-- MotoGP 2013 - Round 14 - Aragon -
Marquez on pole at Aragon
Championship leader Marc Marquez has achieved his seventh pole position of the MotoGP™ season, edging out Jorge Lorenzo by one hundredth of a second at MotorLand Aragon. Last year’s winner Dani Pedrosa will start third, with Valentino Rossi and Stefan Bradl completing the top five.
Marquez’s seventh pole and third in succession came following a tight battle in north-eastern Spain, with MotorLand Aragón being one of seven anti-clockwise circuits on the current calendar. Lorenzo had topped the timesheets on Friday morning before Marquez moved ahead, although – following a damp third session – it was Pedrosa who led the way in final practice ahead of qualifying.
The record pole time was delivered by Marquez in the form of 1’47.804, with Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo preventing a Repsol Honda Team qualifying one-two. This means the top three on the grid will start in championship order, with Marquez holding a 34-point advantage over both of his rivals. Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi also saw his grid place match his position in the championship, being demoted from second to fourth in the final moments, ahead of Honda satellite riders Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).
Struggling for top speed on Aragón’s kilometre-long back straight, Cal Crutchlow could muster no more than seventh place while Monster Yamaha Tech3 teammate Bradley Smith qualified eighth and only two tenths of a second slower, having progressed from Q1 after being denied the chance of a direct Q2 position due chiefly to track conditions in third practice. Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro (the leading CRT runner) completed the top ten, while Ducati’s Nicky Hayden (11th) was unable to meet his second row target and Energy T.I. Pramac’s Andrea Iannone (12th) rounded out the first half of the grid.
Yonny Hernandez enjoyed a strong debut for Ignite Pramac Racing and almost a spot in Q2 en route to 13th place, while Aspar’s Randy de Puniet settled for 16th following problems. Italian debutant Luca Scassa (Cardion AB Motoracing) will head up the back row from 22nd, covering for Karel Abraham who is out for the rest of the season, while Australia’s Damian Cudlin – replacing Hernandez at PBM for both Aragón and Phillip Island – experienced a crash from which he suffered minor injuries to his right hand and arm. This weekend’s race marks Round 14 of 2013 and the fourth at MotorLand Aragón, which first appeared on the MotoGP™ calendar in 2010.
-- Qualifying Results
1 Marc Marquez 1'47.804 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo 1'47.814 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
3 Dani Pedrosa 1'47.957 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Valentino Rossi 1'47.962 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Stefan Bradl 1'48.128 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
6 Alvaro Bautista 1'48.302 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
7 Cal Crutchlow 1'48.653 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
8 Bradley Smith 1'48.854 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
9 Andrea Dovizioso 1'49.219 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Aleix Espargaro 1'49.348 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
11 Nicky Hayden 1'49.428 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
12 Andrea Iannone 1'50.094 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
13 Yonny Hernandez 1'50.685 COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
14 Hiroshi Aoyama 1'50.995 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
15 Danilo Petrucci 1'51.030 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
16 Randy De Puniet 1'51.297 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
17 Colin Edwards 1'51.327 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Claudio Corti 1'51.519 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Hector Barbera 1'51.552 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
20 Michael Laverty 1'51.639 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
21 Bryan Staring 1'52.102 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
22 Luca Scassa 1'52.305 ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing
23 Lukas Pesek 1'52.989 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
24 Damian Cudlin 1'53.521 AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
Nico Terol was fastest in the Moto2™ qualifying session for the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón, picking up his first pole position in the class. The Aspar Team Moto2 rider will start alongside Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat and Pol Espargaro, with championship leader Scott Redding having managed only 13th place.
At the end of Day 1, Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami (second place finisher at the last four races) had topped the timesheets from Rabat, with championship contenders Espargaro and Redding both struggling. On this occasion, it was Terol – one day after his 25th birthday – atop the pile with his best effort of 1’53.812, with Rabat less than two tenths behind. Critically for third-placed Espargaro, he lines up ten places ahead of Redding and would be capable of snatching the championship lead should he win with the Englishman hitting trouble on Sunday.
The aforementioned Nakagami will head Row 2 from Terol’s Aspar teammate Jordi Torres and NGM Mobile Racing’s Simone Corsi, while reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese will line up ninth to equal his second-best qualifying performance of the campaign to date. Perhaps the biggest story of the day was that of championship leader Redding who, in pain with his right arm and recovering from surgery for arm pump, lingered in 13th position while Marc VDS Racing Team colleague Mika Kallio faired even worse and qualified 15th.
Terol’s pole position is the ninth of his career and first since qualifying quickest for the Malaysian Grand Prix towards the end of his title-winning 125 campaign in 2011. He now targets his second Moto2™ victory, having already triumphed in the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins will begin the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón from pole position, starting alongside Maverick Viñales and teammate Alex Marquez. Philipp Oettl put in a standout performance for fourth place, with championship leader Luis Salom managing no more than eighth on the grid.
Following heavy rain in the early hours of Saturday morning, final practice had been held in mixed conditions before the sun came out over MotorLand Aragón in the afternoon. Courtesy of his truly impressive effort, Rins grabbed the top spot by no less than seven tenths of a second thanks to a leading lap time of 1’58.571. With Salom back on Row 3, Rins and second-placed Viñales (Team Calvo) are well aware that they are presented with an opportunity to reduce the championship lead of the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider who heads Viñales by 19 points, with Rins 21 off the lead.
A superb performance by Philipp Oettl, son of former Grand Prix racer Peter and currently in his maiden full World Championship season, saw the Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing rider achieve a front row position before being demoted by Marquez; nevertheless, his second row placing is by far his best to date and continues a strong run of form this weekend. Efren Vazquez will line up fifth for Mahindra Racing, while Jonas Folger delivered an inspiring and unexpected performance to qualify sixth for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 despite having undergone surgery only last week after fracturing his left ankle in a crash last time out at Misano.
With Salom eighth, he is sandwiched into the middle of the third row by Mahindra’s Miguel Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo teammate Arthur Sissis, while second teammate Zulfahmi Khairuddin ended proceedings in 11th place following a small incident at Turn 12. Wildcard entrants and CEV rivals Maria Herrera and Bryan Schouten will start together on the grid, 31st and 32nd for Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 and Dutch Racing Team, respectively.
-- HRC Report
Honda riders qualified first and third for tomorrow’s Aragon GP, bracketing the front row of the grid. Championship leader Marc Marquez was on pole position, and his Repsol Honda RC213V team-mate Dani Pedrosa a close third fastest. In between them was defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).
There were two Hondas also on the second row, at a track where Honda’s V4 MotoGP prototype has a strong record, having won for the past two years. LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl was less than two tenths ahead of Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista, in fifth and sixth positions. Second Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi was fourth.
Marquez’s seventh pole of his first MotoGP season was yet another landmark in the rookie in a million’s sensational maiden season in the premier class. The Spanish rising star claimed it with a stunning lap time – not only 1.2 seconds inside the lap record, set in race conditions, but better than 0.65 seconds faster than the best ever lap at the challenging and scenic Motorland Aragon circuit. Both of those times were set last year by Repsol Honda RC213V rider Casey Stoner.
Marquez (20) has so far won five races, taking his first victory in only the second round. He followed up with four in a row mid-season, setting yet another “youngest-ever” record in a year of many such achievements. During that spell he regained his early championship lead, which now stands at a significant 34 points, ahead of Lorenzo and Pedrosa, who are equal on points.
Although he now need finish only second at the remaining five rounds, the former 125cc and reigning Moto2 champion has pledged to continue fighting for victories in his quest to become the youngest-ever premier-class World Champion.
Team-mate Pedrosa is battling to regain ground lost after missing one race and struggling through the following rounds when he broke his collarbone in practice at round eight in Germany. Until then he had been leading on points.
Pedrosa chose natural healing rather than the surgery espoused by rival Lorenzo, with a similar injury. Now back to full strength, he is determined and focused, and hoping to repeat his victory at the Aragon circuit last year.
Both Repsol Honda riders are fresh from post-race tests after the race at Misano a fortnight ago, where Pedrosa concentrated on improving the settings of his machine to tackle issues with rear grip that has been troubling him. The Spanish star celebrates his 28th birthday on race day tomorrow, and hopes to do so with his own third win of the season, after a run of four podium finishes at the previous races.
Stefan Bradl’s second-row start reflects a return to strong form that peaked with a first pole position and second place at the US GP, before the summer break. The German rider showed his pace on the first day of practice, running second fastest, and was confident for the race after his own tests at Misano helped him find better machine settings.
Bautista has shown improving form throughout the season, as he and his team get to grips with his exclusive use of Showa suspension and Nissin brakes … the Spaniard is race-developing the Japanese components, made by companies with close associations with Honda. Working alone means no reference points or data, but the Italy-based team has made strong progress during the season, and his results and race performances have steadily improved.
His team-mate Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) qualified 21st on his Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike. The Australian is in his first grand prix season, learning new tracks while also getting to grips with a new type of machine.
Former 125cc champion Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) claimed a career first Moto2 pole, only his second time on the front row of the grid this year. The first time was at round two in Austin, Texas, where he went on to claim his first race win in the class. Since then, however, he has been only once on the podium in the volatile class.
All Moto2 riders use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines, supplied by the organisers. This ensures not only close but also reliable racing, with riders striving to make the difference on a variety of prototype chassis.
Two-time race winner Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) and his team-mate Pol Espargaro complete the front row of the grid, but the major focus of the race is the championship battle between Spanish star Espargaro and English championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex).
Redding still has a points lead of 23, but Espargaro has been closing the gap over the latter half of the season. Redding, fresh from arm surgery, qualified a disappointing 13th at Aragon, on the fifth row of the grid, putting him in the thick of heavy race traffic. The difference on time is not so great, however – the top 13 all qualified within one second of pole time.
Japanese racer Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), who has finished second in the last four races, heads the second row. Alongside him, single race winner Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) was narrowly ahead of Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up).
Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), reigning Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project Suter) complete the top ten.
In the Moto3 class, up against rival factories, two Honda riders were in close contention with each other. In the end Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda rider Alexis Masbou took the fourth-row starting position from San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda rider Romano Fenati in the closing stages.
The experienced 26-year-old Frenchman was happy to be top Honda, but anticipated a tough race at a track where a long straight does not favour his machine’s superior cornering ability. Fenati (17) had been higher in free practice, in a generally strong weekend for the young Italian, in his second year in the class.
Less than half-a-second slower, Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda) was 15th out of the 35 qualifiers.
Second San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda rider Francesco Bagnaia was 17th, Jack Miller (top Honda in the points standings) a disappointed 20th on the Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda, one place ahead of France’s Alan Techer (CIP Moto3 TSR Honda).
Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro-Seta FTR Honda) was 23rd, Alessandro Tonucci (La Fonte Tascaracing FTR Honda) 24th, and John McPhee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda 27th; with Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda), wild card Bryan Schouten (Dutch Racing Team FTR Honda), Hyuga Watanabe (La Fonte Tascaracing FTR Honda), Matteo Ferrari (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) and Juanfran Guevara (CIP Moto3 TSR Honda) filling the grid.
The 5.078-km Motorland Aragon circuit, the central part of a major motorsport and technology centre, is fast and scenic, running up and down a dry and stony hillside and including a long straight just a few metres short of a kilometre. The weather was dry for the two practice days, although overnight rain made a cool and damp start to Saturday. There is a small chance of rain tomorrow, bringing the possibility of a flag-to-flag race in which riders pit to change bikes to match changing conditions.
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda RC213V): 1st – 1m 47.804
“It was a very closely fought qualifying session. We were able to get maximum performance from the tyres, which was the key to this pole position. Small details decided things this afternoon. I am happy, because we were able to achieve our aim of a front row start and to have the pole is a bonus. Tomorrow it will be important to get a good start and keep calm in the early laps, with the intention of taking the race to Jorge and Dani.”
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda): 3rd – 1m 47.957
“Even though the position on the grid maybe doesn't reflect it, we had a good qualifying session. We did a good job today and a lap time that I’m pleased with. For tomorrow the key will be to have a good start as the first corner is very close. I want to have a strong first few laps and maintain a good pace for the whole race. The tyre wear will be crucial so it’s also important to manage them for the race distance.”
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V): 5th – 1m 48.128
“Obviously I wanted to catch the fourth place, but at the end Rossi was a bit faster. But I am pretty satisfied anyway. We had a good start to the weekend and we continued with a good base set-up and consistent pace. This makes us quite optimistic for the race tomorrow, although we have a big question mark about the tyres: actually we have a good pace in the first laps but the tyres drop down quickly. The key element will be to save the tyres as much as possible until the end of the race. At this stage I am happy because the rider and the team are working well together, and I like this combination.”
Alvaro Bautista (Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini): 6th – 1m 48.302
“We didn’t go out this morning because the track conditions after the rain were such that we couldn’t get any useful feedback from either the wet or dry tyres so it meant we had to do all our work in the afternoon. Final free practice didn’t go well so we went out in qualifying with the setting from yesterday and set a good time. The pace from the other guys was very fast though and we have had to settle for sixth place and a second row start tomorrow. I am still happy with the lap time and my feeling on the bike. It was important to qualify well here because the first turn is very tight and even though it won't be easy I think we can be fighting for fourth or fifth place.”
Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda): 21st – 1m 52.102
“I am pretty happy because in comparison to yesterday I have a better feeling with the bike and I am sure we can improve even more for the race. The goal is to make up as many positions as we can and close in on the points.”
Honda Moto2 Rider quotes
Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2): 1st – 1m 53.812
“I am really happy about my first pole position in Moto2. This whole weekend my pace has been very consistent, and I made a big effort to be on the front row … so pole is perfect for me. Moto2 is very close and many riders are very fast – but here at this track my pace is good. I won here in 125, and my feeling for the track is always very good.”
Tito Rabat (Tuenti HP40): 2nd – 1m 53.985
“I will be going for another win tomorrow. We have a very consistent pace and a good rhythm, and our tyres are not going down too much. I have a little trouble in the last sector, and I’ll be checking with my mechanics to see if we can do something about this. For tomorrow – just make a good start and enjoy the race.”
Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP40): 3rd – 1m 54.294
“Third today is like a pole for me … yesterday I was quite slow, and was 11th, a second from the fastest. But we worked hard over the night to improve the bike for my style, and then today we could improve little by little. So now we have a better chance, but the first laps will be very hard … I am not the best with a full tank of fuel, and we also need to save the tyres for the end.”
Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Alexis Masbou (Ongetta Rivacold): 12th – 2m 00.498
“I’m feeling quite good on the bike, and good to be top Honda, but the position is not what I expected. This is a difficult track for us because the layout favours top speed more than handling. I tried a different rear suspension link today, but it didn’t feel too good, so tomorrow I may return to the old one. I’m sure I can improve acceleration a bit if I can find better rear grip, and race for some good points.”
Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia): 13th – 2m 00.818
“All weekend I have been going well. I enjoy this track, so it is a little disappointing not to be top Honda. I hoped for better in qualifying, but I never could get a good clear lap because there seemed to be so much traffic … but the race is tomorrow, and we will see what happens.”
Niccolo Antonelli (Team GO&FUN Gresini): 15th – 2m 00.858
“We could have done better today but I am quite satisfied. Unfortunately Aragon is not a good track for our bike and I needed a good tow in order to do the lap time, but I didn’t get one. Things can change in the race though and if we get a good start then a top ten finish is not unthinkable.”
-- Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo has taken second on the grid for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon after an intense 15 minute battle at the Motorland circuit this afternoon. The defending world champion was the first rider to set a time this afternoon, putting down a 1’48.241 to set the early pace at the front. He went on to improve with a 1’48.201 before relinquishing the top spot to Stefan Bradl with nine minutes remaining and returning to the pits for a fresh rear qualifying tyre. He was back out on track with just over five minutes remaining and became one of the key protagonists in an incredible fight for pole that saw multiple riders firing into the red as the lap times dropped into the 1’47s. Provisional pole was taken again then lost in the last seconds by just 0.010 seconds to rival Marc Marquez.
Teammate Valentino Rossi enjoyed his best qualifying experience of the year this afternoon, taking fourth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, just 0.158 seconds from pole position. The nine-time world champion waited in the pits for a minute at the start of the session, allowing the traffic of riders to leave before entering a relatively empty track space to focus on a lap time. He immediately fired off a 1’48.415 before improving again with a 1’48.366. Rossi then returned to the pits for fresh rubber and was back out again with five minutes remaining. The improvements continued as he began to threaten for provisional pole with red splits, dropping to a final time of 1’47.962 to take fourth on the grid, just 0.005 seconds behind Dani Pedrosa in third.
Jorge Lorenzo - 2nd | 1'47.814 | 8 Laps
“I knew I made a really good lap and I hoped to be in first position but I knew the other riders would be very close or in front of me. Finally for ten tenths of a second I lost it. I tried my best but I made a mistake in the first corner and lost one or two tenths so lost pole position. One thing is to make one fast lap, another is to make fast laps for the whole race. In the last practice before qualifying we found something extra for pace so we are stronger in one lap and also for the pace for the race. If the race remains in dry conditions it will be a good race.”
Valentino Rossi - 4th | 1'47.962 | 8 Laps
“I have a good feeling and I’ve improved my pace a lot and braking ability also. We have also improved the rear grip over long distance. I’m so happy because it was a great qualifying for me and I enjoyed it a lot. The level was very high and we were just one tenth from pole position, so we are all together. We have to see what the conditions are tomorrow; for sure today they helped us. With a few less degrees we are more competitive with the Yamaha. My pace is very similar to Jorge and Marquez and Pedrosa but we know that they are very fast so to try and stay with them I have to improve again tomorrow.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“Qualifying again in P2. It was much tighter than the last two races which is important. Normally this is not our favourite track, but it looks like we found something here today. The race pace will be slower than today but we've improved a lot this afternoon. We are thinking about tomorrow now because the race distance is long.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“Today went pretty well even if we lost an important session this morning due to the track conditions. We have been able to make a big improvement so we are very close. We can start tomorrow with Jorge in front row and Valentino in second which is important. We still have a couple of things to adjust but we are positive. Looking at what we have done from yesterday to today, I think we are able to make something better for tomorrow morning and we will be ready for the race."
Crutchlow and Smith confident for Motorland Aragon race
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith head into tomorrow’s Gran Premio IVECO de Aragon confident they can secure a double top 10 finish in what promises to be an exciting 23-lap MotoGP battle.
A fastest lap of 1.48.653 in QP2 this afternoon will see Crutchlow start from seventh position on the grid, the British rider unfortunately unable to continue an excellent qualifying record in 2013 that had seen him qualify inside the top five in 13 previous attempts this season.
The 27-year-old’s quickest lap still ensured he was the fastest rider that didn’t attend a test session at the Motorland Aragon track back in June and he remains optimistic that a 10th top six finish of an outstanding season is well within his grasp.
Teammate Bradley Smith enjoyed a superb second day at the 14th round of the World Championship campaign. Overnight rain left the track littered with damp patches this morning and prevented Smith from trying to climb into the top 10 at the end of FP3 to move immediately into QP2.
The 22-year-old dominated QP1 with a best time of 1.49.724 and he then shaved off almost a second in the second 15-minute session to secure a grid position just one place behind Crutchlow in eighth.
His personal best time of 1.48.854 was just over a second off pole position and a fraction outside of 0.2s of the more experienced Crutchlow, with Smith emphatically proving his 13th position yesterday did not accurately show his true potential.
With tweaks to his riding style paying off immediately today, Smith is now full of confidence that he can battle for a ninth top 10 finish of an impressive rookie premier class campaign.
Cal Crutchlow - 7th 1.48.653 – 8 laps : “I can’t be happy to have missed out on a top six grid position for the first time this season. Qualifying just didn’t go according to plan and I feel we picked the wrong bike. We had a choice of two different settings and unfortunately we chose the wrong one. And on the three laps where I was really pushing for a time I didn’t nail any of them. I made a small mistake on each lap and that is the reason why I am only seventh on the grid, which is a bit disappointing because I was proud of the fact that I’d qualified in the top five in every race before this weekend. A good start is going to be crucial to try and go with the leading group but coming from seventh means I am expecting a very difficult race.”
Bradley Smith - 8th 1.48.854 – 8 laps : “The last two races have been pretty dismal, so it is great for me to be able to turn it around this weekend. I said yesterday that I didn’t feel 13th was a true reflection of my potential and thankfully I was able to show that was the case today. The bike felt great and I have to say a massive thanks to my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 crew. We had a long meeting last night and there were a lot of positive things that came out of it. I was able to change my riding style like they suggested and I got more feeling from the bike and the lap time was a big step from yesterday. Eighth is the position where I expect to be given the competitiveness of the package I am on. Today I got the good feeling back with the bike that I had in Brno and now I am really excited for the race. Tyre life will be the key tomorrow but hopefully I can race in front of the bikes of Dovizioso and Hayden and not behind them.”
-- Ducati Report
Following a third free-practice session that was rendered largely useless by a damp track caused by last night’s rains, the Ducati Team found itself unable to come up with an ideal setup for qualifying this afternoon. At day’s end, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were ninth and eleventh, respectively, putting them on the third and fourth rows for tomorrow’s Aragón Grand Prix.
Although both riders had hoped for higher starting positions, they’re relatively pleased with their qualifying times.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 9th (1:49.219)
“Unfortunately, this is our position at the moment. We’re all going quite fast, but I’m satisfied with my qualifying time since I managed to improve by a second compared to the previous sessions. After following Bradl, I was able to drop some hundredths while riding by myself on the last lap, so I’m happy about that. Maybe we can battle with Smith in the race, although he’s a couple of tenths faster than I am. The riders ahead of him are quite far off.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 11th (1:49.428)
“At the end of the morning session, we went out on the damp track to get a feel for it, but it wasn’t very useful. We were able to improve something in the afternoon and were a lot faster than I went here last year, but everybody’s going a lot faster. Honestly, I’m quite disappointed to be so far back, but that’s the situation we’re in. We’re getting a lot of tyre wear because there are long corners where we’re on the edge of the tyre for a long time, but we have a couple of ideas for the morning that might help that. For the race, we need to get through turn one clean, see what happens with tyre wear and try and do our best.”
-- Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 20-22°C; Track 20-23°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 27-27°C; Track 32-35°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez reigned supreme in a captivating qualifying session at Motorland Aragon in which the top six qualifiers posted times under the existing lap record.
Marquez’s time of 1’47.804 smashed the old Circuit Best Lap record by six-tenths of a second and saw the rookie pip Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo to the top grid slot by a mere 0.010 seconds. The reigning MotoGP™ champion split the Repsol Honda’s on the front row, as Dani Pedrosa claimed third in qualifying with a best lap time of 1'47.957. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro continued where he left off yesterday to qualify highest out of the CRT riders, his best time of 1'49.348 good enough for tenth place on tomorrow’s grid.
Overnight rain created damp track conditions for the Free Practice Three, limiting the number of riders who took to the track in the first session of the day. The track was completely dry for FP4, offering the teams an opportunity to work on a dry setup for the qualifying sessions and the race. A peak track temperature of 35°C was recorded today, 7°C lower than yesterday’s top reading. The combination of the soft rear and hard front slick was again the popular choice among the riders in FP4 and Qualifying, however some riders were able to utilise the greater edge grip of the soft compound front tyre to good effect. Rider feedback from today’s sessions suggests that the hard front slick will be the more widely used choice in a dry race tomorrow, though should weather conditions be cooler again, some riders may switch to the soft compound front slick.
Sunday’s morning Warm Up session is scheduled for 0940 local time tomorrow morning (GMT +2) and the twenty-three lap Aragon Grand Prix is set to start at 1400.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“Conditions were cooler today but the overnight rain didn’t seem to negatively affect the grip level of the circuit and the pace today was very quick, with the top six riders in qualifying lapping under the existing lap record. The cooler track temperatures meant that almost no riders tried the harder rear slick options today, and also resulted in some riders reverting to using the softer front slick. The tyre combination that was most popular yesterday, the soft rear matched with the hard front was used by the majority of riders today and if we have a dry race, I expect this to be the preferred tyre choice. That said, the performance of the soft front slick in today’s cooler conditions was very good with three of the top ten riders in qualifying using this option, so both front slicks are performing well here. I anticipate an interesting race tomorrow as the pace among the first two rows of the grid is very close.”
-- Friday Reports - Honda men lead the way at Aragon
Repsol Honda sensation Marquez was just over 0.5s off record pace for the MotorLand Aragon track with a 1’48.987 best time, which was 0.132s better than LCR Honda man Bradl and 0.267s faster than teammate Pedrosa’s best effort.
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo had stamped his mark on the FP1 timesheet with the best lap of the morning and improved his time in the afternoon, although his best FP2 time only gave him fourth. Alvaro Bautista had a spill at turn 8 which complicated the end of his session, but he still registered a top five lap time.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Valentino Rossi and Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso were all in the top ten, which was completed by Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro and Dovizioso’s colleague Nicky Hayden.
Yonny Hernandez ran off track on Ignite Pramac Racing Ducati on one occasion as he became more accustomed to the bike, but improved to 14th in FP2 from 18th in FP1.
Luca Scassa has come into the Cardion AB Motoracing team this weekend to substitute for the injured Karel Abraham who is out for the remainder of 2013. He ended the day 21st overall.
Damian Cudlin furthered his Paul Bird Motorsport MotoGP experience by rounding out the timesheet in 24th position.
-- Practice Results
1 Marc Marquez 1'48.987 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Stefan Bradl 1'49.119 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
3 Dani Pedrosa 1'49.254 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Jorge Lorenzo 1'49.405 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
5 Alvaro Bautista 1'49.763 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
6 Cal Crutchlow 1'49.840 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
7 Valentino Rossi 1'49.909 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing
8 Andrea Dovizioso 1'50.034 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Aleix Espargaro 1'50.055 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar
10 Nicky Hayden 1'50.446 USA DUCATI Ducati Team
11 Andrea Iannone 1'50.727 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
12 Hector Barbera 1'50.913 SPA FTR Avintia Blusens
13 Bradley Smith 1'50.944 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
14 Yonny Hernandez 1'51.345 COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team
15 Claudio Corti 1'51.461 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
16 Randy De Puniet 1'51.699 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team
17 Colin Edwards 1'52.020 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 Danilo Petrucci 1'52.121 ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
19 Hiroshi Aoyama 1'52.227 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens
20 Michael Laverty 1'53.220 GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
21 Luca Scassa 1'53.338 ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing
22 Bryan Staring 1'53.557 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini
23 Lukas Pesek 1'54.793 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project
24 Damian Cudlin 1'55.343 AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport
Nakagami produced a best effort of 1’54.325 to lead Rabat by just 0.032s, with Terol’s best lap placing him 0.239s behind the man from the Far East.
Johann Zarco of the Came Iodaracing Project was fourth in the session and Marc VDS Racing Team’s standings leader Scott Redding was fifth, but the combined FP1 & FP2 times saw them end the day fifth and eighth respectively.
Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio was fourth overall thanks to his best time from FP1, whilst afternoon crasher Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2), Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing) and Thomas Luthi (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing) all featured in the combined top ten.
Tenth best overall was Tuenti HP 40 man Pol Espargaro whose 1'55.244 time from FP1 saw him conclude the day 0.919s behind pace setter Nakagami.
As the pace quickened towards the end of the session Rins and Viñales both set record laps of the MotorLand Aragon circuit for the Moto3 class, with Rins eventually taking P1 with a 1’59.801 lap, 0.16s better than Viñales’ fastest time. Salom, meanwhile, was 0.4s off the pace.
Also in the top five were Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira and Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, respectively 0.676s and 1.123s down on Rins’ P1 lap.
The top ten was completed by Rins’ teammate Alex Marquez, Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing’s Philipp Oettl, San Carlo Team Italia’s Romano Fenati, Ongetta-Rivacold’s Alexis Masbou and the brave German Jonas Folger - who is riding with an ankle injury for the Mapfre Aspar Team.
Those results cover the FP2 times only with most riders going faster in the afternoon, though Efren Vazquez finished the day ninth fastest overall having posted his best time of 2'01.173 in FP1.
-- Repsol HRC
Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, who currently leads the World Championship, has come flying out of the gates at a hot Motorland Aragón circuit. With an ambient temperature of 29ºC and a track temperature of 39ºC, Marc set the fastest time of the day with 1'48.987 on lap 4 of 17 in this afternoon's FP2 session, beating the circuit lap record of 1'49.046 (set by Casey Stoner in 2011). Teammate Dani Pedrosa was third fastest for the day with his lap time of 1'49.254 on lap 7 of 19.
Stefan Bradl, riding the Satellite LCR Honda split the two factory riders with an impressive lap of 1'49.119 placing him second fastest for the day and with Alvaro Bautista aboard the Satellite Honda Gresini in fifth, Honda occupied four out of the top five positions on day one at the Spanish track.
Marc Marquez 1st 1'48.987
“Today, I didn't feel as good as I did in the test that we did here after the Barcelona GP, as there was less grip in these two practice sessions. Anyway, it's the same for everyone. In general the feeling that we have is pretty good and I worked on various things with the bike today. However, we can still improve our setup. We hope to take that step forward tomorrow and we shall see if the grip level improves, as that would make things so much easier for everyone"
Dani Pedrosa 3rd 1'49.254
“I'm happy, because today I felt comfortable on track, we put in some good laps and improved our feeling a lot. We were only lacking a test run with the hard rear tyre, so tomorrow we will work on that to see which compound we go with in the end. We hope to get a bit further along with our preparations for the race"
-- Yamaha Racing
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi got down to business again today in the first two free practice sessions for this weekend’s Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon.
Fresh from his two consecutive race victories, reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo was quick to make his intentions clear in the morning session - challenging championship rival Marc Marquez for the top spot on the timesheets - and eventually emerging the faster at the end of the 45 minute session with a 1’49.753. The afternoon saw the competition catch up as the times dropped into the 1’48s, Lorenzo eventually wrapping up day one in fourth place overall, 0.418 from the top.
Rossi was quickly up to a competitive pace in the first session, the nine-time world champion completing the morning practice in fifth position, 0.746 seconds from the front. The Italian then struggled with a number of different issues in the afternoon, including a brake problem and a lack of grip which prevented both him and teammate Lorenzo from realising their full potential. Rossi finished the day in seventh, 0.922 seconds from the top.
Jorge Lorenzo - 4th / 1'49.405 / 17 laps
“We hoped to improve the bike from the morning but we couldn't do it. I have a worse feeling than when we were here for the test. We have to keep working to improve the bike and the pace. The other riders are improving their pace a lot but we are optimistic. We can improve the bike and make another step. We need to be competitive whether it is hot or not.”
Valentino Rossi - 7th / 1.49.909 / 16 laps
“We struggled more than we expected. In the test the track had different conditions and more grip, the temperature was lower and it was better. Today we suffered quite a lot, especially this afternoon I had quite a lot of issues, especially one with the brakes and I lost nearly half the practice. At the end I used the second bike and made some laps to find the rhythm. We have to improve and go faster but at this moment after some laps the rear tyre starts to slide a lot and the bike becomes difficult to control.”
Wilco Zeelenberg - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“The first day of Aragon and sunny conditions but we are not completely satisfied. The rider has complained that the grip drops really quickly. We need to try and improve tyre life; that is high on his wish list. The lap times are quite close but we can do better.”
Massimo Meregalli - Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“We didn't expect a start like today. Unfortunately the bike didn't work as it did during the test. The track conditions were completely different. We have a lot of work to do to improve the bike, the grip levels on the track are not good, one more day will make it much better. We will analyse the data, compare it with the riders' feedback and come back tomorrow to make another step forward.”
Crutchlow makes promising start at Motorland Aragon
The penultimate round of the European phase of the 2013 MotoGP World Championship campaign got off to a promising start for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Cal Crutchlow at the state-of-the-art Motorland Aragon track today.
In pleasantly warm conditions throughout today, Crutchlow ended the opening day of practice at the technically challenging and undulating Spanish venue in sixth position on the combined timesheets.
That was an impressive outcome for the 27-year-old considering six of the top seven riders on the final leaderboard tested at the Motorland Aragon in June.
A lap of 1.50.575 in this morning’s FP1 put Crutchlow in seventh position, but a big improvement to a 1.49.840 this afternoon elevated the British rider into the top six ahead of Factory Yamaha rider and nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi.
Teammate Bradley Smith has happy memories of the Motorland Aragon track after taking a podium finish in the 2010 125cc encounter and the British rider enjoyed a positive start to proceedings this morning when a lap of 1.51.263 placed him 10th in the rankings.
The 22-year-old, who is looking to consolidate his top 10 World Championship position in Sunday’s 23-lap race, was able to improve his pace to a 1.50.944 this afternoon but his progress unfortunately wasn’t reflected on the timesheets as he slipped down the order to 13th.
Experimenting with a new riding position to improve rear grip that he first tried during a test session after the previous round at Misano, Smith was less than 0.5s away from the top 10.
Cal Crutchlow 6th 1.49.840 – 36 laps : “Today was a pretty positive start to the weekend and I am happy to be in the top six. This morning proved it wasn’t going to be easy because I was seventh and the top six had all tested here back in June, so they have an advantage in terms of set-up and information. I feel I am riding quite well but for tomorrow we definitely need to try and get some more speed out of the bike. I am quite slow compared to the rest in the speed traps and also quite a way off the fastest Yamaha, so that is one area we need to look at tonight and work on improving for the rest of the weekend.”
Bradley Smith 13th 1.50.944 – 36 laps : “I’m reasonably happy with how the weekend has started but obviously the final position doesn’t look so good. I don’t think the position truly reflects our potential because a few guys not so far in front of me used a soft tyre to make their best time and they could only make one fast lap. I feel my pace is consistent but I am certainly looking to improve by at least 0.5s tomorrow. Track conditions between FP1 and FP2 changed quite a lot, so it is not clear which direction to go with on the set-up. But the first goal for tomorrow will be to make sure I am back in the top 10 at the end of FP3 to advance straight into QP2.”
-- Ducati Report
Riding in the dry, hot conditions that are common to the area around MotorLand Aragón, the MotoGP riders kicked off the season’s fourteenth round and its third Grand Prix on Spanish soil by completing the first two free-practice sessions of the race weekend.
By day’s end, Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden had turned the eighth and tenth fastest laps, respectively, in the combined times, the Italian 1.047 seconds off of leader Marc Marquez and his Ducati Team cohort a further .412 seconds back. For tomorrow, Dovizioso expects to focus on his Desmosedici GP13’s setup for the soft tyre, whereas Hayden will work on improving corner entry.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th (1:50.034)
“We wanted to try the hard tyre, but as there’s a one-second difference, it’s not worth considering at the moment. Tomorrow morning we’ll continue working because although the time isn’t bad, it’s still a second off the leaders. The others used the soft tyre the whole session, whereas I only put it on at the end and only had one good lap with it. I think the gap here at Aragón is in line with the other tracks.”
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 10th (1:50.446)
“In the morning, we weren’t quite as far back as we’ve been at other tracks, which is good considering that we didn’t test here when the other manufacturers did. Since then, we haven’t made a lot of progress, as I’m not very comfortable on corner entry. I can’t get enough feel from the front to really find my limit, and I ran wide a couple of times, including once this afternoon on a good lap. That’s where our main focus is, so we’ll concentrate on that tonight and see what we can do tomorrow.”
-- Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 24-26°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP2 - Dry. Ambient 29-31°C; Track 42-42°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez took control in the opening day of practice at the Aragon Grand Prix, the Repsol Honda rookie setting a best lap time of 1’48.987 in Free Practice Two as the Spaniard vies for his sixth victory of the season.
Marquez’s benchmark lap was within half a second of the Circuit Best Lap record and placed the current championship leader at the front of a trio of Honda riders at the top of the timesheets. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl was second quickest today, his best time of 1’49.119 barely one-tenth behind Marquez, while on the other Repsol Honda RC213V, Dani Pedrosa was third overall and 0.267 seconds off the pace of his teammate. Aleix Espargaro continued his domination of the CRT class as he rode his Power Electronics Aspar ART machine to ninth overall with a personal best lap time just 1.068 seconds off the lead.
Weather conditions for both of today’s sessions were fine and warm, with a peak track temperature of 42°C recorded in FP2. As is typical for the first session of the race weekend, in Free Practice 1 all riders headed out on softer slick options front and rear to evaluate the track conditions. As track conditions improved and temperatures increased in the afternoon, most riders migrated to the hard compound front tyre, while some riders also took the opportunity to evaluate the harder rear slick options. Rider feedback from today shows that the preferred tyre combination is the harder front paired with the softer rear slick which offers the best drive out of the corners with good braking and cornering stability.
Cooler weather is forecast for tomorrow with the next MotoGP™ session, FP3, at 0955 local time (GMT +2).
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“It was a good start to the race weekend today with consistent dry weather in both sessions. After the riders assessed the track conditions with softer slick options in FP1, most riders switched to the harder front for FP2 as this option offers better stability in fast corners and hard braking, both of which feature prominently at this circuit. For the rear tyre, some riders tried the harder rear slick options but as track temperatures weren’t overly hot, these didn’t offer any advantage over the soft. With cool weather expected tomorrow, I expect the combination of the soft rear and hard front to be widely used. The pace on the first day of action here is already is very fast, so if we have dry weather tomorrow I expect we will see another record-breaking qualifying session.”
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