Guest Blog: Last Lap Duels: Jerez.

by Neil Morrison – (@NeilMorrison87)

What moves had Marc Marquez actually watched to glean inspiration for that epic overtake at Jerez?

What videos does Marquez speak of?

Photo: YamahaMotoGP 
The undoubted talking point from the Spanish Grand Prix was Marc Marquez’s unflinching and controversial move on reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo, at the final corner on the final lap. 

The press fallout was in overdrive all week, and why not? The mood between the Moto GP elite has been all too harmonious since Rossi went to Ducati at the end of 2010 and Lorenzo and Pedrosa’s hatred slowly evolved into a mutual kind of respect. There’s no point denying it. Many of motor sport’s finest moments have come amidst a bitter fued or inter-team rivalry. And if the first three Grand Prix of 2013 are anything to go by, Marc Marquez has already crystallised his place amidst that elite.

Lorenzo, in a self-benefiting way, initially refused to comment on the situation but Marquez was only too happy to explain his actions. When asked to comment on the situation in the post race press conference Marquez stated, “I tried to pass him, but ran wide. However I had seen many videos of the last corner – of Valentino (Rossi), Pedrosa and others – and knew that it was possible to pass there. I learned from those.”

Like the final turns at Assen and Suzuka, the newly titled Jorge Lorenzo corner has seen its fair share of controversial last-lap moves. Here we take a look at some of the most infamous through Jerez’s 27 year Grand Prix history to try and decide which the #93 had been studying prior to his home round?

‘Read more’ for videos and analysis of previous final corner incidents at Jerez…

1. Martinez on Herreros, Herreros on Martinez – 80cc GP – 1988

1988 was a vintage year for “Aspar”. After twice winning the 80cc championship in 1986 and 1987, he set his sights on 125 domination the following year as well as maintaining his usual “tiddler” class assault.

After losing out to Stefan Dôrflinger at the first 80cc event of the year at Jarama, ‘Aspar’ headed to Jerez to set the record straight. He was locked in a race long battle with fellow Spaniards Manuel Herreros and Alex Crivillé. Martinez’ experience showed as he brushed aside a last corner move from Herreros to execute a well-rehearsed dash by to the line. He continued to win an astonishing fifteen races out of eighteen in both classes throughout the season (in two of the three he didn’t win he finished second) in a show of dominance in two classes not seen since.
2. John Kocinski on Luca Cadalora – 250cc GP – 1990

Kocinski arrived in Europe for his first full season of world championship racing in 1990 after dominating the American domestic scene for three years. Backed by team manager and then mentor Kenny Roberts Sr it seemed a first world title was only a matter of time away.

Only his main competition came in the form of Luca Cadalora, a similarly astute and precise master of the 250 machine. It was to be a coming together of two wonderfully complex characters and two quixotic talents. Sparks flew between the pair and Carlos Cardus in that year’s 250 campaign but rarely as much as at the final turn at the third round in Jerez where Kocinski’s supreme braking prowess came to the fore.
3. Mick Doohan on Alex Crivillé – 500cc GP – 1996

In 1996 two time World Champion Mick Doohan had attempted to put some enjoyment back in to his racing. After fighting the likes of Lawson, Rainey et al. on his way to the top, he was less than impressed with the quality or tactics of the premier class’ new generation. Spaniard and teammate Alex Crivillé was top of that list and his improved speed at the start of 1996 were becoming more of an annoyance to Mick.

His move came after a chaotic final two laps when the circuit commentator miscalculated the lap count and pronounced Crivillé the winner with two laps to spare. Fans poured onto the circuit from the stadium section and stood by the rumble strips as the Repsol teammates and Luca Cadalora bombed through, seemingly oblivious to what was going on around them. As Doohan slid inside at the final turn, Criville got on the throttle too early and high sided out of the race.

The same circuit commentator claimed Doohan had been at fault for the move and the Australian was subsequently hit with stones, and even an old man’s cane on his slow down lap. The mood in the Repsol garage got increasingly worse when Criville’s team handed in an official protest, demanding the result be taken back to before the crowd emerged.

Doohan’s clean execution of the move was a perfect example of his cool, unflustered approach. Although he was no longer flavour of the month in Spanish quarters, he had asserted his dominance for races to come.
4. Lorenzo on Juan Olive – Spanish Aprilia Championship – 1998

Oh the irony. While contesting the Spanish Aprilia Championship in 1998 the future four time champion ran Olive, two and a half years his elder, off the track at Jerez’ final turn. Without a hint of contrition the baby faced Lorenzo, certainly not lacking in confidence even at that tender age, said of the move “I’m sorry for him, but this is racing.”
5. Valentino Rossi on Sete Gibernau – Moto GP Race – 2005

Possibly the most talked about move of the decade came after 27 blistering laps where the front pairing from 2004 fought in a different class to the rest of the field. With Marco Melandri circulating 18 seconds back in third, all eyes focussed on the front two for an epic last lap. Rossi’s attempted move at the Dry Sack hairpin backfired when he ran wide, and after swapping positions in a chaotic dash through the complex, Rossi forcefully asserted himself inside Gibernau and ran him off the track. No matter where you stand, it was clear what the local fans thought as they serenaded him with chants of “son of a ***re” during the podium ceremony.

Smiley, cheery, cuddly: yes. But this demonstrated Rossi had fangs and conveyed just what a fearsome competitor he is. Marquez referenced this move specifically and it must be unnerving for his rivals to see the similarities with Rossi in their highly honed desire to win.
6. Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Bautista all on each other – 250cc GP – 2007

This feisty encounter between three current Moto GP staples saw a ridiculous number of outrageous late braking efforts pulled into the Dry Sack hairpin and the final corner. Most impressive of all was the then reigning 125cc Champion Bautista mixing it with the class of the field in only his second ride on Aspar’s 250 Aprilia. Here there are countless examples that Marquez may have learned from, not to mention Bautista’s stunning last lap pass on Dovizioso.
7. Dani Pedrosa on Jorge Lorenzo – Moto GP Race – 2010

This wasn’t quite the last lap admittedly, but the end of race battle between the two Spaniards, still not the best of friends, so nearly came to an end a lap early in 2010. Lorenzo’s chances of victory looked to have been scuppered after a bad start and a frustrating opening nine laps stuck behind Hayden left him stranded in third, over three and a half seconds back of Pedrosa. He set about an astonishing recovery however, and after easily disposing of teammate Rossi, he caught the leader with two laps remaining. Entering the final corner Lorenzo attempted an audacious move around the outside, only for Pedrosa to let his brakes off and proceeded to nudge his countryman to the outside of the track. Undeterred, Lorenzo stole by on the final lap to take a thrilling first victory of his championship year.
Next up is Le Mans, a circuit whose final double right-hander has seen plenty of similar daring final lap overtakes. I wonder if Lorenzo will cover his inside line entering the final corner in just over a week’s time?


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