Marc Marquez took the lead in the MotoGP world championship for the first time this season after a comfortable victory at Jerez. The reigning champion escaped a pack including the two factory Ducatis and Dani Pedrosa before the pursuing trio collided with each other eight laps from home, promoting Johann Zarco to second.
The race began with plenty of promise for Cal Crutchlow but the polesitter was quickly swallowed up on the approach to turn one. The Briton fell to fourth behind Jorge Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa and in his efforts to keep pace with the leaders, Crutchlow lost the front end of his LCR Honda at turn one on lap eight, sending him into a second consecutive retirement.
Andrea Dovizioso was thus promoted to fourth and the pre-race championship leader soon rose to third at the expense of Pedrosa, passing the Spaniard at turn thirteen. Moments earlier, Marquez had snatched the lead from Lorenzo and the former leader was clearly starting to hold up his team-mate, a situation that would eventually come to a head on lap eighteen.
Under braking for the Dry Sack hairpin, Dovizioso skated wide, taking Lorenzo with him and as the no.99 swept back across onto the racing line, contact was made with Pedrosa. The Honda rider was high-sided out of the race while Lorenzo rebounded back into Dovizioso, wiping out both factory Ducatis on the spot. The triple elimination promoted the fortunate Zarco to second, five seconds behind the unchallenged Marquez.
The clash at the hairpin, allied to the crashes of Crutchlow and Suzuki’s Alex Rins, elevated Danilo Petrucci to third but the Pramac rider was beaten to the final podium spot by Andrea Iannone. Valentino Rossi was close behind his compatriots, dragging his YZR-M1 up to fifth on a dreadful day for Movistar Yamaha with team-mate Maverick Vinales only seventh behind the second Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller.
Alvaro Bautista was eighth for the Angel Nieto Team ahead of Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli while Mika Kallio won a three-way battle among the KTMs for a terrific tenth.
2018 Gran Premio Red Bull de Espana: (Result)
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