Reigning World champion Jorge Lorenzo rode a perfect, but physically demanding race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, to claim his second consecutive MotoGP victory, his third of the 2013 season.
After his dominating win at Mugello two weeks ago, the Yamaha rider’s weekend did not get off to the start that he had expected.
A crash in practice and uncharacteristically unable to find his usual metronomic set-up, plus a clutch issue in the heat of the qualifying session, left the Spaniard to start third on the grid – after Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa pulverized the five year standing lap record, leaving the rest of the field more than six tenths adrift.
After qualifying Pedrosa was highly tipped to win the race, but the Spanish heat and boiling surface conditions which offered very little grip, and a radical set-up change by Lorenzo’s team during warm up, changed the expected outcome.
As the lights went out Lorenzo dived past Pedrosa as they headed into turn 1, while superstar rookie Marc Marquez moved directly up from sixth to third, with Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi trying to latch onto their tails.
The first lap however saw Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista attempt an out-braking move on Valentino Rossi, in almost the same fashion that had resulted in both riders crashing out in the previous race on the first lap.
Rossi was forced to take a wide line to avoid contact, while Bautista fell heavily with his Honda skittering across the track, just barely missing the Italian – Rossi later claimed that Bautista was “crazy” and “very stupid.”
For the first five laps there was very little change as Pedrosa and Marquez tried to pressure Lorenzo, with a slightly more distant Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi trying to play catch-up.
On the sixth lap and at turn 6 Cruchlow lost the front of his M1 crashing out of the race, and just seconds later the same thing happened to Ducati’s Nicky Hayden, who was having his best race of the season, and had just passed Stefan Bradlfor fifth .
With just four laps remaining in the 25 lapper, Lorenzo suddenly upped the pace and stretched his advantage over Pedrosa to over a second, while Pedrosa had his hands full defending himself from his marauding team mate, who was literally all over his tail.
Heading into the penultimate lap, Marquez attempted a pass at turn 4, but almost hit Pedrosa's rear tire and braked so hard that his #93 RC213V shuddered under the violence, as he picked up six-tenth of a second gap.
Regaining contro and immediately making up for the lost time, Marquez tried to latch back onto Pedrosa, as the two raced towards the finish line, but it just wasn't enough, and the veteran Honda rider would finish second, 0.090s ahead of his rookie team mate.
After two consecutive DNFs, Rossi rode home in a lonely fourth, finishing almost six seconds from his winning team mate.
Stefan Bradl also rode to a lonely fifth, while injured Yamaha Tech3 rookie Bradley Smith finished sixth and had his best race of the season after getting ahead of Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with two laps to go.
CRT riders Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards were 8th and 9th,, while Michele Pirro who was replacing the still recovering Ben Spies in Pramac Racing again, was tenth after running into the kitty litter in the opening lap to avoid hitting Yonny Hernandez.
Only 16 riders out of 24 would make it to the finish line in the gruelling, but rather dull race.