Valentino Rossi cut into Marc Marquez’s championship lead as he claimed a lights-to-flag victory at Jerez while Jorge Lorenzo made it a Yamaha 1-2.
With the track temperature 10 degrees hotter than expected, the front row of the Jerez grid – Rossi, Lorenzo and Marquez – all made a late decision to swap to the hard front tyres.
Rossi made a great start from pole position, grabbing the holeshot ahead of Lorenzo while Dani Pedrosa, who started P7 and opted for the soft front Michelin tyre, was up to third by the end of the first lap.
Failing to drop the Hondas, Lorenzo made an early move on Rossi only to run wide, allowing the Italian right back into the lead. Marquez had better luck on his team-mate as he retook P3 off Pedrosa before latching onto the back of Lorenzo’s rear wheel.
Six laps in Rossi had extended his lead over Lorenzo to more than a second while Marquez continued to dog his compatriot as they put in almost the exact same lap times. Pedrosa, still P4, had fallen out of the running and was caught by Aleix Espargaro, Maverick Vinales and Andrea Dovizioso, who then suffered a mechanical on Lap 10 that ended his race.
Rossi’s sensational form on the bike continued as the nine-time World Champion extended his advantage to 2.9s while behind him Lorenzo was able to put a bit of breathing room between himself and Marquez.
As the laps counted down, tyre wear began to play a role with both Rossi and Marquez losing time. This allowed Lorenzo to cut into Rossi’s lead, closing it to 2.2s with eight to go, while also dropping Marquez.
However, the reigning World Champion found himself falling off the pace in the closing laps allowing Rossi to race to an unchallenged victory, 2.386 seconds ahead of his Yamaha team-mate. It was Rossi’s seventh premier class win at Jerez and his ninth overall.
Marquez completed the podium and retained the lead in the riders’ standings with 82 points. He is 17 points ahead of Lorenzo with Rossi a further seven off the pace.
Pedrosa was fourth ahead of Espargaro, Vinales and Andrea Iannone. Pol Espargaro completed the top eight ahead of Eugene Laverty and Hector Barbera.
1 Valentino ROSSI Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 45’28.834
2 Jorge LORENZO Movistar Yamaha MotoGP +2.386
3 Marc MARQUEZ Repsol Honda Team 7.087
4 Dani PEDROSA Repsol Honda Team 10.351
5 Aleix ESPARGARO Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 14.143
6 Maverick VIÑALES Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 16.772
7 Andrea IANNONE Ducati Team 26.277
8 Pol ESPARGARO Monster Yamaha Tech 3 30.750
9 Eugene LAVERTY Aspar Team MotoGP 32.325
10 Hector BARBERA Avintia Racing 32.624
11 Cal CRUTCHLOW LCR Honda 38.497
12 Bradley SMITH Monster Yamaha Tech 3 39.669
13 Loris BAZ Avintia Racing 45.227
14 Stefan BRADL Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 47.886
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ Aspar Team MotoGP 47.988
16 Michele PIRRO OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 49.414
17 Jack MILLER Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 49.513
18 Tito RABAT Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 53.334
19 Scott REDDING OCTO Pramac Yakhnich 1’05.555
Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati Team 18 Laps
Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 22 Laps