Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took a third magnificent win in a row in the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, moving through from sixth on the grid to unleash his pace at the front and pull clear in another dominant performance. It’s the first time the number 73 has ever taken three successive victories and after a crash in Barcelona for former points leader Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) as well, Marquez now heads the standings by seven points. The man trailing him is Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP), who took another podium and valuable 20 points to move back into second in the Championship, with Jorge Navarro (HDR Heidrun Speed Up) back on the podium in third.
Lüthi took the holeshot as the veteran screamed away from the line, with Marquez almost running into trouble in the early stages and remaining sixth. Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), Fabio Di Giannanontio (HDR Heidrun Speed Up), Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), polesitter Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) and Lüthi were the men in between him and the lead, and in the first few laps at least, Lüthi and Fernandez were pushing hard to make a gap at the front.
First the number 73 took Bastianini, then Di Giannantonio, and then Lowes as ‘Diggia’ followed him through as well. Next up was the task of cutting down the gap to the front, and the 2014 Moto3™ Champion set about doing that. Fernandez then attacked Lüthi for the lead, and that brought Marquez right into play in the front trio.
Lüthi took it back soon as he attacked into Turn 1 and the three stayed close, but it wasn’t long after that that drama hit further back as Baldassarri binned it at Turn 10, making the fight for the win the fight for the Championship lead. Lüthi tried to pull away, but Marquez then saw the Swiss rider struggling and made his move.
Once past, the Spaniard wasn’t able to immediately pull away but little by little he was able to extend the gap and make it his race to lose. Pitch perfect from then on, Marquez made zero mistakes and heads home with a seven point lead. Lüthi was his trademark consistent self to take 20 more points and move back into second overall, staying out the clutches of Navarro.
After a tougher round at Mugello, Speed Up rider Navarro was back on top form in Catalunya, unleashing more of his now-trademark late race pace as he was able to get past Fernandez. But the polesitter nevertheless impressed with his P4, making a good dent in the frontrunners once again.
Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team) was top rookie once again in P5, another race to remember for the Italian. Compatriot Di Giannantonio, after his early pace, crashed out. Behind Bastianini’s rather lonely ride, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) won a battle royal to take P6, ahead of Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP), Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Sam Lowes in P9. Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) had a top finish a little further back in P10.
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) beat Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) to the line by hundredths, with Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46), Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) completing the points.
That’s it from Catalunya and next up it’s another track where Alex Marquez has shone in the past. Now seven points clear, will that extend in the Netherlands? Or can the field hit back? Find out in two weeks’ time as we race around the classic TT Circuit Assen.
1 – Alex Marquez (SPA – Kalex) 38’25.678
2 – Tom Lüthi (SWI – Kalex) +1.989
3 – Jorge Navarro (SPA – Speed Up) +2.532