Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo has taken victory at a rain-hit Motorland Aragon MotoGP round, keeping his head on a slippery track while Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and world champion-elect Marc Marquez all crashed.
And as the front runners all fell by the wayside, Britain’s Cal Crutchlow scored his first podium on the Ducati, bagging a narrow third place as he banged fairings with Aleix Espargaro as they crossed the line.
Rossi was the first man to crash, running off track and hitting damp Astroturf. He has been taken to hospital for a precautionary check after banging his head via the circuit medical centre.
As Lorenzo, Marquez and Pedrosa scrapped for the lead, rain began to fall lightly with 11 laps to go and race direction showed the white flag, meaning riders could come in and change bikes. Then, two laps later, it really started to come down but the main three men all elected to stay out.
With nine to go, Marquez cleverly allowed Lorenzo to pass on the straight so he would be the first man to encounter any wet patches. However, it was Pedrosa who fell foul of the damp surface, going down with four laps to go, losing the front on the brakes into turn one as Lorenzo came in to change to his wet bike.
Marquez elected not to pit even though his mechanics had the tyres warmers off his second bike and they were left scratching their heads. A lap later down he went, losing the front to remount and swap bike with two left to run. He eventually finished in 13th place with Pedrosa one place behind.
It was an historic race for both Crutchlow and Espargaro. The British rider has struggled all year but managed to get fifth in qualifying and rode with his head to come in at the right time and take the podium.
Espargaro, meanwhile, got the first ever Open class podium spot in second but was only 0.017s in front of Crutchlow. The Spaniard was the first man in and came out of the pits in sixth place but his wet tyres were worth 10 seconds so he made his way through, as did Crutchlow, while those who pitted behind him fell further back.
Stefan Bradl took fourth place with Bradley Smith taking fifth place, one place ahead of team-mate Pol Espargaro who had been lying in fifth before the rain came down.
Scott Redding just lost out to Nicky Hayden in the Production Honda battle, taking 10th place behind the returning American while Michael Laverty ended in 16th, just out of the points. Andrea Dovizioso also crashed out, as did front-row man Andrea Iannone.
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