At the Catalunya MotoGP on Sunday, June 15, 2015, Jorge Lorenzo began from third place on the grid but went ahead of everyone in the first lap itself. The winner of the last three MotoGP at Jerez, Le Mans and Mugello, dominated from start to finish and recorded his fourth successive victory. Lorenzo’s Movistar Yamaha teammate Valentino Rossi finished second to bring cheers to the Yamaha camp with another 1-2 finish. The two guys look like emulating the ongoing F1 scenario, where the Mercedes’ team of Lewis Hamilton-Nico Rosberg has been ruling the roost from the 2014 season onwards. Reigning MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez began well to immediately fall right behind Lorenzo but just as the two drivers applied brakes in lap-3, Marquez lost his balance and ended up in the gravel. For the third time season, Marquez has crashed out but his Repsol Honda teammate, Dani Pedrosa had a great race. Beginning sixth on the grid, Pedrosa kept chasing Rossi and finally ended up third to score a podium finish.
While Jorge Lorenzo’s fourth consecutive top podium finish was not so surprising, Marc Marquez’s sad story of another mid-race crash baffled the MotoGP analysts. From a grand record in 2014, to getting out of reckoning doesn’t make too much sense. He has had one top podium finish in 2015 but that’s about all. On Sunday, he began pretty well and gave a close chase to Jorge Lorenzo until his front tyres wobbled and he crashed. With his Honda RC213V machine, Marquez has been facing problems with corner entry and exit because of loss of control. This was never the case before the 2015 season as Marquez kept winning race after race leaving everyone in his wake.
Earlier, when the qualifying sessions ended on Saturday, Suzuki camp went into raptures as their rider Aleix Espargaro secured his second ever pole position in MotoGP. Suzuki’s celebratory mood got enhanced, when the second place also went to them. Espargaro’s teammate Maverick Vinales came second. The two Suzuki riders were sequentially followed by Jorge Lorenzo(Yamaha Movistar), Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda), Valentino Rossi (Yamaha Movistar), Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) and Yonny Hernandez (Octo Pramac Racing).
As the race began on Sunday, Lorenzo barged ahead of all other at the first turn, at which point Marquez also broke free and went for Lorenzo in a close second place. This went on until the third lap, when Marquez drove into the gravel when braking. Then Lorenzo led alone and others were far behind. By the twelfth lap, Lorenzo had built a 2.268 seconds lead. However, Lorenzo’s teammate, Rossi was closing in and by the 18th lap; the two Yamaha riders were separated only by 2 seconds. At lap 20, Lorenzo’s lead over Rossi came down to 1.3 seconds and the top pole man Aleix Espargaro crashed out. While Lorenzo and Rossi continued at the top, Dani Pedrosa had fallen right behind Rossi. There was intense battle for minor placings as Stefan Bradl had come to the 9th place and he eventually finished 8th. After 25 laps, Jorge Lorenzo finished 0.855 seconds ahead of Valentino Rossi to win the race. Dani Pedrosa was third but he was nearly 20 seconds behind. Andrea Iannone and Bradley Smith were 4th and 5th. Suzuki’s Maverick Vinales was 6th; Estrella Galicia’s Redding Scott was 7th, Athina Forward Racing’s Bradl Stefen came 8th. The 9th and 10th places were taken respectively by Petrucci Danilo of Pramac Racing and Bautista Alvaro of Aprilia.
It is amazing how things have changed in comparison to the last season. Honda was a dominant force last year but Yamaha’s improvement on the corner speed methodology and braking stability has helped them in 2015. Honda have also made changes in their machine but their top rider continues to grapple with issues in the new configuration. In the season’s remaining races, Honda’s struggle looks like continuing until they come up with something to help Marquez in corner braking.