Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) conquered foul weather and fast rivals at super-slippery Misano this afternoon to take his fourth win of the season and recover lost ground in a thrilling battle for the 2017 MotoGP title.
The 24-year-old Spaniard had started from the third on the grid – his sixth front row in succession – on a day when treacherous conditions had caused a record number of crashes in the earlier races. The defending triple MotoGP World Champion seemed to dance with his RC213V as it skipped and slithered through the puddles, then pounced on long-time race leader Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) at the start of the last lap. He held his advantage over the Italian to win by just over one second.
A fortnight earlier Marquez had lost his hard-won championship lead to Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) with a rare technical issue. Dovizioso finished third today, so the pair are now equal on points, with four wins each, and just five races to go in the closest title fight in racing history. Technically, however, Marquez is ahead, with three second places, while Dovizioso has just one.
Marquez has built momentum this season thanks to steady improvements to his machine and some very intelligent riding. Here he was fastest in the first three practice sessions, narrowly missed pole position in qualifying and was fastest again in this morning’s wet warm-up session, during which he had his third tumble of the weekend.
The difficult conditions brought unpredictable results for the other Honda riders, with independent-team rider JackMiller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) best of the rest, taking a sixth-place finish to equal his own top result this season. The Australian has shown he can excel in difficult conditions – last year he claimed a first premier-class win in heavy rain at the Dutch TT.
- Marc Marquez
- Marc Marquez
There were two more Hondas in the points, in an afternoon of mixed fortunes for the other riders.
Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) finished 13th, fighting back after falling and remounting in the early stages. He had qualified fourth, and had just moved up to fifth place, before he slid off. Crutchlow rejoined in 21st place and moved steadily forward. As well as coping with a battered bike, the Briton had to overcome pain from a severed tendon in his left-hand index finger, suffered in a kitchen accident last week.
It was an even more difficult afternoon for Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V). The former 125cc and double 250cc World Champion and multi-MotoGP race winner struggled with the ice-like conditions to finish 14th. Pedrosa won at a sunny Jerez in May and has claimed six more podium finishes so far this season.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) was having a good run in the points, lying 13th when he joined the crash list on lap 20. He was one of six riders not to finish the race.
In Moto2, where all riders use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines, there were 16 finishers out of 31 starters, plus an upset that throws the championship wide open for the closing stages of the season. There were 21 crashes, with some riders remounting only to fall again.
Pole starter Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) was an early faller, along with second-row qualifier Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team Kalex).
Soon afterwards it was the turn of race leader and long-time points leader Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex). He was more than two seconds ahead when he slid off at speed; walking away uninjured.
This left fellow front-row starter Dominique Aegerter (Kiefer Racing Suter) in a lead that he held to the end, despite coming under strong pressure from championship challenger Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten Kalex). Second place was still enough for Luthi to close to within nine points of Morbidelli, in an increasingly tense title battle.
Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex) took an emotional third-place finish, the Malaysian’s second career podium, and his first since 2012.
Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) ended up alone after a strong battle for fourth, after erstwhile rivals Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Speed Up) both fell on the last lap. Both remounted, with Corsi finishing eighth and Nakagami 11th.
Fellow class rookie Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) was fifth; and Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) took sixth from Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40 Kalex) on the final lap. Behind Corsi, Khairul Idam Pawi (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex) and Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex) completed a well-spaced top ten. Nakagami in 11th was the last rider on the same lap as the leader.
There had been even more drama in the Moto3 race, first of the day, as riders tested out conditions that had changed dramatically overnight. A total of 23 crashers left just 15 finishers, with 16 riders not classified.
The race yielded an epic second win of the year for Italy’s Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW), who didn’t make a single mistake as he pulled clear of the rest by almost half-a-minute. His victory margin was 28.594 seconds, at the head of another all-Honda top-three podium, the tenth this season.
Round 13 brought a valuable second place to seven-times race winner Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), with Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) another ten seconds behind in third. Mir’s title lead shrank from 64 to 61 points as Fenati moved back into second place, but it is still a significant margin.
The only other Honda to finish was ridden to 14th by pole qualifier Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW). He was a lap down, after having fallen and remounted twice.
Notable among the non-finishers was Silverstone winner Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), who was fighting with Di Giannantonio for the podium when he fell, losing second overall as a result.
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) had started from pole after Bastianini suffered a grid penalty, and led the first two laps. He was still second when he crashed out. Briton John McPhee (British Talent Team Honda NSF250RW) also crashed out of the points.
The next race is the Aragon GP in a fortnight, after which the GP circus embarks on three gruelling flyaway races on consecutive weekends, in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
- Jack Miller
- Dominique Aegerter
Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
- “This was one of the best races of my career. It gave me an amazing feeling because it required incredible concentration to manage the tension the whole time. It was very easy to make a mistake, and that’s why I decided to attack only on the final lap. That lap was amazing; I took many risks, but with such a close season, it was worth trying to get the five extra points for the win. Of course I was thinking about the championship the whole race. At the beginning the feeling wasn’t so good, probably because there was so much water on the track, and I had a couple of very scary moments. Lorenzo was amazingly fast early on, and so was Danilo later when he took the lead after Jorge’s crash, but I was able to follow him and finally to attack. Thanks to the team for the great job. I’m happy for everyone after what happened at Silverstone. We always try to be ready for every situation, so because we knew that changing the set-up from wet to dry takes quite a long time at this track, we agreed that if I felt the track was drying, and there was even a small possibly of a flag-to-flag race, I would signal the team. So I did, and even if in the end that didn’t happen, it was right to do so as we got close to it. This championship is amazing; anything can happen, but now we’ve returned to the top, equal on points with Andrea. The last five races will be very tough, but we’ll keep pushing and give it our 100 percent. Finally, I wish to congratulate Toni Bou for his 22nd title, it’s just amazing. Keep doing like that, Toni!”
- Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 6th
- “At the start of the race I felt I had more pace than Vinales and Crutchlow but by the end of the race my pace dropped and I probably switched the engine map too late to help look after the rear tire. It was good on the edge but I had lost some drive grip and it wasn’t possible to hold off Pirro in the final laps. This was my best weekend in the second half of the season so far and with some good points I am looking forward to the next race in Aragon.”
- Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 13th
- “I felt really good: comfortable and confident, and I knew that after ten laps I could start pushing. I didn’t want to take too many risks early, but then I ended up flying as high as I’ve flown in a long time! It was my own mistake. Jack [Miller] had passed me, but I wanted him and the rest behind me, because I felt I could come back to Dovizioso ahead and maybe even Marc. But as soon as I passed Jack again I crashed. I got back and got a couple of points, but it was a long and difficult race, with the handlebar touching the tank and no footrest. I’m sorry for the team, because we should have had a good result today.”
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 14th
- “It has been a very difficult race. Unfortunately, I struggled a lot as I could not put any heat into the tires. For me, it was like I was riding on ice. This morning I crashed during the warm-up and even if we tried everything to solve this issue we could not come out with a solution. I was very slow, risking to crash at every corner. Only at the end, with much less water on the track, was I able to increase a bit the temperature and my lap times immediately dropped by almost four seconds. It was a shame as we’ve lost many points. We can now only keep focusing in the next races and try to achieve better results. Regarding Toni (Bou) I think he deserved this impressive 22nd Trial title, he is an example for everyone!”
- Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: DNF
- “At beginning of the race I had no grip from the rear and I don’t know why, and this made the early laps difficult on a very wet track. Then I was able to take my rhythm and catch the guys ahead and was in a position to score points. With the crash I just rolled the gas a little at turn six and the rear slid out. It is disappointing for me and the team, I wanted to finish the race in these difficult conditions.”
Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes
- Dominique Aegerter, Kiefer Racing: 1st
- “Those were very difficult conditions. I never expected to be so fast, but the team did a really decent job. I had good grip in the wet. The track was difficult, with a lot of rain; and I had Tom always behind me, pushing and pushing, and I didn’t want to crash out of first place. It’s amazing to win here, and a bit thank you to my team and to Suter.”
- Thomas Luthi, CarXpert Interwetten: 2nd
- “As the day started in the rain, we were hoping to take advantage of the warm-up to test the wet settings. Unfortunately, I fell early on and lost a lot of time. At the start of the race, I had trouble finding my rhythm. When I noticed that Morbidelli had crashed, I thought it would be difficult to come back, and I had only the championship in mind. Domi was very strong on the brakes. I could not pass him there, and I did not want to risk the fall, so I kept myself back. This second place is very important for the championship. And I would of course like to congratulate Domi on this well-deserved victory; he did a great job. Bravo: we achieved a double that Switzerland had never achieved before.”
- Hafizh Syahrin, Petronas Raceline Malaysia: 3rd
- “I don’t know what to say, except thank you to my family, my team and my friends who have always supported me. I have pushed a lot for the last four years with no more podiums, though last year I was very close. I am so happy. I never give up, I have learned from my mistakes, and I try to understand every point.”
Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes
- Romano Fenati, Marinelli Rivacold Snipers: 1st
- “Today the bike was really fast, I had a great feeling which allowed me to enjoy the race. This is a special victory for me, for my team and for all the supporters. The Italian anthem here is a unique emotion.”
- Joan Mir, Leopard Racing: 2nd
- “Under these conditions it is like a victory! I started pushing but I saw the track was very slippery (especially the left corners) so I tried to clear the gap but saw that I could not do more. I’m happy about how I managed the situation, not without a couple of big scares (even in the war-up lap!). These are the races where you learn a great deal, maybe this was the most difficult I’ve ever had. I do not want to make calculations about championship. Misano and Aragon are two key rounds. I want to congratulate Romano [Fenati] for his impeccable conduct with an impressive pace and wish my team-mate Livio [Loi] a speedy recovery.”
- Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3: 3rd
- “I’m very happy. When I saw today’s conditions I was a bit worried because I recalled the race at Brno and how it went. I’m usually quite competitive on the wet but somehow that day I couldn’t get up to speed. To be racing in front of my home crowd helped me a lot as I was more determined than ever to get a good result, but a mistake early on forced me to keep my attention level even higher. I went from second to seventh and started seeing a lot of crashes. I chose to keep my rhythm until I started battling with Canet: when he got past I saw that he was a bit on the limit so I decided to put a bit of pressure on him, and then I couldn’t believe my eyes when he crashed.”
- Romano Fenati
|1||Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)|
|2||Danilo PETRUCCI (OCTO Pramac Racing)|
|3||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)|
|4||Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)|
|5||Michele PIRRO (Ducati Team)|
|6||Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|7||Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Racing)|
|8||Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)|
|9||Jonas FOLGER (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|10||Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|11||Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)|
|12||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)|
|13||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)|
|14||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)|
|15||Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)|
|1||Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)|
|2||Thomas LUTHI (CarXpert Interwetten)|
|3||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)|
|4||Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|5||Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|6||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|7||Fabio QUARTARARO (Pons HP40)|
|8||Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)|
|9||Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|10||Jesko RAFFIN (Garage Plus Interwetten)|
|11||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|12||Alex DE ANGELIS (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|13||Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)|
|14||Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (Teluru SAG Team)|
|15||Xavi VIERGE (Tech 3 Racing)|
|1||Romano FENATI (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers)|
|2||Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)|
|3||Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)|
|4||Philipp OETTL (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing)|
|5||Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|6||Bo BENDSNEYDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|7||Jakub KORNFEIL (Peugeot MC Saxoprint)|
|8||Albert ARENAS (Aspar Mahindra Moto3)|
|9||Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|10||Jaume MASIA (Platinum Bay Real Estate)|
|11||Manuel PAGLIANI (CIP)|
|12||Marcos RAMIREZ (Platinum Bay Real Estate)|
|13||Alex FABRI (Minimoto Portomaggiore)|
|14||Enea BASTIANINI (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|15||Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Aspar Mahindra Moto3)|