2014 Aragon MotoGP Race Results: Uncertain Weather

Race Report follows.

Dani Pedrosa led at the start but was quickly worked over by Andrea Ianonne and Marc Marquez. Ianonne led over the line for the start of the second lap but Marquez short work of him. As Ianonne tried to recover the lead, he hit a puddle outside the kerb and had to take to the grass, but as soon as he was on the wet grass, at the high speed, a crash was inevitable and Ianonne slid in the mud as his bike destroyed itself next to him.

Two laps later, as Marc Marquez led Jorge Lorenzo led Dani Pedrosa led Valentino Rossi, Rossi had more corner speed and passed Pedrosa on the outside, heading towards a right-hander and realised that he was on the damp kerb and couldn't apply the brakes. He charged onto the astroturf and aquaplaned, separating bike and rider at high speed. Rossi tumbled toward the wall as his bike managed to avoid hitting him. Rossi and bike didn't hit the wall, but he was stretchered off and sent to the medical centre, luckily under his own power, for a CT scan, fearing concussion.

Behind the front three, Pol Espagaro and Andrea Dovizioso had their own duel while Stefan Bradl and Cal Crutchlow fought for sixth place. Jorge Lorenzo using the medium rear tyre took the lead from Marc Marquez who used the harder rear, same as Dani Pedrosa in third. The lap after, eyes turned to the sky as Marquez's second bike came out of the garage and Marquez took first place back off Lorenzo.

At the halfway mark, the white flag came out. The rain had arrived.

With nine laps remaining, nobody deemed the conditions bad enough to change bikes and Marquez motioned to Lorenzo to pass him on the start/finish straight. A lap later, both Honda riders passed Lorenzo as lap times dropped. Aleix Espagaro, on his open class Yamaha, pitted in and changed to his wet bike, shortly followed by Nicky Hayden and Alex De Angelis. Pedrosa passed Marquez for the first of five lead changes in one lap and both riders were communicating to each other as they started lap nineteen, as if they were deciding if they could manage the last five laps on hard slicks, and the rain kept coming.

Most of the riders changed bikes, but Marquez, Pedrosa and Lorenzo waited a little longer as the laps ran out. Lorenzo, seeing the Hondas getting away, made his move and changed bikes, a tactical decision that would be proven right immediately as Dani Pedrosa crashed out on turn one, and Aleix Espagaro climbed to third place.

With three laps to go, with a huge lead and no grip, Marc Marquez finally crashed, recovering his bike with enough time to get his scraped bike back to the pits, change bikes and recover in thirteenth place, one place ahead of Dani Pedrodsa who had done the same.

Jorge Lorenzo, with two laps to go, had a four and a half second lead over Aleix Espagaro who in turn was over two and a half seconds ahead of the fight between Cal Crutchlow and Stefan Bradl, but as the gap between Lorenzo and Espagaro increased, the gap between Espagaro and Crutchlow decreased, and, on the last lap, Lorenzo was assured of victory while Crutchlow, having shaken off Bradl, was closing on the second-placed man.

Jorge Lorenzo took his first victory of the year, winning through both skill and tactics, while his Honda rivals languished in thirteenth and fourteenth places and his teammate scored no points at all. Cal Crutchlow exited the final corner alongside Aleix Espagaro and both bikes were locked together as they crossed the line, but Espagaro retained his second place, giving an open class bike a first ever podium. Stefan Bradl took fourth with Bradley Smith, Pol Espagaro and Alvaro Bautista a further nineteen seconds behind him.

Marc Marquez increased his lead, incredibly, over Dani Pedrosa who in turn eked out two further points from Valentino Rossi.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha 44'20.406
2 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha +10.295
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati +10.312
4 6 Stefan BRADL Honda +11.718
5 38 Bradley SMITH Yamaha +29.483
6 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha +29.686
7 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda +29.763
8 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda +37.841
9 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda +42.957
10 45 Scott REDDING Honda +53.937
11 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ART +59.824
12 15 Alex DE ANGELIS Forward Yamaha +1'00.718
13 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +1'15.227
14 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +1'24.526
15 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati +1'38.255
16 70 Michael LAVERTY PBM 1 Lap
17 63 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia 1 Lap
18 23 Broc PARKES PBM 1 Lap
19 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati 1 Lap
  4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 5 Laps
  46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha 20 Laps
  29 Andrea IANNONE Ducati 22 Laps
  17 Karel ABRAHAM Honda 22 Laps


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Serious tactical errors by Team Honda there. Even Jorge left it a lap late to change bikes, but to his credit he thought it through. Bummed to see Rossi exit but c'est la guerre. Amazingly it has not really hurt his hopes for 2nd place from Pedrosa, although his teammate is closing in from behind must give him pause for thought.
Even though Marquez could win it all in the next outing, we've been saying that for a few races and his recent form shows its not over til its over. Hanging on to his bike as he did today could be a costly mistake.
Hayden must be cheered by ninth!

Ah there we have the hindsight heroes yet again. The rain could have stopped just as easily and then A. Espargaro would have looked the fool. The Hondas took a chance and lost. It happens.

That's why I don't like rain lotteries. I prefer racing as it was before the drops fell. And what a race it was, Lorenzo really looking like he could actually take Marquez on and Pedrosa stalking in the background waiting to pounce. Shame Rossi fell, but I hear he's mostly ok.

The first couple of times I agreed with the commentators that they were the top riders in the world and only they could really judge. The last two times Danny & Mark passed the pits I was almost slack jawed. That was a lot of rain to be riding on hard slicks.

Completely bummed about Rossi's crash as you could tell he had a good race setup.

Here's what I thought: Marc was only racing Dani. If Dani wasn't going to pit in, Marc wasn't. They basically played chicken and lost.

Well, Marquez didn't lose because he didn't concede any points to Dani. 

OH how heartbreaking when Vale crashed!! :( he was forced to the outside, it did look to me for a little while that he was finding the groove and running around Pedrosa shows he was getting confident, a little too confident ...maybe, what would have happened had he not crashed? He's pretty good at crazy races, but that belongs to the world of theoretical physics as to finish first you first have to finish...Pedrosa bining it at least keeps him withing a striking chance.

Honda team probably refer to 2009 Donington... if Dovi with soft slick can win in wet condition, why can't the master MM93 ? At the moment he have enough gap in points to make 'experimental ride'..and this time Stoner would say 'his balls outweight his talents'.. MM doesn't take much point in this race, but he surely take valuable lesson.. Its pretty awkward seeing Cruthlow on podium.. I say he is the real winner of rain lottery.

Marquez and Pedrosa judged Lorenzo to be out of the running because of how far back he was before he came in to swap bikes. With the two of them seemingly the only contenders for the win they both were probably thinking "If I pit to change bikes now he'll just gut out the last few laps and beat me". Marquez and Pedrosa are both guilty of the same thing: overestimating your teammate :)

#93 figured with 3 laps to go, no matter how much faster #99 was rain tires, he wouldnt make up the time....IF he kept it on 2-wheels! He wanted to win so badly at home...... Rossi crashing was unfortunate as he would have been very interesting in the mix with the weather.

Unfortunately even before the rain he looked like there's no way he'd ever ride for points. His was a brave gamble that may have worked out but certainly not a safe points decision.
Thinking back to his career in smaller classes, have we ever seen him take it easy? Most probably it won't cost him too much this year but if Jorge takes the fight too him early on next year, I do wish Marc learns compromise before its too late.
Written from the comfort of my sofa of course.

He was the rider I felt most sorry for - didn't even have the option to change bikes unlike some that chose to leave it too late.

And to A.Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow! A more unlikely combination of podium heroes I could have never imagined. :)
Good on ya Nick Hayden on a solid finish after surgery!
And it's also good to hear that 46 is mostly okay. Horrifyingly, with that first camera angle it looked like the bike could have landed on him, and it was not until they showed the overhead shot that it wasn't the case.

Nasty race. Marquez is a great crasher. When he goes down he manages the slide and tends to escape unharmed. Marvelous control of the motorcycle.

With both Repsol riders mirroring bikes, bad choices, and wrecks, kind of makes you think Honda isn't too happy. Staying out there that long was visible from the teli. Oh well, won't affect them much this year. Pedrosa gained on Rossi and Marquez gained on his team mate. Even though they both lost they come out of this round for the better.

Shame about Vale. He got knocked unconscious, hope nothing lasts from it.

I still loathe this flag to flag crap. Race restarts were safer to me and void of the complete clister****. The lead rider would put the hand up in the event of rain. Simple, effective, and proper but TV folks want it to fit into a little box with a bow around it.

That's your opinion...to me, this is the best way to handle rain. These are the best riders in the world and there is no better showcase for their talents AND BRAINS than a race like this. Those race restarts were just lame, eliminating a very dynamic element from these races.

Jorge won this race because he used his brain. It was absolutely insane to try to continue on slicks at that time. Marquez lost this race because he lacked experience, but it was clear what he was doing. Pedrosa has no excuse...a racer of his experience (and usually more cautious) has resorted to just following what Marquez does, even if it makes no sense.

It's a shame when it rains during a good race like this, but you get to see a more complete demonstration of brilliance (and sometimes luck). The best riders usually still win, and so in my mind, it is not really a crapshoot.

is that, had Rossi been patient and not tried biting off a bit too much around the outside of Pedrosa so early in the race, he appeared to have the same pace as the riders in front of him. This could have been an extremely unlikely Yamaha 1-2!

I watched this race with a coworker that's not a MotoGP fan and therefore isn't too savvy with what he's seeing. I was trying to explain to him the math that would would be going through the riders' heads and how timing the pit stop right is the key to winning flag to flag races. "See, Espargaro came in first. He's banking on the rain continuing and being able to run better with a hot rain tire than with a cold and wet slick tire. If he's in too early, he'll lose a lot of time and possibly shred his tires. But if it starts raining harder, he could win this race by a mile and look like a genius. From the look of things, it might be too early. The guys on slicks are still putting in lap times that are pretty quick, and I don't think he'd be able to duplicate that without shredding that tire."

The Honda riders and Lorenzo passed pit-out for the second time: "Wow. This is interesting. These riders must be thinking, 'Okay, there are five laps left, I'm losing seven seconds a lap nursing these slicks, but I'd lose 45 seconds in the pit stop. Plus, I need to keep my closest rivals close.'" I told him that this was a huge gamble, though, as the probability was higher--perhaps even likely--that they'd crash out of the race.

Rain keeps coming down. Surely they'll pit now. Only Lorenzo does. Another lap--they have to pit now... nope. "Okay, at this point they've painted themselves into a corner. Their gamble has already failed. Both Pedrosa and Marquez now know that the best they could hope for pitting now would be fifth or sixth place, as they've been giving up several seconds per lap to those behind them for three laps now. The only way for either of them to win the race is to avoid the time penalty of pit lane and hope they can nurse it home before Lorenzo and Espargaro catch up. They're taking a win-or-(probably)-crash bet over a guaranteed finish somewhere between fourth and sixth. I don't think it's going to work, and they're going to crash."

And down they went.

Usually these flag to flag races seem like a lottery to me, but with this one--I don't know why--it was almost like you could see exactly what the riders were thinking when they made their choices. Perhaps it's because the rain came on so slowly and consistently. I don't think I like more than a couple a year, but I have to admit that the flag to flag races are great entertainment.

put a frog in a pot of boiling water and he will jump out. put him in a pot of tepid water and slowly heat it up to boiling? enjoy your frogs legs...

Hmm! If they don't change bikes you'd expect that they'd still need to comply with fuel limits - well they have to, as the bike only holds the maximum permissible level of fuel. But the moment they change to the wet bike, the ECU will give them full power all the way to the finish because it knows it has the fuel range to do so. Whether they can use full power is of course down to the conditions.

I asked this exact same question on Twitter the other day and got a couple of interesting replies. One from Rossi's mechanic Alex Briggs.

If they use two bikes in a flag to flag race, each one can be fuelled with the full 20 litres. Each bike must comply with the fuel regulations, but effectively they get twice the fuel they'd normally have.

However, as the riders would want to swap to a bike which was handling roughly the same way as the one they were getting off, they'd generally only put in enough fuel to cover the rest of the race.