Márquez nearly reached the podium in Jerez
Marc shows his pace in Jerez and finishes one place off the podium, while Pol takes 11th position.
The Repsol Honda Team riders arrived at the Jerez-Ángel Nieto Circuit ready to offer the best version of themselves in the first Spanish Grand Prix of the season. Pol Espargaró finished the first free practice in eighth position and Marc, just a few tenths away, in eleventh position. Pol continued to show his pace for the rest of the day. By the end of the day, Espargaró had posted a best time of 1'37.590s, just half a second behind the fastest rider, Fabio Quartararo, and just a tenth of a second off the top five.
For his part, Marc finished the morning session 0.612 seconds behind Joan Mir's best lap. In the afternoon, the eight-time world champion was not so lucky and crashed at turn 6 and, a little later, at turn 9, although he avoided injury in both cases. However, the crashes did not allow Marc to improve his lap time, ending the day in 19th position.
The sun came along with the riders throughout the qualifying day in Jerez. The #93 wanted to put behind him the tough Friday that he had had the day before, reinforcing his focusness in Free Practice 3. Marc set the fourth fastest time of the session, earning himself a place in Q2. The speed shown in practice continued in Q2, where the Catalan rider was able to set a best lap of 1'37.145 to secure fifth place on the grid for Sunday's 25-lap race.
Pol, despite having shown such a constant pace during the first day in Jerez, had problems in free practice 3, and crashed in the last corner. Already in Q1, Espargaró had to fight from the start to finish in a good position, but he eventually lined up 13th for the next day's race. Espargaró's 1'37.138s in Q1 would have been good enough for him to reach fifth place on the grid, with a time 0.007 seconds quicker than his team-mate's.
More than 60,000 fans traveled to the race track on Sunday to see the show that promised to be MotoGP. The race did not disappoint. Marc's fight began with a very good start, very soon finding Aleix Espargaró in his path and having to change his trajectory already in the first turn. However, he was quickly able to pass the Aprilia rider. Quickly, too, a three-way fight would break out between Marc, Aleix and Miller. In the closing laps, the excitement was palpable in the air… Marc attacked Miller and moved up to third place with just five laps to go. From there, the fight between the three intensified again. Finally, the #93 finished in fourth position, between Aleix, who finally took a deserved third place, and Miller, who crossed the finish line fifth. With 13 points in his pocket, Marc moves up two positions in the general championship standings, taking ninth place and 45 points behind Fabio.
Pol made a great race start again, recovering several positions in the first turns. If Marc's battle had been with Aleix and Miller, Pol's was with Brad Binder and Oliveira. Occupying 11th place, the #44 had hoped to finish somewhat better after showing promising pace throughout the weekend, but rising temperatures slowed the Granollers rider's speed.
The Repsol Honda Team will now stay in Jerez for the first season test of the year. The goal, for both Pol and Marc, is to find the speed and the good feelings they had during the winter tests to reappear stronger than ever in the next Grand Prix, which will be held in two weeks in Le Mans, France.