It might not have been the podium he was aiming for, but Marc Marquez showed he’s ready to fight with a spirited ride to fourth as Pol Espargaro collected 11th place.
Crowds at the Gran Premio Red Bull de España were back to their best as the flocked to the hills of the Circuito de Jerez – Angel Nieto from dawn. Pushing 60,000, the home fans were wanting a show and the 25-lap MotoGP race certainly didn’t disappoint.
Initially launching off the line well, Marc Marquez found Aleix Espargaro in his path and had to alter his trajectory through the opening corner but quickly passed the Aprilia rider. A three-way game of chess would quickly emerge between Marquez, Aleix Espargaro and Miller as the trio tested each other for the majority of the race with a podium finish in view. The powder keg would ignite in the closing laps, Marquez attacking Miller and moving into third place with just five laps to go and with Miller so strong on the brakes, Marquez knew that attacking through the fast turn 5 would be his best option as their chess game escalated.
From there it was a brawl as Marquez, Miller and Espargaro battled – an incredible save from the #93 at the final corner allowing Espargaro to just break away. A fired-up Marquez refused to let the moment hold him back as he fought until the very end with Miller, pushing his Honda RC213V to the limit and sending the crowd into a frenzy as he left long black lines around the track as Marquez looked to get past Miller again. 13 points in his pocket, Marquez moves up two positions into ninth overall in the championship and sits 45 points behind defending World Champion Fabio Quartararo.
Pol Espargaro once again executed a great start to the race and made up a handful of positions from 13th on the grid in the opening corners. Running wide at Turn 5 on the opening lap left Espargaro with some work to do and he became entangled in a race-long battle with Brad Binder and Oliveira. Taking 11th place, the #44 had hoped to achieve more after showing promising pace during the weekend but the rising temperatures of Sunday left Espargaro unable to conjure his speed.
The Repsol Honda Team will now remain in Jerez for the first in-season test of the year, a brief but important Monday test at the 4.4-kilometre-long track. The objective for both Marquez and Espargaro is to find the speed and feeling they had during the winter tests and return to consistently battling at the front of the field.