Press releases from the teams and Michelin after Sunday's race at Aragon:
Marquez equals Doohan’s record of 54 wins, taking a momentous home GP victory at Aragón
Marc Marquez returned to the top spot of the podium at a Spanish race for the first time since the 2014 finale in Valencia, taking a maiden victory at the Aragón GP. At just 23 years of age, Marquez brings his career tally to 54 wins, equalling Australian legend Mick Doohan. The only rider so far this year to win four races, Marc has extended his championship lead to 52 points over Valentino Rossi and 66 over Jorge Lorenzo, with four rounds to go.
The race was incredibly challenging and close. Starting from pole, Marc fought hard to overtake Maverick Viñales and Lorenzo, taking the lead on the second lap. Soon after, a risky moment on lap three could have changed the outcome of his race; Marc almost lost the front in turn 7 and nearly crashed out. He saved it but dropped back to fifth.
It took the Spaniard a few laps to calm down and begin his recovery; he overtook Andrea Dovizioso on lap five, Lorenzo on lap seven, Viñales on lap 10 and finally Rossi on lap 12. He pushed hard for a few laps to pull a gap and then managed the advantage until the chequered flag. Marc was joined on the podium by Honda Motor Director Shinji Aoyama, celebrating the fifth victory by a Honda rider in the last seven races and Honda extending its leading in the Constructor and Team standings.
Dani Pedrosa struggled the entire race with lack of both front and rear tyre grip. In particular, he suffered an unusual degradation of the front tyre, which Michelin will promptly investigate. It was a pity Dani was not able to exploit the great potential he had displayed in the practice sessions, but his determination to fight hard allowed him to gain the 10 points that come with sixth place and to maintain his fourth place in the Championship standings.
“I’m very happy to have taken the win at a home Grand Prix, and one of my favourite races. I was waiting for this GP, it was a ‘red point’ on the calendar for me, as I saw it as one where I wanted to attack and where I could win the race. It was an important victory, but nothing is finished yet. I said yesterday that something can always happen in a race, and it was a miracle that I didn’t crash today when I almost lost it in turn 7. That was when I decided to relax a little and go back to my mentality from practice of riding precisely and braking in the right places. All this made for a more entertaining race, with many overtaking moves at the start, and a second part in which I was able to open a gap to Valentino, which was important. He had gone several races gaining points on us, and we wanted to stop that trend, because otherwise it would boost his morale and perhaps create doubts for us. Now we leave Aragón with a larger advantage and more convinced ahead of the flyaways. I was very happy on the podium, but the most emotional moment for me today was when [brother] Alex scored his first Moto2 podium. That was really special for me.”
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good result today, as we had a very difficult race. I didn’t have grip since the beginning of the race; I couldn’t exit the corners with good speed, and that turned out to be my biggest problem in the opening laps. I couldn’t open the throttle out of the corner and I lost ground on the front guys. I tried to manage in the best way possible, but a few laps later I started to have an issue with front tyre as well. I started feeling a vibration, and when I finished the race it was clear there was some problem there. I tried to fight with Crutchlow but I had to slow down my pace. It was a shame but now we must look forward.”
Double Podium for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP at Motorland Aragón
Today's Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón proved to be the most action-filled race of the season so far, as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo fought off his rivals to secure a hard-fought second place. Teammate Valentino Rossi also used his YZR-M1 to the fullest to fend off the competition and secured the fourth double podium of the season for the Factory Yamaha team.
Lorenzo didn't let a crash in warm-up this morning hold him back in today's race. The local hero had a brilliant start from third on the grid and fought for the holeshot with Marc Marquez. Maverick Viñales soon joined the fight for the front, beginning a Spanish duel that had the race fans on the edge of their seats. A flurry of activity followed that saw Lorenzo finish the first lap in third position, closely followed by his teammate. A mistake by Marquez two laps later made Lorenzo storm to second place and he continued to claw his way to Viñales, but he had to let his teammate past.
The top three riders briefly formed a leading group as they upped their pace, dropping low 1'49s laps. However, Marquez was closing in and with 17 laps remaining he found a way past Lorenzo, but the Mallorcan wasn't fazed. He made his experience count and waited for the right moment to fight his way back to the front, which came with 14 laps to go when he didn't need a second invitation to pass Viñales after the compatriot had gone wide.
Lorenzo cleverly continued his race in such a way that he still had enough rubber left on his Michelins to make a final charge five laps before the end of the race to smoothly take over second place. He was consistently stalked by Rossi, but he didn't let it shake his confidence and held off the Italian's attack to take second place over the line, 2.740s from first.
Teammate Rossi had a good start from his sixth place grid position and slotted into fourth place after turn 1, determined not to let the leading group out of his sight. With 21 laps to go, Marquez dropped back to fifth, allowing Rossi to take hold of a podium finish for the first time in the race, fuelling his ambitions even further. He hunted down his teammate and bided his time to make a move with 18 laps left, to close the gap to the race leader. He was the first rider to drop into the 1'48s as he reeled in Viñales and went on to take the lead of the race after a block pass in turn 4 with 15 laps to go.
The Doctor's pace proved too hot for the Spaniard, who went wide in turn 1 a lap later, allowing Rossi some breathing space before Marquez made his move with 12 laps to go. Rossi wasn't willing to let his rival go and put his head down, but he was unable to stick to the home rider and with five laps to go he put his attention towards his teammate, who pushed him back one place. The Doctor followed the fellow Yamaha rider like a shadow, but was unable to get past and took the chequered flag 5.983s behind the man in first place.
Lorenzo's superb race craft delivers him 20 points. He remains in third position, now just 14 points behind his teammate in second. Rossi's third place gives him a total of 196 points, now 52 points behind the championship leader.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will next head to Japan in three weeks' time for the Grand Prix of Japan, the first of the three overseas races.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We knew that it was going to be difficult to beat Marquez today, but we tried as hard as possible until the rear tyre dropped, leading the race with Valentino. We have suffered from this problem since the beginning of the weekend and although we tried different settings we weren't able to fully get rid of the problem. The decision to change the tyre on the grid for Jorge paid off and as a team, we achieved a great result, finishing with two riders on the podium at our Title Sponsor's Grand Prix. When we arrived in Aragón we had our eyes on the win and we carry this objective forward to the next round where we want to fight for the victory again."
2nd / +2.740 / 23 laps, Championship: 3rd, 182 points
"Sometimes a bad situation or a bad thing brings you a good thing and that's what happened when I crashed. I got almost injured and was almost in pain, as has happened in the past, but this made me do two warming up laps, one with the hard tyre and one on the soft tyre. Finally on these two laps the hard tyre suddenly gave me a good confidence, even if I was warming up and very slow, so my instinct told me that I needed to change my race tyre to the hard one and this crash and bit of instinct for sure gave me the possibility to do this race the way I was riding it. I didn't expect to finish on the podium, I thought I would finish maybe sixth or seventh, but finally the race was again surprising. It's been a difficult weekend for me, but sometimes these kind of situations bring you to the top."
3rd / +5.983 / 23 laps, Championship: 2nd, 196 points
"We started with a different setting and we tried to be stronger towards the end of the race, but in the final stages I was spinning a lot, but I think everyone was in the same boat anyway. It's a shame that with two laps to go I made a mistake in braking and I had to go wide. If not for that we could have fought for the second place, but anyway the podium is OK. I'm happy because it's a good podium. Here, in Aragón, we always suffer a bit. It's a shame and I'm not fully happy, because I wanted to arrive as the first of the Yamahas and in front of Lorenzo, but unfortunately in the second half of the race he was faster than me. It's a shame, because I had some cards up my sleeve for the last laps, because I was there, but I made a mistake. I decided to go straight because else it would have been very dangerous for both of us. I lost the four points to Jorge, but it's another podium. We hope we can improve and that we can be more competitive for the overseas races."
VIÑALES & ESPARGARÓ STRONG AT ARAGON GP
Team Suzuki Press Office – September 24.
Maverick Viñales – 4th.
Aleix Espargaró – 7th.
Maverick Viñales and Aleix Espargaró put in strong performances on their Team SUZUKI ECSTAR GSX-RRs at today’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón MotoGP™ in Spain after having led the race for several laps.
Viñales – choosing a hard/ hard Michelin tyre combination - took the lead on the opening of 23 laps at Motorland Aragon from his second position on the grid, and, apart from losing his lead a few times momentarily, controlled the race until almost half race-distance before running wide, but fought back to bring home a solid fourth-place and just off the podium.
Espargaró – using a medium front/ hard rear tyre choice – was also very much in the mix with the leading pack and at one stage moved to fifth position, eventually scoring seventh.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“My feeling after this race is half good and half bad; positive things are that Maverick fought for the podium and Aleix did a great race fighting for good position and ending the race without crashes. There is also a little disappointment if we consider our expectations: The weekend was positive with both riders consistently fast and this morning’s pace gave us hopes for a podium and a better placement. Anyway, both riders finished the race, not so bad positions, and also we proved that our work is progressing better and better this season. We will continue to chase our second victory and some more podiums. The next race will be in Japan, many people from the Suzuki Factory are coming to see us and many supporters will crowd the stands; it’s ‘gonna be an emotional one considering that recently we have been consistently fighting within the top teams and riders.”
“Another positive race for me, although I’m never fully satisfied when I’m off the podium, but we must say that we gave 100% today. When the grip was supporting me I could do a really good pace, and in fact I took the lead in the race. I felt really confident and the lap-times came quickly and easily. Then suddenly the rear tyre lost performance due to the consumption and that is when I had to give-it-up a little. I couldn’t feel confident with hard-braking and also in acceleration, and trying to force the pace I made some mistakes that warned me to be more conservative in my riding. It was important to not have a crash and to finish the race; fourth is a lot better than a ‘NC.’ We knew I could have problems towards the end of the race with a worn tyre, we tried to put in some countermeasures with the electronics, but we still need to better-develop this set-up. We are continually learning and my crew did a really good job, we are getting better and better and the results in last races are evidence on this.”
“I had bigger expectations for the race, especially to be more competitive at the beginning because the progress we made in this morning’s Warm-Up gave me bigger hopes. The start was positive but then I struggled a lot to overtake for the fifth position in the second part of the race, which was the one needed to keep in contact with the head of the race. When I succeeded it was too late to catch up. Anyway my feeling was a little better than last races but I still struggle to find a good feeling with the front. I’m not able to interpret the front tyre and exploit its potential. We made a lot of attempts and changes but I can’t adapt my riding style and so I cannot be as fast as I would like to be. I had a really good fight until the end, but finally I made a small mistake on the last lap and I lost sixth position.”
GOOD RACE AND EXCELLENT RESULT FOR THE APRILIAS AT ARAGÓN
TIGHT GAPS AND DOUBLE TOP 10 FOR BAUTISTA AND BRADL'S RS-GP MACHINES
ROMANO ALBESIANO: "A NICE MOMENT OF GROWTH, AWARE OF OUR POTENTIAL"
Aprilia's positive trend was confirmed once again under the chequered flag at Aragón. The RS-GP machines ridden by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl finished respectively in ninth and tenth place, with a gap behind the leader of just over 20 seconds for the Spaniard (23.071 for Bautista, 27.898 for Bradl).
This is a result that Aprilia has built toward throughout the championship, developing a bike in its true rookie season even directly in the races.
The race, where Bradl started from the twelfth spot on the grid and Alvaro from the fourteenth, began well straight away for the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders, moving up through the ranks in the initial phases. In the subsequent laps, Bautista and Bradl's pace shown through, both skilfully maintaining interesting times while their direct rivals showed an increasingly marked drop in performance. During the seventh lap, Alvaro overtook his teammate, proceeding to hunt down the pair made up of Pol Espargaró and Andrea Dovizioso. He engaged in a heated battle with the rider from Forlì, coming out on top and moving into a nice ninth place. Behind him, Stefan Bradl continued his progress, finishing the race in tenth place.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"A nice race, with two bikes in the top ten in a race without crashes. The gap behind the leader is the lowest we have ever achieved, and that is rather encouraging data. Technically, the trend is very good. It is clear both from the performance in all the practice sessions and from the atmosphere within the entire team, which understandably becomes "charged" when our potential gets interesting. We are on a positive note, but we must keep our feet on the ground. Our work is certainly not done yet, given our objectives. We need to improve on all fronts, but we are aware of our potential".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"Today we showed that a concrete step forward has been taken recently. We have grown and the gap behind the winner today shows it, the best since the beginning of the season. All this means that Aprilia is working hard and well and that the team is doing the best possible job. Alvaro and Stefan rode a great race, bringing home an excellent result for the team. We are beginning to achieve this type of result more and more compared with the past and this is another positive aspect. This performance is a great confidence booster and we needed it to keep working with even more determination".
"A good weekend for us, ending with a double top 10. I had good sensations in the saddle throughout all the practice sessions and we did a good job. The, in FP4, when I had a consistent pace even with used tyres, I realized that we could do well in the race. I battled with Hernandez and with Dovi, managing to overtake them, and I fell in behind Pol whose times were very similar to mine. We maintained a good pace and I saw that we continued to make up ground on the group that was battling for fifth place, but toward the end of the race I lost a bit of feeling with the rear tyre. In any case, ninth place is a great result for me and for Aprilia, considering Stefan's performance as well. Since Misano we have definitely taken a step forward and I wish to thank the team and the guys who are hard at work at home. Now we will continue in this direction to finish the season well".
"I am happy with the top 10 and the weekend in general. We improved during practice and I hope to be able to continue this trend in the coming races. We took a step forward in terms of settings from the Misano race, especially improving in the braking phase and giving me a better feeling with the front tyre. We were able to further perfect things here, finding a good base straight away on Friday and then working to sort the details. Obviously, there is still room for improvement, for example in taking better advantage of the rear tyre to be faster with new tyres, but we are not far off. Now I have high expectations for myself for the season finale".
Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro finish the Aragón Grand Prix in eleventh and twelfth place respectively
It was a difficult race today at the MotorLand circuit for the two riders of the Ducati Team, as Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro finished the Aragón GP in eleventh and twelfth place respectively.
After a positive morning warm-up, in which he finished fourth, Dovizioso got a good start away from the second row and was scrapping in amongst the leading group in the early laps. Unfortunately the Italian started to suffer a drop in front tyre grip and then a worsening vibration on his Desmosedici GP, so had to slow his pace. In the last few laps he lost several positions and finished the fourteenth round of the season in eleventh place.
Michele Pirro, who finished his warm-up in an encouraging ninth place, was unable to make a good start and he crossed the line at the end of the opening lap in fifteenth place. The Italian then also began to suffer an unusual vibration with his bike but he managed to gain a few positions to finish his race in twelfth place.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 11th
“I feel pretty bad about the result today because we worked well throughout the weekend: after a very good Saturday, in which we found a very good race pace, and qualifying on the second row with fourth-quickest time, I was sure that we could have fought for the podium. This morning in the warm-up we confirmed that we were at the same competitive level and we were ready to score a good result in the race. Unfortunately after four laps the front tyre began to lose grip, creating a number of problems, and then I started to feel a strong vibration. Obviously I had to slow down my pace, especially because I was worried about the situation, and I lost a lot of positions in the last few laps. Now we have to try and understand the reasons together with Michelin. The fact remains that we had been working well throughout the weekend and ending the race in eleventh place is really disappointing.”
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) – 12th
“The weekend was a bit complicated for me: I missed the first session on Friday and we had a few problems yesterday so I wasn’t able to qualify well and had to start down the grid. Today’s aim was to finish in the top 10 but unfortunately the battle in the early stages forced me to make some mistakes in overtaking and from half-way through the race the bike began to have a big vibration, but seeing as I didn’t have a chance of catching the guys ahead of me, I just tried to finish my race. I’m disappointed about the result because in my opinion we had the potential to finish in the top 10.”
CRUTCHLOW BRILLIANT FIFTH FOR TOP INDEPENDENT RIDER IN ARAGON
The LCR Honda Team celebrated another positive result in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Aragon, as Cal Crutchlow took a hard-fought fifth place to finish as the Top Independent Team rider for the fifth time in the last six races.
Crutchlow, who started from fifth on the grid was caught up in the pack at the start, his decision to take the inside line into the first corner pushing him out to the edge of the track into turn two. Having briefly lost touch as he waited for his tyres to come up to temperature, he gradually chipped away at the riders in front, passing Dovizioso on lap nine, before getting through on Aleix Espargaro two laps later.
The Brit then stalked his factory Honda colleague Dani Pedrosa, before comfortably getting through on the Spaniard on lap nineteen to seal his fourth top-five finish in the last six races.
That result moves him up to sixth place in the standings where he is the top independent runner on 105 points. There are four rounds still to come in the championship, starting with the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi in three weeks’ time.
#35 Cal Crutchlow – 5th
“I struggled at the start to get the rear tyre to work. This has been a problem over the weekend, some hard tyres work immediately, and others not. Then I got held up behind Dani, Dovi and Aleix, and with the speed of our bike we had no chance. I tried to be able to fight with them in the early laps and get past, but Dani was just accelerating off the corner a little better than me and I never got the run on him. I had to leave it too long to pass and in the end I felt my pace was as good as the second to fourth-placed guys, but it was a little bit too late.”
“The LCR Honda Team did a really good job all weekend I really thought yesterday I could have been on the front row and then I made the mistake. Then today I felt I had a good shot at the podium, but I just never got away with them. In MotoGP when that happens you get punished, it’s hard to come back from a long way back.”
“It was an enjoyable race though, and overall we are happy because top five in a MotoGP race at Aragon is not bad, but I would have preferred a podium!”
Espargaro finishes inside the top 8 under the Spanish sun at Aragon
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro delivered a relentless performance in front of nearly 70,000 fans today at the Aragon Grand Prix which he completed in 8th. The young Spaniard impressively concluded the morning warm up in 3rd place, which left him highly motivated for the afternoon. Here, he kicked off his fight from the fourth row of the grid and bolted forwards when the lights went out. Espargaro was shuffled back to 12th place by the close of the first lap, yet he remained focused and set into a consistent rhythm as he targeted climbing back up through the field. The home hero progressed forward and by the 4th lap, he was running in 9th. Following this, he continued to inch closer to the rider ahead and on lap 16 he seized 8th after moving past Andrea Dovizioso. He then set his sights on closing down the San Marino race winner, Dani Pedrosa and gave his all before eventually crossing the finish line in this position. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion now confidently looks ahead to the Japanese GP where he will aim to clinch the leading satellite honours at Yamaha’s home Grand Prix alongside returning teammate, Bradley Smith.
Espargaro was the sole rider for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team today after Alex Lowes, who was standing in for the injured Bradley Smith, was deemed unfit after being medically reviewed this morning following his crash in FP3 yesterday. In the accident, the young Briton injured his left foot and suffered swelling and contusion, which did not improve overnight and subsequently he was ruled out of the race.
Position: 8th Championship: 9th Points: 96
"First of all, I have to thank the Tech3 team who did an amazing job this weekend with all the crashes that we had. The guys were always quick at repairing the bikes and today the motorcycle that I ran with felt very strong. However, I must say that I am a little bit disappointed with myself and the end result. I think we had some more bad luck yesterday and it penalised us to start from 11th on the grid. I was truly comfortable on the Yamaha today and I was confident about my chances, but unfortunately, I made a mistake at the beginning of the race and went wide at the end of the back straight and this is where I lost contact to the group in front of me. Without this slip-up, I would have probably been able to finish in front of Dani and my brother. Nevertheless, a top eight is still positive and the points that I collected are vital for my championship aspirations. Next up is the Japanese GP which is a very special race for me after my second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours victory so I’m looking forward to seeing the Japanese fans again.
Position: DNS Championship: 23th Points: 3
"It’s a real shame that I didn’t end my time in MotoGP in a positive way, but I’ve really enjoyed the experience and the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team were very welcoming to me. I have learnt a lot and even though it’s a pity that this race didn’t end in a positive way, Silverstone and Misano were fantastic. With regards to my injury, the top of my foot is still swollen and I’ve lost a lot of movement so I’m going to get everything checked as there are a couple of areas that are still sore and I have the Superbike race in France next week. The crash yesterday was big and I feel quite lucky to get away with just this injury and nothing worse. I must thank the whole team again and also wish them all the best for the rest of the season. It was definitely special to complete my first ever MotoGP race in Silverstone as it was my home GP, and I can happily look back on the past month which certainly improved my ability as a motorcycle rider and I hope I can come back to the championship in the future."
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“Pol’s result was a sweet end to what was a tricky Grand Prix. The whole team worked really hard after all the crashes that happened so to finish 8th was much more satisfying than it usually would be. For sure, Pol didn’t feel 100% physically or in terms of confidence, but he gave everything that he had. He lost a bit of time on the first lap, but was strong and consistent from there onwards and eventually finished less than 20 seconds to the winner, which is definitely a good performance. With a better grid position, I believe that we could have been in the Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Aleix group, but in the end I am very happy with Pol as he did his best and we got some strong points. Our Spanish rider is in a good shape, plus his confidence is returning and next up we are heading to the three flyaway races, that are going to be crucial. We are still on course for the top satellite rider position in the standings, which I know, is important for Pol and everyone at Tech3 will push until the end to try to get that title with him. On the other side of the garage, it is a big shame to end the three GP’s with Alex Lowes in the way it did and he was just really unlucky with the crash in FP3. I would like to thank him once again, he is a great guy who showed his potential and that he is more than capable of riding successfully in MotoGP. We all hope Alex recovers well and I want to wish him luck for Superbike race in France as well as for the remainder of the season. Also, I hope to have him again in the box with us soon. Thanks to the whole team who worked tirelessly, but next up is Japan and I hope everybody gets a good rest before we head east.”
Hayden battles to points finish on MotoGP return
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Nicky Hayden rode a determined 23-laps of the Motorland Aragon track in Spain today to claim a hard fought but richly deserved points scoring finish in round 14 of the MotoGP World Championship.
The 35-year-old made an aggressive start and immediately climbed up five places from his 19th position on the grid.
The 2006 MotoGP World Champion then engaged in an exciting fight with Michele Pirro, Hector Barbera and Eugene Laverty for much of today’s action that unfolded in front of a crowd of close to 70,000 sun-kissed Spanish fans at the 5.1km track.
Hayden encountered a tough practice and qualifying while he adapted to the Honda RC213V machine, Michelin tyres and controlled software, all of which he had no previous experience of prior to Friday’s opening practice.
Hayden though brilliantly utilised his vast experience to produce his best performance of the weekend in today’s race and he was able to maintain a fast and consistent pace over the final six laps to deny Yonny Hernandez the opportunity to take 15th position away from him.
Tito Rabat was left to reflect on a missed opportunity to score points for the ninth race in 14 this afternoon when he fell out of contention on lap 17.
A crash in this morning’s 20-minute warm-up session meant Rabat adopted a cautious approach in the early laps while he assessed grip levels in temperatures that were significantly cooler than yesterday’s baking hot qualifying.
The Spaniard’s confidence soared throughout the race and he was poised to attack for the top 15 when he crashed out unhurt at turn 5.
Nicky Hayden: 15th
“I would have to say that the race was my best part of the weekend. I underestimated on Friday how long it would take to get up to speed with the package, particularly with the Michelin tyres and certainly the front tyre. I started too far behind on Friday but in the race I was able to have a battle with Pirro, Barbera and Laverty who were all two seconds faster than me on the first day. I got a good start and really enjoyed battling with a few guys and the more laps I made the better I felt. I wish it was like World Superbikes and we got another chance to line up because I think with the experience gained I could do a better job. But all of us on the grid think like that. I’d hoped I’d come here and be more on the pace on Friday but that didn’t happen. I knew it was a just a one-off ride and I knew it was going to be extremely difficult with no testing but I came and gave it my all. It has been a good experience and I want to thank Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS for this opportunity. I was proud to work with such a great team.”
Tito Rabat: DNF
“My confidence wasn’t that high for the race after the crash in the cool conditions this morning in the warm-up. I made a bad start and I was pretty cautious in the first two laps because I was worried about a lack of feeling from the front tyre. Once I got in my rhythm I felt quite comfortable and was improving my pace but once again I lost the front and crashed. It is very disappointing because I could have finished inside the points today. It is clear we have to make some changes to improve the feeling with the front because I crashed losing the front three times in Misano and the same again here in Aragon. It means something is wrong and we have to keep working to find a solution because I am running out of leathers!”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It is a pity that Tito wasn’t able to finish the race today because when you analyse his lap times he was lapping at the same pace as the group battling for 10th place. So it is a shame that he crashed again and the problem was again coming from the front-end. It seems that he has lost a bit of confidence with the bike at the moment and we must work hard to ensure that we can help him get back to showing his normal potential in the flyways next month. Nicky did a good job today because it has been a steep learning curve for him. He scored one point and that is a notable achievement when you consider Jack and Tito have found it difficult in a few races to break into the top 15. I want to say a big thanks to him for joining Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS this weekend. It has been a privilege to work with a MotoGP Legend and to see up close what a professional he is.”
Avintia Racing riders finish a difficult race at Aragon
Avintia Racing riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz finished 13th and 18th in a really difficult race for all Ducati riders. The lack of grip has been the main concern during the weekend, with the engineers trying to find the solution every day, without success.
Hector Barbera finished the race in the same position he started, but he was forced to recover during the 23 laps of the race, after touching with another rider in the first lap and dropping back to the last place. In the last two laps, he won an intense battle with Eugene Laverty and took three championship points to keep tenth place in the point rankings.
His teammate Loris Baz returned to action this weekend after missing the race at Misano. Avintia Racing’s French rider knew that the race was going to be really tough in his physical condition, but he has shown a big determination to finish the race and he got a vast experience before heading to the triple flyaway races, which will start in three week’s time with the Japanese Grand Prix.
“It was a difficult weekend and our main handicap was the lack of grip on the rear tyre. We tried to find more grip over the three days, but it was not possible. During the race I’ve been sliding all around the track and, without traction, the bike was not fast on the straights. Pirro touched me on the first lap and I was blown off the track. Then I had to recover during the race and it was difficult, but I don’t think the result would have been different without that incident. I hope Michelin will bring some new tyres for the next races, because all Ducati riders had the same problem here. It’s not normal to see Dovizioso just four seconds ahead of us.”
“It was a tough race from the first lap to the end. My target was to finish, to gather some data and to take this race as a training session. We finished far, almost twenty seconds behind Hector. He was one second per lap faster than me. I’m not physically fit enough to finish a race or even half a race riding these bikes, so today we did something positive. Now I have to work hard during the next two weeks, train with the bicycle and do some specific work for my leg. I’ll try to go to Japan, Australia and Malaysia in the best possible shape, because I love two of these tracks and I think it will be possible to get good results.”
A bitter Motorland for Octo Pramac Yakhnich. A clash on the first lap ruined the race for Petrux and Scott.
After a satisfying Saturday, that ended up with the double Top 10 earned in qualifying, the Sunday at Aragon does not give joy to the Octo Yakhnich Pramac team.
The start was good and Scott was able to overcome Petrux. At the first corner, the riders were ninth and tenth respectively, but a contact between the two forced the British rider to go wide and lose the front on the curb. Back on track after the crash, Scott finished the race without being able to fight for any points. After the clash, Danilo continued the race also if he had to deal with some technical problems that forced him to lap without a good pace. On lap 9, the Race Direction, after reviewing the contact, fined Petrux a "ride-through" penalty.
At that point, even his race was compromised. Petrux and Scott have finished respectively 17th and 19th.
19th - Scott Redding
"I am very sorry for what happened. I do not think it is a beautiful thing when it happens between teammates. I started quite well then that contact made me go wide and I could not avoid the crash. I continued until the end, but it was really frustrating because in the last 3 races I have not had the chance to fight with the others to gain experience with this bike in dry condition."
17th - Danilo Petrucci
"I am very sorry for what happened with Scott. Since the first corner, I experienced problems with the bike, I could not brake properly, I was always going wide. Unfortunately, I touched Scott. I felt it was not a very heavy touch, but it was heavy enough to push him off the track. I am really mortified. He is very angry and will apologize. The remaining of the race was really hard."
Aragón produces little joy for Pull&Bear Aspar Team
Sunday, 25 September 2016 15:03
Eugene Laverty and Yonny Hernández close to top 10 but miss out after tyre management issues and a mistake on the final lap
It was impossible for the run of different winners to last forever in MotoGP and finally today at the GP of Aragón it came to an end with Marc Márquez rounding off a dominant weekend with victory. The Spaniard took his time to pick off early leader Maverick Viñales, but gradually he edged away at the front and marched clear to his fourth win of the season. Behind him Valentino Rossi did his best to limit the damage in the championship, making a late move on his team-mate Jorge Lorenzo for second place just a couple of laps from the end but running wide and having to settle for third. Today's result means that Marc Márquez can be crowned MotoGP World Champion for the third time with victory in Japan, should Rossi finish thirteenth or lower and Lorenzo fail to make the podium.
The fourteenth round of the season wasn't the best for the Pull&Bear Aspar Team, with Eugene Laverty picking up consolation points in fourteenth place after a bittersweet race. The Irishman started sixteenth on the grid but gradually picked up positions to get himself into the fight for the top ten. However, after a close battle with two rivals he ran wide in one of the final corners, just as the chequered flag was being prepared, dropping back to fourteenth but picking up two points that keep him in the hunt for a top ten finish in the championship. Hernández made a sensational start to move straight up to eleventh position, where the Colombian lapped comfortably until his tyre performance dropped such that he dropped back to sixteenth position at the finish.
14th Eugene Laverty: “It wasn't easy, the start of the race with the full tank was difficult but then I settled into it and got into a good rhythm with Pirro. I wanted to try and pass him towards the end and I got close in the slipstream on the brakes into the left-hander after the straight, but the front tyre was too soft and it started moving around and I ran off the track, which cost me a couple of positions. I could have been twelfth and we ended up fourteenth. Anyway, we're not too far from the top Ducati so I think we can be quite content. For me the rear tyre wear wasn't a big issue because with less grip it actually helps me a little to turn the bike but I was surprised with the condition of the front tyre so perhaps the harder tyre would have been the better choice today.”
16th Yonny Hernández: “I focused on getting a good start and obviously got away well. We are competitive for as long as the tyre lasts and for half of the race today I was fighting in the top eleven, which is the positive we can take away from this round. Obviously there is a problem because once the tyre drops off the bike starts sliding and I can't move forward. From mid-race onwards all I could do was manage the advantage I had. It is frustrating because you feel trapped and even though you know that you can go faster you are getting passed by everybody because there is no grip. However, we know that when we do have grip, we can be fighting in the top ten.”
GRIPPING RACING AS MICHELIN AND MARQUEZ MASTER MOTORLAND
Michelin’s first visit to MotorLand Aragón in Spain for a MotoGP™ race provided an exciting encounter which saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) take victory at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón.
Michelin’s range of Power Slick tyres were put to good use today as the riders chose many different configurations to get the best performance over the 5,077m circuit. Pole-setter Marquez chose to go with the hard front and rear compounds and he made a good start as the lights changed to signal the start of the race. The current championship leader initially got the holeshot, but a frantic first-lap ensued as the lead changed hands several times. Maverick Viñales (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) – also using the hard front and rear option – led as the field crossed the line for the first time, a position that was taken from him on lap-two by Marquez, before Viñales then recaptured the lead and held it until lap-eight. The Suzuki rider then surrendered top-spot to Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who had chosen the medium front compound and paired it with the hard rear. Marquez then made his move and seized the initiative on lap-12 as he progressed to the front of the pack. The Spaniard continued at a relentless pace – which saw him set the fastest lap of the race on the 15th circulation, Marquez increased his advantage as the race drew to a close and crossed the line almost three-seconds clear to take his fourth victory of the season and extend his championship lead.
The crowd of 69,714 fans at trackside were treated to a fascinating battle for the final two podium places as Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and team-mate Rossi produced an enthralling contest which saw the current World Champion Lorenzo – medium front and hard rear – take the spoils after the pair had traded places over the closing stages. Viñales took fourth position, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crossing the line in fifth to take the Independent Team Rider award, this was after an exciting three-way battle with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in sixth and Aleix Espargaro (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) seventh. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was eighth, followed home by Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in ninth, with Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounding out the top-10.
With today’s colder air and track temperatures, tyre choice was always going to be a vital factor and with the experience and advice from the knowledgeable Michelin technicians the riders were able to make informed choices. This did lead to different combinations of tyres which saw the hard front and hard rear paired together, along with the medium front and hard rear and the medium front and medium rear being matched together, again emphasising the choice that Michelin is providing to make sure all riders have a tyre to choose that will give them the optimum performance during the race.
Michelin will now head east for the three-week back-to-back races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia, with the first being the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi on Sunday 16th October.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“Today was a great race and this has been an important weekend for the tyres to work well. The grip was really good, but the drop was a bit bigger than at other circuits, because here we have long corners and we really stress the tyres. We found a good set-up for the second part of the race with the used tyre and the front was working really well. Michelin brought the hard front and it was certainly the right one for these temperatures. I am happy with the weekend because I enjoy this circuit and this year it was no different, I really enjoyed it again!”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We have had quite a challenging weekend here at Aragón with temperatures being much cooler in the morning than we expected, so this gave a number of obstacles to overcome. All of the technicians worked very thoroughly with their teams and riders throughout the three days to make sure they made the most informed choice for today’s race, and the closeness of some of the racing showed that again we have tyres for all types of machines, riders and styles. Marc’s victory was very impressive and he set the fastest lap of the race after two-thirds distance, so we are very pleased with that as it shows the tyres worked well as the race wore on. We will take a lot of positives from this weekend, but we also learned quite a lot about how these tyres perform when the track gives very little grip during the cold mornings and we will use this data as we go forward. We now head to three long-haul races which will all have their own special challenges, but we are up for the task and excited by what is ahead.”
Smith to return to Tech3 at Japanese Grand Prix
Bradley Smith will re-join the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team at the 15th round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship after sitting out three races due to injuries which he sustained at the Oschersleben 8 Hours Endurance event. The 25-year-old suffered damage to his right knee ligaments whilst competing for the Yamaha Austria Racing Team in the second day of practice on the 25th of August. Since then, the Briton has undergone an intense rehabilitation programme as well as surgery to get back on track, and will ride the Yamaha YZR-M1 again in the first of the triple back to back flyaway races. Smith was temporarily replaced by compatriot Alex Lowes for the British, San Marino and Aragon GP’s and Monster Yamaha Tech3 would like to thank Lowes for his participation and welcome back Smith, who finished 6th in the 2015 World Championship, from the sidelines.
"I am really happy that I will be getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 in Motegi. I have to admit that it has been challenging for me to watch the last three races from the sofa on a Sunday, even though it looks like the conditions in those rounds were tough. It’s good that this period is over now and I can finally return to the track. I have been working hard on my entire rehabilitation and many people have committed a lot of time and effort to give me the best chance to be ready as quickly as possible. In fact, the recovery process was due to be six months but after the efforts by myself, the doctors and everyone else, I managed to do it eight to nine weeks. For sure, it’s super that I am fit enough to race again and I am excited for the last four MotoGP events of the 2016 season, including the flyaway races and in addition, I am looking forward to seeing the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team again."