MotoGP Jerez Results 2018

Bruce Allen
by Bruce Allen

Magic Marquez avoids disaster, seizes series lead

Photos by Getty Images; Lead photo by Honda

Today’s Red Bull Grand Prix de España served as a vivid reminder that in the premier class of MotoGP there is Marc Marquez, and then there are a bunch of other riders. We are clearly living in the heart of The Marquez Era in MotoGP, which appears likely to extend into the future as far as the eye can see. With the best rider in our generation astride the best bike on the grid, in mid-career, an air of inevitability has settled over the 2018 championship.

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Marc Marquez has now won 37 of 94 MotoGP class races. That’s a 39.4% win percentage.

Practice and Qualifying

Let me get one thing off my chest up front: Dorna goes out of its way to get us geeked up about qualifying as if it makes a particle of difference in the outcome of the race. The announcers were getting all breathless on Saturday afternoon at the prospect of Marquez having to start from all the way back in the middle of the second row. Piffle. Practice and qualifying are great fun to watch and occasionally instructive, but their predictive value is slight.

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Cal Crutchlow set a new lap record to capture the pole position.

Briefly, then, free practice sessions on Friday and Saturday morning separated the goats from the lambs, with big names like Andrea Dovizioso, Maverick Viñales and Espargaro (x2) relegated to the prelims. #04 and #25 both made it through to Q2, Viñales by the skin of his teeth over Aleix, before getting ground up by the likes of Cal Crutchlow, who managed to set a new track record while taking pole. The Repsol Hondas had the pace and were loving the building heat. Johann Zarco pulled a late fast lap out of the back of his leathers for his eighth front row start “on the trot.” Even sad Jorge Lorenzo found his way to the top of the Row 2 (and the holeshot on Sunday) as his second consecutive epic fail of a season continued to unfold.

A Defining Moment for 2018

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Jorge Lorenzo jumped out to an early lead from the start.

At the start, a five-man lead group materialized, consisting of Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Zarco, Crutchlow and Marquez. Lorenzo, clearly wishing to lead any race whatsoever for at least one lap, was running soft tires front and back, the other contenders in various combinations of hards and mediums. By Lap 4 we found Lorenzo leading Marquez and Pedrosa, with Crutchlow lurking on the LCR Honda, Alex RinsSuzuki busy pedaling hard, and Dovizioso staying in touch. Zarco was the leader of a gaggle of miserable Yamahas, who suffered in the dry heat all weekend and are not competitive, as a brand, in 2018.

Marquez dispatched Lorenzo at the Jorge Lorenzo Corner – lol – on Lap 8 after Rins had left the building on Lap 6, joined in the kitty litter by my boy Cal Crutchlow minutes later. Marquez spent most of the next dozen laps not getting away, reminding me of a cat toying with an entire family of mice. During this period the most interesting sight occurred at the turn (11?) where Tom Luthi had crashed out on Lap 12, covering the track in gravel. Marquez, leading the race moments later, suddenly found himself at virtually full lean, 270 hp screaming beneath him, riding on marbles. Most normal riders would have hit the deck at this point; Marquez appeared to shake it off as he would a hangnail.

The big Lap 20 crash involving Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Dovizioso appeared to be no one’s fault, simply a racing incident, albeit a spectacular one. I remember watching Jorge Lorenzo gather some big air at Shanghai in 2008; Dani Pedrosa, whose condition heading to Le Mans in two weeks is unknown at deadline, will remember today’s crash for a long time.

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It’s a rare situation when three big-name riders such as Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa are all involved in the same crash. Pedrosa looked to get the worst of it, but all three appeared to escape serious injury.

Jorge Lorenzo demonstrated again today his essential selfish nature, happily sitting second, gripping his six (6) points for the season fiercely, blocking teammate Andrea Dovizioso and his series-leading 46 points as Marquez was busy vanishing into the ether. Lorenzo was at the heart of today’s Lap 20 fustercluck, his teammate pushing desperately to get through, causing both riders to run wide at Dry Sack, opening the door for Pedrosa on the inside as the Ducatis veered back onto the racing line without Lorenzo having noticed Dani to his right. Boom. (Up until that point, I found myself watching for the hilarious MAPPING 8 signal from his garage indicating he should yield to Dovi. As we saw last year in Sepang, even if team orders are in place, Lorenzo is generally not one to acknowledge them. How his crew fits both Jorge and his ego into a single set of leathers is a headscratcher.)

With five laps to go, Marquez suddenly had clear sailing, while two of his closest competitors – Crutchlow and Dovizioso – were sitting out of the points and teammate Pedrosa was headed to the medical centre, next door to the medical center. Crashes like this (and the reliability of Cal crashing out unassisted) often cause a number of lower tranche riders to secure promotions they don’t necessarily deserve. Thus we find Andrea Iannone on the podium, Danilo Petrucci earning 13 points, and the increasingly less relevant Valentino Rossi (one win in his last 32 starts) accruing 11 points on a day he should have been wallering in single figures.

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That’s back-to-back third place finishes for Andrea Iannone and Suzuki.

The Big Picture

See the season standings below. 2018 is now officially Marc Marquez’ season to lose. With the season less than 20% over, his 12-point lead over Zarco’s satellite Yamaha would easily be 37 were it not for the mess in Argentina. As was the case in Austin, the 2018 chase now appears to be for second place – I am awarding the 2018 title to #93, similar to watching election night results coming in and having CNN call a contest two minutes after the polls close. Thank goodness Crutchlow finds the idea of copping to his own shortcomings distasteful or there wouldn’t be anything to laugh about. Next thing you know he’ll be gloating about Hillary.

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What do you mean the popular vote doesn’t matter?

Go Tranche Yourself

Tranche 1: Marquez, Zarco, Dovizioso
Tranche 2: Viñales, Rossi, Crutchlow, Pedrosa, Miller
Tranche 3: Iannone, Rins, Rabat, A Espargaro, Petrucci
Tranche 4: P Espargaro, Lorenzo, Nakagami, Morbidelli, Syahrin, Bautista, (Kallio)
Tranche 5: Smith, Abraham, Luthi, Redding, Simeon

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Andrea Iannone was rewarded with a kiss from the Michelin Man. We’re guessing he prefers his girlfriend, model Belén Rodríguez.

Some Random Schvitzing

As some of you are aware, I’ve been having health issues of late that have temporarily lowered my IQ. Not possible, you say. Not enough oxygen getting to my brain, I say. Thus, my usually succinct post-race analysis must yield to the following random rants.

The crash on Lap 20, at the awkwardly named Dry Sack Corner, highlights the subtle irony to be found in Spanish humor. To wit, if one finds one’s motorcycle traveling upside down and backwards at speed, as Dani Pedrosa did today, one will likely be sporting anything but a dry sack. Even one or two such occurrences during a racing season tend to render one’s title chase problematic.

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Aleix Espargaro’s race ended early due to a loose screw on a pneumatic circuit of his Aprilia RS-GP.

Marquez kept his premier class record at Jerez intact, having never been off the podium in six outings. Andrea Dovizioso maintained his equally pristine string here, having never once appeared on the podium in 11 premier class appearances dating back to 2008.

Is it just me, or did Cal Crutchlow’s brolly girl today bear a surprising resemblance to Cruella de Ville?

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It must be the teeth.

If this is going to be any kind of season at all, Johann Zarco needs to post his first premier class win at Le Mans in two weeks. Just sayin’.

Postscript: Earlier this year Jorge (Aspar) Martinez took it upon himself to re-brand his Aspar racing team as Team Angel Nieto in honor of the Spanish grand prix legend who passed away early this year. Prior to the race this weekend, the Circuito de Jerez followed suit, to be known henceforth as the Circuito de Jerez Angel Nieto. In an effort to get in line with current trends in MotoGP I have decided to rename my lunchbox, which shall be referred to from now on as Lonchera Angel Nieto. If you spy me stuffing my face outside the Carmel Public Library on a shaded summer afternoon, rest assured my victuals have arrived respectfully.

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After four rounds, Marc Marquez leads the championship with 70 points while Tech3’s Johann Zarco sits second with 58.

2018 MotoGP Jerez Results




Marc MarquezRepsol Honda41:39.678


Johann ZarcoMonster Yamaha Tech 3+5.241


Andrea IannoneSuzuki Ecstar+8.214


Danilo PetrucciAlma Pramac Ducati+8.617


Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha+8.743


Jack MillerAlma Pramac Ducati+9.768


Maverick ViñalesMovistar Yamaha+13.543


Alvaro BautistaAngel Nieto Ducati+14.076


Franco MorbidelliEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda+16.822


Mika KallioRed Bull KTM+19.405


Pol EspargaroRed Bull KTM+21.149


Takaaki NakagamiLCR Honda Idemitsu+21.174


Bradley SmithRed Bull KTM+21.765


Tito RabatReale Avintia Ducati+22.103


Scott ReddingAprilia Gresini+36.755


Hafizh SyahrinMonster Yamaha Tech3+41.861


Xavier SimeonReale Avintia Ducati+49.241


Karel AbrahamAngel Nieto Ducati+1 Lap

Not Classified


Jorge LorenzoDucati Corse8 Laps


Andrea DoviziosoDucati Corse8 Laps


Dani PedrosaRepsol Honda8 Laps


Cal CrutchlowLCR Honda Castrol9 Laps


Thomas LuthiEstrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda14 Laps


Alex RinsSuzuki Ecstar20 Laps


Aleix EspargaroAprilia Gresini

2018 MotoGP Top 10 Standings After 4 Rounds




Marc MarquezRepsol Honda70


Johann ZarcoMonster Yamaha Tech 358


Maverick ViñalesMovistar Yamaha50


Andrea IannoneSuzuki Ecstar47


Andrea DoviziosoDucati Corse46


Valentino RossiMovistar Yamaha40


Cal CrutchlowLCR Honda Castrol38


Jack MillerAlma Pramac Ducati36


Danilo PetrucciAlma Pramac Ducati34


Tito RabatReale Avintia Ducati24
Bruce Allen
Bruce Allen

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3 of 75 comments
  • Patriot159 Patriot159 on May 09, 2018

    I have to give up drinking tea while reading your race reviews Bruce. I'm tired of having to clean my monitor screen of said tea blown through my nose at your quips...

    Now that you have renamed your lunch box you should put it on ebay. Some Spanish race fan will give you a couple hundred Euro for it.

    Surely Rossi must have blamed #93 for something this race and it goes unreported?

  • Mahatma Mahatma on May 09, 2018

    I may be in the minority that feels Lorenzo could have left room for Pedrosa...He just seems unable to handle preassure.

    • Gruf Rude Gruf Rude on May 09, 2018

      He could have if he had looked but he just cut back for the racing line under Dovi without so much as a head check. He claims he was ahead of Pedrosa, but he was way wide and slow and his brain was shut off . . .