Valentino Rossi rolled back the years with a dominant victory in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, leading every lap on the way to his first win of the year. The Italian led away from pole position with Jorge Lorenzo unable to keep up and despite a mid-race rally from the defending champion, Rossi always had matters under control.
With the three championship favourites together on the front row, a thrilling race was in prospect but much of the action came early on as Lorenzo and Marc Marquez fought to keep Rossi in sight. Lorenzo made a move on his teammate entering the stadium section on lap two but with the Spaniard running slightly wide, Rossi regained the advantage and never looked back.
Within six laps, the lead had stretched beyond a second and with Rossi remaining consistent in the low 1:40s, Lorenzo had fallen three seconds back by half distance with Marquez looking dangerous on his tail. A slight dip from Rossi eleven laps from home handed half a second to his teammate and appeared to hand Jorge hope as he closed to within two seconds on lap nineteen. Just as a close finish looked to be possible, Rossi responded and with Lorenzo appearing to struggle with rear tyre issues, ‘The Doctor’ eased home to a tremendous win.
Marquez faded badly in the second half of the Grand Prix, eventually trailing Lorenzo by nearly five seconds, but third spot saw him maintain his championship lead. Dani Pedrosa followed his teammate home in fourth with the Suzukis of Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Vinales fifth and sixth. Andrea Iannone recovered from a poor qualifying and an even worse start to salvage seventh but Ducati endured another bittersweet afternoon with the luckless Andrea Dovizioso ruled out by a problem at the rear of his bike.
The British riders had disappointing outings with the exception of Eugene Laverty who took an excellent ninth for Aspar, just behind Pol Espargaro, but Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith toiled their way to eleventh and twelfth respectively. Scott Redding fared even worse, ending up the last of the nineteen finishers.
2016 GRAN PREMIO RED BULL DE ESPANA (RACE RESULT)
|1||46. Valentino ROSSI||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||45:28.834||25|
|2||99. Jorge LORENZO||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+2.386||20|
|3||93. Marc MARQUEZ||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+7.087||16|
|4||26. Dani PEDROSA||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+10.351||13|
|5||41. Aleix ESPARGARO||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+14.143||11|
|6||25. Maverick VINALES||Suzuki||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||+16.772||10|
|7||29. Andrea IANNONE||Ducati||Ducati Team||+26.277||9|
|8||44. Pol ESPARGARO||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+30.750||8|
|9||50. Eugene LAVERTY||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+32.325||7|
|10||8. Hector BARBERA||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+32.624||6|
|11||35. Cal CRUTCHLOW||Honda||LCR Honda||+38.497||5|
|12||38. Bradley SMITH||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+39.669||4|
|13||76. Loris BAZ||Ducati||Avintia Racing||+45.227||3|
|14||6. Stefan BRADL||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+47.886||2|
|15||68. Yonny HERNANDEZ||Ducati||Aspar MotoGP Team||+47.988||1|
|16||50. Michele PIRRO||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+49.414|
|17||43. Jack MILLER||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+49.513|
|18||53. Tito RABAT||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+53.334|
|19||45. Scott REDDING||Ducati||Octo Pramac Yakhnich||+1:05.555|
|NC||4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO||Ducati||Ducati Team||+18 Laps|
|NC||19. Alvaro BAUTISTA||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+22 Laps|