Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after Sunday's race at Aragon:
Master-class race for Marquez and Pedrosa, first and second at Motorland Aragon
Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa scored a fantastic one-two result in today’s Aragon Grand Prix, starting from the second row of the grid, the former on a hard-hard Michelin tyre combination, the latter on medium-medium. Both Repsol Honda Team riders fought their way forward to take the squad’s seventh double podium of the season.
Marc’s 60th career win is also his fifth this year and his ninth podium of the season (the seventh out of the last eight races), helping him to pull a small gap of 16 points over Andrea Dovizioso and 28 points over Maverick Viñales, his two closest pursuers in the title chase.
After setting the race fastest lap in 1’49.140, Dani took his 111th podium finish out of 195 races in the Premier class, in which he now has the most starts of any Spanish rider (Carlos Checa being second with 194). Dani’s eighth podium of the season moved him up to fourth in the Championship classification with 170 points, 54 down on his teammate with four rounds to go.
“I’m very very happy with this victory because it was a tough race. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable with the bike, and today I was struggling again except in the warm-up; I don’t really know why. Anyway, racing at one of my favourite tracks, close to my home and in front of my fans, gave me extra motivation. I pushed hard and in some corners I just clicked the off-button in my head, even if I crashed twice yesterday. I saw that Viñales and Dovi were struggling a bit and knew it was the moment to push, so I did. There were a few scary moments, once when I was trying to overtake Valentino; he was tighter in that corner than I was expecting, and to avoid a clash I released the brakes, only to realize that Lorenzo was right there! So I went off the track, and at that moment I cooled down a bit, even if I continued to try and close the gap. Once I passed Lorenzo, I had to keep going as I saw that Dani was coming very fast. Anyway, that’s the Marquez style! Of course it’s important to think of the Championship, but the situation now requires that we give it everything. So we’ll try to continue with the same motivation and mentality race by race, giving our 100 per cent.”
“Maybe if I could have overtaken Maverick a little bit earlier I would have had a better chance to fight for the win, but well, I’m still very happy with my race today! The goal was try and fight for the podium or the win, and we achieved that. So yes, I have some small regrets, but at the same time I couldn’t have done any better in the beginning as I was on the medium rear like Maverick and wasn’t able to pass him for a while. I also had to manage the tyre wear in order to be fast at the end, which I was. I wasn’t sure why we suddenly had some gap to recover to the front, as the others had more or less the same pace. Anyway, when I finally passed him, the gap was there, so I started pushing hard, made some good passes and a good recovery, and had a very strong race. I put a lot of passion into it, and this is good for me and the team.”
Podium finish for Jorge Lorenzo, third in Aragón Grand Prix. Seventh place for Andrea Dovizioso
Jorge Lorenzo stepped onto the podium for the second time this year at the Aragón Grand Prix with a third place finish in the fourteenth round of the season. Today’s race was held on a splendid sunny day in front of a massive crowd of over 70,000 spectators. The Ducati Team’s Spanish rider powered away well at the lights to take the lead into the first corner, and he remained in that position for the first fifteen laps. On lap 16 Jorge was passed by Marquez and by Pedrosa three laps from the end and as a result he crossed the finishing line in third place, two seconds down on the winner.
Seventh place at the flag went to Andrea Dovizioso, who started from the third row. The Italian fought with the leading group for half the race, holding on to fourth until lap 14, and he then found himself in a great battle with Rossi and Viñales but he wasn’t able to defend his position in the final stages and finished his race in seventh place.
Dovizioso now lies second in the overall standings with a 16-point gap from leader Marquez while Lorenzo moves back up to seventh place on 106 points.
The MotoGP world championship will be back on track for the next round at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in Japan from 13-15 October.
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 3rd
“It was a very tough race but we were able to manage it well, and in the end we scored an important podium finish. This third place has a much better flavour than the one at Jerez because we finished very close to the winner and we fought right until the very end. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to keep the same pace in the last seven laps, but to be competitive in the race we had no other choice but use the soft rear tyre even though we knew that in the last few laps the performance was going to drop. In any case it’s important to see that we’re continuing to make progress and that I’m getting better every race and so I’m sure my first win will come soon.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 7th
“It was a complicated weekend and my race was a tough one. At the start I tried to stay with the leading group, but unfortunately I didn’t have many cards to play: for sure not being able to do many laps on Friday complicated the situation because we knew this wasn’t an easy track for us and that we needed more time to work. I don’t think that opting for the soft rear tyre was a mistake, and the drop in performance towards the end of the race in my opinion is due to other factors, seeing as I was losing a lot in some parts of the track. Pity about my seventh place but, given the conditions, it was the best I could do today. There are still a lot of points at stake in the next four races and so we’ll try and make the best of the next opportunities.”
MOVISTAR YAMAHA RACE TO HARD-FOUGHT FOURTH AND HEROIC FIFTH PLACE IN ARAGON
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi showed their strong fighting spirit this afternoon, securing fourth and fifth place respectively in the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón.
Alcañiz (Spain), 24th September 2017
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales was on the move today at the final stages of the sunny Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. The Spaniard gradually increased his pace to take fourth place in the last part of the race. Teammate Valentino Rossi, opted for the opposite strategy. The Italian had a superb ride as he threatened to take the lead in the early race laps, just 24 days after sustaining a leg injury, before settling into fifth place, which he held over the line.
Viñales had a less than perfect start on the short drive-up to the first corner, but he recovered quickly, slotting into second place. However, he had to let Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez pass him on the first couple of laps of the race as he was struggling to find grip.
The third lap of the race was a turning point for the Spaniard; he got into a good rhythm and steadily started to catch up with the men in front of him. On the final six laps, when he began to press forward, he first took fifth place from Dovizioso and then proceeded to take on his teammate.
The youngster was insistent, but Rossi wasn’t going to hand over fourth place easily. A close fight between the two Factory Yamahas had the fans on the edge of their seats. With three laps to go, Viñales successfully passed the nine-time World Champion, but the gap to the top-3 was too large for him to close in the final laps. He crossed the finish line in fourth place, 5.256s from first.
Rossi had the crowds rooting for him during his first race since his enduro accident. Though he had a difficult launch from his starting position, he held on to his third place going into turn 1. Seeing Jorge Lorenzo trying to take off at the front on the first lap, the Doctor wasn’t about to waste any time and responded by passing his teammate a couple of corners later. He set a provisional fastest lap on lap 2 of 1’49.334s as he chased down his rival, and soon closed the gap.
Despite riding with a leg injury, Rossi was pushing to the fullest. The top-4 riders bunched up as the Italian started to pressure Lorenzo, but he was unable to make a move whilst fending off Marquez and Dovizioso.
With 11 laps to go, fatigue had the number 46 rider slow down a couple of tenths, allowing Marquez and Dani Pedrosa through, but he still had some fighting spirit left. He had the fans hold their breath as he battled hard with his teammate for fourth position, but ultimately took the chequered flag in fifth place, 5.882s from the front.
Today’s results see Viñales remain in third place in the championship with 196 points, 28 from the top of the standings. Despite his brave ride, Rossi dropped one position to fifth in the rankings, with 168 points. In the Constructor Championship, Yamaha is in second place with a 17-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team must breach a 30-point margin to jump up from second to first in the Team Championship.
The Yamaha Factory Racing Team will travel to Asia next, to take part in the Motul Grand Prix of Japan at the Twin Ring Motegi track in three weeks’ time, which will be the manufacturer’s home race.
The tyre choice played a big role in the outcome of today’s race. We only had limited time to try the different specs on the dry this weekend, so this made the decision quite difficult. Both riders decided to use the hard rear tyre option for durability reasons. Though they managed the tyre life by trying to ride as smoothly as possible, in the end the tyres still dropped. Furthermore, Maverick had difficulties getting heat into the tyre at the beginning. It was unfortunate that, by the time the tyre started working better, the gap had become too big for him to close, but I think we all got a thrill from his fight with Valentino. It is fantastic to see Vale already battling at the front in the race, just 24 days after his accident. He did a truly amazing job today and has consistently exceeded our expectations throughout the weekend. We look forward to seeing him race again in Motegi, when he has had time to further recover from his leg injury.
4th +5.256 / 23 LAPS
The hard tyre was working really badly for us, especially on the first laps, but then it was working quite well at the end. Not so much in terms of grip, but it was improving lap by lap, but anyway it wasn’t enough. Folger used the medium tyre and said he had no grip, so it was really difficult to understand which tyre we could use. For other races it was quite clear, because we were able to do many laps on the tyres so we knew which way to go, but here it was very difficult. I tried to use the same tyre as the opponents. Normally Valentino has a good feeling with the tyres and pushes on the hard option. For the next races we will have to work even harder on the Friday. It’s important to keep pushing and working and keep our motivation high. We have to work even harder, though it’s difficult, and we’ll go to Japan to improve and we’ll try to be stronger.
5th +5.882 / 23 LAPS
I’m quite proud, because a week ago I didn’t know if I would be able to race. Achieving a start from the first row yesterday was already great, I was very happy. I knew I had to suffer in the second half of the race. I had some pain and we also suffered from the degradation of the tyre. The work continues after this race. The calendar works out well for me, I have two full weeks to train and improve my leg’s condition. After this we have Motegi, which is going to be very important, but we also have three races in a row. This will be very difficult for my leg, so I want to try to arrive in Motegi - maybe not at 100% - but quite fit.
ALEIX ESPARGARÓ RIDES HIS APRILIA TO A SIXTH PLACE FINISH IN ARAGÓN, CLOSER THAN EVER TO THE LEADERS
ON A LONG-AWAITED TROUBLE FREE WEEKEND, AN EXCELLENT RACE SHOWS THE POTENTIAL OF THE ITALIAN BIKE
ESPARGARÓ: WE ARE GROWING CONSTANTLY AND WE SHOW IT EVERY WEEKEND
ALBESIANO: A GREAT PERFORMANCE ON ONE OF THE MOST TELLING TRACKS THAT SHOWS OUR VALUE
With a brilliant race, Aleix Espargaró rode his Aprilia RS-GP to a sixth place finish in Aragón. It was a performance worthy of a protagonist. Aleix battled consistently just behind the leaders and, an even more important result, he finished six seconds and nine tenths behind Marquez, just behind Valentino Rossi and ahead of Dovizioso, so battling with World Title contenders. This is the best race performance yet for the fledgling RS-GP.
It is a result that dispels any doubts about the potential of the Italian team who, on a long-awaited trouble free weekend, was able to fully express their skills, highlighting in the race all the progress made by the youngest bike on the grid.
This nice result is the cherry on top of a weekend where Aleix was consistently in the top ten. It was clear from this morning that Aleix and his Aprilia were in grand form when the number 41 rider finished the warm up session in second place with only Marquez ahead of him. In the race, starting from the eighth spot on the grid, Espargaró lost a few positions at the start, dropping back to twelfth place. From there, a great comeback ride began in which he moved up to ninth place already on the first lap, then battling constantly in the group that was trying to chase down the race leaders. Overtaking Kallio, Bautista and finally Dovizioso, Aleix earned his final placement, in addition to the satisfaction of taking home the fifth best race time.
Sam Lowes, certainly not helped by the few sessions held on dry asphalt, finished twenty-second, missing the points zone which is still his primary objective.
"I think everyone had fun today. It is not often that so many riders are so close all the way to the chequered flag in MotoGP. It was a hard race, but I liked it. At a certain point, I thought that I might be able to have a go at fourth place with Valentino and Maverick, but when there were only a few laps left, they picked up their pace and I had to settle. I any case, I am satisfied with the sixth place finish, but especially with the gap behind the winner. We are improving constantly and we demonstrate that basically every weekend. Unfortunately, we have been lacking consistent race results. In any case, we still have four rounds to go on tracks that I really like, so I want to finish this season well."
"Unfortunately, I struggled yesterday, I think partly because of the characteristics of the track that gave a lot of us MotoGP rookies trouble. I knew that my pace wouldn't be the fastest today, but I was able to be consistent and not make any mistakes, finishing the race. Obviously, my objective is different, but on a less than easy weekend with only a few sessions held on dry asphalt to prepare for the race, I need to look at the positive aspects and think about Japan."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"It was a great weekend. Both in practice and in the race, we were finally able to express our potential and it is important to have done that on a track where everything counts, from the engine to chassis architecture to fine tuning, a real test bench and one of the best tracks on which to demonstrate our value. Performance was constantly very high and we are taking home what I believe we truly are worthy of today."
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"A fantastic race, as we expected. Aleix was fast and the bike worked well. Today we reaped what our potential allows. This race helps, especially for the team's motivation, rewarding the great efforts made thus far. Everyone deserves to be complimented, from those working from home to the guys here at the track. This is a great team that has believed in the project and worked hard with heart and soul."
Closest MotoGP finish for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing with top 10 result at Aragon
RACE 14th Rd. MotoGP 2017 – MotorLand Aragon (ESP)
KTM shone under the Aragon sun in Spain today as the Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing team again took a top ten finish in the team's debut year as Pol Espargaro took tenth position a tantalising 14 seconds behind the outright winner of the race. For the KTM RC16 it is the bike's fourth top ten finish. Reinforcing Espargaro's pace was test rider Mika Kallio who was right on his back wheel in 11th place.
In Moto2, pole position man Miguel Oliveira came home in third just 0.5 seconds behind the winner, for the Portuguese it was his sixth podium of the season as the KTM Moto2 gains mileage in its debut season. Teammate Brad Binder stormed to a top 5 finish after starting as 20th on the grid.
Moto3 was as close as always with the top 8 over the line in less than 0.75 seconds, the leading KTM being Marcos Ramirez in seventh.
The next MotoGP is in three weeks time in Japan but the MotoGP team stays on at Aragon for a two day private test Tuesday and Wednesday.
The fourth top ten for the KTM RC16 motorcycle was taken as Pol Espargaro came home in tenth spot today, but what was more significant for the fledgling KTM MotoGP project was the fact he was just 14 seconds behind the winner of the race after 24 laps of the 5.078 km circuit with such a wide range and type of corners and straights within one lap.
KTM MotoGP test rider Mika Kallio, in only his third wild card race of the season, excelled once more just as he did at Spielberg, this time finishing in 11th place just three seconds behind Espargaro.
Bradley Smith didn't quite have the pace of his team mates but looks towards a very important two day test that now follows on Tuesday and Wednesday at the Aragon circuit with all three riders again looking to further develop, enhance and fine tune the latest parts produced by KTM Motorsport in Austria before the Asian trio of races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
Espargaro: "It's been a great day to get another top ten and just fourteen seconds from the top is amazing. The whole team has done such a good job to be competitive race by race and everyday at a new track it feels better. That is in part to the test team and Mika who today did a great start and then another strong race to be right on my tail. The championship has never been so tight at this level but Red Bull and KTM had the strength to come to this championship in 2017 and they are showing that they are in the hunt during this ultra competitive season. For me this is so impressive."
Kallio: "I think we can be satisfied with that! Of course I would've liked to be top ten but Pol got me towards the end of the race and I couldn't quite follow him, but this is still great for our garage and KTM MotoGP team. Remember, this is still only the third race for me this year. I had the fast guys at the front in view at the halfway point of the race and the gap to the leaders was only seven seconds at that point; my lap times were comparable too to those guys so we are very happy to have this pace. We still need to find better rear tyre life for the second half of the race, but hey, if you can see the faces of the team in the garage and all the guys around me it's brilliant. They've done such a great job this weekend with no mistakes so just like Austria, they've repeated that as we were 19 seconds back from first place then, and today we did the same."
Smith: "I'm pleased with today to turn around things from practice. Starting from the back row wasn't easy but with the soft tyre I could get myself into contention; the bad news is that it maybe wasn't the best of tyre choices in the long run. It was a gamble but towards the end it wasn't to be as it's frustrating to miss out on a points scoring finish. Now we all look forward to the test on Tuesday and Wednesday to put together a solid package for the fly-away races."
Pit Bierer (KTM Motorsport Director): "To be fourteen seconds behind the winner is a result we couldn't even dream of at the start of the season, but you could feel all weekend it was something special in the air. We were competitive in every practice for really good positions and not by fluke circumstances as our guys were fast the whole weekend. Qualifying wasn't quite there but the race was fantastic. There is a now a new time in our books which is fourteen seconds back of the win, and to do this on a long track, on a hot day without anyone gifting us places, was a fantastic day and another milestone for the KTM MotoGP project."
IANNONE WELL INTO POINT IN ARAGON, RINS FINISHES 17TH
Team Suzuki Press Office – September 23.
Andrea Iannone: 12th - +20.632
Alex Rins: 17th - +31.874
The last European race before the three long journeys and the grand finale in Valencia has just ended with the Aragon GP. It was a tough race for the riders of Team SUZUKI ECSTAR which saw Andrea Iannone end in 12th place and Alex Rins in 17th.
The morning sessions were delayed by fog, but when the sun did come to burn through the clouds and warm up the track, both Iannone and Rins were able to carry out a positive warm-up. The Italian finished in 11th place (1'49.681 / +0.849s) and the Spaniard in 15th (1'49.883 / +1.051s).
The race then took a bitter turn, with both riders struggling to either find a good pace or advance from their position. Starting from 10th place, Iannone had a good jump at the start, but then progressively lost positions to end in 12th. The weekend saw him improve his performance in general and get some important direction for the future, which makes his weekend a positive one.
Rins struggled the whole weekend to effectively find the right feel on the bike and unfortunately the race followed the trend. The jump at the start was a positive one, but then he lost some positions in the first lap. His attempt to recover continued until the end but was unable to produce better than his final 17th place.
The Team will stay in Aragon until Wednesday for two days of private testing, to make up for the days lost in Misano because of poor weather. The main objectives will be to test different configurations and parts that the team believes will lead to an entirely better performing package.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“It has been a difficult weekend for us and difficult race for us. Both riders were able to finish the race and at least this is a bit of positive news but we couldn’t get enough speed. Andrea showed he is fast in qualifying, but unfortunately it was another story for the race and he could not maintain the pace; in the end he finished in 12th. Regarding Alex´s performance, he improved from qualifying, but not enough. After this race we will have two more days of testing. We will be trying many parts for next year and trying to improve in order to be completely prepared for next year.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“It was a difficult race because we suffered a bit on this track. Andrea and Alex raced on two different types of tyres, Andrea with the medium and Alex with the hard, but neither of them proved to be effective in fixing the problem. In a way I can see the positive aspects in all of this: Andrea has improved a bit compared to previous races and even competing with others helps us to better cope with things. And although Alex couldn’t get into the points on such a difficult track, it is interesting for us to have two days of testing to check out the situation and look for solutions. We want to prepare well for the next race in Japan, which is an important race for us at home. In the tests we will not be starting completely anew, but there are a number of things we want to further test. We are likewise trying to find the right combination of the various elements such as the frame, the settings, and other parts, including electronics. We need to improve the mix, the whole package of this bike. Meanwhile we continue to collect information for 2018. “
“It has not been a really positive race in terms of the final result because we came here to achieve better results. On the other hand, this weekend we struggled less than in the other recent grands prix and I hope this might be a nice restart for Suzuki, the team, and myself. The most positive aspect is that together we are looking to improve, to reduce the gap with our rivals, and solve some of our problems. I would like to thank Suzuki for their efforts and the work they are doing and I hope that within a short time we will get to where we want to be. In any case I'm happy with our performance we even with the difficulties.”
“It has been a very hard race, the one that cost me the most so far. At the start I did well and gained positions, but before finishing the first lap I lost a few places. Several riders have overtaken me in the braking, which is where I struggle the most. I had a hard time overtaking riders and I could not establish a rhythm. The positive side is that this experience serves us well for the future and we have learned many things today.”
Pulsating performance from Álvaro Bautista in Aragón
Pull&Bear Aspar rider battles in chasing group to finish as best independent Ducati in eighth
Marc Márquez dealt a blow to his championship rivals with victory in Aragon. The Spaniard made an inauspicious start but soon moved up from fourth position, passing Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and, finally, Jorge Lorenzo, to take a victory that gives him a sixteen-point margin at the top of the standings. Andrea Dovizioso was seventh today so remains second in the championship ahead of Maverick Viñales, Dani Pedrosa, and Valentino Rossi who returned to the track today despite his injury to pick up an important fifth place.
Álvaro Bautista produced a pulsating ride in front of the home fans, the Pull&Bear Aspar rider figuring strongly in the chasing group. Bautista finished the weekend in Aragon as the best independent Ducati rider, just eight seconds off victory and half a second behind Andrea Dovizioso. Bautista was satisfied with his performance in a race where he lacked some acceleration, but was able to compensate under braking. Karel Abraham made a good start and initiated a comeback that lifted him to fourteenth position. The Czech rider was confident of his chances but lost the front on the way into the Corkscrew and crashed. Abraham was comfortable at that point behind Pol Espargaró, who finally finished tenth.
8th Álvaro Bautista: "It was a good race, less than eight seconds behind the winner. In other races, with that difference, it could have been fifth, but at least that means there is a lot of equality. I am satisfied because I have given one hundred percent and tried to get the most out our package. We went out and took a gamble on the soft rear, because we did not know what would happen after the seventh lap, which is the maximum we had managed in practice. In the race I was in the second group, the lead group was very strong but then we recovered ground. In acceleration I lost a bit, it was something that we wanted to have improved in the warm up and we could not, and then in the braking I had to recover. We had a good pace so I hope to continue in this way next time."
Karel Abraham (DNF): “We had a really good start to the race and for the first first laps I was with the group fighting for good positions. I was sat behind Espargaro, feeling pretty confident. We had a little problem with the dry set-up, with the front moving, and I had this in the race but I just pushed a little bit too hard into the Corkscrew, carried a little more front brake than I should have and I lost the front. I'm terribly sorry to the team for what happened because we had a good weekend up to now and the race was going well. With the bike we have, which is very good, it is still a GP15 so it is lacking a little something compared to the GP16 and GP17 and that extra bit has to come from me. I have to push 100% to stay with the guys I think we should be running with and then try to avoid any little mistake, which is what I will do in Japan."
Zarco concludes Aragon battle in 9th – Solid performance by Folger
Johann Zarco’s strong effort at the gruelling Aragon Grand Prix earned him a 9th place finish today under the scorching Spanish sun. The French star leapt forward from 11th and he immediately set into a formidable and consistent pace. The rookie eventually concluded the race inside the top ten to maintain his position as the leading independent rider in the championship. The result also saw him extend his 100% point scoring record since the opening round.
Meanwhile, Jonas Folger closed the challenging weekend with a hard-fought ride to 16th. The young German, who started his 150th Grand Prix today, began from the sixth row and pushed throughout the 23-lap sprint. He delivered a late charge to get to 16th, having moved up six places since the end of the first lap.
Position: 9th - Championship: 6th - Points: 117
“The result is quite good, however, I expected to be stronger in the race with the used tyres, but eventually my opponents were fast too. I got a solid start yet the first few laps were a bit difficult. I tried my best to overtake but in the end, it was not the right opportunity and I lost a lot of positions because I almost crashed. After that, I got a solid feeling but I was limited by the front. This was not because of the tyre because even if it was a soft front, the technicians said that the rubber looked ok after the race. So it means that if I was limited, it was possible that the bike's balance was not as perfect as I needed it to be to get close to the front. Nevertheless, I am happy about the race and it was another experience, plus good for the championship. I tried to do my best but to finish only 13 seconds back from the top guys is not so far. However, I missed something to stay with this leading group because when they overtook Kallio, they opened a gap and I don’t think I was strong enough then. Anyway, I will learn from it and I need to understand how to use this to be more competitive in the future. I want to improve myself so that I can set the bike up and provide the right information, and also be effective with the team so they can give me the fantastic feeling that you can usually have with the Yamaha.”
Position: 16th - Championship: 10th - Points: 84
"We are all disappointed about the race because I am aiming to stay inside the top ten in the championship and I am fighting against some really fast riders but now we are struggling and finishing in 16th is a shame. I have to get my confidence back and use the two weeks off to rest myself so I can get mentally fresh in order to be better on the bike. We have to look at the championship and I am 14 points ahead of the next rider in the standings, but the target is to get into the top ten. However, I need to be freer when riding just like at the beginning of the year. The issues and the crashes, as well as the points we have lost in the last few rounds, leaves us a bit frustrated and we want to be better. So now I will take it easy because if you try too hard it doesn’t work. I’m sure I will come back refreshed and ready for the action."
“It was a tough weekend in Aragon but I believe that the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team did a great job. We had rain, fog and heat yet, Johann Zarco did very well as usual. It’s not easy for a rookie on this circuit and although he had a crash in FP3, which prevented us from getting into the top ten, he worked really hard for the race in FP4. Johann showed great determination to get into Q2 and despite the fact that the grid position was far from ideal, we knew that he could run a strong rhythm. The start was average and by the end of the first lap he was in 11th, but from that moment, our rider showed remarkable pace and was very consistent. I think every lap was within a second of each other and he was catching a few guys ahead of him before he finished 9th. This was a great reward for the hard work and it consolidates his position as the leading rookie in the championship and also as the top independent rider. Some of his strong rivals didn’t score any points today, which was beneficial for us, especially after the huge disappointment at the last round in Italy. In my opinion, at every event, Johann is showing his level, quality, determination and his efforts are paying off, plus he is one of the hardest working people in this paddock. On the other side of the garage, it was a tough weekend for Jonas. Unfortunately, he never felt really good on the bike and the strange crash in FP3 hurt his neck. There was no real damage but it bothered him. Jonas was quite far down the order on the grid and I don’t think he had much confidence in the early part of the GP because his pace wasn’t as quick as it could be. Let's not forget that he was on the podium in Germany and he set the fastest lap of the race in Sachsenring and Catalunya. The second half was a bit better today but it was still not close to his level. However, the team and I know his potential so let's hope that he has a few days off to rest and then mentally understand what is not working. We need two riders and we know that Jonas can be challenging Johann, which is what we want to see as a team. His crew will do everything that they can to give him the confidence and the feeling back and we are all behind him.”
Good race for Scott who recovers 8 positions. Petrux doesn’t manage to be competitive
The weekend of #AragonGP doesn't give any particular satisfaction to the Octo Pramac Racing team. Following the difficult Saturday’s qualifying, Scott Redding and Danilo Petrucci were forced to start from behind and they couldn't find the conditions to finish in the Top 10.
Scott's race is positive. The English rider started from P22. From the first laps the race pace is good and allows him to recover 8 positions to end in P14.
Danilo's feeling has never been good this weekend, but during the race, an abnormal consumption of the rear tyre does not allow him to be competitive.
20th - Danilo Petrucci
It's a weekend to forget. I wasn't able to be competitive and I am very sorry for that. During the race I had problems with the rear tyre. My mistake? I do not know. But under normal conditions this is not my position.
Miller and Rabat in the points at Aragon
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat completed a double points scoring finish in today’s Aragon Grand Prix.
In warm and sunny conditions Miller and Rabat dug deep with grip levels at a premium over the 23-lap race at the 5.078km Motorland Circuit
Miller finished 13th, the same as his starting position, to take him to 56 points and 12th overall in the MotoGP World Championship standings.
With track temperatures rising Miller started the race on a hard compound rear tyre but was never in a position to challenge for his target of a top ten finish.
Wet track conditions during free practice on Friday meant reduced time to assess tyre choices for the race.
In front of local Spanish fans Rabat came 15th with a late charge after starting from position 21 on the grid. The race was always going to be a tough challenge for Rabat but the resilient Spaniard never gave up and finished just 0.5s out of 11th position.
In three weeks the MotoGP championship resumes in Japan followed in succession by Australia and Malaysia.
Jack Miller: 13th
“While I am reasonably happy with the way things went today this wasn’t the race I expected even though I came home with some points. I used the hard tyre and expected a little bit more from it but it didn’t work out that way. Overall a positive weekend and I’m feeling really comfortable with the bike, especially the front. We just missed some drive grip on the rear which was down to not making the hard compound work early enough.”
Tito Rabat: 15th
“I am always looking for a better result so 15th is not where I wanted to be but it was a positive day because I did a very good job in the race after starting a long way back. It is good for my confidence to grab some points in this race and now it's time to focus on the next race in Japan.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“It is always important for our team to have both riders finish in the points which is what they did today. As a team we learnt a lesson today with tyre choice, there was not such a big difference between the compounds over the race distance. Before the race I thought Jack was capable of a better result but he had some issues so we have to be happy that he scored some points. Tito did what I expected of him today by finishing in the points in front of his home fans.”
Hector Barbera 18th and Loris Baz 21st after a tough race at Aragon
Even though they were starting from the back of the grid, Reale Avintia Racing riders Hector Barbera and Loris Baz were confident ahead of the race at Aragón. Both were keen to recover and score some championship points. But wet track conditions during free practice on Friday meant reduced time to set up their Ducati Desmosedici for the race, and today turned out to be a difficult challenge for both riders.
In the morning’s warm-up session, Spaniard Hector Barbera finished seventh fastest and was confident about his race pace, but lost some places during the first few laps and then was too conservative saving tyres for the last part of the race. When he started to push, it was too late and he finished the race in 18th position.
Loris Baz had a great start from the sixth row of the grid and recovered some positions, but when tyre grip started to drop, he lost many places. He won the battle with Sam Lowes on the last lap, but finished the race 21st and very far from the top.
In three weeks, the MotoGP World Championship resumes at the Twin Ring Motegi, which will be the first race of the triple in Japan, Australia and Malaysia on consecutive weekends.
Hector Barbera | P18
“This was a strange race because of tyre durability. On the first few laps I was conservative, I was thinking that would be a race like Barcelona were everybody starts strong and then slows down by two seconds per lap on the last laps. I tried to safe my tyres, but then I realized that everybody was using the same strategy, but without decreasing their pace. I am still struggling with the same problems with the bike. When I open the throttle, I have chatter and I can’t feel the limit. I’m only happy about one thing, which is that my pace was really fast on the fourth lap. I hope to feel better in Japan, a track that suits this bike more.”
Loris Baz | P21
“It was a tough race and really difficult to manage; everything we tried during the weekend didn’t work and we were not able to improve. We always had the same issues, I lost grip everywhere. I had a good start and I was in the same group with Pol (Espargaró). I tried my best to stay with them, but it was impossible. I started to lose positions and staying on the bike was really tough. It’s a shame because I really wanted to score some points today, there are only four races left and I want to get the best out of them. Today was a disaster from the beginning to the end. We’ll see if things change for Japan where the bike should work better. I just want to enjoy riding these last races in MotoGP with my team.”
CRUTCHLOW SLIDES OUT OF ARAGON GP
PRESS RELEASE: 24 September 2017 | Aragon Grand Prix
Cal Crutchlow was unfortunately unable to finish the Grand Prix of Aragon in north-eastern Spain on Sunday, as he slid out of the race whilst involved in a comeback battle with Johann Zarco.
The LCR Honda man had made a decent start to proceedings, riding with the main group in the early laps before a moment under braking ran him wide at turn one. He rejoined the race and was making up positions again, getting back to ninth place.
The Brit was unable to adjust his front brake lever because of the cast he is still wearing on his injured left index finger, and ultimately that cost him as he lost the front for a second time at turn 14.
Despite the result, Crutchlow and the LCR Honda MotoGP Team had an impressive weekend at the Spanish venue, and should be right back on song for the next round of the championship in Japan, at Honda’s home circuit of Twin Ring Motegi.
Cal Crutchlow – DNF
"I didn’t have a great feeling with my front brake lever, simply because I couldn’t adjust it with my finger. The front brake temperature was really hot at the end of the back straight because I was tucked the slipstream, then when I got to turn one the lever was really far out and I couldn’t adjust it because the front straight isn’t long enough and I couldn’t take my hand off the handlebar. I made a mistake under braking because the lever was far away and as soon as I grabbed the brake I locked the front and ran wide, which was unfortunate.
“Then I got back on the track and recovered well, and I thought I might be able to come back across to the group. When I was riding alone I felt better. Then I made a mistake when I passed Johann into turn 14. I had to take evasive action because I had to pass him quite late – I hadn’t actually planned to make the move – then I lost the front. It was always the risk with the hard front tyre we chose.
“It’s disappointing end, but not so bad a weekend overall. The positive to take from this is that we were competitive yet again.”
MICHELIN’S COLLECTION OF COMPOUNDS USED AT ARAGÓN AS MARQUEZ IS VICTORIOUS
Michelin had its full range of MICHELIN Power Slicks put through their paces during today’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón in Spain as Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) raced to victory and regained the lead in the MotoGP™ World Championship.
With all versions of the front and rear MICHELIN Power Slicks being used in today’s race, this again highlighted the choice that the French firm is giving to all the competitors to make the most of whatever conditions prevent themselves over a weekend. With limited dry track-time, due to a wet Friday, all the riders still had options open to them as race-time approached and many made last-minute changes on the grid as temperatures rose. The option of three compounds for both the front and rear enabled every team to make informed and calculated choices, giving them the optimum performance and creating competitive battles throughout the field to excite the fans.
Starting from pole was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), but he was soon passed by the fast-starting Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team), as the Ducati man led into the first corner and took the race to the rest of the field. Using a MICHELIN Power Slick medium front and soft rear compound, the Ducati racer led for the next 15 of the 23-lap race, with Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) – who was returning to competitive racing action just 24-days after breaking his right leg in two places – all in close contention. Lorenzo came under scrutiny from Marquez, before the reigning World Champion – who had shod his bike with the hard front and rear option tyres – made his move on lap-16. Once in the lead Marquez pushed all the way to the line and finished almost a second ahead of his nearest rival, a result that increased his championship lead to 16-points. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) made his way from sixth on the grid – setting the fastest lap of the race in the process – to follow his team-mate home, the diminutive Spaniard chose the medium compound front and rear pairing, and once he had created enough heat in the tyres he was able to produce fast laps and push his way towards the front of the field. Lorenzo made up the trio of riders on the podium as he steered his machine to third. The choice of Michelin compounds was certainly evident on the podium as soft, medium, and hard rear versions were used by the top-three collectively.
Today’s race was held in warm and sunny conditions with a record race-day attendance of 70,541 filling the MotorLand Aragón circuit as air temperatures rose to 27°C and the track surface hit 40°C. With many battles throughout the field, the race had plenty of excitement for its duration. Pole-setter Viñales was the next across the line after the top-three, following a spirited fight with his team-mate Rossi. Sixth – and the title of First Independent Rider – went to Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), as he equalled his best result of the season so far. Dovizioso came home in seventh to consolidate his second position in the championship, with Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) in eighth. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took ninth and strengthened his lead in the Independent and Rookie of the Year title chases. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) rounded out the top-ten.
Michelin and the MotoGP paddock now prepare for the gruelling three-week fly-away tour, as the championship first heads to Motegi in Japan on Sunday 15th October, before embarking on a trip to the southern hemisphere and Australia the following weekend and then returning for a race in Malaysia the next Sunday. These three races will certainly go a long way towards deciding the title chase, but with only 56 points covering the top-four and a maximum of 100 points available, it is still a close race.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“Today was a very difficult race because during the weekend after the wet conditions on Friday we couldn’t try all the Michelin tyres in the proper way. That meant we couldn’t make lots of laps and see how the tyres would be in the second part of the race. Nobody knew how the soft, medium and hard would work then, but we kept pushing because we believe in our style, so I chose hard, hard today. The rear worked well for the whole race, the front was a bit more of an issue because the left side was perfect, but the right was a bit more difficult to warm-up and it did give me some warnings, but in the end I was able to manage it and I am happy to get this victory.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“Today has been yet another justification of what we are trying to do at Michelin within MotoGP. It has always been our intention to give a full choice to all riders, no matter what bike or riding style they have. So, to see all the compounds used today and to have a soft, medium and hard rear – along with medium and hard fronts – on the podium just re-iterates the philosophy we are pushing for to produce competition tyres within a control situation. With Friday’s weather we lost two dry set-up sessions and this meant that the teams didn’t have the usual amount of time to collect data, but by working closely with their Michelin Technicians they were able to make informed decisions as to the correct tyre choice. We are always working to give the best, and even when the track time has been limited – such as this weekend – we are confident that every rider can make a selection based on their knowledge of the tyres and the trust that that are showing in the product. We now move on to the three fly-away races for what is always a huge undertaking for us because we have to prepare the selection in advance due to the logistics, but we are ready for it and will be aiming to give the riders what they need to continue with this year’s close and superb championship.”