In an action packed Sunday of top level racing, MotoGP takes the lead as the most amazing spectacle.
First, there was a combination of changing weather conditions and a track that may have been unsafe for these bikes on typical tire compounds. Redding experienced catastrophic tire failure in practice but managed to keep the bike up. This led Michelin to withdraw both softer compounds as options for the race and replace with a stiffer tire. Additionally, a series of contingencies were put in place, depending on the weather conditions, but race direction also imposed a mandatory pit stop midway through a shortened race, whereby the riders were required to change to their alternate bikes, which would have fresh rubber.
This set the stage for the TALE OF TWO RACES.
Off the initial start, there was lots of bumping and riders led wide, which allowed initially the factory Ducatis to led a group that included also Valentino Rossi on the Yamaha M1, future champion Maverick Viñales on his Suzuki, Marc Marquez on Honda, followed closely by Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrossa, et al.
While the Ducatis continued to show good pace, for the first 10 or so laps, Rossi and Marquez rose to clear lead, battling back and forth, while meanwhile reigning world champion Lorenzo lost the bike and crashed into a DNF.
Marquez narrowly led Rossi into the pits for the mandatory swap, which occurred without much drama. However, once back out on the track, Marquez had a clear advantage and built a commanding lead for the rest of the race. Rossi swapped onto his "B" bike which didn't have the pace of his primary ride and he struggled to keep in position for a podium.
He fought hard with the Ducatis, after Vinales left contention in his own crash, and it appeared that Rossi would have to settle for 4th place until this happened:
On one of the final corners, Ianonne pushed for 2nd place, cutting underneath his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, but lost the bike in the process, taking them both onto their sides and into the gravel. Incredibly, Dovi was able to pick up and push his bike over the finish line for 13th place and a few important points. Ianonne would later be handed a grid penalty for the next race for his actions.
With the Ducatis removed, Rossi was able to claim 2nd place, while Dani Pedrossa came from way back off the lead to claim the final podium spot in third.
There's not much time to relax for the MotoGP crews, as they travel now to the USA for the next race this coming Sunday in Austin TX! Follow me on Twitter for more thoughts and breaking news @BMWRennmotorrad
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