A double race on the same circuit is a new feature (as well as a necessity) of this championship. So, as a result It is curious to see if racing on the same track would shuffle the cards on the table or if the second would have been a photocopy of the first. Now we can say, with the GPs of Spain and Andalusia behind us, that both happened.
The weather conditions on the two Sundays were slightly different, for the first race the air temperature was 32° C, the asphalt temperature 53° and the humidity 41%, while on the second it was warmer: 36° air, 59° track and a lower humidity (29%).
The first two positions on the podium did not change: with Quartararo winning and Vinales second. If Fabio had taken 41’23.796 the first time to complete the 25 laps of the Spanish GP, last Sunday he took a little less, 41’22.666. He was therefore about one second faster, but he didn't waste any time in scraps or overtaking, powering into the lead right from the off until the last lap. Where the Frenchman improved a lot was in his fastest lap, going from 1’38.445 to 1’38.119, better than Marquez in the first race.
However, all eyes were focused on Vinales, who in the first round had chosen the soft tyre on the front, while last Sunday he opted for the hard one, like all the other riders. Maverick was actually faster, but also only about one second, exactly like Quartararo, and in fact also the gap at the finish was unchanged. Where the Spaniard lost out was on his fastest lap: two Sundays ago he was second only to Marquez with 1’38.445, in the second race he did not go any better than 1'38.752. Vinales explained how being behind Valentino had penalized him, causing his tyres to overheat, and the data confirm it.
That Valentino Rossi made a decisive step forward is undeniable, but unfortunately it is not possible to compare the two races over the distance, as he did not finish the first. You can take a look at his fastest lap, which however did not improve much, just three tenths (1'38.812 against 1'39.163), a sign that the decisive change he made on his race pace and on the management of the tyres, as could clearly be seen.
The same goes for Bagnaia too, even if Pecco started from a much better situation. In fact, the Ducati Pramac rider reduced his fastest lap in the second race by 3 tenths (exactly) and with 1’38.499 he was only slower in this classification than Quartararo.
And Dovizioso? Here the painful reality kicks in… In the Andalusian GP Andrea was 5 and a half seconds slower than in Spain, a clear step back. A difference that instead is not seen in his fast lap, because his best performance in the two races was comparable. Certainly, one of the causes (but not the only one) of Dovi's step backward was his starting position: in the first race he started 8th and immediately put himself in 6th place, in the second 14th and found himself 10th on the first lap.
With Marc Marquez absent, it was the Honda of Nakagami and Alex who made decisive steps forward. Takaaki, who finished just off the podium, improved his race time by almost 17 seconds, Alex by more than 8. Their progress was significant, even after the crashes and retirements that affected their final position. For Alex, the step forward is not surprising, being a rookie, that of the Japanese instead it is, a sign of how much help is required from the HRC engineers.
Below have a look at the main data of the two Grands Prix.