In Hindsight: Jerez 2018
Jerez 2018 certainly had a bit of everything, from incredible crashes and predictable wins, to surprising rides and some much-needed penalising. Jorge Lorenzo took a startling lead at his favourite circuit, Alex Marquez was nowhere to be seen on the Moto2 podium and it was a KTM 1-2-3 in Moto3, but the only question on everyone lips was – who was involved in the crashes that saw 25 riders land in the gravel?
Marc Marquez once again reigned supreme, this time at Jerez 2018 (Photo: Suzuki Motorcycles)
Jorge Lorenzo’s great start pushed pole man Cal Crutchlow out of first position and down to 5th. Three Spanish riders separated him from the front of the pack (Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez) but it was a hard-fought battle for the Spanish Ducati rider who has faced adjustment issues with his bike for quite some time.
Álex Rins holds a respectable 6th place but crashes out as Johann Zarco falls away to 7th, surprising for a rider who has brought the heat in every single race this season. Valentino Rossi’s prodigy Franco Morbidelli also managed to creep into 12th place, one position ahead of Rossi’s Yamaha team mate Maverick Vinales.
Not long after Crutchlow slides out in a crash similar to his Circuit of the Americas accident.
Marquez then gains the lead from Lorenzo and pulls away from the group, but not before securing a sensational save after Tom Lüthi slid out and sprayed gravel stones on the racing line, with riders going at roughly 120mph through it.
But yet more drama was yet to come, with Marquez racing on his own with a sizeable gap between him and the battle for 2nd place, it was an accident involving Lorenzo, Pedrosa and Andrea Dovizioso.
Pedrosa took a corner tight, whilst Lorenzo and Dovizioso took it wide. In a bid to save the corner Lorenzo pulled into the corner tighter and hit Pedrosa – resulting in an incredibly hard to watch highside – and then collided with Dovizioso. This resulted in a new top three of Marquez, Zarco and Andrea Iannone.
The battle for 4th came down to the two Pramac riders (Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller) and Rossi, but it was Petrucci who clinched the fourth place, with Marquez in first, Zarco in second and Iannone in 3rd, whilst Rossi took 5th and Miller took 6th.
Crash list: Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Dovisioso, Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, Tom Lüthi, Álex Rins, Aleix Espargaró
Moto2 was another race where the inevitable winner, so long as he stayed on his bike, would romp home to the win. In this case it was Lorenzo Baldassarri who did just that, but not before Alex Marquez – who had a great start – could lead the race.
Even Brad Binder was in the top three after some aggressive racing, making life difficult for Francesco Bagnaia but eventually it would be Miguel Oliveira and the Italian who would pull away from the rest of the group in their attempts at 2nd place. But this is only possible when Marquez slides into the gravel, handing 3rd position to Bagnaia.
Xavi Vierge closed the gap near the end of the race but couldn’t quite get close enough to Bagnaia to secure the podium. The race ended in the positions that had been held for most of the last part of the race, with Mattia Pasini in 5th.
Crash list: Steven Odendaal, Joe Roberts, Alex Marquez, Danny Kent, Zulfahmi Khairuddin, Stefano Manzi, Romano Fenati, Eric Grando, Luca Marini
Call it commentator’s curse but as soon as it was mentioned that no Moto3 rider had ever won from pole position at Jerez, it seemed that Jorge Martin was doomed. He had a great start but so did local boy Alonso Lopez who put up and admirable fight after falling from 5th to 16th after hitting the gravel.
There was no tear away rider in Moto3, just constantly changing line-ups that ranged from Martin to Enea Bastianini to Tony Arbolino to Philipp Öettl, but this was all going to change after Aron Canet – unsurprising to most – took a corner too quickly and took out Bastianini, Arbolino and Martin. And after he clipped Martin, the rest fell like dominos.
However, Marco Bezzecchi managed to save himself and continued to race against Öettl for first position. It’s a KTM 1-2-3 though as Öettl clinched first, Bezzecchi second and Lopez third.
It was Marcos Ramirez who snapped up fourth and got bumped up to third when Lopez and Niccolo Antonelli were penalised one position for exceeding track limits. This meant that the youngest rider on the grid, who fell to 16th had to settle for 4th place.
Crash list: Enea Bastianini, Tony Arbolino, Jorge Martin, Aron Canet, Albert Arenas, Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Dennis Foggia, John McPhee, Jeremy Alcoba
This weeks MotoGP rider of the race Franco Morbidelli in action (Photo: motorsport.com)
In MotoGP, the crash during the battle for 2nd place was the main drama of the race.
Lorenzo raced well to secure a place in this duel due to his recent poor performances from the past champion. His strong start helped him to hold onto 1st position for longer but during the battle itself, there was no one at fault.
It was ruled a racing incident and rightly so, as Pedrosa couldn’t see due to his tight lean angle, Dovizioso had run wide and Lorenzo was sandwiched in between both riders. Lorenzo’s attempt at saving the corner and not hitting his team mate resulted in his crash with Pedrosa and Dovizioso was collateral damage in the grand scheme of things.
The rest of the race was largely uneventful in comparison, with Espargaró retiring and the other three crashes being one rider slide outs.
Once Marquez had enough of a lead, the race was predictable, it was just small battles for various positions between riders who struggled to overtake on this difficult circuit.
The rider who finished in an impressive position was Franco Morbidelli, who finished best out of all of the Rookies with his 9th position, but it is worth noting that Marquez was the only Spaniard to finish first in all 3 classes.
Rider of the race: Franco Morbidelli
In Moto2, it was a relatively uneventful race after Baldassarri took 1st place and didn’t want to let go. The gap between the riders was masterful, with it only starting to close near the end of the race.
Oliveira’s race could have been very different, however. He started on the 5th row of the grid but quietly climbed up to a very respectable 2nd position and maintained it. Maybe it was securing his recent MotoGP contract that lead to a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality. Either way, it was a great race from the Portuguese born rider, but he wasn’t the only rider to climb the leader board.
Marcel Schrötter started at 20th after a penalty but finished in a respectable 7th, had he been further up the leader board then rider of the race might have gone to the German instead.
Rider of the race: Miguel Oliveira
In Moto3, there was a bit more drama, mainly from the Canet accident. This was not the first crash that he had been involved in this season, leading to outrage at his latest stunt.
Admittedly, this crash was not as calculated as his Argentina incident when he seemed to bash Makar Yurchenko off the track.
With his Jerez incident, he flew into a corner too quickly and realised that he didn’t have the space or time with the slowing bikes around him, resulting in a domino effect when he crashed into three other riders.
However, as an experienced rider he should know better and his aggressive riding has gotten him into trouble – if not with the marshals, then with fans – in the past. He will start at the back of the grid at the French GP for his actions, but it was the younger riders who really showed the world what they were made of.
The youngest on the track, Lopez, performed incredibly at the start of the race and then he pulled off a fantastic run of overtakes to get back to 3rd position, before he then handled his eventual 4th place finish with real professionalism.
Arbolino, had he not been taken out by Canet’s accident, would have been a shoe in for a podium finish, yet another young rider showing off what they’re made of. His riding was clean and some of his best this season.
Rider of the race: Alonso Lopez and Tony Arbolino