Jorge Lorenzo took his third consecutive podium finish of the season today, taking third on the podium for the Gran Premio bwin de España at the Jerez de la Frontera Circuit in Southern Spain. The Yamaha Factory Racing rider made a strong start from pole position, initially dropping to second off the line but retaking the lead a couple of corners later from fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa. With 22 laps to go tyre life dropped off dramatically and Lorenzo was then re-passed by Pedrosa. The reigning World Champion was able to hold second from an advancing Marc Marquez until the final corner of the final lap when the young Spanish rookie made a heart stopping pass on the inside of Lorenzo, making contact and pushing him wide to steal second. The podium finish delivers Lorenzo 16 Championship points and places him third in the standings, four points behind Marquez.
Valentino Rossi made a good start from fifth position on the grid and enjoyed an early tussle with Marc Marquez reminiscent of their Qatar battle. Having been unable to find an optimum set up for the race Rossi was unable to maintain the pace of the front three. The nine-time World Champion was quick enough to stay ahead of fifth placed rider Cal Crutchlow and rode a relatively lonely race in fourth to take a further 13 Championship points. Rossi sits in fourth in the standings with 43 points, 14 behind his teammate in third.
Jorge Lorenzo, 3rd, +5.089
“I have always been positive so today also I am going to be positive, to finish the race with sixteen points is always a great result. I was second for the whole race and then lost the place on the last corner so it wasn’t the perfect race. The perfect race is a victory and if not possible second, the next is third. Today we got another podium and we are quite close to the leader. On the other hand we have to improve the bike. I think I made two mistakes in the race, in the start I started really badly and in the last corner, I thought Marquez was further behind than he was so I didn’t take a defensive line, this was my second mistake.”
Valentino Rossi, 4th +8.914
It was a difficult race. Unfortunately we were not able to be better, we suffered a bit with the conditions and we tried to do the maximum. We improved the set up for the race and we did a good start. I was with the top group but unfortunately I was not fast enough to stay with the top three. Lap by lap the gap was bigger so I think we have some work to do. Here in Jerez I expected we could go faster than Honda but they arrived in front of us. We still have some work to do to improve the bike. Tomorrow we have the test and we’ll try to find the right balance. In the Championship we are not very far from the top and we took some important points. I wanted to be on the podium but unfortunately it was not possible, we will try again next week.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A very tough fight today in very difficult circumstances. We struggled a lot to get the bike under control for the whole race. Finally we finished on the podium, which is very important in races like this. After five laps the tyre had already dropped a lot and Jorge was missing apexes here and there. He brought the bike back home and that is what is important.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“It has been a hard weekend. We really worked as hard as we could to improve tyre life. Unfortunately we couldn’t get what we were looking for. For sure we will focus some more effort tomorrow during the test to fix it for the rest of the season. In terms of the Championship, points and a podium are always good and we are close to the leader. The season is long; we lost a battle but not the war! Both riders put in a lot of effort, pushing 100% from the start of the race until the end. Overall it was a good race.”
Heroic fifth for Crutchlow, Smith gets first top 10 in Jerez
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated its first double top 10 result of the 2013 MotoGP campaign in Jerez today, with Cal Crutchlow riding to a heroic fifth place and rookie Bradley Smith storming to a maiden top 10 finish. Crutchlow displayed phenomenal determination and bravery to bounce back from two heavy crashes yesterday to maintain his 100% record of finishing every race inside the top five this season. The British rider was engaged in an exciting early fight with Valentino Rossi for fourth before he got locked into an intense tussle with Alvaro Bautista shortly before the halfway stage of the 27-lap encounter. In scenes reminiscent of their titanic battle for the podium in Japan last October, Bautista seized fifth from Crutchlow on lap 11. But riding through the pain barrier in gruelling heat that saw temperatures hit 27 degrees under clear blue skies, Crutchlow fought back superbly to take back fifth on lap 17. He then produced a master class in aggressive riding to streak away from Bautista and claim a third successive top five finish by almost three seconds. Bradley Smith produced an equally impressive ride to come tantalizingly close to registering his first top 10 finish in MotoGP. For the majority of the 27-lap race he was locked in the biggest battle on track for eighth position with Andrea Dovizioso, Aleix Espargaro and Michele Pirro. Smith moved into the top 10 on lap 24 with a clinical move to get by Pirro and at that stage he was 1.770s behind Espargaro. He produced a stunning late charge to cut the Spaniard’s advantage to less than a second but just as he was lining up an attack to claim ninth the chequered flag came out.
Cal Crutchlow 5th, +12.663
“Fifth place today is not a bad result considering everything that has gone on before but it’s not exactly what we expected. I was fast all weekend but after the two crashes yesterday I think it’s a very good result to remain the best of the rest. I did not feel very confident with the front-end in the race, but I think all Yamaha’s struggled in this area. I think in the middle of the race my pace was good and I started to push but with the full fuel tank I could not stop the bike and I had no grip, so I lost quite a bit of time in the early laps. Physically I had no problem on the bike for the race distance although I had a little bit of pain in my lower back. It has been a difficult weekend in many respects so I am very satisfied with fifth because probably last year I would not have finished the race in the same situation and that’s for sure an improvement.”
Bradley Smith 10th, +44.461
“I’m obviously happy with my first top 10 result because conditions for the race were different compared to the rest of the weekend. The lap times were relatively slow and the temperature meant the grip was quite low, so it was a big learning experience for me. Riding these bikes with that little grip needs a different style, so I had to adapt at the beginning of the race. From the middle stages I felt comfortable and I’m a little disappointed to be beaten again by Espargaro but it’s nice to be at least closer than last time in Austin. I just ran out of time at the end of the race because I was catching him very quickly. In Austin I was 50 seconds behind the winner and here the deficit is 44 seconds, so that’s definitely a positive and our aim for the future will be to keep reducing the gap. I’m really looking forward to the test tomorrow. It will be another learning experience for me and it will be nice to test on a track where we’ve just had a race and where I feel now really comfortable on the bike. Tomorrow we will be able to test a few different parts and understand actually what’s working better and what does not. So all in all it has been a positive weekend with improvements in every session.”