Marquez dominating the points race
Doviz & Rossi separated by just three points
From a Misano painted red by Jorge Lorenzo’s (Ducati Team) pole position, and teammate Andrea Dovizioso’s victory, it’s time to pack up and head for MotorLand Aragon – where the red may well remain.
The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón is the third of four races held on the Iberian Peninsula – Jerez, Barcelona and Valencia being the other three – but the rich tapestry of Spain means each event takes on an individual feel making them appear as though they are in different countries. The MotorLand Aragón circuit is situated in the desert, rocky terrain of the Teruel Province and close to the town of Alcañiz.
The track is a venue much loved by Championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), and the stands will likely be filled with the red flag of the 93. Marquez has such an advantage in the title fight that it could be the faithful’s last chance to see him race on home turf before becoming a seven-time World Champion, too – and his speed at the venue has been unrivalled.
On pole in four of the five MotoGP races he’s competed in at MotorLand, Marquez has three wins there and two DNFs. A big ask for those on the chase to overhaul, but failure is no longer an option if they hope to reel in the reigning Champion.
“Aragón is one of my favourite circuits on the calendar, a track where I normally feel at ease and I can ride very well. I look forward to racing in front of my home crowd, and this year will be special because it will be the first time that a circuit dedicates a corner to me, and I’m very excited about that. Last year we arrived there equal on points in the Championship, but this season we have an advantage. This doesn’t mean that it’s over though; on the contrary, we must keep working hard because it seems that Ducati are fast and consistent at every track. We must find something that allows us to fight with them as well as possible. In Aragón we’ll try and be competitive from the beginning. We’ll try to find soon a good base and prepare well for the weekend.”
As with many venues fairly new to the calendar, a close rival to Marquez’ record is Lorenzo. The number 99 won in 2014 and again in 2015, took a podium in his first season on a Ducati and had incredible speed at a recent test there. Will he be a key presence at the top once again? After crashing out so close to the end of the race at Misano, the stakes are a little higher to get a result but there’s little Championship pressure per se.
Lorenzo will also get a lot of support racing at home – and so too will Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), another former winner at the venue and one who was much closer to the fight at the front again last time out.
Last time out though, the spoils belonged to Andrea Dovizioso. Making his way to the front and then managing the gap to perfection, the Italian’s win was a statement and further showed how competitive the Ducati now is at any track – not just those where success has come before. But can that translate at MotorLand?
It was a tougher weekend for ‘DesmoDovi’ last year at the venue, and it will be key to see if that will still be true in 2018 – he’s now second in the Championship and it has to start now.
A tougher weekend was the name of the game for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP come Sunday at Misano, too – with higher temperatures hitting both Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi.
Rossi was the home hero last time out, and now that switches to Viñales’ honour – something he’ll be hoping will bring a little more form. In 2017 at Aragon, the two men battled it out to the line despite Rossi coming back just weeks after breaking his leg, and Viñales ultimately took the upper hand – but only just.
Finishing the race fourth and fifth, it was a better weekend for the team in the latter part of the season and they’ll want that to remain true this time around.
The fight for top Independent Team rider, meanwhile, remains close. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) leads the way by a margin after his impressive pace and podium at Misano, but Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) remain close enough if the cards fall their way: Crutchlow has 119 points and the two on his tail 110. None had a big race to remember last season, so it’s tough to predict, as ever.
“The Aragón circuit is a huge track where I was many times struggling, so it would be fantastic to maybe struggle less this year, but to be honest, I don’t know what awaits me. Anyway, it’s a track I like, because even if I was fighting hard there, it’s always so good to ride these fast and nice corners. We don’t know the weather yet, but normally it should be dry as usual in Spain. This year I seem to find issues in many places, so maybe it’s a good sign that this might be the track where I struggle less. Anyway, the target now is to ensure the best place for the first independent rider. The championship is tight between Crutchlow, Petrucci and me, so this is the first goal to be clever, take the points and finish in front of them till the end of the year.”
Rookie of the Year is another close battle – with Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) now back ahead of Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) by two points. The Italian had some good pace at Misano, can he keep this momentum rolling? Or will Syahrin get back on form and rebuild some earlier confidence?
MotorLand Aragon awaits, and the last stop in Europe before the season finale in Valencia. Will Marquez take the home glory? Or is it someone else’s turf to take now?
The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon begins at 14:00 (GMT +2) on Sunday 23rd September.
Michelin on Aragon MotoGP 2018
Known throughout Spain as a region that has very hot and dry summers, the 5,078m circuit always provides a stringent test on tyres, so the range of Michelin Power Slicks have been prepared to meet those demands.
The front selection in soft, medium and hard will all be symmetric in design, whilst the rears – also in soft, medium and hard – will feature an asymmetric finish with a harder left-hand shoulder to manage the 10 left corners throughout the track’s anti-clockwise layout, 3 more than go in a right direction.
The technical layout of the track with its long straight of almost one-kilometre and varying corners that feature fast, flowing turns and tight hairpins, all go to make this a circuit that is a challenge in fine weather, but one that also needs special attention during the cooler mornings which can be faced at such an exposed location.
There is also a threat of heavy rain and thunderstorms sweeping across the countryside and affecting proceedings, if this happens then the Michelin Power Rain tyres in soft and medium compounds for both the front and rear will be available. The front will feature a symmetric design with the rears having an asymmetric finish and a harder left shoulder like their slick counterparts.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager
“We had some very mixed weather at Aragón last year, which seems to have been the case for the last few races, so we are hoping for more consistent conditions this weekend. The track is very technical and last year we saw all six compounds used in the race – as was the case last time out in Misano – and that is the same target we have for here this season. It is always Michelin’s intention to supply tyres that can be used by all riders, teams and manufacturers to give them optimum performance at every race and this is something that is very important for us. We aimed to create a competition environment within a single make series and we believe we have done that, and it makes it a real challenge for all the riders at the races to make the best and most informed choice, which in-turn has led to more exciting and close racing.”
|MotoGP Championship Standings|
|1.||Marquez Marc||Repsol Honda Team||221|
|2.||Dovizioso Andrea||Ducati Team||154|
|3.||Rossi Valentino||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||151|
|4.||Lorenzo Jorge||Ducati Team||130|
|5.||Vinales Maverick||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||124|
|6.||Crutchlow Cal||LCR Honda||119|
|7.||Zarco Johann||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||110|
|8.||Petrucci Danilo||Alma Pramac Racing||110|
|9.||Iannone Andrea||Team Suzuki Ecstar||92|
|10.||Rins Alex||Team Suzuki Ecstar||79|
|11.||Pedrosa Dani||Repsol Honda Team||76|
|12.||Bautista Alvaro||Angel Nieto Team||64|
|13.||Miller Jack||Alma Pramac Racing||61|
|14.||Rabat Tito||Reale Avintia Racing||35|
|15.||Espargaro Pol||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||32|
|16.||Morbidelli Franco||Marc VDS Racing Team||26|
|17.||Syahrin Hafizh||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||24|
|18.||Espargaro Aleix||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||19|
|19.||Smith Bradley||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||15|
|20.||Nakagami Takaaki||LCR Honda||14|
|21.||Redding Scott||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||12|
|22.||Kallio Mika||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||6|
|23.||Abraham Karel||Angel Nieto Team||4|
|24.||Pirro Michele||Ducati Team||1|
|25.||Luthi Thomas||Marc VDS Racing Team||0|
|26.||Bradl Stefan||Honda Racing Corporation||0|
|27.||Simeon Xavier||Reale Avintia Racing||0|
|28.||Guintoli Sylvain||Pata Yamaha Official WSBK Team||0|
|29.||Ponsson Christophe||Ponsson C.||0|
It’s becoming a tradition of sorts for (Sky Racing Team VR46) to win the race when he’s qualified on pole, and that was no different on his home turf at Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli. Sublime from lights out to take another victory and extend his lead to eight points, he was very much back in the driving seat – but it’s far from as easy as it looks.
Pressure came from the home crowd as well as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) at Misano. It wasn’t a bad Sunday for the Portuguese rider, who qualified in the top ten and then came home second after a stunning start, and that made for some impressive damage limitation.
He’s also got some real form venues coming towards the end of the season – he won the final three rounds in a row last year – and choosing when to attack and when to defend can be important. But can that gap be allowed to grow much more? MotorLand could be decisive, and he took a podium there last year.
There’s more to Moto2 than those two, however. Two big names riding on home turf at Aragon are Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and rookie teammate Joan Mir. Marquez’ record at MotorLand is mighty and he needs some points – crashing out at Misano through no fault of his own – and Mir won the Moto3 race at the venue last season.
They could prove a serious force to be reckoned with – as could Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), now third in the Championship, Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40), home hero Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP) and veteran Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team), who had a stunner there in 2017.
In addition, how will Marcel Schrötter’s (Dynavolt Intact GP) form change now he’s taken his first podium? Will he now be another fast complication for those fighting for the crown? The German has been consistently quick but he now has a rostrum to build from. Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) also has great form at MotorLand and could be one to watch.
Finally, the Marinelli Snipers team have announced Xavier Cardelus as their replacement for Romano Fenati following the incident at Misano – and Cardelus knows the track well.
Make sure to tune in on Sunday 23rd September from 12:20 (GMT +2).
|Moto2 Championship Standings|
|1.||Bagnaia Francesco||Sky Racing Team VR46||214|
|2.||Oliveira Miguel||Red Bull KTM Ajo||206|
|3.||Binder Brad||Red Bull KTM Ajo||119|
|4.||Baldassarri Lorenzo||Pons HP40||116|
|5.||Mir Joan||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team Moto2||114|
|6.||Marquez Alex||Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Team Moto2||113|
|7.||Schrotter Marcel||Dynavolt Intact GP||107|
|8.||Vierge Xavi||Dynavolt Intact GP||96|
|9.||Pasini Mattia||Italtrans Racing Team||95|
|10.||Quartararo Fabio||Beta Tools-Speed Up Racing||93|
|11.||Marini Luca||Sky Racing Team VR46||79|
|12.||Navarro Jorge||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||49|
|13.||Lowes Sam||Swiss Innovative Investors||46|
|14.||Lecuona Iker||Swiss Innovative Investors||41|
|15.||Corsi Simone||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||37|
|16.||Locatelli Andrea||Italtrans Racing Team||34|
|17.||Aegerter Dominique||Kiefer Racing||27|
|18.||Gardner Remy||Tech 3 Racing||24|
|19.||Fenati Romano||Marinelli Snipers Team||14|
|20.||Fernandez Augusto||Pons HP40||11|
|21.||Barbera Hector||Pons HP40||10|
|22.||Manzi Stefano||Forward Racing Team||8|
|23.||Kent Danny||Beta Tools-Speed Up Racing||8|
|24.||Vinales Isaac||Forward Racing Team||7|
|25.||Nagashima Tetsuta||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||7|
|26.||Roberts Joe||NTS RW Racing GP||2|
|27.||Pawi Khairul Idham||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||1|
|28.||Odendaal Steven||NTS RW Racing GP||1|
|29.||Raffin Jesko||Garage Plus Interwetten||1|
|30.||Bendsneyder Bo||Tech 3 Racing||0|
|31.||Pons Edgar||Pons HP40||0|
|32.||Tuuli Niki||SIC Racing Team||0|
|33.||Granado Eric||Forward Racing Team||0|
|34.||Danilo Jules||SAG Team||0|
|35.||Garzo Hector||Garzo H.||0|
|36.||Tulovic Lukas||Kiefer Racing||0|
|37.||Fuligni Federico||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||0|
|38.||Cardelus Xavi||Team Stylobike||0|
|39.||Morais Sheridan||Willirace Racing Team||0|
|40.||Medina Alejandro||SAG Team||0|
|41.||Pratama Dimas Ekky||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||0|
|42.||Perolari Corentin||Promoto Sport||0|
|43.||Khairuddin Zulfahmi||SIC Racing Team||0|
|44.||Tangre Cedric||Yohan Moto Sport||0|
Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) emerged onto the podium after the scrap for victory at Misano, but the Spaniard took back the lead despite missing out on the win as key title rival Marco Bezzecchi (Redox Prüstel GP) had some home race heartbreak and crashed out. That leaves Martin eight points ahead on the road to his next home race as the pendulum of pressure swings back to the Spaniards.
That’s not a big gap for Bezzecchi to try and make up, however, and another Italian will also be looking to gain ground: Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3). ‘Diggia’ is 29 points back, and now it’s starting to become crunch time as number of rounds remaining counts us down to Valencia. The Del Conca Gresini Moto3 rider also took second at the venue last season, whereas teammate Martin was just off the podium…
The man completing that podium in 2017 was Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing), and for the ‘Beast’ it’s more than crunch time; fast becoming a last chance saloon – as it is for fellow contender Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0).
The two both crashed through no fault of their own at Misano, and MotorLand is needs to see fortune favour them if they’re to stay in the fight for the crown. With an increasing number of names crowding the top of the timesheets – like first time winner at Misano Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) – that’s an ever-increasing challenge.
Will Martin hammer home his advantage at MotorLand or is there yet another twist in the tale of the 2018 Moto3 World Championship coming soon? Find out on Sunday 23rd September from 11:00 (GMT +2).
Moto3 Championship Standings
|Moto3 Championship Standings|
|1.||Martin Jorge||Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3||166|
|2.||Bezzecchi Marco||Pruestel GP||158|
|3.||Di Giannantonio Fabio||Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3||137|
|4.||Canet Aron||Estrella Galicia 0,0||118|
|5.||Bastianini Enea||Leopard Racing||117|
|6.||Rodrigo Gabriel||RBA BOE Skull Rider||97|
|7.||Kornfeil Jakub||Pruestel GP||91|
|8.||Dalla Porta Lorenzo||Leopard Racing||88|
|9.||Migno Andrea||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||67|
|10.||Ramirez Marcos||Bester Capital Dubai||67|
|11.||Arenas Albert||Angel Nieto Team Moto3||60|
|12.||Antonelli Niccolo||SIC58 Squadra Corse||56|
|13.||Oettl Philipp||Sudmetall Schedl GP Racing||54|
|14.||Masia Jaume||Bester Capital Dubai||54|
|15.||Mcphee John||CIP Green Power||43|
|16.||Suzuki Tatsuki||SIC58 Squadra Corse||40|
|17.||Arbolino Tony||Marinelli Snipers Team||37|
|18.||Sasaki Ayumu||Petronas Sprinta Racing||32|
|19.||Lopez Alonso||Estrella Galicia 0,0||31|
|20.||Toba Kaito||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||29|
|21.||Norrodin Adam||Petronas Sprinta Racing||28|
|22.||Binder Darryn||Red Bull KTM Ajo||28|
|23.||Foggia Dennis||Sky Racing Team VR46||26|
|24.||Fernandez Raul||MRW Mahindra Aspar Team||13|
|25.||Yurchenko Makar||CIP Green Power||9|
|26.||Loi Livio||Reale Avintia Racing||8|
|27.||Masaki Kazuki||RBA BOE Skull Rider||8|
|28.||Bulega Nicolo||Sky Racing Team VR46||7|
|29.||Pagliani Manuel||SIC Racing Team||6|
|30.||Atiratphuvapat Nakarin||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||2|
|31.||Perez Vicente||Reale Avintia Academy||2|
|32.||Ogura Ai||Asia Talent Team||1|
|33.||Nepa Stefano||CIP Green Power||0|
|34.||Montella Yari||Montella Y.||0|
|35.||Zannoni Kevin||Althea Racing||0|
|36.||Grunwald Luca||Kiefer Racing||0|
|37.||Salac Filip||Czech Talent Team Cuna de Campeones||0|
|38.||Van de Lagemaat Ryan||Van de Lagemaat R.||0|
|39.||Kofler Maximilian||Motorsport Kofler E.U.||0|