelli – P4

“This track seems to suit our bike, it worked very well here throughout today and I’ve had a really good feeling with it as well. There were some areas I identified this morning that I thought could be worked on and we were able to improve them this afternoon. The pace is good, we just need to see what it will be like on a hot lap, but we have a good base to move forward from. I’m quite happy that we were able to get into the all-important top-ten for tomorrow, as we were focusing on the race pace. We need to keep on working and trying to adjust to improve those things that we are lacking, but we have started off very well today.”

Franco Morbidelli

Maverick Vinales – P5

“I don‘t know about my chances in the race yet, we will have to see on Sunday. It‘s very important to understand the level of the bike. We have tried some important things on track. I think it‘s good and that we have quite a fast consistent rhythm, and we can also be fast on one lap. Today, I didn‘t have an amazing feeling on the bike, but anyway we were there, in the top 5. It was quite a solid day. Basically, we feel good, and I think tomorrow we can make a good step forward.”

Maverick Vinales

Takaaki Nakagami – P6

“It was a good day for us and a good start to the Spanish GP. Overall, P6 is a good result and I’m happy with my feeling on the bike. In all the sessions I was able to be consistent, which was good to see. Each outing was really positive, but we definitely need to go another few tenths faster in FP3 to improve. Hopefully we can make a 36, even a high one, to stay in the top 10, this is our first priority for tomorrow morning.”

Takaaki Nakagami

Alex Rins – P8

“It was a good day and I finished up in eighth, although I expected that I would be closer to my rivals when I put the soft tyre in, and able to set a slightly faster lap. But I’m ready to push again tomorrow. This morning in FP1 I was struggling a bit with the bike, but we fixed the issue and I felt good after that. I think tomorrow will be very close, and even FP3 will be like a qualifying session!”

Alex Rins

Johann Zarco – P9

“I am happy with today, the team and I worked very well together, and we focused on the set-up to improve the feeling with the bike as much as possible. It will be very important to set a good lap-time tomorrow and remain within the top ten.”

Johann Zarco

Stefan Bradl – P11

“Today has been good and I am happy with how we went, especially in FP2. The track was in a good condition and we were able to compare some components and work on improving the setup of the Honda. Like always, the times are super tight so we need to work on a good strategy and setting for the hot lap. Over the longer runs, we are looking good but right now the focus is going fast on Saturday.”

Stefan Bradl

Jack Miller – P12

“All in all, it’s been a positive first day: I’ve worked a lot on my feeling with the Desmosedici GP, trying to find the right pace for the race, lap by lap. Unfortunately, in the time attack this afternoon, I made a small mistake in the last sector. We’re not far off, and now we’ll work to try to improve even further tomorrow”.

Jack Miller

Joan Mir – P13

“We had some trouble at the start of the day with the electronics on the bike, and I lost a bit of time, so I ended up doing a lot of laps on the medium tyre and I didn’t really get the chance to do a time attack with a soft tyre. But even on the used tyre my feeling was quite good and I’m happy about that. Bike problems are all part of the game, and we solved it quickly, so I’m ready for tomorrow.”

Joan Mir

Pol Espargaro – P14

“At the end of the day we couldn’t take the most profit from the new tyre, so our position is a little lower than it could have been. But we have been working a lot to understand the limits of the bike and where we can push. We already feel better with the bike than we did in Portimao and I think we can achieve something interesting on Saturday. The goal is Q2 but our race pace is not looking too bad. It’s good to be at such a familiar track with more consistent conditions.”

Pol Espargaro

Luca Marini – P15

“The Jerez track with MotoGP is really tough: all the turns are so close practically you can’t breathe. However, it is always a beautiful track. I am happy with the work done today, so many positive feelings. We have continued to work on the position on the bike and made a good step forward. Also, on the set up we changed something compared to Qatar and Portimao, we can still do a little bit on the rear to be perfect, but I’m happy. On the tire choice, we need to understand exactly what to do with the front for the qualifying and then decide between medium or hard on the rear for the race even if at the moment I’m not able to completely exclude the soft. After the first day of free practices, I am a second of gap from Pecco (Bagnaia) and for the first time here it is not bad at all”.

Luca Marini

Marc Marquez – P16

“The approach of the weekend is a bit different to Portimao, our aim is to keep our physical condition more constant throughout the weekend, so we weren’t pushing as much today. Tomorrow is the time to push and overall, I feel quite good on the bike, I’m happy with where we are at this moment. There’s still some work to do on the physical side of things, my position on the bike is still not perfect but we are able to push when we need to. We keep working on everything and improving step by step.”

Marc Marquez

Danilo Petrucci – P17

“We tried some different things today, but more or less, we still have a good pace on race tyres, but with the new soft tyre, I can’t really improve. Our task for now is, that we need to find out why. In general, I like the bike, but I can’t go faster with the soft tyre, which is quite an issue for the start and everything, so we definitively have to focus on this tomorrow.”

Danilo Petrucci

Enea Bastianini – P18

“I’m not very happy, I expected a better result. This morning I was at a good pace and in the afternoon workouts we got worse. Tomorrow I need to take one more step to be better. My strong point is braking, but I don’t feel confident with the back side. Jerez is a track that won’t let your guard down, I hope to keep progressing and growing up tomorrow.”

Enea Bastianini

Lorenzo Savadori – P19

“Today was a good day, despite the fact that I wasn’t able to make a difference on the soft tyre. These are things that are part of my growing process in this category. The positive thing is that we figured out where we need to make changes to improve more, so we’ll try already tomorrow.”

Lorenzo Savadori

Álex Márquez – P20

“It was not the best day for us, obviously. We didn’t get at any moment the feeling on the bike to push, so there are a lot of things to improve tomorrow. We tried two different bikes today and this probably confused me a bit. Tomorrow, we need to be more clear in what we do, but first of all, I’m the person who needs to improve my riding style, so from the morning I will try to improve to be closer. I hope tomorrow we’ll make a big step and be closer to the front guys to make a good qualifying.”

Álex Márquez

Valentino Rossi – P21

“In the past Jerez has always been a good track for me and I have some great memories from here. Unfortunately today was very difficult and I was suffering with rear grip issues, especially with the soft tyre. The warmer track conditions in the afternoon helped to give us a bit more grip and we were a bit better as a result. I do think our race pace is better than our one lap pace though, as it was the soft tyre that we struggled with more. I would have been a few positions higher, but I touched the green on my final lap and so they cancelled it. We’ve tried to work on the setting today to improve things but the feeling was still similar. It’s important to be within the top-ten in FP3, so we will try some more things tomorrow and try to be better. Usually the track improves day-by-day so we will see what happens.”

Valentino Rossi

Iker Lecuona – P22

“Honestly, I’m quite happy about today, as I could regain a bit of confidence with the bike while riding on my own. I was pretty consistent and tried to relax more on the bike, plus working a lot with the team. Lap by lap, I improved. On the time attack, I was alone. For sure, we still need to work a lot, but this weekend I already feel way better and I have the feeling we will arrive a lot closer to the top.”

Iker Lecuona

Tito Rabat – P23

“I am very happy to have had the opportunity to come back to MotoGP and ride on an official bike. This morning I felt good, and we worked to try and gain as much confidence as possible with the bike. I made a mistake in FP2 and I crashed but nonetheless, I am happy because I improved on my FP1 lap-time.”

Tito Rabat

MotoGP Friday Report

After Day 1 of the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, it’s an increasingly familiar name on top: Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team). After some explosive flashes of speed so far this season and last year at Jerez – a track not known for best suiting Borgo Panigale machinery of late – the Italian was top of the pile once again to deny double 2020 Jerez winner Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) by 0.168. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) completes the top three as the Noale factory continue to impress with the nearly all-new RS-GP.

In FP1, it was Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) quickest out the blocks as the South African pulled out nearly two tenths on Aleix Espargaro to go fastest, with KTM showing a step forward early on at the venue and Aprilia retaining impressive pace. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was third in FP1, ahead of Bagnaia and Quartararo, with five factories in the top five and 17 riders split by just eight tenths of a second as action began.

Brad Binder

FP2 saw more pulling the pin for a time attack, however, with FP3 expected to be dry but nevertheless many pushing early to at least end the day in the provisional top ten. That saw Bagnaia blast to the top late on as the Italian cut chunks off the previous best, once again showcasing his impressive step forward this season as his riding style continues to shine. Quartararo tried to reply but the Frenchman was forced to settle for second, on Friday at least.

Aleix Espargaro’s speed leaves him beaming and expecting to carry it into Saturday too, although it got a lot closer from third down. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) slots into fourth as the Italian retains his Portuguese momentum, half a tenth off the Aprilia ahead, with Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completing the top five.

Maverick Vinales

Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was reportedly spotted on the 2020 chassis without the carbon fibre insert and took a big step forward as he ended the day in sixth and not just by virtue of a single push. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) turned the tables on teammate Binder to take P7 overall on Friday too, with Binder nevertheless still within that top ten and provisional Q2 graduation zone as the South African slipped into P10 late on, denying HRC wildcard and test rider Stefan Bradl.

Between the two KTMs, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was eighth and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) ninth, with that leaving a few key names outside that top ten…

The first is Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar). The reigning Champion ends Friday in P13, right behind Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) as both look for more, although Mir has so far taken more MotoGP podiums from outside the front two rows of the grid than from on them. Marc Marquez, meanwhile, ends the day in P16 but seemingly didn’t push for a fast lap, leaving everyone guessing on what he’ll have in store for qualifying… especially when it’s a single lap for glory and less a question of stamina for the recovering Spaniard. Valentino Rossi (Petronas Yamaha SRT) finds himself down in P21, looking for much more as his struggles continue despite being the venue where he took his most recent podium.

MotoGP Friday Combined Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 F.Bagnaia DUCATI 1m37.209
2 F.Quartararo YAMAHA +0.178
3 A.Espargaro APRILIA +0.437
4 F.Morbidelli YAMAHA +0.495
5 M.Viñales YAMAHA +0.517
6 T.Nakagami HONDA +0.566
7 M.Oliveira KTM +0.607
8 A.Rins SUZUKI +0.638
9 J.Zarco DUCATI +0.679
10 B.Binder KTM +0.687
11 S.Bradl HONDA +0.730
12 J.Miller DUCATI +0.756
13 J.Mir SUZUKI +0.831
14 P.Espargaro HONDA +0.906
15 L.Marini DUCATI +1.065
16 M.Marquez HONDA +1.082
17 D.Petrucci KTM 1.253
18 E.Bastianini DUCATI +1.307
19 L.Savadori APRILIA +1.385
20 A.Marquez HONDA +1.409
21 V.Rossi YAMAHA +1.489
22 I.Lecuona KTM +1.504
23 T.Rabat DUCATI +1.814

Moto2

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) left it late on Day 1 at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, but the Brit’s last lunge in FP2 sees him end Friday on top of the combined timesheets by just over a tenth and a half ahead of Championship leader Remy Gardner (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Jake Dixon (Petronas Sprinta Racing) leapt up the timesheets in FP2 to complete the top three, denying Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) by hundredths.

Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team)

FP1 saw Gardner rule the roost and the Australian was back on top in FP2 until that last lunge from Lowes, showing consistency across both sessions once again – and it’s actually Gardner’s marginally quicker FP1 time that was his best, although his FP2 lap would also have put him P2. Dixon’s FP2 push, meanwhile, made it two Brits who moved up as crunch time for the crucial Q2 provisional places hit, moving from outside the top 20 to sit second in the session and then third as Lowes took over at the top.

Bezzecchi is another whose FP1 lap was quicker, the Italian’s by a few tenths to put him fourth overall on the combined timesheets but just 0.012 behind Dixon. Roberts completes the top five by another tiny margin as the American’s FP2 best was just 0.016 off Bezzecchi’s fastest from FP1.

Portugal winner Raul Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is within a tenth to take P6, beginning a run of riders whose best efforts were set in FP1. The rookie sensation just pipped veteran Jorge Navarro (Lightech Speed Up) by an infinitesimal 0.008, Federal Oil Gresini Moto2’s Fabio Di Giannantonio is even closer in P8 and only 0.006 back, with Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) 0.030 in arrears in ninth. All four were faster in FP1, with Nicolo Bulega (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) completing the top ten and the next rider with a fastest lap from FP2. The Italian also has a Long Lap Penalty to serve in the race for causing a crash last time out on the Algarve.

Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP) and Stefano Manzi (Flexbox HP 40) complete the fastest 14 so far, currently set to move through to Q2.

Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team), rookie teammate and reigning Moto3 World Champion Albert Arenas, and Flexbox HP 40’s Hector Garzo are next on the timesheets, currently all set to miss the cut by just hundredths. Canet and Garzo also crashed, as did Celestino Vietti (Sky Racing Team VR46), Cameron Beaubier (American Racing), Tom Lüthi (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Tommaso Marcon (MV Agusta Forward Racing), riders all ok.

Moto2 Friday Combined Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 S.Lowes KALEX 1m41.515
2 R.Gardner KALEX +0.160
3 J.Dixon KALEX +0.270
4 M.Bezzecchi KALEX +0.282
5 J.Roberts KALEX +0.298
6 R.Fernandez KALEX +0.395
7 J.Navarro BOSCOSCURO +0.403
8 F.Di Giannanto   Ita KALEX +0.409
9 A.Fernandez    Spa KALEX +0.439
10 N.Bulega KALEX +0.487
11 S.Chantra KALEX +0.579
12 X.Vierge KALEX +0.651
13 M.Schrotter   Ger KALEX +0.714
14 S.Manzi KALEX +0.737
15 A.Canet BOSCOSCURO +0.748
16 A.Arenas BOSCOSCURO +0.784
17 H.Garzo KALEX +0.814
18 Y.Montella BOSCOSCURO +0.923
19 B.Bendsneyde  Ned KALEX +1.016
20 L.Baldassarri   Ita MV AGUSTA +1.018
21 A.Ogura KALEX +1.073
22 T.Luthi KALEX +1.086
23 M.Ramirez KALEX +1.208
24 L.Dalla Porta   Ita KALEX +1.219
25 C.Vietti KALEX +1.326
26 S.Corsi MV AGUSTA +1.327
27 C.Beaubier KALEX +1.438
28 H.Syahrin NTS +1.450
29 T.Arbolino KALEX +1.532
30 T.Marcon MV AGUSTA +2.187
31 T.Hada NTS +2.908

Moto3

Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3) was once again the fastest rider on Friday as the Gran Premio Red Bull de España got in gear at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto, the Argentinean ending the day 0.256 clear of 2019 Spanish GP winner Niccolo Antonelli (Reale Avintia Moto3) on the combined timesheets. It was another tenth a half back to another former Jerez winner in the form of Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) in third too, with Rodrigo once again showing some serious speed on Day 1.

Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3)

Friday at Jerez was cooler than the usual for the time of year but it remained largely sunny with a few clouds, and it very much remained a serious step down in temperature compared to the 2020 events. This time around, most therefore improved in the afternoon and FP2 saw a good few late lunges up the timesheets, including for Fenati as he took third in the combined standings late on. The top two remained the same in FP1 and FP2 however, with Antonelli topping FP1 from Rodrigo and the Argentinean reversing the order in the afternoon and overall.

A few riders who would go on the end the day within the provisional Q2 graduation zone also showed their first flashes of speed in FP1, with Jason Dupasquier (CarXpert PrüstelGP) starting the day in P3 and ending it fourth overall by the close of FP2. His teammate Ryusei Yamanaka likewise impressed, ending the day in sixth. Splitting the two CarXpert PrüstelGP riders was Championship challenger Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing), who ends Friday in fifth overall despite an FP2 crash, rider ok.

Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) showed more consistent speed as he ends Friday in seventh, ahead of Championship leader Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P8. Both Acosta and teammate Jaume Masia improved in the latter part of FP2 to take provisional places in Q2 and put in some laps together during the session, with the number 5 completing the top ten as Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Tech3) managed to split the two Ajo machines to take ninth.

Currently on to join them in Q2 are Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech3) as he gained nearly two and a half seconds in FP2, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) by virtue of his best lap from FP1, Filip Salaç (Rivacold Snipers Team) and Jeremy Alcoba (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3). Alcoba in P14 has the exact same laptime as the rider currently set to miss the cut – Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse) – as both set a 1:46.000. The Spaniard, with his second best effort, just makes it through and the Japanese rider is left to rue an FP2 crash.

Suzuki will be one contender looking to hit back in FP3, as will the rider he just beat to the Andalucia GP win last year: John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The Scotsman and ended the day in P17 and will want to make his mark on Saturday to move straight through to Q2.

Moto3 Friday Combined Times

Pos RIder Bike Time/Gap
1 G.Rodrigo HONDA 1m45.651
2 N.Antonelli KTM +0.256
3 R.Fenati HUSQVARNA +0.409
4 J.Dupasquier KTM +0.421
5 D.Binder HONDA +0.537
6 R.Yamanaka KTM +0.575
7 A.Migno HONDA +0.767
8 P.Acosta KTM +0.800
9 D.Öncü KTM +0.813
10 J.Masia KTM +0.847
11 A.Sasaki KTM +0.877
12 D.Foggia HONDA +0.944
13 F.Salac HONDA +0.947
14 J.Alcoba HONDA +0.949
15 T.Suzuki HONDA +0.949
16 S.Nepa KTM +0.970
17 J.Mcphee HONDA +1.023
18 I.Guevara GASGAS +1.045
19 S.Garcia GASGAS +1.115
20 X.Artigas HONDA +1.132
21 R.Rossi KTM +1.190
22 A.Fernandez HUSQVARNA +1.205
23 Y.Kunii HONDA +1.306
24 M.Kofler KTM +1.493
25 C.Tatay KTM +1.549
26 K.Toba KTM +1.842
27 L.Fellon HONDA +1.917
28 A.Izdihar HONDA +1.954

MotoE

It was a familiar scene in testing and as Round 1 of the 2021 FIM Enel MotoE World Cup began at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, the duel at the top of the timesheets remained a shootout between Eric Granado (One Energy Racing) and Dominique Aegerter (Dynavolt Intact GP). This time around the Brazilian had the upper hand by just 0.077, with both putting in their best efforts in FP1. On the combined timesheets it’s Miquel Pons (LCR E-Team) who completes the top three, the impressive rookie pipping 2020 Cup winner Jordi Torres (Pons Racing 40) to the honour.

Two dry and fairly sunny sessions gave the grid maximum track time on Friday, and Aegerter was first out to make the most of it. He set his fastest lap early on before an uncharacteristic crash from the number 77, but it was fast enough to see him stay second in the session and overall by the end of play. And, most importantly, rider perfectly ok, as was Jasper Iwema (Pons Racing 40) as he proved the second faller in the morning. The Dutchman also crashed in FP2.

Later, FP2 would also see a crash interrupt the session with a Red Flag as Corentin Perolari (Tech 3 E-Racing) took a tumble trying an E-Pole simulation. Rider ok and bike recovered, the grid headed back out to see if anyone could topple Granado’s fastest lap… but the Brazilian retained his grip on the top.

Granado’s FP1 best was two tenths better, however, so the gap overall remains 0.077 back to Aegerter as the two lock out the top on Friday. Pons used FP2 to move up into real contention in third overall, taking top rookie honours four tenths off the top and that despite a late technical glitch at Turn 2.

The time that put 2020 Cup winner Torres in third in FP1 puts him fourth by the end of play, with Xavier Cardelus (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) and Alessandro Zaccone (Octo Pramac MotoE) in P5 and P6 courtesy of their FP2 bests as the gaps tighten up. Matteo Ferrari (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) was seventh overall after ending FP1 in fourth, the veteran getting the edge on rookie Fermin Aldeguer (Openbank Aspar Team) by just 0.002.

Mattia Casadei (Ongetta SIC58 Squadra Corse) was ninth and still within a tenth of the rider ahead in a close pecking order, with Andrea Mantovani (Indonesian E-Racing Gresini MotoE) putting in one of his best showings yet to complete the top ten, the last rider within a second of the Brazilian-Swiss stranglehold on the top.

MotoE Friday Combined Times

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 E.Granado ENERGICA 1m48.057
2 D.Aegerter ENERGICA +0.077
3 M.Pons ENERGICA +0.4
4 J.Torres ENERGICA +0.511
5 X.Cardelus ENERGICA +0.539
6 A.Zaccone ENERGICA +0.63
7 M.Ferrari ENERGICA +0.65
8 F.Aldeguer ENERGICA +0.652
9 M.Casadei ENERGICA +0.743
10 A.Mantovani ENERGICA +0.995
11 Y.Hernandez ENERGICA +1.092
12 H.Okubo ENERGICA +1.107
13 L.Tulovic ENERGICA +1.211
14 M.Herrera ENERGICA +1.802
15 C.Perolari ENERGICA +2.11
16 A.Pires ENERGICA +2.587
17 J.Iwema ENERGICA +2.61
18 K.Zannoni ENERGICA +2.723

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au

After two weeks off Marquez eager to get back on the bike

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España


After an emotional return to MotoGP in Portimao, Marc Marquez’s rehabilitation continues as MotoGP heads to the iconic Jerez de la Frontera for the Gran Premio Red Bull de España, where the MotoGP World Championship is primed for another exciting weekend.

The Repsol Honda Team will again be operating at full capacity as Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro line up together aboard the RC213V. This weekend there will be a fifth Honda on the grid as Stefan Bradl returns to the World Championship as a wildcard.

Zarco led the field into turn one last time out but Marc Marquez was straight up to third by the exit of turn one

Marc Marquez put in a hero’s effort to race to seventh in Portugal on his return to racing after missing the majority of the 2020 season.

Marc Marc chasing Aleix Espargaro at Portimao

In Portimao Marquez showed he has lost none of his aggressive style, sliding his Honda, making his characteristic saves and even fighting for the lead of the race in the early laps.

The eight-time World Champion is prepared for another demanding round as his physical condition continues to improve. While the previously broken right humerus had no problems in the previous outing, Marquez is continuing to work in the gym to improve his overall race fitness.

Marc Marquez tried to ride at Jerez last year but had to withdraw

Marquez has scored a podium on each occasion he has finished the Spanish GP in the premier class including three wins.

MotoGP rd valencia marquez
Marc Marquez – Jerez 2019 – Image AJRN

Marc Marquez

Now we are back into the rhythm of racing, after a productive week we are coming back to the track. I have continued to work through my recovery programme to make sure my physical condition is improving and following the advice of the doctors I have not ridden a motorcycle since Portugal. So, of course I am excited to get back on the bike! We approach Jerez the same way as Portimao; we are here to keep improving step by step and do the best job that we can. My recovery is continuing, and the important thing is that we keep improving our consistency. Let’s put on a great weekend for the fans who can’t attend.

It was an emotional return to the pits for an emotionally charged but also spent Marc Marquez – He does appear to be somewhat human after all…

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au

Rossi hopeful of good fortune returning at Jerez

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España


This weekend MotoGP visits Jerez and Valentino Rossi will be hoping to make amends after a disappointing end to the PortugueseGP last time out.

Rossi, who has achieved some of his best results in Jerez, has been on its podium 13 times in the MotoGP/500cc era, with seven of those being victories.

Rossi became the seventh oldest rider to finish on the podium in the premier class of Grand Prix racing when he was on the podium at Jerez last year, 2020

The Italian most recently had a top-three finish at the Spanish venue after claiming third at the 2020 AndaluciaGP.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi at Jerez in 2016

With the circuit being one he knows well, and with progress made at the PortugueseGP, Rossi will be aiming to be back in the fight for a good points haul this weekend as he currently only has four-points on his 2021 tally.

Valentino Rossi
Valentino Rossi – Jerez 2016

Valentino Rossi

I think Jerez is one of the circuits on the MotoGP calendar that I most look forward to racing every year, because I have some great memories from there. In fact, last year I was on the podium in the second race of the season – the AndaluciaGP. My pace during the race in Portugal last time out was quite good, we made some improvements, so we go into this fourth round of the year with more optimism than before. For sure, a lot of riders will be strong in Jerez, because we all know it very, very well, but we will try our best and see what we can do to return to the top positions where we have to be.”

Valentino Rossi – 2021

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au

MotoGP rolls on to Jerez this weekend | Preview | Schedule

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España


Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is a man on a mission. After not even starting the season with a podium, the Frenchman regrouped and refocused for round two, taking a resounding victory in the Doha GP before in Portimão we saw more of the same. And the same was not simply the fastest man on Sunday, but also a tactical masterclass in when and where to attack, and whom, before deciding where to pull that final pin. His two wins rocket El Diablo to the top of the standings and very much make him the man to beat. The next track on the calendar is one at which he dominated twice last year too, and although it was in the heat of July, that makes good reading for him. So who’s going to stop Quartararo’s roll?

Fabio Quartararo takes a 15-point lead into Jerez

The closest to doing so in Portugal was Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team), and the Italian did it from the fourth row of the grid. Had he not fallen foul of Yellow Flags in qualifying, where an electrifying new lap record got scrubbed off, could he have challenged? It’s a tall order but Pecco has taken a big step forward so far this season. Jerez, however, hasn’t been the kindest to Ducati of late… although that means another podium or challenge at the front would be an even bigger statement. His fellow Borgo Panigale machines of teammate Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) and Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) will also want a lot from Andalucia, as both look to bounce back quickly from crashes, for Zarco one that saw him lose the Championship lead.

Jack Miller will be seeking redemption in Spain

Bouncing back is also the mission for Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP). After a masterclass in the season opener, Viñales just lost out in Doha and then a difficult qualifying – with two laps scrubbed for the most infinitesimal track limit infractions – in Portugal put him on the back foot. Despite a bad start and getting swallowed by the pack, however, he stays third overall with 11th place doing enough to keep Zarco at bay. Back on home turf, reset and reloaded, can Viñales unleash the pace he showed in round one and take the fight back to his teammate? And what about Petronas Yamaha SRT?

Valentino Rossi had another weekend to forget in Portugal and has only four-points on his tally so far this season

It’s fair to say the first two rounds of the season weren’t what the grid’s newest Independent Team had been expecting, with both Franco Morbidelli and Valentino Rossi seeming out of position for team and rider. Morbidelli put that to rights in Portugal as he was top Independent Team rider and only just off the podium in fourth, so can he keep that rolling in Jerez? And can the ‘Doctor’, back on familiar turf and with more track time, bounce back from a tough few first races of the season?

Johann Zarco leading the Suzuki pairing of Rins and Mir at Portimao before the Frenchman made an error while down-shifting that saw him score no points

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar), meanwhile, was back on the podium last time out. And last year, that sparked his run for the crown. However, the reigning Champion said the venues so far and a few more aren’t their ideal circuits for starting to go on a similar run just yet, so will it be ‘just’ a podium challenge again? Or more? Teammate Alex Rins will be eager to right wrongs from last time out too after a stunner in Portimão was cut short by a crash out of second, so could he stay in with Quartararo this time around?

Jerez is also good news for a few others on the grid, and one must be Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). Last year as a rookie the results didn’t come, but some of the South African’s FP4 pace was an eyebrow raiser… and that was first time out. Now, his sophomore season started at a tough track for KTM and a venue he’d never raced – the MotoGP class didn’t compete in Qatar last year – and then Portimão, where he took an impressive and hard-fought fifth that raised the eyebrows of the podium finishers. Jerez is somewhere he has more experience and a few good memories to boot, having won in Moto3 from the very back of the grid. Teammate Miguel Oliveira, after a tougher home race this time round, will also be focused on taking the Austrian factory back to the front as the pendulum he’d had since round one starts to swing back towards the other side of the garage.

KTM are yet to fire in season 2021

There is, of course, an elephant in the room in the shape of eight-time World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). His return in Portugal was a successful one as he took seventh, and he was understandably emotional after completing his first race since Valencia 2019. More time has passed since lights out on the Algarve for Marquez to continue his recovery, and now it’s Jerez he’s facing down. Scene of his crash, but also scene of previous glory as well as much more familiar turf. What can he do? And can Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) take a step forward as he fends off Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) in the Honda battle? There’s also test rider Stefan Bradl back on track doing a wildcard for HRC in Jerez, so he’ll be an interesting benchmark as ever.

Marc Marquez was overcome with emotion after finishing the race in Portimao – Podium this weekend….?

Speaking of benchmarks, Portugal saw Aprilia continue to home in on a good few. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) put in another impressive ride to equal the Noale factory’s best result in MotoGP in sixth, and he’ll want to continue his roll to underline the steps forward made by the nearly all-new package. After a certain Andrea Dovizioso took the RS-GP for a spin recently at the very same Jerez too, was there any feedback from Dovi to Noale, or was it a taster for rider more than a data-gathering exercise?

How good would it be to see Aprilia and Aleix Espargaro break through for a podium at Jerez…?

In the battle of the Moto2 graduate rookies, meanwhile, Enea Bastianini (Avintia Esponsorama Racing) is now back ahead of Doha podium man Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) as the latter crashed on Saturday in Portugal and is now sidelined until at least Mugello. He’ll be replaced by Tito Rabat, and Bastianini will be looking to gain a little more ground on Luca Marini (Sky VR46 Avintia) too. The Beast has been consistent, but Marini did seriously impress in Free Practice in Portugal so it’s starting to come together.

Jorge Martín had been the standout rookie but made a costly mistake in Portugal that sees him out until at least Mugello

2021 MotoGP Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha 61
2 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati 46
3 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha 41
4 Johann ZARCO Ducati 40
5 Joan MIR Suzuki 38
6 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 25
7 Alex RINS Suzuki 23
8 Brad BINDER KTM 21
9 Enea BASTIANINI Ducati 18
10 Jorge MARTIN Ducati 17
11 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 17
12 Jack MILLER Ducati 14
13 Pol ESPARGARO Honda 11
14 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 9
15 Alex MARQUEZ Honda 8
16 Stefan BRADL Honda 7
17 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 6
18 Luca MARINI Ducati 4
19 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 4
20 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM 4
21 Danilo PETRUCCI KTM 3
22 Lorenzo SAVADORI Aprilia 2
23 Iker LECUONA KTM 1

Moto2

After the first two races of 2021, Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) looked almost invincible. But that’s never the case in racing and a shocking highside at Turn 1 in Portugal served as a reminder that the business of winning isn’t as easy as the number 22 made it look in Qatar, with everyone vulnerable to mistakes. Now the Brit will be on a mission to fight back – but Portimão winner (Raul Fernandez) and veteran teammate Remy Gardner will be the first looking to stop that happening.

Remy Gardner leads the Moto2 World Championship heading to Jerez

Raul Fernandez has been on a rookie roll since his switch to the intermediate class and a first win looked certain this season, but it’s happened rather early as the Spaniard made a late race charge to the top in Portugal. That will give him extra confidence as he arrives on home turf for round four, and he’ll be expected near the front once again. Will Jerez see him able to fight for the win once more? Or is his prowess at Portimão complemented by the track, where he dominated last year in Moto3, and now he’ll be aiming for the podium? Time will tell…

His teammate Remy Gardner, meanwhile, is also making consistency look easy. A late lunge on Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team) on the Algarve secured him his third podium from three, and although none have yet been a win, that makes him the Championship leader. Can he make that extra step and stamp some authority on Jerez as Lowes comes out the blocks maybe a little more cautiously? Or is the Aussie’s game plan, far from the win or bin of old, just about raking in those points? There’s a final corner at Jerez made for the kind of move Gardner pulled off on Roberts just last race.

Aron Canet (Inde Aspar Team) was back on song in Portimão too and after taking his first Moto2 podium, he’ll want to get back in the battle at the front to prove he belongs there. So too will the aforementioned Roberts, who was a real threat on the Algarve until just losing out to Gardner in the final stages. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) wants to bother the podium more as well after a more muted rounds two and three, and what about Marco Bezzecchi (Sky Racing Team VR46)? The Italian has been there but not yet dealt out the searing speed he had at times in 2020, so he’ll be looking to do just that. He’s also the only one of the frontrunners so far who was on the podium in Jerez last year.

There’s also the likes of Xavi Vierge (Petronas Sprinta Racing), his teammate Jake Dixon, rookie Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Augusto Fernandez (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Hector Garzo (Flexbox HP 40) in the mix, with a deep field in Moto2 and running at the front never guaranteed. Who will tame Jerez?

Moto2 Championship Points Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Remy GARDNER Kalex 56
2 Raul FERNANDEZ Kalex 52
3 Sam LOWES Kalex 50
4 Marco BEZZECCHI Kalex 36
5 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Kalex 27
6 Aron CANET Boscoscuro 23
7 Joe ROBERTS Kalex 23
8 Augusto FERNANDEZ Kalex 23
9 Xavi VIERGE Kalex 16
10 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex 14
11 Celestino VIETTI Kalex 13
12 Cameron BEAUBIER Kalex 12
13 Ai OGURA Kalex 11
14 Bo BENDSNEYDER Kalex 11
15 Jake DIXON Kalex 9
16 Jorge NAVARRO Boscoscuro 9
17 Hector GARZO Kalex 8
18 Stefano MANZI Kalex 8
19 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA Kalex 6
20 Tony ARBOLINO Kalex 5
21 Albert ARENAS Boscoscuro 4
22 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI MV Agusta 2
23 Thomas LUTHI Kalex 1
24 Marcos RAMIREZ Kalex 1
25 Nicolò BULEGA Kalex 0
26 Yari MONTELLA Boscoscuro 0
27 Hafizh SYAHRIN NTS 0
28 Somkiat CHANTRA Kalex 0
29 Miquel PONS MV Agusta 0
30 Fraser ROGERS NTS 0

Moto3

It’s been some time since a rider made a splash in the Grand Prix paddock as big as that of Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo), but the Portuguese GP did the exact opposite of calming down the hype. As the Spaniard hunted down and passed Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) with clinical but very much on-the-edge brilliance at Portimão, all it did was add to the legend before Moto3 saddle up at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto; turf that’s even more familiar to the rookie superstar. So can anyone stop him? They’ll have to soon, as his lead is already well over a race win in the standings…

Pedro Acosta was the 2020 Red Bull Rookies Cup champion and is now taking Moto3 by storm

One bit of good news for the grid is that Acosta hasn’t actually been the fastest so far. His speed is undoubtedly impressive and even more so for a rookie, but it’s race day where the Spaniard has done his shining. He’s won from pitlane but on Saturday, he’s not made it onto the front two rows of the grid yet. So tactics, racecraft and, sometimes, the pure luck of the draw are what the rest of the grid will likely need to defeat him, and there are a good few contenders waiting in the wings to do just that.

The first rider looking to hit back is Acosta’s teammate Jaume Masia, not least of all because he’s second overall in the standings, as well as the veteran in the box. He’ll want to put a dent in the attention being grabbed by the other side of the garage. Masia won the season opener and was quick in Portugal before a crash that he somehow recovered from to still take ninth, so he has speed. Can it all come together in Jerez?

Darryn Binder (Petronas Sprinta Racing) will be another key threat as he looks to hit back after a pitlane start in Portugal. The South African is looking consistent, aggressive and fast this season, and last year in the second race at Jerez he was only just off the podium. He’ll likely be one who won’t arrive at the final corner and play it safe, but so far this season he also seems like he’d pull it off. Wanting to make a charge at the crown means the gap is already such that it’s the kind of gamble worth making, too.

Niccolo Antonelli (Avintia Esponsorama Moto3) is another who should be well in the fight at the front. Until Doha, the Italian hadn’t been on the podium, suffering with a shoulder problem too, since his emotional win at Jerez in 2019. So he has form, he has experience and so far in 2021 he has consistency. Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) too, and he was only just of the Spanish GP podium last year. Can he keep it rolling?

There’s also Romano Fenati (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team), another Italian veteran who’s already won at Jerez, and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who took to the top step last year in Andalucia. Foggia is another threat, as are Gabriel Rodrigo (Indonesian Racing Gresini Moto3), teammate Jeremy Alcoba and Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull KTM Tech 3). And what about GASGAS Solunion Aspar Team’s Sergio Garcia and fast rookie Izan Guevara? Some bad luck has hit both so far in 2021, and Jerez is a chance to fight back.

Last but not least, the biggest chance to fight back likely comes for John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing). The start of the season has been an uphill struggle of bad luck, boiling over and then a pitlane start with an added 10 second delay, so we’ve not seen the Scotsman in the thick of it on the final lap. And the last time we did at Jerez, he missed out on the win by just 0.064… so there’s some serious speed waiting to get back in the fight at the front.

Moto3 Championship Points Standings

Pos Rider Bike Points
1 Pedro ACOSTA KTM 70
2 Jaume MASIA KTM 39
3 Darryn BINDER Honda 36
4 Niccolò ANTONELLI KTM 36
5 Andrea MIGNO Honda 29
6 Gabriel RODRIGO Honda 25
7 Ayumu SASAKI KTM 22
8 Sergio GARCIA GASGAS 21
9 Dennis FOGGIA Honda 20
10 Romano FENATI Husqvarna 20
11 Izan GUEVARA GASGAS 19
12 Kaito TOBA KTM 18
13 Ryusei YAMANAKA KTM 16
14 Jason DUPASQUIER KTM 15
15 Tatsuki SUZUKI Honda 12
16 Filip SALAC Honda 6
17 Stefano NEPA KTM 5
18 Carlos TATAY KTM 4
19 Maximilian KOFLER KTM 3
20 Jeremy ALCOBA Honda 2
21 Yuki KUNII Honda 1
22 Deniz ÖNCÜ KTM 1
23 Adrian FERNANDEZ Husqvarna 0
24 Andi Farid IZDIHAR Honda 0
25 Riccardo ROSSI KTM 0
26 Lorenzo FELLON Honda 0
27 John MCPHEE Honda 0
28 Xavier ARTIGAS 0

2021 Gran Premio Red Bull de España Schedule

Source: MCNews.com.au