Reigning MotoGP™ World Champion beats Brad “the Bullet” Baker in Barcelona
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took back the Superprestigio Dirt Track crown at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, beating AMA FlatTrack Pro’s Brad “the Bullet” Baker – with former Moto2™ World Champion Toni Elias joining the action to beat the American to P2 in the Superfinal.
2014 Moto3™ World Champion Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) who took first blood with a win ahead of his brother Marc in Heat 1 for the Superprestigio class, before the number 93 hit back in Heat 2 and the brothers topped the group.
AMA FlatTrack Pro’s Brad Baker won both his heats – as did hot-tipped rival Ferran Cardus, the recently-proclaimed Champion of the RFME Copa de España de Flat Track – as both men staked some serious claim on the evening, ready for an expected showdown in the Super Final.
The first LCQ of the night saw both WorldSBK riders Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Team) and Jordi Torres (Althea BMW) go head to head for a chance to move through, with Fores getting the better of Torres but neither able to quite qualify. WorldSSP rider Kyle Smith also had a tough evening, getting tangled in on-track incidents and unable to move through. Legendary former WorldSBK Championship runner-up and race winner Ruben Xaus took victory in the Challenge Race to decide the final standings for those in the Superprestigio class who didn’t graduate.
2016 Moto3™ Rookie of the Year Joan Mir (Leopard Racing) took the first LCQ victory, ensuring his graduation as class rival Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Racing Moto3) had a tougher evening and missed the cut. LCQ 2 went to Moto2™ rider Xavier Simeon, who joined fellow Superprestigio class entrants Marc and Alex Marquez, Mir, Toni Elias, Ricky Cardus, Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) and Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP) in the Superprestigio finals.
Then it was Final time. Superprestigio Final 1 – of a grand total of four – saw Marc Marquez win ahead of Elias, before the rider from Cervera carved an ever more impressive path to the Superfinal with four wins, including the 14-lap fourth final after an initial Red Flag. After the points were totaled, Elias, Schrotter and Simeon were those to qualify for the Superfinal alongside Marquez – ready to encounter their Open class rivals for the first time.
The finals for the Open Class saw Baker, Tom Chareyre, Gerard Bailo and Ferran Cardus prove the top four – ready for the final 16 lap showdown – and Baker getting ready for another duel with great rival Marquez for the crown.
After a defeat in 2013, a win in 2014 and another defeat last year, Marquez was certainly ready to take back “his” crown following a stunning 2016 MotoGP™ campaign. Ending the year in style, the number 93 escaped the melee early in the Superfinal and kept his head down as Toni Elias gave chase – with Baker suffering slightly a little further back. With Elias unable to catch him, Marquez took the flag for his second Superprestigio win – but beat Baker for the first time, having take his previous win at the event against American representation from Jared Mees.
Marc Marquez: “I’m really happy because last year I was so close and this year I got it. I know what I did wrong in 2015 so I tried not to do it again. The pace was really good, maybe the best year, and that’s also why my team has arrived here and almost treated it like a GP! I hope everyone has enjoyed the party!”