We'd been wondering how long it would last. Nobody had started a formal pool yet, but we knew that at some point in the season, Marc Marquez would try something which would generate a mountain of controversy. The question was not if, but when, surely.
It took three races, which is positively restrained measured by the standards of his 2012 Moto2 season. Then, he managed to embroil himself in controversy in the very first race when he ran Thomas Luthi off the track at the end of the straight at the beginning of the final lap.
Yet while Marquez' pass on Jorge Lorenzo is already generating enough print copy to wipe out a small forest, it is totally different from his move at Qatar in 2012. That was a cynical slide to the left which saw him edge Luthi off the track and out of contention. This was a dive up the inside of a gap left by Lorenzo in the final corner of the final lap, after Marquez had spent the previous five or six laps making it perfectly clear to Lorenzo that he was hell-bent on finishing ahead of him.
Reaction To The Last-Corner Incident At Jerez: Rossi, Crutchlow, Smith, Suppo, Zeelenberg And Poncharal Speak
After the final corner incident between Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo, the media spent the afternoon canvassing opinion from anyone they could find in the paddock, to ask how they felt about the incident. Below is a selection of the responses, split between riders and team staff. Cal Crutchlow, Bradley Smith and Valentino Rossi represent rider opinion, while Herve Poncharal, Livio Suppo and Wilco Zeelenberg speak for the teams.
Cal Crutchlow, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider
At the end of the day, it's racing. I don't think Marquez did anything wrong. If Jorge had the opportunity, he'd do exactly the same. Marquez never rode into the side of him meaning to hit him. He ran a little bit deep, and Jorge was there, and that's it. You think Jorge has never run a little deep and ran into somebody? You think he won't for the rest of his career? At some point in racing it's going to happen. But if it happened to me, I'd probably be pissed off for half the slowdown lap, but then you've got to think about it in the sense of, I could have done it to somebody.
You don't think Marquez is a dangerous rider?
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after Sunday's spectacular race at Jerez:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after Sunday's races at Jerez:
Race Results and summary for MotoGP:
Race Results and summary for Moto2:
Race Results and summary for Moto3:
Saturday at Jerez was a crash fest, in just about every class. Why? The heat - well, perhaps heat is an exaggeration, but certainly the weather was better than anyone expected a few weeks ago. Once the heat hits the Andalusian track, the grip drops off a cliff, and the riders are left struggling to cope. In Moto3, MotoGP and Moto2, a lot of riders hit the deck on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Rins was one of the first to fall, crashing out during qualifying for the Moto3 class. It did not slow him down, the Spaniard grabbing pole for the second race in succession. MotoGP was much worse: during the final session of free practice, Cal Crutchlow threw his Monster Tech 3 Yamaha away at the start of the back straight. Later in that session, Crutchlow watched from behind as Marc Marquez fought a losing battle with gravity at the other end of the straight, the front folding and the rear whipping round on him despite valiant efforts to save it. "I was willing him to save it," Crutchlow joked afterwards, "but in the end gravity won."
Ask Jorge Lorenzo if there is one thing which the Yamaha needs to allow him to compete with the Hondas, and he will tell you it is a seamless gearbox. The system used by Honda on the RC213V allows the riders to shift gear while the bike is still leaned over, without upsetting the machine. It is an important factor in the Honda's better drive out of corners, as Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez, Stefan Bradl and Alvaro Bautista can shift gear earlier and make optimum use of the rev range to accelerate harder.
That Yamaha is working on a seamless gearbox is no secret, with Yamaha's test riders currently racking up the kilometers around tracks in Japan, testing the reliability of the maintenance-intensive system to the limit before using it in a race. Recently, however, Spanish magazine SoloMoto published an article suggesting that Yamaha has already been using its new seamless gearbox since the beginning of the season. In evidence, the magazine pointed to an apparent difference in fuel consumption between the factory Yamahas and the satellite bike of Cal Crutchlow. While both Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi made mistakes at Qatar, only Rossi was able to recover, and then battle with Marc Marquez for the podium. The theory put forward by SoloMoto was that the smoother transition between gears gave both better drive and lower fuel consumption, as the ignition is cut for a much shorter period, wasting less of the limited gasoline the MotoGP bikes are allowed.
Results and summary of qualifying for Moto3:
Results and summary of qualifying for MotoGP:
As temperatures climbed and tire performance became more unpredictable, the ever-consistent Jorge Lorenzo pulled nearly three-tenths on second-place Dani Pedrosa who, in turn, just nipped Cal Crutchlow. The surprise of the session was Andrea Iannone who was the top Ducati for the final free practice.