Fall three laps from home sees top-10 finish go begging and extends horror Jerez run.
Jack’s strong run of results in the early phase of 2019 has come to a sudden halt, the Australian crashing out of a top-10 position with three laps remaining in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez on Sunday afternoon.
Jack was in 10th place at the final corner on lap 23 of the 25-lap race when he clashed with Alex Espargaro (Aprilia), his Ducati ending up in the gravel on the outside of the final turn to continue his run of outs at the Spanish circuit; other than sixth last year, Jack has never scored another point in five MotoGP starts at the track.
It was on Saturday when Jack’s weekend at Jerez began to unravel; after finishing 10th on the combined practice timesheets on Friday, he fell to 12th and missed out on an automatic berth in Q2 for the first time this year on Saturday morning, being forced to abort his best lap of FP3 when a red flag was thrown to a repair an air fence damaged when Honda’s Cal Crutchlow crashed earlier in the session.
After a late crash at Turn 2 saw him qualify 15th, the first time he’s been off the front two rows of the grid all season, Jack made amends with a forceful start to get to 12th by the first corner, and was ninth two laps into the race after putting a move on Crutchlow’s Honda teammate Takaaki Nakagami.
Jack pursued Crutchlow for eighth for the next 12 laps, the pair gaining a place when pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was forced to retire on lap 14 with a mechanical issue, but it was from this point that Jack’s lap times started to slow as he struggled for grip.
Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) passed Jack on lap 19, and he lost a place to Joan Mir’s Suzuki a lap later before the incident with Espargaro just over two laps from home.
“I’m very sorry because it is always a shame to fall with a few laps to go,” he said.
“You go and do 23 laps, it’s not nice to lay it over. But mostly it was my fault. When you start going backwards like that, people are just firing it at you left, right and centre.
“As Aleix was braking to try and pass me, he had a bit of a moment, ran a little wide and I’m only human, I’m going to try and hold my inside line. This time it didn’t work, so back to the drawing board.”
The non-score sees Jack fall one place in the world championship standings to seventh with 29 points ahead of the next race, the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on May 19.
Full race results from Spain can be found on motogp.com here.
Photos courtesy of Pramac Racing.