MotoGP Aragon: Shark Bite

Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo was able to decrease his points deficit on team-mate Valentino Rossi this weekend, as he dominated in front of his home crowd at Aragon.

The championship just got tighter

Photo: Movistar Yamaha

In classic Lorenzo style the Spaniard took the lead on the opening lap of the race and remained unchallenged for the duration of the race as his competitors crashed and battled it out for the other two positions on the podium.

Now with a gap of just 14 points to Rossi with four round remaining, the championship fight is still well and truly on for Lorenzo.

Race report:

Getting the holeshot into the opening corner from second position on the grid, Lorenzo was determined to make a clear getaway from his competitors. As reigning world champion Marquez chased him, he crashed out of the race from second position on only the second lap, meaning he has failed to finish in the last two Spanish rounds this season.

Suffering yet again from his poor qualifying result, Rossi was unable to stay with the race leaders in the early laps which meant he lost critical time to fight for the victory. Caught behind Andrea Iannone on the Factory Ducati, the nine times world champion was able to get up into third position on the fourth lap.

Rossi was then locked in a fight with Dani Pedrosa for the last two positions on the podium, meaning Lorenzo was able to pull a bigger gap. Despite shooting into second on the final lap in a tight battle to the flag it was Pedrosa who crossed the line ahead of Rossi, reducing the Italian’s championship lead.

Eugene Laverty secured his first top open class finish in his rookie season this weekend, finishing in 14th position as well as one position ahead of his Aspar MotoGP team-mate. Cal Crtuchlow was top Brit this weekend in seventh ahead of Bradley Smith in 8th.

Race result:
1. Jorge Lorenzo    Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 41m 44.933s
2. Dani Pedrosa         Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 41m 47.616s
3. Valentino Rossi      Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 41m 47.706s
4. Andrea Iannone      Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP15) 41m 52.791s
5. Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team (Desmosedici GP15) 42m 9.255s
6. Aleix Espargaro Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR) 42m 9.762s
7. Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda (RC213V) 42m 10.300s
8. Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 42m 10.436s
9. Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 42m 11.385s
10. Yonny Hernandez Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) 42m 28.822s
11. Maverick Viñales Team Suzuki Ecstar (GSX-RR)* 42m 29.188s
12. Scott Redding Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS (RC213V) 42m 33.109s
13. Alvaro Bautista Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 42m 34.688s
14. Eugene Laverty Aspar MotoGP Team (RC213V-RS)* 42m 35.204s
15. Nicky Hayden Aspar MotoGP Team (RC213V-RS) 42m 35.297s
16. Hector Barbera Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14 Open) 42m 35.655s
17. Loris Baz                 Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha)* 42m 36.930s
18. Stefan Bradl Factory Aprilia Gresini (RS-GP) 42m 38.339s
19. Jack Miller LCR Honda (RC213V-RS)* 42m 41.792s
20. Mike Di Meglio Avintia Racing (Desmosedici GP14 Open) 42m 44.540s
21. Toni Elias         Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 43m 0.170s
Karel Abraham        AB Motoracing (RC213V-RS) DNF
Danilo Petrucci              Octo Pramac Racing (Desmosedici GP14.2) DNF
Alex De Angelis        E-Motion IodaRacing (ART) DNF
Marc Marquez                Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) DNF

Rider reactions:

Lorenzo was understandably relieved with his result, bouncing back from two weaker races: “I took a big sigh of relief, because I was pushing so much and my tension-level was very high. I was trying to pull away by some metres from Marquez. I knew it was going to be difficult because my pace was very similar to his and after the warm up I knew his pace was very strong. We probably would have fought all the race and he may have beaten me in the final part because he may not have noticed the drop of the tyres as much, but today I was lucky. I saw his crash on the board and then I had to wait another lap to see the gap to Pedrosa. That was already very big after two laps, but I still couldn’t relax because I knew that Dani had Valentino behind him and on this track he can have a good pace. I needed to stay focused and not make any mistakes to maintain the distance and that’s what I did all the race. Had I lost more points to Valentino, it would have been almost impossible to win the championship
.”

 
“I’m really happy as it was a great race with Valentino! Explained Pedrosa, who many believed rode one of his strongest races aboard the RC213V  “It was difficult, because I had him on my tail every lap and during the last five he tried to pass me, but I managed to stay in front of him. He is a rider who is very strong in this part of racing, and can usually beat anyone on the grid – and for me it is one of my weaker points. However, today I was able to beat him and I’m so happy because during the battle we swapped positions many times which gives me great motivation. I want to thank the entire Repsol Honda team and we will try to be stronger at the next race!”
 
Rossi was noticeably disappointed with his result at a tough track for the Italian:“I try everything, I give the maximum, because for sure it is important to arrive second and lose just the five points to Jorge, but at the end Dani today was very strong. I tried everything, but in the end he arrived in front of me. On the other hand I am happy about the race because I was competitive, I was strong in the race and it was the best race of my career in Aragon, for sure, this circuit is always difficult. But now we have to look forward and try to do better. I stayed behind Dani because in the beginning it was very difficult to overtake and I didn’t have enough pace to stay in front. So I had to fight for everything in the last lap. I tried to overtake where I saw I was strong, but already from the first overtake I saw that Dani today was very strong, because he always came back. I tried to concentrate and stay on the line at entry every time, but on the last lap we touched at one time and I went over the curb, so at that moment I had just to try all or nothing, you know. In the chicane I tried without thinking, but he was able to cross the line somehow.
“Today I can only apologise to the team and the fans, Marquez explains his crash “because we were working very well and we had a very good pace all weekend. On the second lap, when braking for Turn 12, I made a mistake and lost the front. It was my fault and I apologise. When a season is not going well for you, then nothing goes your way, and it seems that this season we are finding things hard. There are still four races to go and we will try to be at the front and fight to the end.”

Naturally pleased with crossing the line top Open Class rider and beating his team-mate, Laverty explains:“I am very happy with the result in the race here at Aragon. The qualifying session yesterday was fantastic but it was just one lap, today was very important because we were strong in 23. I was used to fighting for the top positions and fighting to get into the points now is different, but the Open concept is something that helps us to stay motivated. I felt relaxed on the bike, and the bike was working better towards the end. I just rode my own race and focused on what I was doing. Even though we were battling for fourteenth, I treated it as if we were in the fight to win the race. That’s the way you have to approach it. Nicky is a great teammate and a great racer. You don’t know where he is going to be in practice; he might have a bad practice or a bad qualifying session, but then come Sunday he really puts it together for the race. He did just that today, and we had a great fight together. We have been doing a great job in the second half of the season and finally we were able to have something to show for it today, I hope to continue to progress in the upcoming rounds.”

Championship standings:

1 Valentino Rossi Yamaha 263
2 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 249
3 Marc Marquez Honda 184
4 Andrea Iannone Ducati 172
5 Bradley Smith Yamaha 143
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati 139
7 Dani Pedrosa Honda 129
8 Danilo Petrucci Ducati 93
9 Cal Crutchlow Honda 88
10 Pol Espargaro Yamaha 88

Next round: 
Round 15: Motul Grand Prix Japan, Motegi Circuit, 9th, 10th, 11th October 2015.

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