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GP Week : Issue 182
The European season opener was a blaster. A traditionally vast crowd of 111,000-plus defied Spain’s economic gloom to enjoy bright sunshine ... and the forceful arrival of a third faction in the already all-important battle between Spain’s top two riders. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), already crowned youngest-ever race winner at Austin, sealed his reputation with a fearsome last-corner attack that sent reigning champion Jorge Lorenzo’s Yamaha ricocheting into the run-off area, and bouncing down to third place. In the fervour it was easy to overlook that Dani Pedrosa had won, cleanly and convincingly, on a track thought to favour Yamaha rather than his Honda RC213V. The machine is showing an impressively well-rounded character that has Yamaha riders on the back foot. Dani was the third winner in as many races, moving up to second beyond new leader Marquez (youngest-ever, wouldn’t you know), with the dismayed Lorenzo third: all three covered by a span of only four points. Lorenzo already complaining that the Yamaha is lagging, now has a knock to his confidence as well. Pedrosa’s head cannot be resting much easier: the threat from his team-mate is all too tangible. Will it stay a three-way battle? Rossi is fourth overall and was fourth in the race, but – Qatar aside – he has not found those final few percentage points he needs, and even there he wasn’t close to Lorenzo. It is still early, but he needs to act soon if the battle is not to get away from him. Crutchlow proved in practice he had as much speed as anybody, but consistency is yet to be confirmed, after a real threat for pole was spoiled by two bruising crashes in free practice. He was fifth, Bautista sixth. Then Hayden, in the long- serving Ducati rider’s best so far. He refused to get excited, however, about seventh, though he was at least best Ducati, outpacing eighth-placed team- mate Dovizioso this time. They all meet again at Le Mans next weekend: a twisty circuit where cold and often rainy weather are always a threat. Wet race? Fourth winner? Rossi’s turn? MOTOGP >>> NEWS JEREZ GP SETS SCENE FOR FRANCE Spanish Civil War reignited 3 GPWEEK.com // 3 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: