Andrea Dovizioso doubles up: Italian scores second win in a week
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) has taken an incredible second win of the season in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, making him the first Ducati rider to score back-to-back victories for the Borgo Panigale factory since two-time MotoGP™ World Champion Casey Stoner achieved the feat in 2010. Reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) left a spate of crashes in practice behind in the race to take second, with his teammate – polesitter Dani Pedrosa – completing the rostrum.
There was drama off the line as Pedrosa got a good start from pole and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) almost clashed with fellow front row starter Danilo Petrucci (Octo Pramac Racing) – with Petrucci then making contact with Marquez. The Italian dropped back and the reigning Champion pulled clear as Lorenzo attacked for the lead, taking over at the front.
Championship leader Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) found himself heading through the run off area at Turn 1 off the start and dropping back, with the Spaniard then facing a fight back from outside the points after a tough weekend – and teammate Valentino Rossi unable to make big progress from P13 on the grid either.
Lorenzo led Marquez and Pedrosa, with Dovizioso on the hunt in fourth and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) a big gainer off the line to move up into fifth. Next it was Marquez who struck for the lead, with Pedrosa needing no invitation to follow him through. The ‘Spartan’ then lost out to his teammate ‘DesmoDovi’ as he began to struggle after the lightning start; Folger and Petrucci the next to get through.
‘Baby Samurai’ Pedrosa then chose his moment to attack for P1, able to keep it as Dovizioso struck on Marquez – but the top three couldn’t quite yet begin to pull away from Folger in fourth, or ‘Petrux’ just behind. After a handful of laps playing high-speed chess, Dovizioso then went around the outside of Pedrosa to take the lead – pulling a small gap before Marquez followed the Italian through.
A three-way fight then broke out between Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team), Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Lorenzo for P6, with the squabble providing some spectacular wheel-to-wheel action and the Frenchman initially coming out on top. The drama wasn’t over, however, with some running out of rubber and some making big gains as the final laps approached – with Lorenzo on a charge back through and Folger one to fall back.
As ‘DesmoDovi’ arrived at the final lap clear in the lead, it became apparent the dream of Mugello wasn’t something the Italian yet had to wake from – crossing the line for his fourth career win to become the first Ducati rider since Casey Stoner in 2010 to win back-to-back.
Marquez kept it calm to take second and get back on the podium after a tough Italian GP, with Pedrosa crossing the line in third to join his teammate on the bounce back from Mugello.
Lorenzo sliced back through to take fourth at the flag, ahead of Zarco getting the better of Folger in a last minute duel between the Tech 3 machines. Bautista, after a late run off at Turn 1, came home in P7.
Valentino Rossi came home in eighth after struggling in the latter half of the race, Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) took P9 in his 250th start in the World Championship, and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) made it to the flag in tenth – taking a big hit on his points lead in the Championship.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), Loris Baz (Reale Avintia Racing), Scott Redding (Octo Pramac Racing), Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) and home hero Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) completed the top fifteen. EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Jack Miller crashed out of top ten contention, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) also failing to see the flag after retiring with a problem.
Next stop: the TT Circuit Assen, where the cards of 2017 are sure to shuffle again.
MotoGP Race Results
1 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA – Ducati) 44’41.518
2 – Marc Marquez (SPA – Honda) +3.544
3 – Dani Pedrosa (SPA – Honda) + 6.774
1st Independent Team Rider:
P5 – Johann Zarco (FRA – Yamaha) +13.838