Brilliant start paves way for Jack’s fourth top-five finish this season.
Jack has finished inside the top five for the fourth time this season, ending up fifth in a dramatic Catalan Grand Prix in Barcelona on Sunday afternoon.
Jack started the race from his second-worst grid spot of the year in 14th place, which came after a difficult qualifying where he’d crashed at Turn 5 in Q1. He made immediate amends on race day, gaining four spots off the line to be 10th by the first corner, and then rising to seventh at the end of the back straight into Turn 10, gaining seven places on the first of 24 laps.
The race – and possibly the world championship fight – was turned on its head at the same corner a lap later, when Honda’s Jorge Lorenzo crashed and took Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, as well as Yamaha teammates Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi, with him, all four riders out on the spot. Jack picked his way through the chaos and briefly held third place before dropping behind Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo and Suzuki’s Alex Rins to sit in fifth, with Honda’s Marc Marquez a runaway race leader after teammate Lorenzo’s mistake.
With tyre management critical on a track surface that was over 50 degrees, Jack settled into a rhythm and consolidated his fifth place, a brief fight with Quartararo on lap 15 seeing him briefly rise to fourth before dropping behind the Frenchman. He then inherited fourth place on lap 18 when Rins ran wide at Turn 1, and held the position until Turn 4 on the 24th and last lap, when the Spaniard eased back past.
Jack crossed the line in fifth, 6.870 seconds behind race-winner Marquez, for by far his best result in the Catalan GP; before Sunday, 10th in 2016 was his best return at the circuit in four previous visits.
“I got off to a good start and fought with the front group for the whole race,” Jack said.
“The feeling with the bike was very good even though we couldn’t get the tyres to work as well as we could.
“I felt I had good pace all weekend, but I could never get a lap together. To do it on race day and finish fifth … really nice to show that although we didn’t have the one-lap pace, we’d worked really hard to get used tyres to work.”
Jack has now finished inside the top five in all four races where he’s seen the chequered flag in the opening seven rounds; last year, he managed that feat just twice for the entire 19-race season.
The 11 points for fifth sees Jack retain sixth place in the standings with 53 points, ahead of the next race at Assen, the Dutch TT scheduled for Sunday June 30. Before then, Jack will be back on track at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Monday for a one-day post-race test session.
Full race results from Catalunya can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Pramac Racing.