Marc Marquez took an extraordinary victory in the San Marino Grand Prix which saw constantly changing conditions and multiple bike changes. The reigning champion took advantage of strategical blunders from Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo to take his fourth win of the year with British pair Bradley Smith and Scott Redding joining him on the podium.
The race began under ominous skies with light rain starting to fall and the white flags were on display immediately, giving riders the chance to change bikes. Michele Pirro took that opportunity, although that only came to pass because his first machine failed to start on the dummy grid. Polesitter Lorenzo had no such problems and led the early laps from Marquez and Rossi but as conditions worsened, the pitlane became a hive of activity.
Scott Redding, who had climbed to fifth after revelling in the slippery conditions, was among the first to change bikes on lap seven, largely because he had crashed moments earlier but he was soon joined by the rest of the field in switching machines, with the notable of exception of Bradley Smith.
Marquez briefly took the lead through the pit-stop phase but the leading trio were soon circulating together on wet tyres, Lorenzo leading his compatriot with Rossi chasing them down and at half distance, the home favourite sent the crowd into raptures by easing past Marquez. Excitement among the capacity crowd continued to build on lap sixteen when Valentino wrestled the lead from Lorenzo but an unexpected threat was starting to emerge. With the rain having stopped and the track drying, Smith, who had remained on slicks throughout, was now lapping up to eight seconds per lap faster. Loris Baz was doing likewise having recognised the change in conditions and switched back to his dry bike on lap fourteen.
Repsol Honda had spotted the danger and called Marquez in on lap eighteen but despite multiple pit-boards telling them to do so, the Movistar Yamahas stayed out until Lorenzo pitted on lap 20, Rossi following a lap later. The up-shot of it all was that Marquez inherited a seven second lead over Smith with Baz holding third ahead of Lorenzo and Redding who was one of the first to change bikes for the second time.
It appeared as though the championship pendulum would swing back towards Lorenzo but with six laps remaining, the Spaniard crashed out in dramatic fashion at turn fifteen, triggering another roar from the grandstands. Despite his delayed second stop, Rossi was off the hook in fifth and in position to strengthen his points lead.
Marquez calmly brought his RC213V home in the closing laps for a 49th career win ahead of a euphoric Smith and an equally elated Redding, the Marc VDS rider overhauling Baz with four laps to go. Rossi was unable to catch the inspired Frenchman for fourth but still takes a 23 point lead away from Misano having held off Danilo Petrucci for fifth.
The Ducatis of Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso were seventh and eighth while Dani Pedrosa and Aleix Espargaro rounding out the top ten.
2015 GP TIM DI SAN MARINO E DELLA RIVIERA DI RIMINI: RACE RESULT
|1||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||48:23.819|
|2||38. Bradley Smith||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+7.288|
|3||45. Scott Redding||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||+18.793|
|4||76. Loris Baz||Yamaha Forward||Forward Racing||+26.427|
|5||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+33.196|
|6||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Octo Pramac Racing||+35.087|
|7||29. Andrea Iannone||Ducati||Ducati Team||+36.527|
|8||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||+37.434|
|9||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+39.516|
|10||41. Aleix Espargaro||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+39.692|
|11||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||LCR Honda||+41.995|
|12||43. Jack Miller||Honda||LCR Honda||+46.075|
|13||63. Mike Di Meglio||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+48.381|
|14||25. Maverick Vinales||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+52.325|
|15||19. Alvaro Bautista||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+53.348|
|16||6. Stefan Bradl||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+58.828|
|17||69. Nicky Hayden||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||+1:02.649|
|18||8. Hector Barbera||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+1:04.768|
|19||50. Eugene Laverty||Honda||Aspar MotoGP Team||+1:05.677|
|20||71. Claudio Corti||Yamaha Forward||Forward Racing||+1 Lap|
|21||17. Karel Abraham||Honda||AB Motoracing||+1 Lap|
|NC||44. Pol Espargaro||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+2 Laps|
|NC||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+8 Laps|
|NC||68. Yonny Hernandez||Ducati||Octo Pramac Racing||+19 Laps|
|NC||15. Alex de Angelis||ART||E-Motion IodaRacing Team||+19 Laps|
|NC||51. Michele Pirro||Ducati||Ducati Team||+19 Laps|