Marquez wins dramatic flag-to-flag MotoGP at Misano
Repsol Honda Team’s Marc Marquez won his first premier-class Grand Prix at Misano today after expertly managing highly variable conditions in what was one of the most dramatic MotoGP contests in recent memory.
As the riders took position on the grid for the twenty-eight lap San Marino and Rimini Grand Prix, light rain began to fall and although the track was dry for the opening laps the rain soon intensified, leaving the riders with the option of changing to their spare bikes fitted with wet tires. Marquez made his first pit stop on the seventh lap alongside Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi who comprised the lead group at the time. After changing from slick to wet tires, Marquez re-joined the race in sixth place and as a dry line began to appear during the middle stages of the race the riders began to switch back to their bikes fitted with slick tires, with Marquez doing so on lap eighteen. Once out on track on slick tires again, Marquez turned up the pace to take the race lead by lap twenty and with track conditions stabilizing, went on to win the race by 7.288 seconds ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith. Amazingly, Smith didn’t pit for wet tires and after managing the wet track on slick tires, carved through the field as the track began to dry to seize his best ever MotoGP finishing position. Taking third place a further eleven seconds back was Scott Redding aboard the EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda, the Briton claiming his first ever MotoGP podium despite crashing earlier in the race, thanks to some fantastic pace on his second stint with slick tires.
As well as the intermittent rainy periods during the race, the cloud cover kept track temperatures to a much lower level than yesterday, with a peak track temperature of just 31°C recorded; 13 degrees below yesterday’s high. The lower track temperatures and threat of rain resulted in some riders revising their original race tire choices. At the start of the race, the medium compound front slick was the most popular choice with fifteen riders selecting this option, with the other eleven riders opting for the hard compound front slick. Rear tire choice saw seventeen riders select the medium compound rear for the race, with the remaining nine riders running the soft compound rear slick at the start of the race. All riders used the soft compound front and rear wet tires when making their first round of pit stops in order to ensure maximum grip and warm-up performance on the newly-laid asphalt with which they had no previous experience in wet conditions. On their second stint on slick tires, most riders used the same compound of rear slick tire they started the race on, but all riders who started the race on the hard compound front slick, changed to either the medium or soft compound front slick.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi now leads the championship standings by twenty-three points after finishing fifth at Misano, with his teammate Jorge Lorenzo still in second place in the standings after suffering his first DNF of the season. Marquez’s fourth victory of the year sees him consolidate third place in the championship and closes the gap to Lorenzo to forty points with five rounds remaining.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“The record race day crowd at Misano today of around 92,000 fans were certainly treated to an exciting race due to the changing weather; I don’t think we’ve ever had a race where the majority of the field has two bike changes! The conditions were challenging, but Marc and his Repsol Honda Team were very precise in the timing of their bike changes, and Marc rode fantastically to take his first ever win at Misano. Well done also to Bradley on his best ever result in MotoGP and to Scott for his first ever rostrum in the premier-class. The pace all weekend was quick with a new Circuit Best Lap record set in qualifying and a new Circuit Record Lap set in the race – despite it raining lightly at the time - so overall I am pleased with how our 2015-specification tires performed at the revised Misano circuit.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tire Development Department
“For the second race in succession the weather created track conditions vastly different from the practice and qualifying sessions. However, unlike the last race at Silverstone, for this Grand Prix no one had the chance to work on a wet setup before the race and so some riders found it difficult to find grip on the new Misano asphalt, which is why we recommended all riders use the soft compound wet tires on their second bikes. Once the rain stopped, some riders opted for softer front slick options to better manage the cool and in parts, damp track so many different tire combinations were used in the race. Overall, the riders felt our slick tires performed well in the variable conditions during the race, but the lack of wet setup time means they couldn’t extract maximum performance out of the wet tires on the new track surface here at Misano.”
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team – Race Winner
“During the race I was behind the Yamahas trying to work out how the wet tires were behaving on the drying asphalt. I could see that their wet tires were degrading, and my bike was moving a lot at the time so I decided at that moment to change to slick tires. However it was difficult to understand what parts of the circuit were wet, as the new asphalt was so dark, but it dried quickly. It’s nice to be on the podium, the target for this race was to get a victory and we did so I am really happy.”