MOTOGP: ‘Perfect’ Sunday Ends With 87th Career Win for Rossi in Spanish Grand Prix

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JEREZ, Spain – official series release — Yamaha photo —

Valentino Rossi wired Sunday’s Gran Premio Red Bull de España en route to his first win of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship season at Spain’s Circuito de Jerez, completing a hat trick in the process after scoring the pole, leading every lap and setting the fastest race lap during the event.

Rossi made a great start to lead into turn one, but he wasn’t alone as Jorge Lorenzo was right behind him, with the Repsol Honda Team duo of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa within shouting distance.

Perhaps the best start of the race came from Pedrosa, who quickly put his bike into third midway through the first lap. Across the line they went as the second lap began as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pair stretched their lead. Marquez attacked Pedrosa into turn six, running wide as his line was blocked. Through turn nine Lorenzo launched a similar attack on Rossi, the Italian holding off his teammate as the Hondas clawed back the gap with Marquez now in third.

All of the leaders lapped in the mid 1:40’s, Rossi trying to escape as Marquez looked for a way by Lorenzo. His lead would soon be more than half a second as Rossi upped his pace lap after lap and drew out hundredths of a second at each corner. Before long the gap was at a second, with Rossi seemingly doing as his teammate had done so many times before and breaking the field up early in the race. No matter what Lorenzo did he was unable to close in on Rossi nor shake off Marquez.

Rossi and his team had focused on setting the race pace throughout the weekend, Rossi’s work paying off as the gap soon grew to more than two seconds as no one was able to match his lap times. Behind him Lorenzo had his hands full fending off Marquez, the Repsol Honda rider not quite close enough to attack but able to apply ample pressure.

With more than half of the race distance gone, Lorenzo broke free of Marquez and opened up a second lead on his fellow Spaniard. Marquez had chosen to run winglets on his Honda, which assisted with keeping the front end down but also ran the risk of overheating the front tire during the race. With 10 laps to go, Lorenzo hadn’t just broken free of Marquez, but he also began to close in on Rossi.

Lorenzo’s chances of victory would fade as Rossi responded to Lorenzo’s increased pace and once again dropped into the low 1:41’s. The gap would grow to more than three seconds, Lorenzo unable to push any harder and settling to take championship points.

“I think that this was the perfect weekend,” Rossi said after his 87th career MotoGP victory. “We started to go faster from Friday morning and we worked very well. The bike, in the race, was fantastic and we worked very well with the team so I have to say ‘thank you’ to the whole Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team, especially my crew. I had a good pace and a good start and felt good with the bike from the beginning, so I could push. Sincerely, it was a special taste to have a win like this, so thanks a lot.”

“How is the name in Formula 1? They say hat-trick? It’s possible, eh?”

Marquez also continued to drop back, his chances of a home victory long gone as he found himself more than five seconds behind Lorenzo at the finish. Pedrosa ended the day fourth, holding back the challenges of Aleix Espargaro in fifth.

CREDIT: MotoGP Communications

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