It’s been an emotional and tough build up to race day in Barcelona. With the death of one of the championships favourite sons, Luis Salom, on Friday during a Moto2 Free Practise.
Due to this the track had been revised to the F1 layout to make the track safer to ride.
A moment of remembrance was held for Salom before the start of the Moto3 race and many tributes to the Moto2 rider could be seen all around and on every bike on the grid.
It was then time to get things started. Luis Salom would surely be happy to see the racing go ahead and what great racing it was.
A great start from Brad Binder saw him lead into the first corner. Gabriel Rodrigo, who’s best finish was thirteenth before this race, was fighting for the lead and not only that but setting fastest laps. Romano Fenati was forced to fight his way through the pack but found himself in the lead group with Navarro, Rodrigo, Canet and Binder before long.
With 15 laps to go Navarro began pulling a bit of a gap while the lead group of 6 separated themselves from the rest, that until Navarro made a mistake and dropped back into the lead group. Pawi and Bulega seemed to change tactics and instead of fighting it out, helped each other reel the lead group of six in and make it a group of eight, the lead ever changing as we are used to in Moto3 with the slip stream down the start, finish straight.
With four laps to go Rodrigo attempted an audacious move on Binder, clipping the rear of Binder’s KTM, almost taking him out. Binder slipped down to eighth and seemed to be out of the fight. Rodrigo then went down in turn one, pushing too hard, desperate for his first ever podium finish.
Binder then out of nowhere had pulled himself back to the leaders and then produced one of the best passes you are likely to see in Moto3, how sights set on catching Navarro. Navarro however had pulled away a bit too far for Binder to catch him with a lap to go. A masterful second though by Binder, Navarro taking first and Bastianini sneaking a third with a last ditch pass on Fenati who finished fourth followed by a very talented rookie in Bulega.
Darryn Binder, brother to Brad, showing a little of what he can do with a brilliant twelfth. Yet again, Moto3 proving to be a magnificent race to watch!
Brad Binder’s lead in the championship cut slightly to 45 points but he is still showing amazing consistency and is still in the driving seat.
Moto2 presented some good racing however was fairly uneventful. Johann Zarco and Alex Rins made poor starts from first and second on the grid, Thomas Luthi taking full advantage leading into the first corner. This would not last long as Rins and Zarco found themselves up front and pulling away not too long after.
Alex Marquez was the surprise making his way into fourth and looking strong, finally showing what he is capable of, but then it happened again for the sixth time in seven races, he went down tucking in the front end and finish in eighteenth place.
Sam Lowes, after already admitting he did not have the pace of Rins and Zarco leading up to the race, road it safely to sixth and earned valuable championship points.
Takaaki Nakagami, riding what I thought was the best race out of the lot, fought his way to a brilliant and well deserved third.
Zarco road away with it in the end, pulling away with four laps to go, cruising to victory. Rins, however ended the weekend as the new championship leader. Moto2 set to go down to the wire between Lowes, Rins and Zarco.
MotoGP served up a fantastic race. Lorenzo had a great start and was exactly where he loves to be, up front. Lorenzo is so good at controlling a race when he gets ahead which is why the likes of Marquez and Rossi would not want to let him break away. Vinales got a good start, something he has not done of late, while Rossi got sucked up in to the middle of the pack. Rossi then fought his way back and made a magnificent double pass on Iannone and Vinales and made his way back to the leaders Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa.
Pedrosa then fell into the clutches of Vinales and the two of them had a great tussle for a few laps that was awesome to watch, Vinales then pushing a bit too hard, ran wide and fell back. He did however come back at Pedrosa. The Ducati’s were struggling, my guess is too many corners and not enough straight for them on this track and the revised layout.
Rossi was suddenly right on the back tyre of Lorenzo and got passed him with 19 laps to go. Lorenzo, completely out of character fell back and kept falling back and was fourth within a few laps of being taken by Rossi. Lorenzo then held up Vinales and put an end to his podium challenge as Pedrosa pulled away in third.
Then it happened. Iannone tried a daring move down the inside of Lorenzo, Lorenzo not seeing him coming in hot, pulled onto his line and Iannone could do nothing. He slammed on the brakes but could not avoid slamming into the back of Lorenzo, both going down hard. I can only imagine the words coming out of Lorenzo’s mouth, directed at Iannone.
Back at the front, a classic battle was unfolding as Rossi and Marquez went head to head. Some awesome racing between the two unfolded for a number of laps but Marquez was clearly struggling for grip trying to keep the pace of Rossi and he was forced into a mistake, running it wide and the fight was lost. Marquez settled for second and 20 valuable championship points, putting him into top spot in the championship.
Rossi had a magnificent ride to first and most certainly got his revenge for Mugello. He’s still got it!
At the end of the race, Rossi and Marquez embraced each other for the first time since I can remember, clearly putting their differences aside and being brought together in tragedy. It was great to see, hopefully a sign of things to come moving forward. Now if Lorenzo could just stop being so sour. Little chance of that after what happened in this race.
The MotoGP championship is most definitely heating up and after this result the standings have tightened up. Marquez ahead of Lorenzo by 10 points with Rossi in third trailing by 22 points but with a lot of racing still to be done this season.
A break now for 2 weeks until MotoGP lands at Assen in the Netherlands. This year will see the first Sunday race at Assen as it was traditionally run on a Saturday.
This has been my word on the Catalunya GP.