— MotoGP 2012 – Round 14 – Aragon
— Pedrosa narrows championship gap with dominant Aragón victory
In a weekend that produced three enthralling races at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who took a dominant victory under sunny skies at his home race in the premier-class ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo got the holeshot ahead of Pedrosa, with Yamaha’s Ben Spies in tow. The first two laps were not good for the Ducati team, as Valentino Rossi almost touched the rear wheel of Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea, with the Italian forced to run off. This was followed by a big crash form Nicky Hayden, who was violently thrown over the advertising boards in Turn 16, after failing to slow down in time. He received instant medical attention and was later declared ok by the medical centre, yet has been given a neck brace and is undergoing more precautionary checks.
Lap four saw Pedrosa close in on Lorenzo’s rear wheel, as Avintia Blusens’ David Salom had to retire from the race. Meanwhile LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl took Spies for third, yet crashed out a few turns later as he lost the front pushing too hard. This left the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to hunt down the American for a spot on the podium. It took Pedrosa until lap seven to make his move on Lorenzo, taking the lead for the first time.
On lap nine Lorenzo had a big wobble giving Pedrosa a bigger gap at the front, as Rossi was making his way up through the pack. With 13 laps left, Crutchlow ran wide coming onto the home straight, letting Dovizioso into fourth. Six laps later Pedrosa had pulled out a gap of over four seconds at the front, as Dovizioso made his way past Spies, with Crutchlow probing the inside line of the American, but to no avail.
The Tech 3 pair provided a thrilling last couple of laps fighting for the final podium spot, with the Brit desperately looking for a way past. In some hard passing where the two went fairing-to-fairing, Crutchlow was altering his line in numerous corners to get past the Italian who was defending aggressively.
In the end it was Pedrosa who crossed the finish line first over six seconds ahead of second placed Lorenzo, with Dovizioso taking his sixth podium this year. Pedrosa has now cut the championship gap to Lorenzo to 33 points. Crutchlow came in a close fourth, with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, Rea, Rossi, and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham completing the top nine. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró came in tenth as top CRT in tenth.
Race Result – Round 14
1 Dani Pedrosa 42’10.444 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
2 Jorge Lorenzo +6.472 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
3 Andrea Dovizioso +11.047 ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
4 Cal Crutchlow +11.184 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Ben Spies +13.786 USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
6 Alvaro Bautista +28.166 SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
7 Jonathan Rea +32.290 GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
8 Valentino Rossi +44.432 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
9 Karel Abraham +57.417 CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
10 Aleix Espargaro +58.525 ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
11 Randy De Puniet +59.863 FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
12 Hector Barbera +1’14.561 SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
13 Yonny Hernandez +1’16.159 COL BQR-FTR BQR
14 James Ellison +1’16.580 GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
15 Michele Pirro +1’25.815 ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
16 Mattia Pasini +1’31.801 ITA ART Speed Master
17 Danilo Petrucci +1’42.300 ITA IODA Ioda Racing Project
18 Colin Edwards +1 lap USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
19 Stefan Bradl DNF GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
20 David Salom DNF SPA BQR-FTR BQR
21 Nicky Hayden DNF USA DUCATI Ducati Team
1 Jorge Lorenzo 290 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
2 Dani Pedrosa 257 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team
3 Casey Stoner 186 pts AUS HONDA Repsol Honda Team
4 Andrea Dovizioso 179 pts ITA YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
5 Cal Crutchlow 135 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
6 Valentino Rossi 128 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team
7 Alvaro Bautista 128 pts SPA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
8 Stefan Bradl 115 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP
9 Nicky Hayden 93 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team
10 Ben Spies 88 pts USA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing Team
11 Hector Barbera 64 pts SPA DUCATI Pramac Racing
12 Randy De Puniet 53 pts FRA ART Aspar Team MotoGP
13 Aleix Espargaro 51 pts ESP ART Aspar Team MotoGP
14 Karel Abraham 32 pts CZE DUCATI Cardion AB Motoracing
15 Yonny Hernandez 28 pts COL BQR-FTR BQR
16 Michele Pirro 25 pts ITA HONDA San Carlo Honda Gresini
17 Colin Edwards 22 pts USA SUTER NGM Mobile Forward Racing
18 James Ellison 19 pts GBR ART Paul Bird Racing
19 Jonathan Rea 17 pts GBR HONDA Repsol Honda Team
20 Mattia Pasini 13 pts ITA ART Speed Master
Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró charged to a spectacular win in an exciting Moto2™ race at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón in front of Marc Márquez and Scott Redding.
Came IodaRacing Project’s pole-sitter Simone Corsi led into the first turn followed buy Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti and Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró. And there were incidents from the off, as Corti’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami slid off track, taking out NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis.
The opening laps were already a hard-fought affair, as Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone and Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez pushed their way into podium positions behind Corsi, with Espargaró on their tail. With 17 laps remaining it was also misery for Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon, with the Mistral rider crashing out, whilst back at the front Corsi’s reign was over as Márquez made his move to lead the race for the first time.
Espargaró and Iannone made use of Corsi’s apparent drop of pace, going into second and third, with JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco also looking for a way past. Corsi however refused to yield, and forced his way past Iannone to retake third heading into lap eight. And the predictable nature of Moto2 kicked in once more as Corsi took advantage of a gap for second, however was immediately taken back. Yet it was Iannone who looked to have found second wind as he went into second place with nine laps remaining.
Five laps before the end Iannone, Espargaró and Márquez were fairing to fairing with positions swapping almost every corner. Along with Zarco, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding got involved in the battle, with Redding pushing Márquez particularly hard. The final two laps were an edge-of-your-seat affair, as Espargaró pulled out a small lead, with Márquez and Iannone touching in every corner as they fought for second. Yet it was Redding who capitalised on this as he took Iannone for third on the final lap.
And it was Espargaró who kept his nerve to take his third victory of the season, with Márquez and Redding completing the rostrum. Márquez still keeps the lead in the championship by 48 points, whilst Redding celebrated his fourth podium this season. Iannone came in fourth ahead of Smith, Zarco, Corsi, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres, Corti and QMMF Racing’s Anthony West, who had a terrific race.
In an exciting Moto3™ race at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón it was RW Racing’s Luis Salom who emerged victorious for the second time this season in front of Sandro Cortese and Jonas Folger.
Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales dramatically suffered a technical problem on his out lap, leaving the title challenger unable to contest his home round. Once the race did get underway it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Folger who got the holeshot and led the early stages ahead of Salom. Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema was also unfortunate as he crashed out on the second lap, followed by Bradol Larresport’s wildcard Jorge Navarro.
AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin made a brave move three laps in to take the lead from Folger, taking Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Cortese with him. A lap later, JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez also started charging up the field into fourth, sticking to the back wheel of Folger until he was able to take him up the inside for third. The German was under pressure a few laps later heading into turn one and was handed down the grid further, as Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins joined the front-runners.
In true Moto3 fashion, the leading group, consisting of 13 riders, was changing positions frequently, with Cortese taking the lead with 14 laps left. This group thinned out to seven riders three laps on, with Rins’ teammate Oliveira and Racing Team Germany’s Luis Rossi hanging on at the back. On the same lap Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati retired with a small oil leak. Six laps before the end it was heartbreak for Khairuddin as he crashed out of the race, putting an end to the young Malaysian’s charge.
Three laps on and Vázquez’s teammate Adrian Martín crashed out at turn two, as the lead was starting to swap frequently at the front as rider started to attack for the lead. And the last lap once again proved a thriller as Cortese, Salom and Folger went fairing to fairing until almost the final turn, with Salom showing none of the effects of his big crashes in the preceding sessions.
And in the end it was the Spaniard who took the chequered flag for his second win this year ahead of Cortese and Folger. With Viñales’ retirement this now puts Cortese 51 points clear at the top of the championship, with Salmon now in second, 15 points ahead of Viñales. Fourth spot went to Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, with Vázquez, Rins, Rossi, Estrella Galicia’s Oliveira, Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli rounding out the top ten.
— HRC Report
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC213V) scored a brilliant and emphatic victory at Motorland Aragon today after overpowering title rival Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) in the early stages. Alvaro Bautista (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC213V) followed up his Misano podium with a solid ride to sixth, just ahead of MotoGP novice Jonathan Rea (Repsol Honda RC213V).
Pedrosa triumphed at the end of what has been a complicated weekend, with rain affecting all three practice sessions, before the circuit dried out for qualifying yesterday. The former 125 and
250 World Champion then took a heavy tumble during the early stages of qualifying and was beaten to pole by Lorenzo.
From the start of today’s race the two Spaniards were in a class of their own, quickly leaving the rest of the pack behind as they disputed the lead. Lorenzo led the first few laps, while Pedrosa watched, waited and worked out his plan. On lap seven he moved ahead at turn 12 and although Lorenzo tried to go with him, a big moment two laps later convinced him it would be better to settle for second place.
Pedrosa’s fourth win of the year followed his DNF at the preceding San Marino Grand Prix and reduces Lorenzo’s championship lead to 33 points with four races remaining.
Unlike Pedrosa and Lorenzo, Bautista did not take part in an Aragon test session earlier this month, and with so little dry track time over the past two days he was unable to perfect his set-up for today’s race. Starting from the fourth row of the grid he made up places during the early laps before settling into a rather lonely sixth place. He might have done better, but the lack of set-up told because he didn’t feel comfortable pushing any harder.
Rea did well, considering his lack of knowledge of MotoGP machinery. The Ten Kate Honda World Superbike rider – who is substituting for the injured Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC213V) – qualified an impressive seventh and rode another intelligent race, just like he did in his MotoGP debut at Misano. During the closing stages he managed to slightly close the gap on Bautista, but in the end had to be satisfied with seventh.
This was Rea’s last ride on Stoner’s RCV because the reigning World Champion is due to return to action at the Japanese GP in two weeks. Stoner has been recuperating from an operation to fix his right ankle, injured during a qualifying crash at last month’s Indianapolis GP.
Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP RC213V) was once again in the fight for a podium finish when he slid off on lap five. The German had just taken third place from Ben Spies (Yamaha) when he fell.
Michele Pirro (San Carlo Honda Gresini FTR-Honda) achieved his eighth points-scoring result of the year, coming home in 15th position after a difficult race. A few minor technical issues prevented Pirro from repeating his top-ten performance at Misano.
Pol Espargaro (Pons 40 HP Tuenti-Kalex) won a brilliant victory in a magnificent Moto2 race. The Honda-powered class produced an edge-of-the-seat battle for the top positions that saw the top six completing the 21 laps separated by just 2.999s.
The main contenders were Espargaro, Marc Marquez (Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol-Suter), Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team-Kalex), Andrea Iannone (Speed Master – Speed Up) and pole-man Simone Corsi (Came Ioda Racing Project – FTR). Positions changed throughout, with Espargaro making his successful victory push in the final laps. He took the lead from Iannone with four laps to go and then managed to make the break. His third win of the year moves him slightly closer to Marquez who now leads the championship by 48 points.
Marquez, who started the race from the third row of the grid after a difficult qualifying session, tried to go with Espargaro but instead had his hands full with several rivals, most notably Iannone. The Spaniard and the Italian had a breathtaking duel during the final two laps, Marquez toughing it out to stay second, while Redding took advantage of the confrontation to slip past Iannone as they came down the hill for the final time.
Redding’s third-place finish was a remarkable achievement considering that only nine days ago he underwent an operation designed to cure arm-pump problems in his right arm. During the later stages of today’s race the scar opened and started bleeding.
Right behind Iannone at the finish were Bradley Smith (Tech 3 Racing – Tech 3) and Johann Zarco (JIR Moto2 – Motobi). Corsi had been up with the leaders after his first start from pole position in Moto2, but he slipped back to seventh at the flag, still only 4.3 seconds down on the winner. Jordi Torres (Mapfre Aspar Team – Suter), Claudio Corti (Italtrans Racing Team – Kalex) and Anthony West (QMMF Racing Team – Speed Up) completed the top ten.
Efren Vazquez (JHK T-Shirt Laglisse – FTR Honda) played a starring role in a thrilling Moto3 race that had ten riders in with a chance of winning until the last lap. The Spaniard led on several occasions, including briefly on the final lap, but crossed the finish line in fifth place, just 1.1s behind winner Luis Salom (Kalex KTM).
Salom took his second win of the year despite suffering pain from two crashes during practice here. The victory moves him into second in the World Championship standings, behind title rival Sandro Cortese (KTM) who took second place today, just 0.155s back. Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM completed the podium.
Vazquez gave everything during the 20 laps, but his FTR Honda didn’t have the straight-line speed he needed. He led a tightly packed quartet of FTR Hondas with Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda), Louis Rossi (Racing Team Germany – FTR Honda) and Miguel Oliveira (Estrella Galicia 0.0 – Suter Honda) right behind him at the finish. Niccolo Antonelli (San Carlo Gresini – FTR Honda) was the tenth finisher, a mere 2.5s behind the race winner.
Maverick Vinales (Blusens Avintia – FTR Honda) suffered a major blow to his title hopes when his machine suffered an engine issue and stopped on the warm-up lap. He now lies third overall, 66 points behind leader Cortese.
The 2012 MotoGP World Championship now heads east for the Japanese, Malaysian and Australian GPs on consecutive weekends. The 18th and final event takes place at Valencia on November 11.
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: race winner – “It’s been a tough weekend in general, with discussions about the last race with race direction and the crash in qualifying yesterday which created a lot of hard work for the mechanics. In the race I remained calm and was able to focus, Jorge began very fast in the early laps, but I was able to stay with him and then after a few laps I saw I could increase the pace and I passed him and tried to find my own rhythm. I was concentrating so hard that I almost forgot that it was a race, then I realised there were only four laps to go! I had a few issues with the clutch into the corners, shifting down, as I did yesterday, but overall the bike was working well so thanks to all my team for their hard work last night and to my fans and family for their support. This victory is for them all!”
Alvaro Bautista, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 6th “Considering how practice went sixth place is a positive result. Obviously I’m not particularly happy with it because I think we can do much better and be fighting for results like Misano, but that was always going to be difficult today. I tried my best to chase the second group, but it wasn’t possible and I was having to take too many risks so in the end I decided to play it safe and bring the bike home for as many points as possible. It is difficult to race like that and we need to find a solution to our front-end issues if I am going to be able to push the bike week in week out. We have salvaged a difficult situation today but we need to keep working and, knowing this team as I do, I’m sure that’s what they’ll do.”
Jonathan Rea, Repsol Honda: 7th – “I’m happy I achieved my goal of reducing the gap to the guys at the front, in the end we managed it by ten seconds, but it was another difficult race as I found myself on my own again. At the beginning I let Alvaro have too big a gap and when I tried to make a push, it wasn’t enough and we were only taking tenths out of him, but I’m quite satisfied and I’ve learned a lot. In this race it was quite confusing for me as I was playing with the traction control buttons, the torque settings and the engine braking just to try and figure out what was happening, then there came a point where I told myself just to ride this thing and see what happens. It’s been amazing to get this chance and I’m not totally sure what’s happening for Motegi, but my best wishes go to Casey and I hope he comes back and shows the world the rider he is and ends his final season on a high. I want to thank all of HRC and the Repsol Honda Team for this opportunity and for treating me like one of their own, not like a replacement rider. It’s been an amazing experience. This is my tenth year in the Honda family and hopefully I can come back here someday.”
Michel Pirro, San Carlo Honda Gresini: 15th “We picked up a point which is a nice boost, but I am a bit disappointed to be honest because I was hoping for more. We had some problems with the bike after a few laps, so for me it was a case of making it to the end and salvaging what I could. It’s a shame because after Misano we were hoping for a better result here but it hasn’t been possible after a tough weekend all round. We’ll try again at Motegi.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: DNF “It’s difficult to find the right words because we are all very disappointed, but this is racing. My feeling out there was very good today: good overall package, good start and good first laps. I felt very comfortable while braking and then I noticed I could go as fast as guys like Spies and Crutchlow so I wanted to push immediately because I knew that the rear tyre performance would drop off towards the end of the race. I overtook Spies and I lost the front in turn three: maybe I was a bit too aggressive and I am sorry for my team and my fans. Anyway we are in good shape and really looking forward to the next race.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Pol Espargaro, Pons 40 HP Tuenti: race winner “That was incredible, just like my 125 win here in 2010! I think we are improving a lot. With the weather always changing it’s not been a perfect weekend, but we did our bit and fought, practice after practice, to get the best feeling with the bike. I’m happy with this win and the 25 points for the championship. We are a lot of points behind Marc, but now a little closer, so we have to keep pushing and do our best at the next few races to arrive at Valencia fighting for the championship.”
Marc Marquez, Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol: 2nd “That was a difficult race, especially at the end when it was very tight with Andrea. This is another home race for me, so I wanted to try everything to win. When I passed Iannone near the end I thought I could try and catch Pol, but I decided that the risk would be too great and that I must think about the championship. Now I have to stay relaxed and concentrated for Japan and the last few races.”
Scott Redding, Marc VDS Racing Team: 3rd “That was tough, more at the beginning than at the end, before I had the adrenaline and the rhythm. It was difficult because some of the guys on the soft tyre were coming past me and at one point I was down to tenth. I fought hard and pulled back the places I needed to. Then when I was braking I felt the scar on my right arm open.
I hoped it was okay, but I kept going to the end because that’s what I’ve been brought up to do. On the last lap I’d been all this way so I decided to go for one move. I made the move on Iannone and then focused on Marquez – we got a podium and that’s amazing considering my situation.”
— Yamaha Report
Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo took his seventh second place finish of the 2012 season today at the Grand Prix of Aragon. Starting from pole the Mallorcan took the holeshot into turn one and began to try and build a gap to Dani Pedrosa chasing in second. As the race progressed tyre grip dropped, allowing the gap to close until Pedrosa was able to pass on the sixth lap. Lorenzo initially attempted to keep pace with the race leader but after a near high side in turn one he made the decision to slow his pace and secure second at the line. The resulting point score sees him head to the tripleheader overseas races with a 33 point lead in the standings.
Ben Spies made a promising start to the Aragon race, climbing a position off the line to drop into the first corner in third behind Pedrosa and hotly pursued by Stefan Bradl and Yamaha Tech3 riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow. As the two front runners pulled away, Bradl made a move past Spies and then immediately crashed out of the race. The Texan worked hard to fend of the two satellite riders, eventually conceding his third place to Dovizioso on lap 14 and fourth place to Crutchlow on lap 17 to take his third fifth place finish of the year. Spies heads to Motegi in two weeks time still in tenth place in the Championship, now with 88 points.
Jorge Lorenzo / Position 2nd – Time +6.472
“I was thinking to try for the win at the beginning of the race and if that was not possible then second place was the best possible result for the Championship. Dani had a better pace in the end, I was stronger at the start then little by little I was a bit slower, the tyres were slipping a lot and I couldn’t follow him. I nearly crashed in one corner and decided then to stay in second place and wait for the end of the race.”
Ben Spies / Position 5th – Time +13.786
“I struggled a bit with the front tyre today at the beginning and then in the middle of the race. I tried to keep Dovi and Cal at bay as long as I could. Once they passed me I tried to hold onto the back of them in case they made a mistake. The bike was working well we just didn’t have it working as exactly as we needed to stay with them. We did our best they were just too quick in the end.”
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
“A difficult race, a bit of damage control I think. Jorge tried to escape in the beginning but Dani was able to follow. There was no need to win, the Championship situation allows us to have some second places and still win the title. Jorge kept everything under control and finished second.”
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
“The way to the championship title is proceeding well. We’re leaving Europe for the last three overseas races with a good margin in the standings, that is important and gives us confidence. Second position today was key for this. Unfortunately Ben’s race didn’t go as we expected but we know he is there so we’re sure that before the end of the season he will be on the podium.”
Dovizioso pips Crutchlow to podium after exciting Aragon duel
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated a brilliant return to the MotoGP podium in the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon today after Andrea Dovizioso came out on top of an exciting race long battle with teammate Cal Crutchlow.
Dovizioso secured his sixth podium of the 2012 World Championship campaign after he showed ice cool nerves to fend off the relentless challenge from hard charging Crutchlow to claim a richly deserved third place. Italian Dovizioso and Crutchlow were barely more than two tenths apart for the duration of the 23-lap race, which took place in sunny but cool conditions at the magnificent Motorland Aragon track.
After Stefan Bradl’s early crash, Dovizioso and Crutchlow were pitched into an entertaining battle for third place with Factory Yamaha rider Ben Spies. Crutchlow led the chase of the Texan until he ran slightly off line exiting the final corner on lap 11 and Dovizioso pounced to grab fourth on the long run to the first corner.
Dovizioso seized third from Spies on lap 15 at the second corner and it was at the same point of the track that Crutchlow also made his move on the American on lap 18. The 26-year-old had brilliantly upped his pace by that stage and he launched a sustained attack on Dovizioso that went right down to the wire. The British rider briefly snatched third with a gutsy move at Turn 15 on the penultimate lap but Dovizioso responded instantly to seize the last podium position back.
Seeking to score his second podium in the last three races, Crutchlow tried the same manoeuvre again on the final lap, but Dovizioso was able to launch an instant counter attack and he held on to score his first rostrum since the Indianapolis round.
Dovizioso’s outstanding ride moved him to within seven-points of Casey Stoner in third place in the World Championship standings, while Crutchlow’s 13-points for fourth proved invaluable in his bid to secure fifth in the rankings. He is now seven-points clear of Valentino Rossi and Alvaro Bautista with only four races remaining heading off on the flyaway tour to Japan, Malaysia and Australia.
Andrea Dovizioso / Position 3rd – Time +11.047
“It was a very good race and I am very happy to be back on the podium. It has been a difficult weekend with the weather but the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team did a fantastic job and the bike was very strong in the race. It was a very strategic race for me because right from the start I was quite slow in a few corners so I had to work very hard to stay in front of Ben and Cal. I knew Cal would be pushing very hard at the end of the race because a few times we have battled together like this and I have beaten him, so I knew he would not be giving up without a fight. He tried in the same place on the last two laps but at that point he couldn’t stop the bike and I had a better exit speed to immediately take the third position back. And I know I am very strong on the brakes, so going to the last corner I was confident I could keep him behind me. It is great to be back on the podium, so I want to say a big thanks to my crew for doing such a wonderful job again.”
Cal Crutchlow / Position 4th – Time +11.184
“Obviously it would have been great to be back on the podium after the disappointment of Misano but credit to Andrea because he did a great job as always and I’m taking nothing away from him. I did my best in those last two laps to take third but I knew he had a little better exit speed than me coming out of Turn 15 and that’s how it turned out. It was impossible for me to try again at the last corner but I am happy with fourth because this result once again shows the huge step I have ma de from last season. Today I was close to the podium and last year struggling to be in the top 10. It was a good result for the Championship too because I pulled a small gap on Valentino and Alvaro. I can go into the last four races with a lot of confidence and hopefully enjoy some more good battles with Andrea. I tried my best to beat him today and didn’t quite manage it, so hopefully next time we are in a fight like that it will be me that comes out on top.”
Hervé Poncharal – Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team Manager
“I don’t think anybody can say that Andrea and Cal didn’t put on a fantastic show for the crowd today. I have to congratulate both of them because they have been very fast and really close to each other but at all times they treated each other with the utmost respect. They were very professional because they were very aggressive but without ever stepping over the limit. It was clearly the best battle of the whole race and it could have gone either way. Cal could not have done anything else to get back on the podium but on this occasion he couldn’t quite get the better of Andrea. We know Andrea is fantastic on the brakes and he has a lot of experience, and he needed to dig really deep to keep Cal behind him and get another brilliant podium. They are both so evenly matched and so is the performance of the YZR-M1 that it is always going to be a close battle and hopefully we will see more of that in the last four races. I’m sure the fans won’t be complaining and once again I think the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team put on a brilliant display.”
— Ducati Report
Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi both had costly off-track excursions in the early stages of the Aragon GP, with the former crashing upon striking a tyre wall and the latter having to fight through the pack after re-entering the circuit and completing the first lap in last place.
Fortunately, there were no serious consequences from the American’s frightening incident, which occurred after exiting the track at same point where he had crashed yesterday. This time, he stayed upright until striking the wall and flying over it. Hayden was initially transported to the circuit medical centre and then to the Hospital de Alcañiz for precautionary checks. He has been released and plans to compete in the next round, the Japanese Grand Prix.
As for Valentino Rossi, he went off the track on the first lap to avoid contact with Jonathan Rea, and after re-entering in last place, he had to work his way forward. The Italian had a good pace for the entire race, making up twelve positions to take the chequered flag in eighth place.
Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) 8th
“It’s a shame about the mistake on the first lap. I was a bit faster than Rea, and when we spread out on the straightaway, and he braked a bit earlier, I went to the right. He couldn’t see me and pushed me close to the curb, and I went straight to avoid him. I should have gone to the inside, not the outside. Without that incident, I think I could have fought with Bautista for sixth place, which was our potential at this track today. In fact, things went better in the race than in practice, when we suffered a lot on acceleration both in the wet and in the dry. We made some changes after the warm-up, and that helped us to lap consistently at a decent pace for the whole race, without using up the tyres too much. This is a positive sign, considering that we were also able to do that at Misano. There’s still much work to do, but it’s also true that for us this was probably the most difficult track among those left on the calendar, so we hope to be more competitive at Motegi in two weeks.”
Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) DNF
“I spun the tyre a lot on the start but was able to get past Rossi and Johnny Rea. The rear brake wasn’t working great from about halfway around the lap, maybe because I overheated it. I was trying to keep the group in front of me in sight, but I pushed the front in the last turn. I was able to pick it up, but I came up on that wall really fast. I thought I might hit it headfirst if I jumped off, so I let go right before impact. I’m sorry to tear up the bike, but I’m thankful for great safety equipment and to be okay.”
Vittoriano Guareschi, Team Manager
“We had a very challenging weekend here at Aragon because we started the race having had very little time to work on our setup. With the new frame and swingarm, it’s a period when we needed to ride as much as possible, but the only dry session was qualifying, where it was more important to do a good time than to try different settings. We had the warm-up this morning, and I must say that the team did a good job of finding solutions that allowed Vale to ride until the end at a good pace, without wearing the tyres too much. Obviously, we could have done with the two off-track excursions, but fortunately for Nicky the worse outcome was a bad scare for us all. I think that today, apart from the results, there were some positive signs, which show that we’re working in the right direction.”
— Bridgestone Report
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Extra-Hard. Rear: Medium, Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main), Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 29-30°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa dominated the Aragon Grand Prix today to clinch his fourth win of the season and breathe life back into the championship fight.
It was Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo who got the better start before Pedrosa took the lead on lap six from where he managed to build a sizeable gap over his compatriot. Pedrosa eventually crossed the line 6.472 seconds ahead of second-placed Lorenzo, while Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso won an exciting battle with teammate Cal Crutchlow to take the final podium place. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the top placed CRT rider and finished in tenth place and now sits just two points behind teammate Randy de Puniet in the championship standings.
Front tyre choice for the race was influenced by the increased track temperatures today, with all but three riders selecting the harder front slick, which due to cool conditions was hardly used in practice and qualifying. Rear tyre choice was more straightforward with all riders choosing to stick with the softer rear slick, the asymmetric construction brought to Aragon for the first time proving its performance over a wide range of conditions.
Pedrosa’s fourth win of the season reduces the gap to Jorge Lorenzo in the championship standings to thirty-three points with four rounds remaining.
Shinji Aoki – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“The change in weather today created vastly different conditions to yesterday with track temperatures for the race the highest they were all weekend. The elevated track temperatures resulted in all but three riders deciding to run the harder front slick for the race, while all riders selected the softer rear slick. Overall I am very satisfied with how the tyres performed during the race as even though Dani just missed out on setting a new circuit lap record, the race time was seven seconds quicker than last year which indicates that grip levels remained predictable throughout the race.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda – Race Winner
“Overall it was a hard weekend after all the problems from the last race and then I had a crash in qualifying where I broke my bike. In the race I was calm and focused, and though Jorge had a good start I could stay with him and once I got past him was able to do some quick laps and build a good gap. The bike was working well so thanks to my team, my mechanics and all my family and I dedicate this win to them.”
— Red Bull Rookies
Karel Hanika won the final Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race of the season after a superb race long tussle, crossing the Motorland Aragon finish line just ahead of Cup Champion Florian Alt and Saturday’s winner Lukas Trautmann.
It was a fabulous way to end probably the final 2-stroke race at a Grand Prix with, as usual, up to 14 riders in the hunt for the lead through much of the race. Pole man Hanika got a great start but the 16 year old Czech never escaped the pressure of German 16 year old Alt and Austrian 16 year old Trautmann.
Alt had come from the 3rd row of the grid after only qualifying 9th in the rain but in the perfect, sunny conditions for the 2nd race of the weekend he was soon trading places with Hanika and Trautmann at the front.
Spanish 14 year old Marcos Ramirez was also in the lead battle having come from the middle of the front row as was 16 year old Japanese Yui Watanabe from 3rd on the grid. Those 5 opened up a slight lead during the 1st half of the race but it did not last.
Livio Loi, the 15 year old Belgian who had put in a stunning ride on Saturday only to retire from a handsome lead going onto the last lap due to an electrical failure was again about to make his presence felt. Loi and 14 year old Spaniard Jorge Martin were cutting their way through the pack and joined the lead 5 for the 2nd half of the race.
Chasing them was another pack including 16 year old Dutchman Scott Deroue and German 16 year old Philipp Oettl, both in the battle with Hanika for 2nd place in the Cup points. Suddenly Oettl was right there in the lead group, certainly with a shot at the podium and even possibly the win. Then he got out of position and lost about 5 places in half a lap, that was the intensity of the struggle.
When it came to the last lap it was Hanika, Alt and Trautmann who were best placed but only just. Down the back straight Hanika made his gearing revision from Saturday work perfectly and had the lead and the line going into the last sweeping left-hander. Coming out Alt also had great drive, pulled alongside Hanika but just couldn’t get ahead as the pair towed Trautmann across the stripe.
“Such a tough race and so much fun,” said Hanika. “I had a good start but then Lukas and Florian caught up and we had a great battle, also Yui, she was riding great, they all were, very fair and a fun battle. The change of gearing worked for me and at the end I just had it right on the limit, absolutely everything through the last corner and I didn’t know if I would hang on to win.”
Alt had also made changes from Saturday when the bike was running wide. “The handling was better, it was a great battle all the way and we had a lot of fun. I really went for the win and tried everything possible to get Karel on the run to the line but couldn’t, it was a fantastic race to end such a great year, thanks to everyone.”
Trautmann would have liked a 2nd win but 3rd was also OK. “On the rostrum again, a great way to end the season. We changed the bike a little from yesterday but it wasn’t perfect and seemed to have lost a bit down the straight. Still it was a great race from everyone, I came together with Livio once and I am sorry for that but we were all pushing so hard.”
Loi was unlucky for the 2nd time in the weekend, the touch with Trautmann resulting in a bent exhaust and a 2nd retirement. A tough end to the year for the Belgian but he has shown tremendous skill and class.
While some of this year’s stars eye a future in Moto3 chasing the example set by ex Rookies such as Aragon Moto3 winner Luis Salom, others, like Loi, Trautmann and Hanika, will have more chances for victories in 2013 on the new 4-stroke KTM.