Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both finished on the podium in an emotional and exciting Grand Prix de Catalunya, on a day that all of the riders and the entire MotoGP paddock treated as a heartfelt tribute to Luis Salom.
Marc, who today reversed his race number to the “39” of Salom, earned second position after a long and fair duel with Valentino Rossi, which saw the Honda rider closely chasing the Italian for 15 laps before engaging in an exciting battle for the victory five laps from the end. The pair overtook each other several times before the penultimate lap, when a small mistake by Marc allowed Rossi to pull a little gap. With the tyres put to a severe test by the higher temperature compared to yesterday, and with faultless Jorge Lorenzo out of the race after a collision with Andrea Iannone, Marc wisely settled for second and for 20 very important points, which put him in the leadership for the Championship ahead Lorenzo, Rossi and Pedrosa.
Contrary to his teammate, who raced on hard-front hard-rear Michelin tyres like most of the other riders, Dani opted for a medium-rear hard-front choice, which proved to be the right one for him. He got a brilliant start from the front row but wasn’t able to keep the advantage into the first turn, finding himself in fourth position. He soon overtook Iannone but was passed by Rossi, who was charging from the back. Dani was then involved in a tough duel for fourth with Maverick Viñales, and by the time he got the better of that and then passed Lorenzo for third, he had already lost close contact with Rossi and Marc at the front. Tough he was able to keep a very fast pace, he couldn’t close the gap with the front pair.
The Repsol Honda Team will remain in Montmeló tomorrow for a one-day post-race test.