Round 14 Aragon MotoGP- Motorland Aragon
To sum up the Aragon GP we experienced a dramatic beginning followed by a dramatic conclusion with little action in the middle. With Jorge Lorenzo starting the race on pole he was looking to be a hot favourite to take the win at the Motorland Circuit but fate had other ideas.
As the race began Marc Marquez made a great start out of third with Lorenzo also looking good but as they rounded the first corner it was Marquez who took holeshot as Lorenzo high sided sliding along the tarmac only to be hit in the back by his trailing bike. Marquez was a little offline which may have put Lorenzo off a little contributing to his dramatic race end. When later interviewed Lorenzo felt Marquez was the cause of his crash and his subsequent dislocated toe.
As the race continued without Lorenzo, Andrea Dovizioso (Dovi) passed Marquez and began to pull a gap from the pursuing Marquez. Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were also hot on the wheels of Marquez giving an inkling that we may be in for some more drama.
Further down the order in the battle for fifth place were Dani Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow with Pedrosa and Espargaro already trading places back and forth.
It was a short race for Alvaro Bautista who crashed out of the second lap lowsiding in turn fourteen. In the same lap Rins was able to get the better of his teammate passing him to take third and in the following lap the action heated up as the pair continually traded places.
By the fourth lap Dani Pedrosa was the fastest man on track, Valentino Rossi have moved up into 11th after his 17th grid position start, while his teammate Maverick Vinales languished back in 17th place with Dovi still holding steady to the lead.
A lap later Crutchlow low sided heading through turn one. The rider was uninjured but unable to continue his race after previously being positioned in sixth. Pedrosa looked strong and was now showing his front wheel to Iannone.
For the next 8 laps things settled down a bit with a few riders such as Rossi and Maverick improving their positions. During this time Rossi had progressed to ninth and Vinales into fourteenth.
With ten laps to go Marquez and Dovi again began to trade places. Marquez maintained the lead at this point as Dovi in his efforts to pass almost lost it. The two front runners had started to extend the gap back to third but Iannone and Rins were still in sight.
Further down the field Vinales was making good progress from his earlier position in seventeenth and was now up into tenth behind his teammate.
It appeared Dovi was not going down without a fight and with 8 laps remaining he attempted once unsuccessfully and then a second time successfully to grab the best line and reclaim the lead. Meanwhile Iannone was getting closer and closer and had the gap down to 0.317, then 0.314.
A lap later both Iannone and Rins had bridged the gap with Iannone within 0.294 secs of second. From here the action heated up even more as Marquez again made a move on Dovi to briefly hold the lead before Dovi fired up the inside of the right hander at turn fourteen. The two were so close and it forced Marquez wide and as he pulled back both Dovi and Iannone were right behind him heading into the corner side by side. Marquez,Dovi and Iannone went through the corner as a trio with Marquez sandwiched in the middle. As they exit the corner Iannone and Dovi passed on either side of Marquez with Dovi having the advantage and again led the race. Marquez then headed up the inside of Iannone to reclaim second as Rins approached in fourth not too far behind.
With four laps still to go it was not over as Marquez tried at turn five to pass a determined Dovi who wouldn’t allow Marquez through this time round and shut the door on him. But as they sped through the start finish line Marquez cleverly used the slip stream and led going into turn one and from here the swap and change began again until Marquez made the final move at the reverse corkscrew and led the race over the line taking his third consecutive win at the circuit. Dovi was next to cross the line followed by Iannone with a well-deserved final podium spot. Rins crossed in fourth followed by Pedrosa, Aleix Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci. Rossi was able to make a penultimate lap overtake to pass Jack Miller for eighth with Vinales filling the final spot in the top ten.
Jordi Torres made a return to the MotoGP paddock as he rode the Real Avintia Racing team bike, finishing in 20th position.
The first ever race on the Chang International circuit in Buriram Thailand is up next round and should be interesting to see how the riders go especially since they raised concerns about heading to the track previously.
1st: Marc Marquez
“I woke up this morning with the idea that today I could take a risk. I hadn’t felt totally at ease during the weekend with the hard rear spec tyre so, after the warm-up, I said to my team that I wanted to use the soft rear. That started many meetings and discussions but in the end I won the race because I could convince my box to take that gamble! In the end, it was the correct choice. I had a good start but soon after I almost lost the front in a dirty spot on the track, so I had to release the brakes and go a bit wide. I didn’t realize until the end that Lorenzo had crashed. Anyway, the fight was very tight with Dovi and Iannone as well; it was a hard fight but within the limit.
This is MotoGP, and it’s what the fans enjoy to watch.
Motorland is one of my favourite tracks, and I enjoyed so much riding here over the weekend even if the pressure was high, with events, people, and many things to do every day. I mean, it’s good but also demanding. Even with this, I managed to remain focused, work well with the team, and ultimately to stop Ducati’s momentum. This morning I listened to “In my feelings” from Drake and in the honour lap I thought back to that song and it was great. Anyway, now more than ever it’s the moment to keep calm and manage well the race weekends because I want to win the Championship and to do that you must remain fully concentrated.”
2nd: Andrea Dovizioso:
“I was able to stay with Marc until the end and I expected to see Marc struggle a little bit more at the end, but he had a really good speed. We came here with a lot of confidence and from the competitors, they thought we can win the race easy, but it is never like this. I’m so happy how much we improved from last year – this is the point,”
3rd: Andrea Iannone
“I’m really happy, I was confident with the bike and we worked in the right direction all weekend. It was an unbelievable race, they really pushed at some parts of the race – not all of it because it was important to manage the tyre. But we worked well. I tried to overtake Marc and Dovi but when we picked up the bike they had incredible engines. It was an incredible battle! And I battled Dovi for four years at Ducati…so he was always angry at me. But I stayed close to the best riders, that’s a good feeling and it confirmed that with a good bike I can fight on top.”