Honda’s MotoGP riders had a challenging time in today’s sun-baked Spanish Grand Prix sprint, a thrilling, quickfire 11-lap race around the legendary circuit in southern Spain.
Following practice and qualifying at the fourth round of this year’s 20 round MotoGP World Championship, Japanese ace Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) looked like Honda’s best chance of a top result today.
The race was stopped and restarted after a first-lap pile-up, which left no one injured. Nakajima hadn’t got the best of getaways during the first start, due to wheelspin, so the 31-year-old from Chiba had high hopes of a better getaway in the restart. He was going well and giving it everything he had until he slid off at Turn Nine of the fourth of 11 laps. Happily he walked away from the fall.
That left Alex Rins (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) as Honda’s big hope of a top-three result, two weeks after his brilliant weekend at the Grand Prix of the Americas, outside the city of Austin, USA. Rins finished a brilliant second in the Americas sprint and backed that up with a sensational victory in the Americas Grand Prix race,
However, Rins discovered that his RC213V isn’t as well suited to Jerez as it is to the Circuit of the Americas, because here he is losing a little time through the Spanish racetrack’s series of long, long sweeping corners. Therefore the best he could do today was finish 13th just behind 2021 MotoGP World Champion Fabio Quartararo. The 27-year-old Spaniard and his crew will learn from today’s experience and aim to improve his machine for tomorrow’s Grand Prix race, with starts at 15:00 local time.
Honda MotoGP test rider Stefan Bradl (Team HRC Honda RC213V), who is testing new aerodynamic solutions and other upgrades here, took the chequered flag in 15th position.
Honda World Superbike rider Iker Lecuona (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) is replacing Marc Marquez this weekend, so this event is proving a real baptism of fire for the youngster. The 23-year-old Spaniard finished three places behind Bradl in his first race aboard an RC213V. Tomorrow he will use what he learned today and try to chase World Championship points.
Former Moto3 and MotoGP World Champion Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) didn’t finish the race, after the
25-year-old Spaniard slid off at slow speed, straggling with a high front-tyre temperature. He wasn’t hurt.
The MotoGP paddock gets one weekend off before reconvening at Le Mans, France, which is followed on consecutive weekends by the German and Netherlands rounds of the championship.