Dani Pedrosa made it three different winners in the first four MotoGP races of the season after sealing a dominant lights-to-flag victory at Jerez to win the Spanish Grand Prix on a weekend where Honda brought the championship battle alive, leading home an all-Spanish podium in the process.
Pedrosa took the plaudits for a faultless ride, converting Saturday’s pole position into 25 points as he led home a Honda one-two, and with Marc Marquez in second, the top three in the championship table leave Jerez separated by just four points.
Honda were not the only team celebrating a strong weekend either, as Ducati were given plenty to cheer by Jorge Lorenzo’s maiden rostrum finish, with the five-time world champion claiming his first third-place finish since leaving Yamaha for the Italian manufacturer at the start of the year.
Pedrosa enjoyed a trademark start as he launched the Repsol Honda off pole position to hit turn one first and the Spaniard never looked back, with the Spaniard quickly building a one-second gap that, despite a brief Marc Marquez fightback, never dipped under nine-tenths of a second and more often than not was maintained at more than a second.
Marquez in the end will have been more than happy to come home in second through, with his main championship rivals of Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi struggling to find any confidence in the front tyre.
Rossi and Vinales may top the championship table, but they never threatened at Jerez and Vinales was only able to manage sixth position, behind the resurgent Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo, the Tech 3 Yamaha of Johann Zarco and Lorenzo’s teammate, Andrea Dovizioso.
But for Rossi, it was much worse as the nine-time world champion plummeted down the order, coming home in tenth position after being jumped in the closing laps by Danilo Petrucci, Jonas Folger and the lead Aprillia of Aleix Espargaro.
Pedrosa managed the gap to Marquez superbly to control the entire race…