DP26, SpanishGP
“At some corners, the front tire was very critical,” Spanish GP winner Dani Pedrosa said at the post-race press conference. “It was easy to make a mistake if you pushed too hard. At one time, I think I was off the track. The weekend was amazing.”Photo: Repsol Honda

Spanish Grand Prix Race Results 1. Dani PEDROSA (26) Repsol Honda Team HONDA 2. Marc MARQUEZ (93), Repsol Honda Team HONDA 3. Jorge LORENZO (99) Ducati Team DUCATI 4. Johann ZARCO (5) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (4) Ducati Team DUCATI 6. Maverick VIÑALES (25) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 7. Danilo PETRUCCI (9) OCTO Pramac Racing DUCATI 8. Jonas FOLGER (94) Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YAMAHA 9. Aleix ESPARGARO (41) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 10. Valentino ROSSI (46) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YAMAHA 11. Scott REDDING (45) Octo Pramac Racing DUCATI 12. Hector BARBERA (8) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 13. Loris BAZ (76) Reale Avintia Racing DUCATI 14. Bradley SMITH (38) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 15. Karel ABRAHAM (17) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI 16. Sam LOWES (22) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini APRILIA 17. Takuya TSUDA (12) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI DNF: Andrea IANNONE (29) Team Suzuki Ecstar SUZUKI DNF: Tito RABAT (53) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA DNF: Cal CRUTCHLOW (35) LCR Honda HONDA DNF: Jack MILLER (43) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS HONDA DNF: Alvaro BAUTISTA (19) Pull&Bear Aspar Team DUCATI DNF: Pol ESPARGARO (44) Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM

Dani Pedrosa race stats
With Sunday’s victory, Dani Pedrosa became the first Grand Prix rider to win at least one race per year for 16 consecutive seasons. The Spaniard is also tied with 15-time World Champion Giacomo Agostini for 12 successive years of winning in GP racing’s premier class.Photo: Repsol Honda

Dani Pedrosa thoroughly and completely dominated Sunday's Spanish GP at Jerez. Starting from pole, the 31-year-old Sabadell native led all 27 laps and, in the process, became the first rider in the history of the sport to win at least one race for 16 consecutive seasons—12 in MotoGP. Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez was second, with Jorge Lorenzo third in his first podium appearance for Ducati.

Amid the hottest conditions of the weekend, Pedrosa set an enviable standard for consistency. He opened a half-second gap on Marquez after one lap, set the quickest time of the race on lap three, and then knocked off 17 successive laps within 0.483 seconds of each other. When Marquez closed to within a second on lap 24, Pedrosa lowered the boom again. Margin of victory was 6.136 seconds.

Pedrosa wasn’t as comfortable during the race as his smooth riding may have suggested. “I had to be very, very focused every turn,” he said, adding that the hard-compound front Michelin he chose for the race was not his favorite. “I wanted to go faster, but I felt in some corners that I was about to crash. In the middle of the race, Marc started to be fast and put on some pressure, but I was able to control my pace and manage my lap times.”

Marc Marquez wheelie 2017
“The hard rear tire was working quite well for me,” Marc Marquez said. “On the first two or three laps, it took time to warm up. But my limitation was the front tire. If Dani felt it was soft, I felt it was even softer because my riding style is pushing a lot on the braking point.”Photo: Repsol Honda
JL99 and Zarco
Jorge Lorenzo, Ducati Team, ahead of Johann Zarco.Photo: Ducati Team

While Pedrosa was disappearing at the front, MotoGP rookie Johann Zarco was proving once again that he is destined for stardom—or possibly an off-track drubbing. The two-time Moto2 world champion started sixth then sliced up Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales, Cal Crutchlow, Andrea Iannone, and even, briefly, Marquez to complete lap four in second. Zarco and Lorenzo were among the four riders who opted for the medium front tire.

Marquez, one of just three to use the hard rear, took the long view. "I was pushing," he said, regarding his late-race run at Pedrosa. "But from the beginning, I felt that the front tire was too soft; it had a lot of movement. I had a big moment, and I said, 'Okay, second position is a really good end to this weekend.' In those conditions, Dani is the best. He is really smooth. I always struggle at Jerez, but today we were strong."

Ducati Team Lorenzo and Dovizioso
“Everybody knows how difficult it is at this moment to be competitive in the dry on the Ducati,” said Jorge Lorenzo (99), third at Jerez. “Some people spoke too early. You cannot doubt any rider in the world championship, especially one who has won many races and titles.”Photo: Ducati Team

Crutchlow and Iannone crashed, unhurt, in separate incidents, allowing Lorenzo to concentrate on Zarco. The Majorcan, who celebrated his 30th birthday this past Thursday, equated his third-place finish to a victory. "I expected to fight for fifth or sixth," he admitted. "The race pace was very slow because of the heat, and I could catch and overtake some riders. I was very tired but I never gave up." Teammate Andrea Dovizioso was fifth, one spot ahead of Vinales.

After crashing while leading at the season-opening race in Qatar, Zarco has finished every subsequent round in the top five. Fourth is his best placing thus far in the premier class. “At the beginning of the race, my feeling was great,” he said. “I almost, however, crashed twice, which allowed Marc to overtake me. I was really on the limit and wasn’t able to follow the top two riders. My target is to be on the podium or as close to it as possible, so we did the job today.”

SpanishGP podium
Left to right: Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa, Jorge Lorenzo on the Jerez podium.Photo: Repsol Honda

With his victory on Sunday, Pedrosa moves to fourth in the championship, 10 points behind leader Valentino Rossi. “It was a difficult race after a difficult weekend,” said Rossi, following his 10th-place finish. “I never had a good feeling with the bike or the tires. We worked a lot, especially to fix the [tire] spin in acceleration. In the race, I was also in trouble with the front. At the end, I had to slow down a lot.”

Overall race time was two seconds faster than last year. “The surface is always quite slippery, but as temperatures rise, the adhesion reduces further and this creates issues that the riders didn’t have to contend with on the other days this weekend,” said Michelin’s Nicolas Goubert. “We have a very important test here on Monday, where we will work toward making a decision on the direction we will take with front tire construction for the rest of the season.”

Following Monday's test, the MotoGP teams will regroup in France for round five of the series. "It was amazing today to pull out this win because our rivals were not as good," Pedrosa said. "Normally, they are the favorites at this track and at least one bike is on the podium. We got back some points after our mistake in Argentina. It's quite good for us and more interesting for the championship."