The ultra-modern MotorLand Aragón facility hosts round 14 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship this weekend. The circuit has its roots firmly established thanks to a solid history of street racing in Alcañiz, which hosted events between 1963 and 2003. The need for greater safety led to the proposal and construction of a sporting complex dedicated to motorsport in the area. With support from local institutions, renowned German architect Hermann Tilke was commissioned to design the facility. The circuit, which is just over 5 km long and has 17 turns, was roundly praised by riders after its first Grand Prix in 2010.
Teams give their take on the weekend ahead and Bridgestone comments on the somewhat smooth and slippery nature of the track surface.
After celebrating a momentous weekend in Misano two weeks ago, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo return to Spain for round 14 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship this Sunday, the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón.
The race holds special significance this year not just as a home race for Lorenzo but also for the team’s title sponsor, Movistar, who take title sponsorship of the Aragon round.
Still on a high from his amazing victory at his home Grand Prix, Rossi aims to keep the momentum going at Aragon, where he landed on the podium for the first time last year. The nine-time world champion’s spectacular win at the San Marino GP helped him reduce the championship points gap to his closest rival, Dani Pedrosa, to one single point. This weekend Rossi looks forward to another exciting battle with the frontrunners, hoping to secure second place in the championship by the end of the weekend.
Teammate Lorenzo also arrives in Aragon with great confidence and ready to put on a show for his penultimate home race. Over the last three years the Spaniard has had numerous successes at the MotorLand Aragón circuit, scoring two second places and a third place podium finish. His podium finish at the last round in Misano puts Lorenzo in fourth place in the championship with 177 championship points, 35 points clear of his closest rival.
The MotorLand Aragón circuit is situated near the town of Alcaniz in Northern Spain, a few hours drive from Barcelona. The fast and challenging 5.078 km long track was added to the MotoGP calendar in 2010 and has one of the most spectacular elevation changes and multiple flowing corners.
Valentino Rossi – “Heading to Aragon after winning my home Grand Prix is really nice. We had a good race, we worked well all weekend and the result was spectacular. Now we must try to repeat what we did in Misano. The main objective is to continue like this, fighting for important positions every weekend. I am just a point behind Dani in the championship and I want to fight for this position. I also especially want to be strong everywhere. I arrived to victory at Misano step by step and we have to continue like this until the end. We are on the right way!”
Jorge Lorenzo – “Motorland is a great track but it’s one of the few circuits on the calendar where I was never able to win. Over the last few years the layout seemed to be more suitable for our rivals, but I guess this season we can be closer especially because we tested there a couple of days after Montmeló so we already have some references. I’m still pursuing my first victory of this season and Misano again wasn’t the place, but I’m not worried about it. Hopefully we can complete a good weekend at Aragon and let’s see what happens! You never know. Last year I won in Motegi, a Honda track, and it was a massive surprise. I don’t see why we can’t do the same thing this year at Aragon!”
Massimo Meregalli – “We arrive in Aragon in confident mood but we are not resting on our laurels. Misano was a great weekend for the team where everything fell into place thanks to the hard work of the riders and the team. This weekend we start again from Friday morning with the same hard work ethic and looking to achieve the same results. We have some good data from our test here earlier in the year so we hope that will give us some small advantage over our rivals to begin with.”
The 2014 MotoGP World Championship is moving into its decisive phase, with a hectic five-round dash to the finish over the next seven weeks. Two rounds in Spain – the GP of Aragón and the GP of Valencia on November 9th – bookend three overseas rounds (Japan, Australia and Malaysia) during the month of October. This weekend therefore the Aragón circuit will be the venue for the fourteenth round of the season.
Situated close to the town of Alcañiz, the circuit will welcome MotoGP for the fifth time, after it joined the championship calendar in 2010. MotorLand Aragón is a modern facility, housing a tricky circuit that goes in a counter-clockwise direction. It includes two long straights and seventeen corners, as well as a couple of up-and-down sections.
The Ducati Team will arrive in Spain off the back of a test on Tuesday 23rd September at the Mugello circuit in Tuscany during which Andrea Dovizioso, together with his future team-mate Andrea Iannone, were able to shakedown the ‘evolution’ version of their Desmosedici, called GP14.2, for the first time. The two Italian riders will continue to test the bike during the Aragón race weekend.
Dovizioso has taken part in every edition of the GP of Aragón, his best result being a third place in 2012, while Crutchlow’s best finish was a fourth place in 2012 in the three times he has raced at Aragón.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – “Aragón is a strange track: it’s not one of my favourite circuits, but we have been going really well in the last few races this year on tracks with very different characteristics and so I also expect to go well at Aragón, just like we did at Silverstone and above all at Misano, which was a really special race. We are now becoming a more competitive reality and I am very happy with our constant progress.”
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – “I can take some positives to Aragón of being able to ride the bike well again during the weekend and finish the race. In terms of my riding style, I quite like the circuit, I’ve had some good battles there in the past and results haven’t been too bad. I think the more flowing corners that Aragón has got are a little bit more suited to my style anyway and we know the Ducati is good in the braking zone so hopefully we can benefit in those areas.”
Repsol HRC Preview
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa are en route to Aragon after a difficult weekend in Misano where Dani took a well earned 3rd but Championship leader, Marc, crashed on lap ten but was able to rejoin the race and finish fifteenth.
Motorland Aragón is round fourteen of the 2014 season. The ultra-modern 5.077km track is comprised of 17 turns – ten left and seven right, and a long straight of 968m. The first Grand Prix was hosted in 2010, and was rewarded with the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year award, the first time a circuit had received the prize in its debut year.
Both Marc and Dani have celebrated highs and lows in Aragón, Marc was taken out on the first lap in 2010 in 125cc, but came back in 2011 on the Moto2 machine to win the race, took second place in 2011 and won in MotoGP last year. Dani finished 2nd here in his first two outings and then won in 2012, but an unfortunate clash with teammate Marc last year saw his first DNF at a track where he has always been strong.
Marc Marquez – Championship Standing: 1st – 289 points – “After a disappointing weekend in Italy, it will be nice to return home to race in front of our home fans in Aragón this weekend and also my fan club will be coming! This is my favourite track of the year and we’ve had good results here in the past three years so I hope to continue this way. It has technical first and final sections, and you need to be strong in cornering, but we will be working hard from Friday to be back on top on Sunday!”
Dani Pedrosa – Championship Standing: 2nd – 215 points – “Last year obviously wasn’t the best for me, but apart from that I’ve always done well in Aragón and I’m looking forward to racing in front of our home crowd again, the support is always great and gives you motivation! Obviously Marc has a huge lead in the Championship but there is only a single point between me and Valentino, so my priority is to win races and open that margin to take second in the standings.”
Drive M7 Aspar Preview
The MotoGP World Championship returns to Spain for the third time this season this weekend as the final round on European soil before the season-defining flyaway races takes place at Motorland, Aragon. Motorland is one of the ‘newest’ additions to the calendar and also one of the most challenging, with virtually every kind of corner and two long straights packed into its 5km layout. After victory for Valentino Rossi at Misano last time out, Jorge Lorenzo is the only rider in the top four yet to win a race this season so he will be looking to put that right on Sunday, whilst Marc Márquez cannot win the title on home soil this weekend after failing to make the podium for the first time this season at the San Marino round.
The paddock will be pleased to welcome back one of its most charismatic figures as DRIVE M7 Aspar Team rider Nicky Hayden returns from a four-race absence. The American underwent surgery on his right wrist in July but he has undergone an intense recovery programme and after riding some dirt-track in recent weeks he feels ready to test himself on his MotoGP bike again at a circuit where he stood on the podium in 2010. His DRIVE M7 Aspar team-mate Hiroshi Aoyama has been one of the most consistent riders in 2014 and after making some solid recent progress the Japanese rider is aiming to maintain this trend until the end of the season.
Nicky Hayden: “I am really happy to finally return to action this weekend. Racing motorcycles is not only my job but my passion and it hasn’t been easy for me to miss so many races. I just focused on getting back as quickly as possible but riding a MotoGP is not something you can test your fitness for until you try it. I have been riding quite a bit of dirt-track lately but I can’t say for sure how strong I am so I am looking forward to getting on the bike and seeing the results of the operation. At the moment I don’t want to set any objectives other than to get back out there and see how I feel. I am looking forward to seeing the team again and I can’t wait to get back to the serious work on Friday. My arm and wrist feel quite strong and the movement has improved. I didn’t want to come back until I knew I had done everything I could to recover and I am happy with the result. I managed to get on the podium the first year we raced at Motorland, I quite like the circuit and it has some fun corners.”
Hiroshi Aoyama: “I am excited about racing at Aragón this weekend. There are only five races left this season and I want a good result from each of them – especially Motorland because it comes directly before my home Grand Prix in Japan so I want to go there in good form. Aragón is also an important race for the team because it is one of their home races. Motorland is a cool circuit, I guess the long straight will penalise us in respect to some of our rivals but the rest of the track should suit our bike. Misano didn’t go as well as we hoped but we are making decent progress at the moment and hopefully we can continue to do so this weekend.”
Gresini Honda Preview
The Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini heads this weekend to the Motorland Aragon for the round number 14 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship, the third on Spanish soil after Jerez and Barcelona. This weekend’s event will be the fifth time that the Aragon circuit has hosted a GP since joining the calendar in 2010 and Sunday’s MotoGP contest in Spain will also be the 800th race in the premier-class class of Grand Prix racing, since the World Championships were first introduced in 1949.
Fourth and very close to a podium finish last year, Alvaro Bautista returns on home soil after another tough weekend: eighth uner che checkered flag at Misano, the Spaniard is continuing to be slowed down by grip issues that are not allowing him to make the most of the potential of his Factory Honda RC213V.
His teammate, Scott Redding, fourth in last year’s Moto2 race, will try to get back among the leading riders aboard the Open Class Honda RCV1000R, a target achieved for five consecutive Grands Prix before Misano, where the young Brit had to settle for 13th place.
Alvaro Bautista – “Aragon is a very special track, being characterized by fast corners mixed with some tight ones and also a very long straight; it’s another circuit where last year we were competitive, even though the references of 2013 at this time have little value. At the moment we are struggling and we have a lot of problems; I hope that the atmosphere of my home race can help us to find a solution, because in this situation is really difficult to get some good lap times, even if we push at the maximum. I’m very motivated and I really want to get back to work together with the team, looking for a solution in order to find myself more comfortable on the bike; the support of my family and of the many friends who will be on the track this weekend will be also helpful”.
Scott Redding “Aragon is quite a nice track and even though it will be again a new circuit for me on a MotoGP bike, I think that it could be good for our technical package. At Misano we faced a difficult weekend and we struggled to be fast, so now we are determined to be back at the level of competitiveness we put on display in the previous races. We will work hard to get back in front of the other Open Class Honda and, if possible, we will also try to fight with some Factory bikes”.
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Round fourteen of the 2014 MotoGP™ season takes place at MotorLand Aragon; a venue where variable weather conditions, long sweeping corners and hard braking zones create a challenge for tyre development.
Measuring 5078 metres in length, Aragon is a technical circuit with a back straight almost one kilometre in length among a mixture of long sweeping corners and slower, tighter curves. The varied nature of the circuit and its susceptibility to cool weather requires a special approach to tyre development. Tyres that warm-up quickly, and provide both good cornering grip and braking stability are required at this Spanish circuit.
The presence of a couple of long-radius left-hand corners at Aragon means that overall, the left shoulder of the tyres are put under greater stress than the right. As a result, asymmetric rear slicks with slightly harder rubber compounds on the left shoulder are provided at this circuit. For the rear tyre, the options for the Factory Honda and Yamaha are the medium and hard compound, while the Ducati and Open-class riders will have the soft and medium compound rear slicks available. The three front slick options at Aragon are the soft, medium and hard compounds. Owing to the smooth tarmac and possibility of cold weather, the main wet tyre for Aragon is the soft compound option, although every rider will also be able to select a small number of the alternative, hard compound wet tyre.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department – “The MotorLand Aragon circuit is quite different to other venues on the MotoGP calendar as its remote, rural location belies its status as a thoroughly modern racing facility boasting a highly technical circuit. Although the championship cannot be decided at Aragon, I expect we will see a lot of interest in this race as at this stage of the season, so many riders are showing good form and there has been great racing all the way through the field. This is the last round before the three back-to-back races in the Far East and is the last chance for European fans to come to a race until the season finale at Valencia. With this in mind, I hope to see a big crowd at Aragon this weekend as going by the last few races, I am certain we will witness some exciting racing this weekend.”
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department – “MotorLand Aragon is a circuit with relatively smooth and slippery tarmac, similar to Misano, so there is a need for good grip levels which suggests softer compounds. However, there are also some long corners and some downhill braking points which require greater stability and thus harder compounds, so compound selection here is a balancing act. Generally, ambient temperatures at this time of year in the region are warm, though the elevation of the circuit means cooler temperatures are possible so we must consider warm-up performance when selecting the tyre allocation for this race. Our rear slicks at this circuit are asymmetric with slightly harder rubber on the left shoulder to deal with the long, sweeping left-handers but overall the forces imposed on the right and left shoulder of the rear tyres are quite balanced.”
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