Three of the biggest names in MotoGP have crashed out of the Spanish Grand Prix in a scary collision that had huge ramifications for the championship standings.
Honda’s Marc Marquez flew past the chequered flag way ahead of his rivals at Jerez de la Frontera on Sunday, climbing atop the championship standings in the process.
The race was marked by crashes that took out several of the chief contenders including British pole sitter Cal Crutchlow of Honda, Spaniards Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo and the Italian Andrea Dovizioso who had led the championship going into the race.
Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Pedrosa looked destined to fight for the win but all fell in a turn six collision just as Marquez, who started from the second row, had pulled slightly ahead with seven laps still remaining.
Race commissioners decided there had been no infringement as Marquez tore away and Frenchman Johann Zarco swept past the stricken trio.
“I really never believed I could win this race from the second row. But I was clever and pushed it. It’s a long race with many different things to bear in mind,” Marquez said.
Zarco on his Yamaha Tech3 finished over five seconds adrift of the world champion in second while Andrea Iannone of Suzuki was third at 8.214sec.
Zarco climbed to second in the standings with 58 points behind Marquez on 70 while Italian Iannone gained a second consecutive podium spot that took him to fourth on 48.
Zarco thanked his lucky stars after the race.
“Sometimes you need a little luck and today I got some,” said the Frenchman. “When the three of them fell I could hardly believe it.”
“I said to myself ‘keep calm there’s only seven laps left’ and these 20 points are great for the championship,” he said.
Danilo Petrucci was fourth at 8.617sec and the veteran Italian Valentino Rossi was fifth right on his tail.