Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Viñales and Rossi are all involved in a Lap 2 incident as three manufacturers stand on the podium
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) has extended his Championship lead to 37 points after cruising to victory number four of the season in a controversial Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya that saw his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, main Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) and Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi all crash out on Lap 2 at Turn 10…
Off the line it was the GP19 of Dovizioso who got the best launch and the Italian beat polesitter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) and Marquez down into Turn 1 to grab the holeshot, with Quartararo slipping backwards as the lights went out in Barcelona. The likes of Viñales also made a good start but it was Lorenzo who was one of the biggest movers – the five-time Champion coming from P10 to slingshot his way to fourth at Turn 5 on Lap 1.
Viñales had managed to get past Marquez but the latter took P2 back on Lap 2 before a huge, race-defining moment struck at the front. Coming into the tricky Turn 10, Lorenzo was late on the brakes as he attempted to pass Viñales up the inside as teammate Marquez went to dive past race leader Dovi. However, in too hot, Lorenzo then tucked the front as Dovi turned into the corner. The number 99 Repsol Honda collected the number 04 bike and the former teammates went down, with Viñales also crashing after being left with nowhere to go. Rossi, who was also late on the brakes as he tried to pass Mission Winnow Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci for P5 just behind, went wide and became another victim of Lorenzo’s crash – The Doctor almost kept it upright, but he and his Yamaha became too tangled with Lorenzo’s RC213V as the nine-time World Champion crashed out. Four podium contenders and four World Champions were out of the Catalan GP.
This chaos left Marquez with a healthy cushion at the front and from then on, the reigning World Champion started to edge out his advantage over second place Petrucci, his lead nearly two seconds with 20 laps to go as the battle for the second and third places on the box raged on. Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins and Quartararo were harassing Petrucci, with Rins the one doing the most pressing. But there was no way through for the Spaniard until a move in Turn 1 nearly stuck, Rins got past Petrucci but ran it slightly wide to allow the number 9 to get back at the Suzuki.
With 11 to go Marquez’ lead was now up to five seconds but behind, the battle was intensifying as Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Joan Mir and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) were in with a shout of a podium. Then, contact. On the exit of Turn 4, Rins went for a small gap but Petrucci closed the door – blue paint rubbed against red leathers as Rins found a way past. The Spaniard couldn’t drop Petrucci though and using the Ducati grunt, the Mugello race winner overtook Rins into Turn 1 with eight to go. On the following lap, Rins then tried to return the favour but he was too late on the anchors. The inside line suddenly closed as the Suzuki star almost tagged the back of Petrucci, with the GSX-RR bucking and weaving as Rins went wide and dropped to sixth.
Crutchlow then crashed out after mistiming his braking marker at Turn 4, with Quartararo now into second as the podium battle began to stretch out. Would the rookie grab his first MotoGP™ podium? 0.5 was his advantage over Petrucci who in turn had a one second lead over Miller on the last lap. Marquez cruised round to claim Catalan GP glory, much to the delight of the home fans, with Quartararo making amends for Jerez’s disappointment to claim P2. Petrucci took home his third successive podium of the season with Rins recovering to snatch fourth from Miller.
Rookie Mir secured his best result of the season in P6 to finish just over two seconds from the podium, with Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) pocketing another top ten in seventh. After a disappointing qualifying, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) was able to collect his sixth top ten in seven 2019 races. Reale Avintia Racing’s Tito Rabat recorded his best result since last season’s Americas GP in P9, the Spaniard held off Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Johann Zarco – the Frenchman completing the top ten.
Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) was taken to hospital after being caught up in an incident with teammate Bradley Smith on Lap 1 at Turn 10, with Karel Abraham (Reale Avinita Racing), Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Hafizh Syahrin and Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) also crashing out.
Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Red Bull KTM Tech 3’s Miguel Oliveira and Team Suzuki Ecstar test rider Sylvain Guintoli were the only other riders to take the chequered flag as 11 riders were unable to finish in Barcelona.
An unbelievable Catalan GP ends with Marquez taking control of the 2019 MotoGP™ World Championship. 37 points is now his advantage but heading to Assen, it’s still all to play for as the likes of Dovizioso, Rossi and Viñales look to make amends for today’s disaster. Quartararo, Petrucci and Rins will also be challenging at the front again at the classic Dutch TT in two weeks’ time – bring it on.
1. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team)
2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) + 2.660
3. Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) + 4.537
4. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 6.602
5. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) + 6.870
6. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 7.040
7. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 16.144
8. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) + 17.969
9. Tito Rabat (Reale Avintia Racing) + 22.661
10. Johann Zarco (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 26.228