Three Takeaways From MotoGP in Jerez
A MotoGP legend received a hero's welcome in Spain.
MotoGP has returned to Europe and this past weekend saw a packed and exuberant crowd in Jerez soak in an incredible two-wheeled spectacle. But what were the three key learnings from MotoGP in Jerez.
(Image Credit: MotoGP)
KTM Are Ducati's Main Rivals
Aprilia's Maverick Vinales can't seem to shake his poor starts and his teammate Aleix Espargaro is having trouble finishing races. Yamaha and Honda are struggling to extract performance from their machines. Does that mean Ducati will run away with things this year? Maybe not, as KTM have made a huge leap forward compared to 2022. Brad Binder and Jack Miller fought for victory in both the Saturday Sprint and Sunday's GP. Binder triumphed on Staurday with Miller in third. On Sunday, Binder led the majority of the GP before Ducati's Francesco Bagnaia passed him in the closing stages, with Miller rounding out the podium. Can KTM convert their Sprint performance into GP wins in the near future? Are they genuine contenders to take Ducati's crown? Only time will tell.
Dani Pedrosa Has Still Got It
Not only were Binder and Miller fighting for victory aboard their KTM machines, but a third rider was turning heads for the Austrian manufacturer in Jerez, Dani Pedrosa. Having retired from full-time MotoGP in 2018, the 'Baby Samurai' has been an integral part of KTM's recent success as their test rider. Pedrosa made an emotional return in front of an adoring home crowd to MotoGP racing action in Jerez as a wildcard and remarkably topped the first practice session on Friday. The Spaniard continued to prove he'd lost none of the skill that led him to 31 MotoGP wins as he finished 6th in the Sprint and 7th in Sunday's GP. It was a remarkable show of Pedrosa's enduring talent and helped complete KTM's feel-good story of the weekend.
Bagnaia Has The Right Stuff
Bagnaia missed out on the 2021 MotoGP title after crashing out of too many races and the same fate almost befell him last season before he mounted an incredible comeback to take the title. Having crashed out in Argentina and Austin, Texas, the Italian would've been forgiven for settling for second behind Binder in Jerez. However, the Ducati rider threw caution to the wind, committing to an impressive lunge in the last corner of the Jerez circuit with only a handful of laps remaining to take victory and reclaim the championship lead.
The MotoGP season continues with the French GP in Le Mans with Friday practice kicking off on May 12. Will Bagnaia make it back-to-back victories, will Yamaha and Honda get over their troubles, can Aprilia finally make good on their preseason promise and will KTM convert Sprint wins into GP wins? Whatever the answer to these questions may be, MotoGP will continue to deliver incredible racing. Check out the championship standings below.
2023 MotoGP Riders' Standings
1 - Francesco Bagnaia - Ducati Lenovo Team - Ducati - 87 Points
2 - Marco Bezzecchi - Mooney VR46 Racing Team - Ducati - 65 Points
3 - Brad Binder - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - KTM - 62 Points
4 - Jack Miller - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - KTM - 49 Points
5 - Maverick Viñales - Aprilia Racing - Aprilia - 48 Points
6 - Luca Marini - Mooney VR46 Racing Team - Ducati - 48 Points
7 - Jorge Martin - Prima Pramac Racing - Ducati - 48 Points
8 - Alex Rins - LCR Honda CASTROL - Honda - 47 Points
9 - Johann Zarco - Prima Pramac Racing - Ducati - 46 Points
10 - Alex Marquez - Gresini Racing MotoGP - Ducati - 41 Points
11 - Fabio Quartararo - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - Yamaha - 40 Points
12 - Franco Morbidelli - Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP - Yamaha - 34 Points
13 - Aleix Espargaro - Aprilia Racing - Aprilia - 29 Points
14 - Miguel Oliveira - CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team - Aprilia - 21 Points
15 - Fabio Di Giannantonio - Gresini Racing MotoGP - Ducati - 17 Points
16 - Augusto Fernandez - GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 - KTM - 17 Points
17 - Takaaki Nakagami - LCR Honda IDEMITSU - Honda - 14 Points
18 - Dani Pedrosa - Red Bull KTM Factory Racing - KTM - 13 Points
19 - Marc Marquez - Repsol Honda Team - Honda - 7 Points
20 - Joan Mir - Repsol Honda Team - Honda - 5 Points
21 - Michele Pirro - Ducati Lenovo Team - Ducati - 5 Points
22 - Jonas Folger - GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3 - KTM - 4 Points
23 - Raul Fernandez - CryptoDATA RNF MotoGP Team - Aprilia - 3 Points
24 - Stefan Bradl - Repsol Honda Team - Honda - 0 Points
25 - Iker Lecuona - Repsol Honda Team - Honda - 0 Points
26 - Enea Bastianini - Ducati Lenovo Team - Ducati - 0 Points