2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship
Round 13 – Aragon
Francesco Bagnaia – P1
“Today’s victory was really incredible. We knew we were strong, but also that Marc Márquez is particularly fast on this track. When I took the lead, I tried to push right away because I knew he was behind. The last four laps were tough, and I couldn’t wait for the race to finish because he kept passing me. In the end, we did it, and it is an indescribable emotion. Today’s win was not taken for granted: I came here with lots of questions, as I had never managed to be fast and finish the race in the points since 2019 until now at the MotorLand. Instead, this year, since FP1, everything has been perfect. I’m thrilled.”
Marc Marquez – P2
“I pushed hard all race but on the last three laps I really tried everything. Sometimes when you try like this you make a mistake, you crash and the result isn’t good. But I still tried and I think everyone watching it enjoyed a lot! I knew it would be really difficult, fighting against the Ducati is hard because they brake very late and accelerate very well plus today, Pecco was riding in a perfect way. It was a great battle with him, I enjoyed it a lot. After two crashes in a row, it’s not easy to give everything and put it on the line like in this race. In Turn 1 on the last lap I couldn’t stop well and I couldn’t make it happen at Turn 5 either. My last chance was Turn 12 but as soon as I went to the dirty part of the track, I knew it would be impossible and I ran wide. I’m happy because we were able to fight and our race pace was fast and also because this race provides extra motivation to me, to HRC and everyone in the box. Thanks to everyone for their hard work.”
Joan Mir – P3
“I’m a bit disappointed, despite the podium, because I wasn’t able to be as fast as I wanted. But the important thing was that I managed to be really consistent and feel comfortable on the bike. The team and I put in a lot of effort and that resulted in a third place finish, which was good, but I was hoping to have winning pace. The track was very hot and all weekend it was hard to get optimal grip and feeling, but I kept fighting and this podium brings us positivity and some nice points. We’ll keep pushing to improve for the remaining rounds. I’m not thinking of the title, I just want to get the best possible result at every race.”
Aleix Espargaro – P4
“In the race today, the pace was out of this world, especially at the front, and even physically I can’t remember too many Sundays that have been this demanding. I’m pleased with the position, but more than anything, with the consistency we’re demonstrating, which is still my primary goal for this season. Considering the fact that in the finale, since overtaking Mir for third was impossible and I had a good gap ahead of Miller, I increased the pace a bit, I was still able to keep up with the riders who were making the difference over the rest of the grid. This means that we can battle with anyone and on any track, which is a huge step forward for me and for Aprilia.”
Jack Miller – P5
“I have to admit, I have some mixed feelings after that one. Fifth after starting second … I’m not happy, but I’m not disappointed either. It’s kind of a level feeling, you could say. I’m rapt for my teammate Pecco (Bagnaia) to have his first win though, and to do it after a massive battle with Marc (Marquez) – he earned that one, so that’s great for him.
“For me, I would have liked to have joined him up there but I had some issues with my leg that were a bit weird with the lever as I was trying to shift gear. I kept making mistakes on the gearbox and while I could hang in there with Pecco and Marc early on, it just kept happening and I eventually ran long into the last corner and Joan (Mir) and Aleix (Espargaro) came past me, I gifted them the places really. I went out of the track at the last corner and kept going wide at Turn 1, so it was a strange one. My tyres went well and I felt good on the bike, but it just wasn’t to be today.
“Back to Pecco, I’m really happy for him and the team because he’s shown time after time that he has the speed, but it hadn’t happened for him for one reason or another. It’s been coming for a while, and he might have won at Mugello if he’d not crashed there because he had the speed. So, he has a win now this year, I have a couple, and let’s see if we can add a few more victories before the season ends.
“We came here with some confidence after the result at Silverstone, not so much the fourth place itself but more how I got it. It was really nice to be strong at the end of a race and really be able to push, be able to show that I could keep the tyre alive at Silverstone which is one of the most brutal tracks on tyres. So to be able to put in a solid second half of that race was key, and I enjoyed it a lot.
“Aragon’s a really fun track, but a lot of the corners lead into one another so if you don’t have a good feeling, it’s really hard to go fast. Last year we didn’t have that feeling but this year – a bit hotter, the bike is better, maybe the rider is doing a better job – that good feeling came back.
“Generally I’ve gone well here at Aragon before, I was on the podium with the Pramac boys in 2019, but last year was pretty shocking really. Two races, kind of nowhere in the first one and then got taken out by Brad (Binder) two corners into the second one. All us Ducati riders struggled here last year, to be honest. But the race – well, races – were so much later in the year last year than normal because of the changed calendar, so being here over a month earlier was always going to help. It gets pretty cold here in October, and we were doing FP1 sessions when the track was about 12 degrees, that’s way too cold for these bikes to work properly. It felt like a proper Aragon Grand Prix this time.
“I had a lot of fun here in 2019, but last year was a struggle the whole time. But right from when I rolled out of the box on Friday this weekend it immediately felt like something was up, it was fantastic. I’ve been on a Ducati for a while now and I’ve never had one that turns as good as this one does through the last corner. The corners like that one have caught us out in the past but us Ducatis owned the final sector all weekend, that one was ours. We could be calm on the tyre and be fast the whole time. Even in qualifying, it was the last sector that saved me because I struggled in sector one, but was able to use that last sector to pull something out of the bag and get onto the front row next to Pecco.
“Anyway, we have Misano next weekend, and I’m sure Pecco will be incredibly fast again, he was there last year. I feel good going there and I’m excited to be heading to the home Grand Prix for Ducati, so I’ll speak to you from there next week. “
Enea Bastianini – P6
“It was a very enjoyable race. At the beginning I struggled in the corners, but from the middle of the race onwards I improved and from then on I started my comeback. It’s a pity that I lost a bit of time fighting with Quartararo and Nakagami, because maybe I could have caught Miller as well. Anyway, it was a race that exceeded my expectations. I think we showed great pace throughout the weekend and we’ll go to Misano in really motivated.”
Brad Binder – P7
“It was a tough race for us, really difficult, I tried my absolute best at the beginning not to destroy my rear tire so that I would have something left for the end. Even though I nursed the left-hand side really well it gave me a very hard time on the last few laps. I need to say a huge thank you to the team because they worked so hard this weekend. The bike is working well, we just need a little bit more to be a bit more competitive. We are struggling more than we’d like to right now but it’s not for a lack of effort, that’s for sure. If we keep working then we are going to get there.”
Fabio Quartararo – P8
“I’m not happy, because it was strange today. I improved my pace this morning, but something strange happened during the race. These things can happen sometimes. It‘s a bit sad that this time it was during the race, but it‘s not a total disaster. We will work hard to analyse what happened, and next week we will be riding in Misano. That‘s a track that I really like, so we just need to turn over the page. I still think we did a great job. It‘s just a shame about the result at the end of this weekend.”
Jorge Martín – P9
“I am satisfied. I ended in the top ten and this is my objective for the season. I’m still suffering a bit physically and in tracks like this which require a lot of effort, I struggle more. Either way, I am happy. We have earned points and we are improving more and more each day.”
Takaaki Nakagami – P10
“We finished P10, the race was so tough, really difficult conditions as it was so warm. During the race, I was behind (Enea) Bastianini for a long time and it was difficult to manage the front tyre performance. But I tried my best during the race and over the last four laps we had a chance to finish P8, it was very close with Fabio (Quartararo) and Jorge Martin, but I wasn’t close enough and didn’t have a chance to attack or try to overtake. Anyway, we ended up P10, which is not the best result, but we had some positive feelings this weekend and we’ll keep working hard. We’re looking forward to the next one in Misano which is really important as it’s a home GP for the team and I’m excited to go there.”
Iker Lecuona – P11
“I’m happy on one side as I did a very good race. The pace was unbelievable! I made some mistakes and especially one in corner eight, where I lost many positions back to P11. I tried to recover but after I had hit my shoulder very hard in my crash on Friday it made me struggle on the last laps. I still kept pushing and recovered almost two seconds to come back to that group. I even tried to pass Nakagami to finish in the top 10, but it was impossible. It’s still ok. I’m very happy about this weekend, I worked well. Thanks to everybody, who believes in me; to my family, my manager and also thanks to the team, that always works very well.”
Alex Rins – P12
“It was a very, very difficult race. In the first part I overtook a lot of riders, but then when I went onto the long straight I was fast but I was also keen to maintain the condition of the tyre. I got up to 12th and then I started to feel quite strange with not much grip or feeling in general. I wanted to do the best job possible, but in the end I couldn’t gain any more places. I don’t feel so bad because I gained a lot of places compared with my grid position and I’m ready to move on to Misano and try again.”
Pol Espargaro – P13
“I wasn’t fast today, I did not have a good feeling with the bike in the hotter conditions and I struggled from the start. I was unable to ride as I wanted and I lost too many places at the start, there were points in the race where I felt better and I was able to make up some ground, but the group ahead had been lost. With just a little more grip I can really ride the bike with my style as I want, but when the conditions are like this I can’t ride the bike like I want to. Now we get ready for Misano where probably the conditions will be similar, so we have to keep working to see what’s possible and how to improve. Marc shows that the bike can be strong in these conditions, I just need more time on the bike to understand what to do.”
Miguel Oliveira – P14
“Tough race for me. After the bad qualifying yesterday we made a couple of positions but I didn’t have the best feedback from the front end to be able to ride at my best. The team is working hard, I’m working hard and I’m sure we’ll come up with a good solution. Misano is a challenging track but I like it. We’ll hope for a good result.”
Danilo Petrucci – P15
“In the end, we managed to score one point, even if the race was really difficult. It was impossible for me to overtake and even stay with the pack, as I couldn’t get past anyone and was slower into the corners. Twice I almost hit a rider in front of me then I started to push and push and push but I struggled all the race with the front tyre, as it was very hot. Unfortunately, I made some mistakes. At the end we scored that point, which is ok. We did our best.”
“I did enjoy it, and that‘s the main thing. Enjoying the race and getting the information for Yamaha was our aim for this weekend. I‘m disappointed with my position, but my position was severely hampered after the first lap contact with I think it was Alex Marquez. I had made a great start to eleventh already. I had the pace for a top 10 today I believe, but I ran off track, ran across the grass, came back on track, and then I hit another rider. I was back in 20th or something. I had to make up some positions, that was okay. I got held up by Marini after this, then I came across a 2s gap to the group in front of me. We struggled today, but it was good for information. I was pleased with my pace when I was not battling or something like that, which is positive. This means we can keep testing in a good way, because I will be testing here in two weeks’ time again.”
Johann Zarco – P17
“It was a difficult race; I am not satisfied. I am searching for that feeling I had with the bike at the beginning of the championship, but I am really struggling. I will rest for two days and we will try to improve at Misano.”
Maverick Vinales – P18
“I’m satisfied with the weekend overall. We knew that the position wouldn’t be our primary objective. In fact, I used a slightly different setup in order to continue experimenting with this new bike and gather information. I started well – that’s the first positive note – and in terms of tyre management, I must also admit that the situation is good. Maybe if we had started a bit farther forward, we’d be talking about a different race, but the flying lap in practice is a question of confidence and that will come with time and miles. We are at a point that requires great effort and work, but I know that we’ll be successful in the end.”
Valentino Rossi – P19
“It was a difficult day to end a difficult weekend at this track, but we know that this is not one of my best tracks. I was hoping to fight for some points today, because in Free Practice I was able to stay inside the top-15 at times, but racing with the soft rear tyre I needed to be very careful in the beginning to be smooth and not overstress the rear. We knew that on paper this tyre was faster than the medium and the hard, but the time we lost in the beginning being smooth was too great. I was able to keep a constant pace throughout the race though, but it was not enough to earn any points, which was our target. I’m now really looking forward to racing at home next weekend.”
Luca Marini – P20
“A very difficult race, I don’t have much more to say. A complicated weekend and a lot of work to do in order to make a step forward and be competitive for my home GP.”
Jake Dixon – DNF
“Everything had been going quite well during the weekend, up to the crash in the race. I felt like I didn’t have a bad first lap and I managed to stay with Rossi. I settled into it, but then had a moment coming out of Turn 3 on my first lap and that unsettled the bike. I went off the track on Turn 4 and Turn 5, re-joined about half a second behind everyone and tried to catch them. Looking at the data I didn’t do anything differently, but the hard front tyre wasn’t quite up to temperature. It’s something that experience obviously helps with, but it was my mistake and I want to apologise to the team. I want to thank the team and all the crew members for giving me this great opportunity to do two weekends on the Petronas Yamaha SRT; I’ve enjoyed it a lot.”
Álex Márquez – DNF
“It was unfortunate today, we made some steps during warm-up when I was feeling ok. In the race, on the first lap somebody in front of me had a touch and, ahead of me, I had Taka who braked to avoid the contact in front, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to avoid contact with him and his rear tyre. It was completely my fault and I’m sorry to the team, they did an amazing job today to give me the best bike for the race, so I’m sad for that. The positive thing is that in three or four days I’ll be back on the bike, I’ll to try to forget this weekend because, overall, it’s not been easy. We look forward to Misano where we’ll try harder.”
Luigi Dall’Igna – Ducati Corse General Manager
“It was an incredible race, and I’m so excited. Pecco was amazing! He really did a masterpiece, riding flawlessly and beating a Marc Márquez who showed his form today. This first win was crucial for Pecco, and he deserves it, as do all the guys at Ducati Corse who have worked so hard to achieve this victory. I’m really happy”.
Shinichi Sahara – Suzuki Project Leader and Team Director
“First of all I’d like to say ‘great job’ to Joan and his crew! During the weekend he was steady and consistent as usual and he made a good start from his grid position. He maintained everything very well, and he stayed very concentrated. I’m really happy for him to be back on the podium. We still need to find something more to fight for the title, but I believe we can do that. Alex achieved great lap times in Warm-Up this morning with a used tyre, but he lacked a bit of feeling with the bike during the race, despite this he recovered well. We’re already looking forward to Misano and hoping to see both our riders at the front.”
Ken Kawauchi – Suzuki Technical Manager
“We had high expectations here because last year we had fantastic results, but this year we are struggling a bit more. Despite this situation, Joan did a very good job to take a podium and I’m very happy. Alex improved in the race compared with his qualifying position, but he couldn’t achieve what he wanted today. We need to study the data again and try to find the solutions ahead of Misano next weekend.”
Massimo Meregalli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“We knew we would struggle here, but we didn‘t expect the race to be this tough right from the start. We are still analysing what caused Fabio discomfort today. We haven’t found the answer yet. Whatever caused it, it was a real shame, because after Warm Up we were feeling confident that we could have done a completely different race than what ultimately happened today. We will definitely analyse the data carefully before next week’s race. But Fabio‘s fighting spirit and instinct to never give up resulted in eight championship points. It‘s definitely not as many as we wanted or could have scored here, but they are still crucial. Cal also didn‘t have the start of the race that he wanted. There was contact with other riders and he also lost some time battling with Marini, but overall he was riding well. He got into a solid rhythm and came really close to securing a championship point. Luckily, we can go back to ’normality‘ next week, riding at Misano where we‘re usually competitive. So the team are all looking forward to making a strong comeback there.”
Mike Leitner – Red Bull KTM Race Manager
“It was hard for us to post a single fast, flying lap from Friday morning on this track. We knew we would be stronger in the race but from those grid positions we also knew it would be tough. To be fair Brad and Iker pushed so hard in the first half of the race and against strong competition. Iker made a mistake and Brad continued to make the maximum possible. It was difficult to manage the tires and Miguel had issues from the beginning with rear grip, which he’d had all weekend. We need to help him and all of our riders to overcome these obstacles and I hope we can again fight for the top five when we come to Misano next week.”
Hervé Poncharal – Tech3 KTM Team Manager
“I believe it was a really strong race from our two guys, for sure especially Iker. He had a great start and he was clearly inside the top 10. We were very proud to see him being the leading KTM rider for most of the race with Brad (Binder) just behind him. Unfortunately, when everything is so close, you can’t afford to do any mistake and he did a very small one, that cost him dearly. He went from P7 to P11, which was a shame. But still I would like to thank Iker, because he has been pushing all weekend long, he has been showing a positive attitude and a great fighting spirit. There is more to come in the next few races. Overall, it was a strong weekend. When he came to the garage, he was really pissed off, which is the sign of a champion, so just a few more days and we are in Misano and we can push again to try to do another strong race. Danilo didn’t get such a good start, but still kept his head down. He was doing interesting lap times, but unfortunately, the pace was very similar among the whole grid. He managed to pass quite a few riders, including Johann Zarco. He ended up in P15, which means our both riders are in the points. This is a satisfaction, but of course, both Iker and Danilo wish for more and we do as well. Anyway, let’s pack everything and move to Misano, where we can challenge again and hopefully have our two guys in the top 10.”
Razlan Razali – PETRONAS Yamaha SRT, Team Principal
“We saw a tough race for Valentino today and it was very hot out on track, which didn’t help. We know this is a track that he historically struggled a bit at, but I’m sure that Misano, which is a home race for him, will be better. It was an unfortunate crash for Jake, but I’m sure it’s just part of the learning process because the conditions were difficult. I’m sure he’s had a lot of fun being on the MotoGP bike.”
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