MotoGP Jerez 2017 Results

Bruce Allen
by Bruce Allen

Pedrosa rules as the 2017 plot thickens in Spain

Repsol Honda #2 Dani Pedrosa, looking like the 2012 version of himself, won today’s Spanish Grand Prix, leading wire to wire for his first win since Misano last year. Teammate and defending champion Marc Marquez gave chase for most of the race, but never seemed to have quite enough to mount a serious challenge to Pedrosa on one of those days…

Underdog Jorge Lorenzo claimed third step on the podium in a credible performance on the factory Ducati, his first podium in red which, he said afterwards, felt like a win. When the smoke cleared, the 2017 race had tightened considerably, to the delight of the majority of fans, especially those expensively dressed.

We’ve seen these three Spaniards on top of podiums together may times before, so it comes as a bit of a surprise to that Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo have not shared a podium together since the final race of the 2015 season.


Practice sessions at Jerez varied from wet to damp to dry, and the timesheets were informative:

FP1: Wet. Repsol Honda veteran Dani Pedrosa, Brit Cal Crutchlow, and Australia’s Jack Miller. All Hondas.

FP2: Damp/drying. Pedrosa, Miller and Crutchlow. Hmmm.

FP3: Dry. Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Maverick Vinales. Hmmm again. Clearly Pedrosa has it going on this weekend. Race day to be dry. Seems to be pretty Honda-friendly.

Who goes through to QP2: Four Hondas and four Yamahas (Vinales 4th, Valentino Rossi 7th late), Andrea Iannone on the Suzuki, and Lorenzo the top Ducati in 8th. Jerez is not a Ducati-friendly track, to say the least.

Q1: Iannone and Aleix Espargaro’s Aprilia advance; Petrucci and Dovizioso do not, but then comes the factory KTM team of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro, putting both on the fifth row for what I guess to be the first time. I’m starting to develop a little motowood about this KTM bunch.

KTM continues to make progress, even if the race results aren’t there yet. Pol Espargaro was fifth in Q1, just ahead of teammate Bradley Smith.

Q2: The Usual Suspects, joined once again by Dani Pedrosa, dominate. Pedrosa, teammate Marquez and Crutchlow oust newest wunderkind Vinales from the front row. Three Hondas and two compatriotas on Row 1! Southern Spain is dancing in the streets. It’s a big deal over there.

As dusk falls on Saturday, it looks like one of the Hondas is going to stand on the top step. Yet, Rossi shows up on Sundays, as does Vinales. Crutchlow and Lorenzo are lurking. Worth a ticket if you’re in the neighborhood on Sunday.

Undercard: Moto2 Procession

Alex Marquez won his first career Moto2 race, putting an end to Franco Morbidelli’s winning streak.

Moto2 Estrella Galicia heartthrob and series leader Franco Morbidelli crashed out of the lead unassisted, allowing young Alex Marquez to break his Moto2 cherry, winning easily for the first time since his Moto3 championship in 2014. Afterwards, he was congratulated by big brother Marc in Parc Ferme, in a moment none of us ever forget, of which older brother must have surely reminded him.

The Race Itself

Johann Zarco continues to impress, starting strong in Jerez before finishing just off the podium in fourth.

In the early action, Pedrosa took the hole shot from pole followed closely by Marquez. Johann Zarco, the precocious rookie on the Tech 3 Yamaha, proceeded to trade paint with Rossi on Lap 1 before going through on him. We watched Lap 2 in some amazement as he then proceeded to reel in Vinales, Crutchlow and Iannone, taking over third place behind the Repsol Hondas. Say what you will about the French, this Zarco has onions. Especially with a full tank.

By Lap 4 Lorenzo was running seventh and Rossi eighth, giving the crowd a brief flashback to 2009 and 2010 when the two of them used to duel regularly for Yamaha. Lap 5 saw the impudent Zarco go through on Marquez into second place and Miller get taken down by the spatially unaware Alvaro Bautista, leading to the swing/slap thing from Miller. On Lap 6 Crutchlow fell out of fourth place and Pol Espargaro grounded his KTM machine, while Lap 7 gave us more Lorenzo vs. Rossi. During all of this, the Repsol Hondas were beginning to disappear, after Marquez had taken second back from Zarco.

Jack Miller was understandably displeased after being taking out by Alvaro Bautista. Miller later gave Bautista a shove for which he received a 1000 euro fine.

On Lap 10, team Marc VDS Racing’s day was completely ruined when Tito Rabat crashed out, joining Bautista in the Zero Points Club. Moments later, Iannone slid his Suzuki into the gravel. Lorenzo was suddenly dogging Zarco for third place, and Dovizioso went through on Rossi, who was definitely having tire issues.

There was some jousting further down the order that you’ll need to watch on video to understand fully. Rookie Jonas Folger, on the second Tech 3 Yamaha, had the temerity to go through on legend Rossi on Lap 22 while Rossi’s tires continued to disintegrate beneath him. Lorenzo finally broke Zarco around Lap 23 for his first Ducati podium. Plenty of exhaling taking place at Ducati Corse over that one.

Former teammates Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi battled it out with Lorenzo coming out ahead. Coincidentally, it took both riders four races after switching from Yamaha to Ducati to score their first podiums on a Desmosedici.

Dani Pedrosa, climbing back into Tranche 1, and Jorge Lorenzo, advancing to Tranche 3, still have some go in their tanks. That Lorenzo could do well at Jerez on the Ducati says much about him and the GP17, that they appear to be nearing a rapprochement that will allow Lorenzo, as well as Dovizioso, to compete for the podium most every time out.

Danilo Petrucci, with a solid seventh place finish on the Pramac Ducati GP17, moves up to T2. Here’s the rest, including a look-back at the previous rankings:

Bruce’s Rankings After Round 3
Tranche 1: Vinales, Marquez, Rossi
Tranche 2: Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Zarco, Miller
Tranche 3: Bautista, Iannone, Petrucci, Baz, Redding, Folger
Tranche 4: A. Espargaro, P Espargaro, Barbera, Lorenzo , (Rins)
Tranche 5: Smith, Lowes, Rabat, Abraham
New Rankings after Round 4
Tranche 1: Vinales, Marquez, Rossi, Pedrosa ↑
Tranche 2: Crutchlow, Dovizioso, Zarco, Petrucci ↑
Tranche 3: Lorenzo ↑, Folger, A Espargaro ↑, Miller ↓, Iannone, Redding
Tranche 4: Bautista ↓, P Espargaro, Barbera, Baz
Tranche 5: Smith, Lowes, Rabat, Abraham, (Rins)

Social climbers: Pedrosa, Petrucci, Lorenzo, and Aleix Espargaro.

Lorenzo’s podium very impressive; he looked in command of the GP17. Aleix Espargaro has the Aprilia competitive.

A much-needed third-place result takes some of the pressure off of Jorge Lorenzo. The podium puts Lorenzo into the top 10 in the championship standings for the first time this season.

Pedrosa now owns a new record for consecutive seasons with at least one grand prix win at 16. He won it during the 3000th Grand Prix race of the modern era. Worthy of respect, more titanium in him than most golf clubs and forearms like cables: Little Big Man is what I used to call him, and I still like it.

The last time Dani Pedrosa went a whole season without a win was 2001, his rookie season in the 125cc class.

Losing Face: Miller and Bautista. Miller, in part, for such a prissy swing he took at Bautista. I don’t care that it was Bautista’s fault. But either swing like you mean it or don’t swing.

Crutchlow is flirting with T3. Rossi is flirting with T2 and hasn’t won since Mugello last year. Tire issues today not his fault, but rider’s choice nonetheless.

So Moto2 and MotoGP are Modeling One Another…

…as the following comparison clearly shows. Focus groups have informed Dorna that fans prefer it if an old crafty veteran challenges a young buck for the top spot. They don’t want either rider to get away. And the more riders challenging for the title the better. Four and five would be optimal.

Franco Morbidelli crashed out at Jerez but he remains on top of the Moto2 standings.

Statistically, the most attractive cross-class matchups for this season appear thus as of May 7, 2017:

Franco MorbidelliMarc Marquez
Tom LuthiValentino Rossi
Miguel OliveiraMaverick Vinales
Alex MarquezJorge Lorenzo

Judging from Sunday’s performances, things are about where the suits want them.

The Big Picture Heading to Le Mans

In the premier class, the top four is as tight as Tupperware:

  • Rossi 62
  • Vinales 60
  • Marquez 58
  • Pedrosa 52

This is sweet. This is what fans want, heading into Round 5. The tranching and the standings stand up, I feel, to one another. Some riders have positive momentum, while others are struggling. The Tech 3 Yamaha guys are strong every time out and not intimidated by future hall of famers. Each of the top four is fully aware of the chestnut that in order to finish first, one must first finish.

Despite finishing well back in 10th, Valentino Rossi remains on top of the championship standings.

Over at Moto2, Morbidelli now leads Luthi by a manageable 11 points, with Oliveira another 15 points back. Alex Marquez and 20-year-old Italian wonder Francesco Bagnaia (second today after successfully fighting off an extended challenge from Mattia Passini) make up the top five. Six riders took the checkered flag within the first ten seconds at Jerez.

One of the things Le Mans is known for is sketchy weather. If, as is not uncommon, conditions are less than ideal in northern France two weeks hence, we could see how the top four MotoGP riders perform in the wet, the cold, or both. This could be revealing about those riders with aspirations to top five finishes for the season. Riders like Miller and Petrucci enjoy the rain, while other riders don’t. Wet weather could further tighten the race at the top of both classes.

For the focus groups and the suits at Dorna it doesn’t get any better.

2017 MotoGP Spanish Grand Prix Race Results




Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda45:26.827


Marc MarquezRepsol Honda+6.136


Jorge LorenzoDucati Corse+14.767


Johann ZarcoMonster Yamaha Tech 3+17.601


Andrea DoviziosoDucati Corse+22.913


Maverick ViñalesMovistar Yamaha+24.556


Danilo PetrucciOcto Pramac Yaknich Ducati+24.959


Jonas FolgerMonster Yamaha Tech3+27.721


Aleix EspargaroAprilia Gresini+31.233


Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha+38.682


Scott ReddingOcto Pramac Ducati+40.979


Hector BarberaAvintia Racing+43.199


Loris BazReale Avintia Ducati+43.211


Bradley SmithRed Bull KTM+47.964


Karel AbrahamPull&Bear Aspar Ducati+51.279


Sam LowesAprilia Gresini+1:08.885


Takuya TsudaSuzuki Ecstar+1:27.450

Not Classified


Andrea IannoneSuzuki Ecstar18 Laps


Tito RabatEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda18 Laps


Cal CrutchlowLCR Honda22 Laps


Jack MillerEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda22 Laps


Alvaro BautistaPull&Bear Aspar Ducati22 Laps


Pol EspargaroRed Bull KTM22 Laps

2017 MotoGP Top 10 Standings After 4 Rounds


Valentino RossiYamaha62


Maverick ViñalesYamaha60


Marc MarquezHonda58


Dani PedrosaHonda52


Andrea DoviziosoDucati41


Johann ZarcoYamaha35


Cal CrutchlowHonda29


Jonas FolgerYamaha29


Jorge LorenzoDucati28


Danilo PetrucciDucati26
Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen

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3 of 26 comments
  • Kos Kos on May 08, 2017

    Clinical riding by Pedrosa. Not a fan (ever since he took Hayden out). Regardless, I heard that several in Spain celebrated (he may have a large family).

    I'm tired of the over-emphasis on tire management. I want kick ass racing the whole way. Michelin needs to get their act together. You don't hear anybody worrying about managing the chain through the race, do you?!

    • Ian Parkes Ian Parkes on May 11, 2017

      Yeah, I've been sniffy about Michelin fronts before but tyres have hell of a job to do on these bikes. I agree with another poster that they may be just too powerful now. We used to have a 125cc class championship once and the big boys were on 500s. But as someone else pointed out it would be absurd if MotoGP bikes were softer than superbikes.

  • Old MOron Old MOron on May 09, 2017

    So I just read on another (inferior but still informative) website that Lorenzo doesn't want Michelin to switch to the harder tire. From what I read, the difference between the two tires doesn't really affect him (other Ducati pilots have said the same thing), but he doesn't want Marquez or Rossi to have the harder tire.

    I guess this is a natural reaction from a competitor, "It doesn't hurt me, but if it helps my rivals, I don't want it."

    Michelin have declared that they will switch to the stiffer tire if a clear majority of the riders want it. But I don't think they'll get a strong majority. I expect all of the Ducati pilots will vote against it, and there's six of them. But I don't mind. Ducati spend a lot of bucks to put six bikes on the grid and to entertain us. If they direct all their votes against the stiffer tires, fair enough.