Dani Pedrosa took his first victory of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship with a dominating performance at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain, taking the lead from Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo on lap five and speeding off to win by more than two seconds. The battle for second place was where all eyes were focused however, as Lorenzo couldn't maintain his practice/qualifying form and fought to hold off young rookie Marc Marquez on the last lap. Marquez made a stab for the lead in the Curva Dry Sac corner at the end of the long downhill back straight, but ran wide and allowed Lorenzo to easily take back the spot. It all came down to the ironically recently-renamed Lorenzo Corner just before the front straight, where Marquez stormed his way up the inside and collided with the Yamaha rider, bumping Lorenzo off line and allowing Marquez to collect 20 championship points to take the title lead.
Lorenzo (99) and Marquez (93)...
Lorenzo (99) and Marquez (93) make contact in the last corner at Jerez.
To his credit, while obviously quite displeased with Marquez’s move initially, Lorenzo didn’t whine about the pass or berate the Honda rider in the press conferences afterward. He admitted that it was a mistake on his part to not protect the inside line in the last corner, that he thought that Marquez was too far behind to attempt a pass. “I made two mistakes in the race; in the start, I start very bad, and then in the last corner where I didn’t close the door.” Lorenzo also knows that collecting third place points is better than none while ending up on the ground. “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.”
For his part, Marquez wants no part of a blood feud with his fellow countryman, and was apologetic in the press conferences afterward despite being rebuffed by an angry Lorenzo in his attempts to talk to him about it. Interestingly, Marquez admitted that watching videos of past Grands Prix where passes were made in the final corner at Jerez—including Valentino Rossi’s infamous pass on Sete Gibernau in 2005—gave him additional motivation to try the move. “I saw many videos that it is possible to pass there—Valentino, Pedrosa—that they did, I learned from that. I’m sorry for Jorge because you never want (to be on the losing end of a pass), but I think the most important is that we both finished the race, and for the fans, it was a very nice last lap.”
Marquez said he was surprised that Lorenzo left the door wide open in the last corner. “First thing I say was, “OK, we will finish third,’ because I thought he would be little bit closer (to the inside) on the last corner, but I saw that he opened the door, so I tried to pass him. On the last meters when I saw that I might be able to pass him (but that we might come together), I release the brake a little so that (the collision) would be a little more soft.
“Yeah, for sure if someone did this pass to me, I would be angry now because, not for the action (of the pass), but because I lose one place in the race. I can understand (his anger), but anyway, I say sorry (to Lorenzo). The most important thing is that both riders finished the race, and I hope that our relationship in the coming days will be better.”
Whether this incident will continue to color the championship will remain to be seen in two weeks at Le Mans.
MotoGP Jerez race results:
1. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Honda
2. Marc Marquez (SPA) Honda
3. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Yamaha
4. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Yamaha
5. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) Yamaha
6. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Honda
7. Nicky Hayden (USA) Ducati
8. Andrea Dovisioso (ITA) Ducati
9. Aleix Espargaro (SPA) ART/Aprilia
10. Bradley Smith (GBR) Yamaha
11. Michele Pirro (ITA) Ducati
12. Hector Barbera (SPA) FTR/Kawasaki
13. Michael Laverty (GBR) ART/Aprilia
14. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Ioda/BMW
15. Colin Edwards (USA) FTR/Kawasaki
16. Bryan Staring (AUS) FTR/Honda
17. Claudio Corti (ITA) FTR/Kawasaki
18. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) FTR/Kawasaki
DNF Stefan Bradl (GER) Honda
DNF Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati
DNF Lukas Pesek (CZE) Ioda/BMW
DNF Randy De Puniet (FRA) ART/Aprilia
DNF Yonny Hernandez (COL) ART/Aprilia