by Nico Cereghini
Andrea Iannone - what a race! His ride was the outstanding performance of the Catalunya GP and his win alone in Moto2 over Luthi and Marquez was worth the price of admittance for the 80,000 spectators at Montmelò. However, they probably didn’t appreciate the Italian's success over local riders on the Catalan track. Iannone was precise, consistent, focused and ready to react to attacks from the Swiss and Spanish riders. In other words - unstoppable! Iannone hasn't won since last September in Aragona but his all new bike made for hard work. Now he's back in the fight for the title. We feel sorry for Pol Espargaro who, when he tried to dive down the inside of Marquez was unlucky as the pair touched. Pol suffered a heavy high-side on to the gravel just a few laps from the chequered flag putting an end to his fight for the podium after a long chase. The incident caused some controversy and race control later gave Marquez a one minute penalty (twenty-third in the standings instead of third). We feel it was the right decision because Marc has been frequently criticised for being too aggressive but so far has escaped any punishment. Simone Corsi also rode well to finish 14 seconds behind Andrea and only 2 seconds away from third place.
The MotoGP was less lively but fascinating as usual. Jorge Lorenzo took his third win of the season to extend his position as leader. Pedrosa once more lost out as he swapped the lead in the battle for his first win of 2012 and Andrea Dovizioso finished third ahead of Stoner and his team mate Crutchlow. The Yamahas were clearly the best balanced bikes and took less out of their tyres than the others and, although the Hondas are extremely powerful, they didn't have the tyres to match. And Ducati? Definitely a work in progress if we look at Valentino's (seventh place and 17 seconds behind the winner) clean time on his best lap. The actual gap is half a second. Ducati however is in a standstill situation if we make a comparison with 2011 when Rossi finished fifth, only seven seconds behind the winner. It's as if the competitors have improved their race pace rather than their absolute performance. There's still a lot of work to be done. Valentino's race was a long and hard fought battle with Stefan Bradl who is constantly improving. The number 46 found some extra pace and overtook the German in a classy move then set off in pursuit of Bautista but failed to get into a position to launch an attack. Hayden finished ninth, seven seconds behind Bradl but far from satisfied; Pasini and Petrucci finished further back but this was hardly unexpected due to the machines they were riding. The CRT bikes were just too slow on the fastest track in the championship.
In Moto3, another victory for Vinales who won in an emphatic fashion. Maverik broke away from the leading group of nine riders then extended his lead in this tightly contested race. It was a shame that the two main Italian riders had bad starts. Although Fenati was pushed wide at the first corner and dropped to twentieth place, he managed to make up lost ground and reach the leading group. His ninth place (ahead of Salom) however doesn't really do him justice. He was lapping two seconds faster than anyone else and just two more laps would have seen him on the podium! He is certainly not a flash in the pan and his performance has certainly not gone unnoticed. Beyond doubt, Romano has a very special talent and this confirms it. Niccolò Antonelli was even faster until mid race when a mechanical problem put paid to his challenge. Twelfth place was a poor result for a rider who deserves much better.