2017-06-13 00:38:30+0000

MotoGP Round 7 Recap: Dovi Does It Again!

The Catalunya Grand Prix; Dovi wins, the Repsol boys complete the podium while the Yamaha's struggle.

Yesterday was the 2017 Catalunya Grand Prix and it shook up the league stands quite a bit. While Andrea Dovizioso won his fourth premier class race, (meaning in the last two races he's doubled his number of MotoGP wins in his long history in the premier class), his teammate still struggled and fought to hang onto the middle of the pack. Nonetheless Ducati was elated.

The weather at Catalunya in Spain was exceptionally hot for yesterday's race meaning tire-management would play a significant role in the competition's outcome. Because of an injury to his finger a day before the race Bradley Smith sat out this round while Sylvain Guintoli was yet again sitting in for Alex Rins on the Suzuki while the rookie continues to recover.

The Repsol riders reminded us why they belong in the legendary Factory-saddles (when they aren't crashing out) while the boys in blue (Movi*Yammy) shared a similar experience with Jorge Lorenzo, having to fight to even get in the points. The rookies over at Tech-3 clashed for the first time and the rest of the satellite teams performed indistinguishably from their factory-competitors. Saturday morning also saw race direction change the circuits layout, adding the F1 chicane to the area around turn-fifteen meaning the riders had yet another factor to consider with this being especially taxing on the rookies.

The Race:__

Right as the lights went out and riders cracked their throttles open and feathered-out their clutch-levers an incident occurred. Marc Marquez who started from the second row had nailed the start and was getting out front when Danilio Petrucci who started from the first row appeared to attempt to make his way to the left side of the tarmac in preparation of turn-one when he and his bike collided with Marquez's #93 Honda. Somehow they both stayed upright and in their seats and the competition continued with Marquez succeeding getting out front and landing in third despite this setback, though race direction likely had words with the jovial Italian. The Dani Pedrosa cliched the holeshot and easily put some distance between him and the rest of the field while Jorge Lorenzo followed behind ahead of Pedorsa's teammate.

With twenty-five laps to go on the first lap Lorenzo caught up with the Repsol bike and found a line up the inside of the #26-machine. Andrea Dovizioso who had started the race from the front of the third-row began fighting his way through the pack towards his teammate. Marquez too found his way past Pedrosa before the end of the first lap with the rest of the field settling into their place as the hustle and bustle of jostling for position that comes with the start of a race calmed. At the end of the first lap the new positions for the top ten riders were (in order from first to tenth) Lorenzo, Marquez, Pedrosa, Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro, Jonas Folger, Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci, Hector Barbera and then Jack Miller.

Rossi was fighting with Miller, Zarco and Redding in an effort to steal the number-twelve position while Viñales was struggling behind them. Petrucci made it up into sixth while Dovi began closing up on Pedorsa. So while one factory-Ducati began setting up its attack on a Factory-Honda, the other Factory-Honda was planning its own attack on the other Factory-Ducati. Marquez would make his move in Lorenzo on turn-fifteen several laps into the race and somehow Pedrosa seized this same opportunity to overtake the #99-rider. Almost right away Dovi made preparations to do the same and little time would pass before the Italian would execute said plan.

By the seventh lap Petrucci would also pass Lorenzo and then several more riders after that would overtake the ex-Yamaha rider. Marquez and Pedrosa would battle for first and take turns leading the race until the pint-sized Spaniard would gain the advantage.

Aside from Petrucci and Miller crashing out, the second-half of the race was decidedly less eventful. Viñales would fight his way to tenth place while Zarco and Rossi too battled to finish mid-pack. At the end of the race Dovi would do it again where he would share the podium with the Repsol riders.

Much like Mugello, Catalunya is a track that the increasingly well-developed Ducati performs wonderfully, at least once you've gotten enough time in the saddle to know it. Ducati's MotoGP machine is powered by a 90° V4, four-stroke, desmodromic engine that makes a reported 245hp. This beast of a machine can outrun its competition on the long straights but the same power that enables the Ducati to do that is also its main weakness mid-corner. On faster turns the rider can get back on the throttle more abruptly without worrying about the rear-wheel's traction .

On slower or medium-speed corners however the Ducati more or less acts like somewhat of a toggle-switch and goes from on to off which results in a jerking sensation which greatly compromises the bike's stability when needed most. Meanwhile competitor-bikes like the Yamaha M1's inline-four fire-up in a smoother way. The Ducati is equipped with "anti-jerk" software that attempts to remedy this but ultimately the Italian two-wheeler can't get on the throttle the same way all the other bikes can which is costing it precious fractions of a second.

This is why certain tracks allows the Ducati to perform so well while other tracks result in the Desmo-powered bike struggling. With Dovizioso winning this race back-to-back with his victory in Mugello and Viñales finishing in a disappointing tenth-place, the #25 rider only leads Dovi by seven-points, meaning this season is still very much undecided. But as the Factory-Ducati pilot has demonstrated recently, it only takes a few races to go from a being left out of the conversation to a realistic world-champion contender.

  1. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 44m 41.518s
  2. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 44m 45.062s
  3. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 44m 48.292s
  4. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP17) 44m 51.126s
  5. Johann Zarco FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 44m 55.356s
  6. Jonas Folger GER Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 44m 55.439s
  7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Pull&Bear Aspar Team (Desmosedici GP16) 44m 58.281s
  8. Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 45m 2.339s
  9. Hector Barbera ESP Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 45m 5.470s
  10. Maverick Viñales ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 45m 5.707s
  11. Cal Crutchlow GBR LCR Honda (RC213V) 45m 9.847s
  12. Loris Baz FRA Reale Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP15) 45m 14.799s
  13. Scott Redding GBR Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP16) 45m 16.718s
  14. Karel Abraham CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team (Desmosedici GP15) 45m 20.954s
  15. Tito Rabat ESP Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 45m 22.390s
  16. Andrea Iannone ITA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 45m 24.739s
  17. Sylvain Guintoli FRA Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 45m 26.173s
  18. Pol Espargaro ESP Red Bull KTM Factory Racing (RC16) 45m 30.511s
  19. Sam Lowes GBR Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP)* 45m 37.010s
    Danilo Petrucci ITA Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP17) DNF
    Jack Miller AUS Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) DNF
    Aleix Espargaro ESP Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) DNF


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