— MotoGP 2013 – Round 15 – Sepang
— Marquez and Pedrosa to meet Race Direction as Malaysia kicks off triple-header
Marc Marquez’s rivals have a mountain to climb at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang this weekend to chase down the Repsol Honda Team rider’s 39-point lead in the MotoGP™ World Championship with only four races to go.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo is his closest challenger, and will be giving his all to try and haul back points on the Repsol rookie, who last time out in Aragon made the headlines for not only his latest win. His contact with teammate Dani Pedrosa, which led to the rear wheel sensor of the latter failing – resulting in a big highside – will be discussed by Race Direction and the riders on the Thursday before the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Pedrosa, who now sits 59 points behind Marquez after his crash, is well aware that his title chances rely on him winning the remaining races, whilst needing some worse results from Lorenzo and Marquez. This is perhaps where Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi could come in, as the Italian is desperate for another win, and showed true glimpses of such pace in Aragon practice and qualifying. He will aim to take the next step at Malaysia to challenge the top three.
Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow will hope that his lack of top-end speed from his new engine is solved before the race on the fast Malaysian circuit, whilst rookie teammate Bradley Smith is pleased to not have to learn a new track on a MotoGP™ bike, as he has spent a good amount of time testing there like the others on the grid. The satellite Hondas in the form of GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl had a great battle in Aragon, which is something they will no doubt want to repeat – albeit with a podium finish as the result.
For the Ducati Team it will once again be a weekend of trying to get the bike closer to the Japanese manufacturers, as Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden battle it out for best teammate honours. The satellite Pramac Racing team will be hoping for a positive weekend like in Aragon, where Ben Spies’ replacement due to injury, Yonny Hernandez, continued to get to grips with the Ignite Pramac machine. Alongside teammate Andrea Iannone on the Energy T.I. bike, Hernandez hopes that his riding style can reap good results on the Desmosedici.
In the CRT class, it has now been confirmed that Italian Luca Scassa will be in for Karel Abraham in the Cardion AB Motoracing team until the end of the season, while Australian Damian Cudlin will continue to stand in for Hernandez in the PBM team. Both made great progress in Aragon, and will hope to get their bikes as close as possible to CRT front-runner Aleix Espargaro on his Power Electronics Aspar ART. World Championship Standings MotoGP™ 1- Marc Marquez SPA Honda 278 2- Jorge Lorenzo SPA Yamaha 239 3- Dani Pedrosa SPA Honda 219 4- Valentino Rossi ITA Yamaha 185 5- Cal Crutchlow GBR Yamaha 156 — Moto2 The Moto2™ title hunt intensifies this weekend at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in Sepang as Tuenti HP 40’s Pol Espargaro tries to overhaul championship leader, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding. With only 20 points separating the two, and Espargaro getting the better of the Brit last time out in Aragon, Redding will be hoping to strike back in Sepang, as he once again tries to strengthen his grip on the lead. The pair will face stiff competition however, as the rest of the grid is getting stronger race by race, with Aspar Team Moto2’s Nico Terol a prime example by taking a dominant win last time out. And Pons’ Esteve Rabat, who is still in with a good shout at the title, will no doubt be another big podium favourite. Alex Mariñelarena will once again substitute for Dani Rivas in the Blusens Avintia team, with the latter still suspended for the crash he caused in Silverstone Warm-up. And there will also be two wild cards on the grid in the form of Malaysia’s Hafizh Syahrin, who only narrowly missed out on a podium last year with the Petronas Raceline Malaysia team, as well as Thai rider Decha Kraisart with the Singha Eneos Yamaha Tech3 outfit. World Championship Standings Moto2™ 1- Scott Redding GBR Kalex 215 2- Pol Espargaro SPA Kalex 195 3- Tito Rabat SPA Kalex 171 4- Mika Kallio FIN Kalex 143 5- Takaaki Nakagami JPN Kalex 130 — Moto3 The Moto3™ championship is finely poised as it heads out east to the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix with Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins only nine points off championship leader Luis Salom. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom is also only 12 points ahead of Team Calvo’s Maverick Viñales, truly making the battle at the front a three-horse race with still 100 points up for grabs. Salom was not on his usual form last time out in Aragon, and will be hoping to re-discover some of the magic, with Rins and Viñales looking particularly strong at the moment. Red Bull KTM’s local rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin will be able to line up at his home race despite undergoing surgery on his fractured right wrist after a crash in Aragon. Last year he was only just pipped to a win by Sandro Cortese (current Moto3™ World Champion now in Moto2™), meaning that this year he will be aiming for one better. There will however be greater Malaysian representation on the grid this year with two other local riders lining up in the form of wild cards. Touchline-SIC-Ajo KTM will field Aizat Malik and Hafiq Azmi, who will both look to impress the home crowd. World Championship Standings Moto3™ 1- Luis Salom SPA KTM 259 2- Alex Rins SPA KTM 250 3- Maverick Viñales SPA KTM 247 4- Alex Marquez SPA KTM 149 5- Jonas Folger GER Kalex KTM 129 — MotoGP 2013 – Round 14 – Aragon – Marquez wins from Lorenzo and Pedrosa goes down Marc Marquez has increased his possibilities of becoming a rookie MotoGP™ World Champion by claiming his sixth victory of 2013 in the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón. Current title holder Jorge Lorenzo was overtaken by the newcomer en route to second place, as Dani Pedrosa crashed out of the race on the sixth lap. Starting from his seventh pole position of the season, Marquez had beaten Lorenzo by one hundredth of a second on Saturday whereas last year’s Aragón winner Pedrosa was starting on the front row for the first time since Indianapolis. Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo grabbed the lead at the start, as the Repsol Honda Team riders immediately went to battle at the second corner. The critical moment of the afternoon, and perhaps of the 2013 World Championship, would come on Lap 6. As both Hondas closed in on Lorenzo for the lead, Marquez ran third but appeared to out-brake himself at Turn 12. Moments later, Pedrosa dramatically highsided out of the race and it was later confirmed that the two teammates had made contact. The moment allowed Lorenzo to extend his lead to 1.7 seconds, although he was caught by Marquez and overhauled at the same corner eight laps later. The championship lead now increases to 39 points with 100 left on offer. Lorenzo’s teammate Valentino Rossi finished on the podium for the first time since Laguna Seca, fending off GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista, LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl and Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Cal Crutchlow in a highly entertaining four-rider contest. Tech3’s Bradley Smith, Ducati Team duo Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden and Energy T.I. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone completed the top ten, while Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was once again the leading CRT runner in 11th spot. In 17th place, Italian Luca Scassa ended his debut with Cardion AB Motoracing ahead of two other CRT machines, covering for Karel Abraham who has been ruled out of action for the rest of the campaign. A total of five riders failed to finish. Pedrosa retired for the first time this year on his 28th birthday, while PBM’s Michael Laverty and Came IodaRacing Project’s Danilo Petrucci were put out of action on the opening lap in an incident also involving Scassa. On his return to MotoGP™, Australia’s Damian Cudlin suffered gearbox issues while Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera pulled into the pits, having already changed bikes after encountering pre-race problems with his original. With four races remaining in the 2013 season, the drama will continue at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in two weekends’ time. — Race Result – Round 14 1 Marc Marquez 42’03.459 SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team 2 Jorge Lorenzo +1.356 SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing 3 Valentino Rossi +12.927 ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing 4 Alvaro Bautista +13.787 SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini 5 Stefan Bradl +13.973 GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP 6 Cal Crutchlow +14.662 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 7 Bradley Smith +31.220 GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 8 Andrea Dovizioso +40.671 ITA DUCATI Ducati Team 9 Nicky Hayden +53.413 USA DUCATI Ducati Team 10 Andrea Iannone +55.067 ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team 11 Aleix Espargaro +58.001 SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar 12 Yonny Hernandez +1’05.513 COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team 13 Randy De Puniet +1’06.589 FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team 14 Hiroshi Aoyama +1’08.674 JAP FTR Avintia Blusens 15 Claudio Corti +1’09.130 ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing 16 Colin Edwards +1’12.041 USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing 17 Luca Scassa +1’45.152 ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing 18 Bryan Staring +1’45.228 AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini 19 Lukas Pesek +1’45.583 CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project 20 Hector Barbera DNF SPA FTR Avintia Blusens 21 Dani Pedrosa DNF SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team 22 Damian Cudlin DNF AUS PBM Paul Bird Motorsport 23 Danilo Petrucci DNF ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project 24 Michael Laverty DNF GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport — Championship standings 1 Marc Marquez 278 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team 2 Jorge Lorenzo 239 pts SPA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing 3 Dani Pedrosa 219 pts SPA HONDA Repsol Honda Team 4 Valentino Rossi 185 pts ITA YAMAHA Yamaha Factory Racing 5 Cal Crutchlow 156 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 6 Stefan Bradl 135 pts GER HONDA LCR Honda MotoGP 7 Alvaro Bautista 125 pts SPA HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini 8 Andrea Dovizioso 112 pts ITA DUCATI Ducati Team 9 Nicky Hayden 102 pts USA DUCATI Ducati Team 10 Bradley Smith 80 pts GBR YAMAHA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 11 Aleix Espargaro 76 pts SPA ART Power Electronics Aspar 12 Michele Pirro 50 pts ITA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team 13 Andrea Iannone 47 pts ITA DUCATI Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team 14 Colin Edwards 31 pts USA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing 15 Hector Barbera 27 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens 16 Randy De Puniet 23 pts FRA SUZUKI Suzuki Test Team 17 Danilo Petrucci 23 pts ITA IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project 18 Yonny Hernandez 11 pts COL DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team 19 Ben Spies 9 pts USA DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team 20 Hiroshi Aoyama 8 pts JAP FTR Avintia Blusens 21 Claudio Corti 8 pts ITA FTR-KAWASAKI NGM Mobile Forward Racing 22 Karel Abraham 5 pts CZE ART Cardion AB Motoracing 23 Alex De Angelis 5 pts RSM DUCATI Ignite Pramac Racing Team 24 Michael Laverty 3 pts GBR PBM Paul Bird Motorsport 25 Bryan Staring 2 pts AUS FTR-HONDA Go & Fun Honda Gresini 26 Javier Del Amor 1 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens 27 Martin Bauer 0 pts AUT S&B SUTER Remus Racing Team 28 Lukas Pesek 0 pts CZE IODA-SUTER Came IodaRacing Project 29 Luca Scassa 0 pts ITA ART Cardion AB Motoracing 30 Ivan Silva 0 pts SPA FTR Avintia Blusens 31 Blake Young 0 pts USA APR CRT Attack Performance — Moto2 Nico Terol has completed a dominant performance of the Moto2™ Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón, celebrating a lights-to-flag victory on Sunday afternoon. Tito Rabat finished second while Pol Espargaro came out on top after a superb battle with title rival Scott Redding, who finished fourth from 13th on the grid. Having turned 25 on Friday, Terol (Aspar Team Moto2) would sail to his first ever intermediate class pole position and was joined on the front row by Tuenti HP 40 pairing Rabat and Espargaro. Delayed by traffic throughout qualifying, Marc VDS Racing Team’s Redding was left 13th – his joint worst grid position of 2013. As Terol enjoyed a clean start, arguably the best getaway came from Redding who just minutes into the race was already inside the top five. Italtrans Racing Team’s Takaaki Nakagami was also lightning quick off the line, rising to second at Turn 2 before dropping down the field due to a mistake on the fourth lap; the Japanese rider, who had finished second at the previous four races, would fight back up to 11th spot. At the front, Terol was untouchable and would enjoy career victory number 15 after taking the chequered flag 1.7 seconds in front of Rabat. Espargaro finally came out on top in the duel for the final podium slot, but only after a mesmerising, fairing-to-fairing contest with Redding as the Spaniard and Englishman continued to swap positions over the second half of the race – at one point making contact as the championship leader overtook in a daring maneuverer at the final corner. The final exchanging of places came on the penultimate tour, with Espargaro defending the line into Turn 16 while Redding’s teammate Mika Kallio kept a watching brief from fifth place, having performed a climb of ten places since the start of the race. As Redding’s championship lead over Espargaro reduces to 20 points with four rounds remaining, Terol’s teammate Jordi Torres ensured Aspar bikes bookended the top six while reigning Moto3™ World Champion Sandro Cortese finished tenth. However, the Dynavolt Intact GP rider was involved in a last-lap incident on the exit of Turn 14 which caused the demise from proceedings of NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis, with Technomag carXpert rider Dominique Aegerter also becoming involved but continuing to finish 13th. In 15th, Alex Mariñelarena (Blusens Avintia) scored his maiden World Championship point in only his fifth Moto2™ race, achieving the feat at the same track on which he made his debut last year. Other incidents included a second corner retirement for Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing’s Tom Luthi, who bounced across the gravel trap, while there was a similar scenario for Xavier Simeon whose race finished at the end of his first run down the back straight; thankfully, the Maptaq SAG Zelos Team rider was not collected by Argiñano & Gines Racing’s Steven Odendaal, who crashed in the same place. 1 / Nicolas TEROL / SPA / Aspar Team Moto2 / SUTER / 40’15.232 / 158.9 / 2 / Esteve RABAT / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 40’16.968 / 158.8 / 1.736 3 / Pol ESPARGARO / SPA / Tuenti HP 40 / KALEX / 40’18.762 / 158.7 / 3.53 4 / Scott REDDING / GBR / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 40’19.015 / 158.6 / 3.783 5 / Mika KALLIO / FIN / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX / 40’19.281 / 158.6 / 4.049 6 / Jordi TORRES / SPA / Aspar Team Moto2 / SUTER / 40’26.834 / 158.1 / 11.602 7 / Johann ZARCO / FRA / Came Iodaracing Project / SUTER / 40’31.530 / 157.8 / 16.298 8 / Julian SIMON / SPA / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 40’33.997 / 157.7 / 18.765 9 / Mattia PASINI / ITA / NGM Mobile Racing / SPEED UP / 40’37.498 / 157.4 / 22.266 10 / Sandro CORTESE / GER / Dynavolt Intact GP / KALEX / 40’38.989 / 157.3 / 23.757 11 / Takaaki NAKAGAMI / JPN / Italtrans Racing Team / KALEX / 40’39.156 / 157.3 / 23.924 12 / Marcel SCHROTTER / GER / Maptaq SAG Zelos Team / KALEX / 40’39.719 / 157.3 / 24.487 13 / Dominique AEGERTER / SWI / Technomag carXpert / SUTER / 40’43.243 / 157.1 / 28.011 14 / Alex MARIÑELARENA / SPA / Blusens Avintia / KALEX / 40’48.352 / 156.7 / 33.12 15 / Danny KENT / GBR / Tech 3 / TECH 3 / 40’59.141 / 156.1 / 43.909 Pole Position: Nicolas TEROL 1’53.812 160.6 Km/h Fastest Lap: Esteve RABAT 1’54.288 159.9 Km/h Lap 13 Circuit Record Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’53.956 160.4 Km/h 2011 Circuit Best Lap: Marc MARQUEZ 1’53.296 161.3 Km/h 2011 CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS TILL DATE: 1 REDDING 215, 2 ESPARGARO 195, 3 RABAT 171, 4 KALLIO 143, 5 NAKAGAMI 130, 6 AEGERTER 122, 7 ZARCO 113, 8 TEROL 108, 9 LUTHI 94, 10 TORRES 83, 11 CORSI 74, 12 SIMEON 71, 13 SIMON 57, 14 DE ANGELIS 46, 15 PASINI 42. — Moto3 Alex Rins has won the Moto3™ Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón, beating Maverick Viñales after a race-long battle. Alex Marquez made the podium, while championship leader Luis Salom fought up to fourth place but saw his points advantage decrease. Having grown up just minutes from the MotorLand Aragón circuit which first became part of the World Championship in 2010, Rins claimed his sixth pole position of the season on Saturday afternoon. He would never drop out of the fight for the lead on Sunday, which was first between himself, Team Calvo’s Viñales and Estrella Galicia 0,0 teammate Marquez before becoming a two-horse race. The leaders – who in the points table both close in on championship leader Salom – would take the battle down to the wire, but a well-judged piece of riding from Rins saw him head onto the kilometre-long back straight in front on the final lap, then extending the gap. Marquez experienced a somewhat quiet race en route to the final podium slot, while Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Salom made the most of his damage limitation exercise to rise from eighth on the grid to fourth. An error from the otherwise impressive Philipp Oettl (Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing) left him sixth, having run as high as fourth while setting a new lap record in the process, while Salom successfully finished in front of Mahindra Racing’s Miguel Oliveira as they completed the top five. This leaves Salom with a nine-point advantage over Rins, who now jumps three points ahead of Viñales with four races remaining in the season. Elsewhere in the race, Jonas Folger’s seventh place for Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 was to be noted as the German had undergone surgery for a fractured ankle after the last race at Misano. Belgian rookie Livio Loi (Marc VDS Racing Team) scored a point for 15th position, while Mahindra’s Efren Vazquez rounded out the top ten after escaping unscathed from an incident at Turn 1 on the 16th lap; the same could not be said for Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who flew off his bike but was able to walk away. The Malaysian was then taken to the Medical Centre for treatment, where it was confirmed that he had suffered a fracture to his right wrist; in his current state, Khairuddin would be unable to take part in his upcoming home Grand Prix at Sepang. A total of six riders failed to finish, as the field was completed by wildcard Maria Herrera (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0); having raised eyebrows on Friday by unexpectedly finishing inside the top ten in opening practice, the CEV race winner fell on the first lap of today’s race and was forced to rejoin at the back of the pack. Aragón marked the last event ahead of the upcoming triple-header in Malaysia, Australia and Japan. The action continues with the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix in two weeks’ time. 1 / Alex RINS / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 40’04.214 / 152 / 2 / Maverick VIÑALES / SPA / Team Calvo / KTM / 40’04.640 / 152 / 0.426 3 / Alex MARQUEZ / SPA / Estrella Galicia 0,0 / KTM / 40’16.591 / 151.2 / 12.377 4 / Luis SALOM / SPA / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 40’20.630 / 151 / 16.416 5 / Miguel OLIVEIRA / POR / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’20.710 / 151 / 16.496 6 / Philipp OETTL / GER / Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing / KALEX KTM / 40’25.753 / 150.7 / 21.539 7 / Jonas FOLGER / GER / Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3 / KALEX KTM / 40’29.469 / 150.4 / 25.255 8 / Romano FENATI / ITA / San Carlo Team Italia / FTR HONDA / 40’31.925 / 150.3 / 27.711 9 / Arthur SISSIS / AUS / Red Bull KTM Ajo / KTM / 40’32.102 / 150.3 / 27.888 10 / Efren VAZQUEZ / SPA / Mahindra Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’33.191 / 150.2 / 28.977 11 / Alexis MASBOU / FRA / Ongetta-Rivacold / FTR HONDA / 40’33.815 / 150.2 / 29.601 12 / Brad BINDER / RSA / Ambrogio Racing / MAHINDRA / 40’33.962 / 150.2 / 29.748 13 / Jack MILLER / AUS / Caretta Technology – RTG / FTR HONDA / 40’38.047 / 149.9 / 33.833 14 / Niccolò ANTONELLI / ITA / GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 / FTR HONDA / 40’38.064 / 149.9 / 33.85 15 / Livio LOI / BEL / Marc VDS Racing Team / KALEX KTM / 40’52.192 / 149 / 47.978 Pole Position: Alex RINS 1’58.571 154.1 Km/h Fastest Lap (New record): Philipp OETTL 1’59.681 152.7 Km/h Lap 3 Old Circuit Record Lap: Danny KENT 2’01.351 150.6 Km/h 2012 Circuit Best Lap: Alex RINS 1’58.571 154.1 Km/h 2013 CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS TILL DATE: 1 SALOM 259, 2 RINS 250, 3 VIÑALES 247, 4 MARQUEZ 149, 5 FOLGER 129, 6 OLIVEIRA 115, 7 MILLER 79, 8 MASBOU 69, 9 VAZQUEZ 62, 10 KHAIRUDDIN 60, 11 SISSIS 59, 12 KORNFEIL 56, 13 BINDER 50, 14 FENATI 48, 15 AJO 43. — HRC Report Repsol Honda RC213V rider Marc Marquez fought back after almost running off the track to take his sixth win of the year at Aragon, stretching his title lead to almost 40 points with four races remaining. It was Honda’s eighth win this year, and the RC213V’s third in a row at the scenic Motorland Aragon circuit in the Spanish hinterland. The team’s joy was tempered by misfortune to second Repsol Honda RC213V rider Dani Pedrosa, who crashed out heavily in a freak incident on the sixth of 23 laps. He had taken second place from pole starter Marquez, and was mounting a strong challenge on early leader Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha) at the time. Split seconds before Marquez ran wide, he clipped the rear of Pedrosa’s machine, and the team discovered that one of the electronic sensors of the traction-control system had been damaged, causing the system to become inoperative. This triggered the crash, which happened a few yards further on as Pedrosa opened the throttle. The rear wheel spun, the bike slewed sideways, and the Spaniard – who turned 28 on race day – was tossed over the high side. Lorenzo had led away with yet another of his trade-mark lightning starts, and led by a second after the first lap, with Marquez second and Pedrosa third. The Honda pair gradually closed the gap over the next four laps; then on the fifth Pedrosa pounced on his team-mate, and was soon on the Yamaha’s back wheel and challenging strongly. It seemed only a matter of time before he took the lead, but he hadn’t completed another lap when instead he was sent flying. While Pedrosa was taken to the medical centre for checks (he escaped serious injury), Marquez regrouped and set about closing a gap of almost two seconds on Lorenzo. It took him nine laps to catch up and get ahead with a clean but forceful pass. Lorenzo stayed close until the closing stages, but was powerless to prevent Marquez taking the win by better than one second. A crowd of 61,300 enjoying warm but overcast conditions were rewarded with exciting racing down the field, with a four-bike battle for the last rostrum place. Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) hung on to the spot under race-long pressure from Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda RC213V), Alvaro Bautista (FUN&GO Gresini Honda RC213V) and Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha). It came to a climax in the last six laps. First Bautista got ahead of Rossi, then Bradl joined the action, with Crutchlow a close spectator. The trio changed places again with two laps to go, Rossi regaining the upper hand to lead Bautista over the line by less than a second. The Spaniard had his hands full with Bradl, less than two tenths behind. Crutchlow was just over half a second away. Less than two seconds covered the quartet. Bautista has a special role with Honda, race-developing Showa suspension and Nissin brakes, the only rider to use the Japanese components made by companies associated with Honda His team-mate Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) finished 18th, in the middle of a three-rider battle. The Australian, in his first grand prix season, rides a CBR1000RR-powered machine in the CRT category. Marquez has now amassed a total of 278 points, with Lorenzo second on 239, and Pedrosa dropped to third on 219. Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) took a resounding victory in the Moto2 class, stamping his authority on a category where all riders use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines supplied by the organisers, to ensure close and reliable racing. It was the former 125cc champion’s second win of the season, achieved after starting from pole position for the first time in the class. Terol led from the first lap to the last, and was able to slow towards the end and still win by 1.7 seconds. Earlier he had been more than four seconds clear. There was a strong battle behind him, as championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex) strove to keep ahead of challenging rival Pol Espargaro (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex). Espargaro’s team-mate Esteve Rabat had finally escaped ahead of the pair on the 14th of 21 laps. Soon afterwards second Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex rider Mika Kallio caught from behind, and the three closed up as the laps counted down. Redding resisted fiercely as Espargaro’s attack redoubled, and left tyre marks on his rival’s leathers as they made contact. But in the end the Spaniard prevailed, taking the last rostrum spot by three tenths, and whittling another three points out of Redding’s title lead. He is now 20 points ahead, with four races remaining. Kallio was a close fifth. More than seven seconds away Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) was a lonely sixth, with Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project Suter) and then Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) equally alone behind. Mattia Pasini (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up) prevailed in a big battle for ninth, from Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex), Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and Marcel Schrotter (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team Kalex), with Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert Suter) losing touch at the end to finish 13th. Nakagami had been with the leaders in the early stages, but dropped back after running off the track. In the smallest class, Moto3, Honda-powered machines are up against rival factories, and the top runners among the Honda hordes found themselves engaged in a fierce battle for the points behind the three runaway leaders. A pack of nine, and sometimes ten, 250cc four-strokes were locked in combat for an eventual eighth place. Best of them was rising Italian Romano Fenati (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), who conquered the group and came within a little over two seconds of catching seventh-placed Jonas Folger (Kalex KTM). He was two tenths ahead of KTM’s Arthur Sissis. Barely one second behind, experienced French rider Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda) secured 11th, with Australian star Jack Miller (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda) 13th. Miller had ridden through from 20th on the grid, after a tyre issue in qualifying kept him from his more usual position challenging for the front two rows. Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda) was right on his back wheel for 14th, with another clutch of Hondas – Francesco Bagnaia (San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda), Isaac Vinales (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) and wild card Bryan Schouten (Dutch Racing Team FTR Honda) – filling from 17th to 19th places, in another big group battling for the final point. Fifteenth to 22nd places crossed the line within less than 1.4 seconds. The race was won by Spanish KTM rider Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia KTM) ahead of fellow countrymen Maverick Vinales (Team Calvo KTM) and his team mate Alex Marquez. Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finished fourth and retained his lead in the championship. The next race is the Malaysian GP in two weeks’ time, followed week by week by two more long-distance races, in Australia and Japan, before the season finale in Valencia. Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: 1st “Today was a very gruelling race, because I had to make two comebacks; the first was to catch Jorge after he broke free at the start, then I needed to make another after Dani passed me and I wanted to overtake him after two laps. I felt comfortable but I went a little wide under braking, lifted the bike up and made light contact with him. I’m not sure he even noticed it, but it was a bit of bad luck because the team told me I caused his traction control cable to snap and I’m sorry for that – it’s something very unusual to see. The important thing is that Dani is OK. I was eventually able to overtake Jorge and take the victory, which is important in terms of both the 25 points and for my morale.” Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: DNF “Fortunately I’m fine physically. I took a heavy knock to my hip and my groin area, but I was able to escape relatively unhurt from what was a big crash. Marc went in too wide on the corner entry, clipped me from the outside and I went flying when I got on the gas. My mechanics told me later that the traction control cable had been cut by the contact.” Alvaro Bautista, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 4th “It was a great race and I had a lot of fun fighting with Crutchlow, Bradl and Rossi. It’s just a shame that I missed out on the podium again but I am happy because I fought for it until the end. Unfortunately I ended up getting into a fight with Bradl on the final lap and lost touch with Valentino but I have no complaints and we have to be happy with a result like this at a circuit where we have had so many difficulties in the past. Thanks to all the guys for the incredible job they are doing. It is nice that we were back to our best today, proving that Misano was not our fault.” Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th “Probably it was an exciting race to watch and it was fun also for me. Overall we had a good weekend and a good race although I lost the last-lap battle with Rossi and Bautista, but I am happy anyway. Of course I was dreaming about the podium, as we were fast and consistent over the three days, but Alvaro was very strong in the last lap. After Silverstone and Brno tough weekends, our performance is getting stronger and stronger and I gained more confidence on the bike. I only need some more experience to manage the last laps and the drop of the tyres, but we took the right direction.” Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini, 18th “I am not really happy because I thought the race would be different, but after a good start I made a mistake and lost focus. It’s a shame, but we have to stay positive because we have some important races coming up, including my home Grand Prix, and I am determined to finish the season off in a positive way.” Honda Moto2 rider quotes Nico Terol, Aspar Team Moto2, 1st “It was a perfect weekend for me. Yesterday was better, but today was more difficult because there was more wind, and it was more difficult to keep the concentration and consistency. In this class you can struggle at once race and do well at the next one. Thanks to my team for all the work.” Esteve Rabat, Tuenti HP 40 Pons, 2nd “I am very happy for the weekend. I made not such a good start to the race, and there were a lot of other riders around – Nakagami, Pol, Scott Redding. I was stuck behind Scott’s bike for a while, but when I passed them I tried to go. I could concentrate well and I could get a good gap quite quickly, but it was too late to catch Nico. But I am still very happy.” Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP 40 Pons, 3rd “I’m happy because we are a little bit closer to Scott than before. It was a difficult day for us. I don’t know why, but these races are all difficult. Like Nico said, sometimes you can win, another time you have to fight very hard for fifth or sixth position. We tried our best and finally the position was okay because we were in front of Scott. It was a very hard fight, but we gained some points back.” Honda Moto3 rider quotes Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia, 8th “It was a fantastic race. I was fighting a lot with Vazquez, Sissis and other riders. The start was not good, and in the second or third lap I started to move up, passing people one by one. Then the fight with Vazquez, and I could get away a bit when I passed him. The KTM is a higher level on speed, so it is impossible to pass them on the straight. You have to do everything in the corner.” Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold, 11th “I made a good start, and I was with a good group in the first part of the race. To start with Oettl and Salom was too difficult, but still I was okay. Vazquez pushed everyone in the group and we lost a lot of time in the middle of the race – one or 1.5 seconds slower than our rhythm. Fenati got ahead and was able to make a little gap, but I found it impossible to pass Vazquez and finished just behind him. But I think we did a good job.” Jack Miller, Caretta Technology RTG, 13th “We struggled all weekend. Qualifying was a disaster – I had the wrong tyre, and we ended up losing out so today we had to start from the back. We had a good pace … even yesterday I should have been seventh on the grid, which would have been a bit nicer. So I had to work my way through and into that big group. It was going good, then Vazquez hit Khairuddin and he went down and we all had to chop the gas, and broke up the group. We lost the slipstream and that was pretty much the end of it. But we took some points, that’s the main thing.” — Yamaha Report afternoon to take second and third respectively in the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon. Defending world champion Lorenzo made a flying start from second on the grid to lead the MotoGP field into turn one with rivals Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in pursuit. The Mallorcan’s stunning first lap pace saw a one second gap created as they headed into the second lap. Pedrosa and Marquez remained hot on the heels of Lorenzo until with 18 laps to go the two chasing riders made contact, Marquez running wide and Pedrosa crashing out. With ten laps to go Marquez caught and passed Lorenzo, but was unable to pull away as the reigning champion tucked in behind to give chase. Lorenzo eventually crossed the line in second, just 1.3 seconds back from Marquez. Teammate Rossi held his fourth grid position off the line and into turn one, closely followed by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl. The nine-time world champion, promoted to third by Pedrosa’s crash, was able to hold the provisional podium spot until a late attack by Bautista with six laps remaining. The fight for third ran until the penultimate lap, Rossi making the decisive move through the uphill section of the track to retake the final podium spot and hold it to the line. The race result keeps Lorenzo in second in the standings, 20 points ahead of Pedrosa and 39 behind Marquez in the lead. Rossi remains in fourth place after his podium finish, now on 185 points, 29 clear of Cal Crutchlow in fifth. Jorge Lorenzo – 2nd / +1.356 / 23 laps “My tactic was to start well and open a gap like I did in the last races. I could make one second at the beginning but then simply Marc was faster. When he caught me I closed the throttle to try to save some energy until the end; then he passed me and tried to go away. I tried my best to catch him but it was impossible. Today he was faster than me; there are no excuses. We have to congratulate him and now we think about the next races. The championship is more difficult now than before the race but we are going to fight for it until the end. We will try to win as many races as possible.” Valentino Rossi – 3rd / +12.927 / 23 laps “Third position is positive, to be on the podium is good. I expected to go a little bit faster after the practice this morning where I was very strong. I decided for the hard front tyre whilst Marc and Jorge went for the soft and I think it was a better choice for this afternoon as I was a little bit slower. In the end the third position is very positive.” Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager “Again second in Aragon, same result as last year. We have been much faster than last year anyway, 12 seconds faster. We have improved a lot but not enough to win. It shows our potential at what is not one of our favourite tracks. Hopefully at the next four rounds we will have a little bit more so we can battle for victory.” Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director “Even though it didn’t go as we planned we were still able to put together good results and have both riders on the podium. For us in a circuit where we always suffer this is a great result. As usual we took a lot of information to use. The championship is still open so we will prepare as much as we can and be ready for another exciting round in a couple of weeks.” Crutchlow and Smith take valuable points at Motorland Aragon The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated one of its best double finishes of the season at the Motorland Aragon track this afternoon, with Cal Crutchlow racing to sixth spot and teammate Bradley Smith finishing in a fantastic seventh position. Crutchlow was one of the main protagonists in the most enthralling battle of a dramatic 23-lap race, as the British rider fought superbly for third position with Valentino Rossi, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl throughout. The 27-year-old displayed typical fighting spirit to keep himself locked in the battle right down to the last lap, though he was just unable to force his way into contention to claim a fifth podium of the campaign. Crutchlow’s sixth position saw him pick up 10 more precious World Championship points that keep him firmly in control of fifth place in the rankings and on course to end 2013 as the leading non-factory rider. Today’s race, which took place in the coolest conditions of the weekend, saw rookie Smith deliver one of his most impressive performances of the season. Taking full advantage of improved braking performance after tweaking his riding style earlier this weekend, Smith finished in a terrific seventh position. The highlight of his race was his excellent charge away from experienced rival Andrea Dovizioso after passing the Italian on lap three. The 22-year-old maintained a consistent pace throughout the race and one pleasing aspect of his performance today was he managed to finish just over 30 seconds behind eventual winner Marc Marquez. That improvement on recent races bodes well for the final races of the campaign, which includes three back-to-back flyaway races in Malaysia, Australia and Japan. Cal Crutchlow – 6th – 156 points “I am not unsatisfied with a top 6 result this weekend, I just think we are far from where we should be and that is clearly because we are lacking speed. We lose more than 10km/h every single lap on the straight and in acceleration and that is not good for us, we honestly don’t know why also because we used a new engine since this morning and I really don’t need to find excuses because you could clearly see it on TV how much I was struggling. In any case we can still take quite a few positives out of this weekend, we had two days of track time less than the others and we don’t have the seamless gearbox but we were still able to finish just 1,5 seconds behind Valentino, so we have not done a bad job. Now I am looking forward to the overseas and I am confident we can still fight for the podium this season.” Bradley Smith – 7th – 80 points “The positive point of today is that we scored our best result since Sachsenring and altogether it was good to stay in front of the Ducatis and especially to pull away from them at the end of the race was a nice feeling. I still believe that we have some more potential to improve our race setting . This will surely be our main aim for the flyaway races and I have no doubt that we will progress is this area. But all in all I can’t be unsatisfied with this weekend, especially considering how tough Friday was, when things did not really go according to plan, so to travel to Malaysia with a 7th position in my luggage is not too bad.” — Ducati Report The results of the Aragón Grand Prix, the fourteenth round of the MotoGP World Championship, were less than satisfying for the Ducati Team. Both Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were able to improve slightly on their grid positions (on the third and fourth row, thanks to ninth and eleventh place finishes in qualifying), but at the finish line, they had to settle for eighth and ninth place, respectively, the same results they posted at the previous round. After a difficult start, Dovizioso found himself in eighth place on the sixth lap, followed by his teammate. The Italian then tried in vain to stay with Bradley Smith, while Hayden ceded a position to Andrea Iannone when he went off the track four laps from the end. The American was able to take ninth place back, and he and Dovizioso held their positions to the end. The MotoGP teams and riders will now get a weekend off before embarking on a trip to Asia and Australia that will include three races in three weeks. Andrea Dovizioso – Ducati Team, 8th “I knew that the best I could hope for was to stay with Smith, but unfortunately, I couldn’t do it. The first three-quarters of the race were good, as I gritted my teeth and tried to stick with him, but with nine laps left, the rear tyre began to lose grip and I couldn’t stay with him to the end. I’m disappointed, but like I said Friday, this track doesn’t suit us very well. The fact that we have trouble in fast corners is a big disadvantage here, and when the tyres are worn, this problem becomes worse.” Nicky Hayden – Ducati Team, 9th “It’s been a tough weekend. We’ve tried so many things to find grip and get the bike to stop, but we didn’t make much progress. On the start, I got a good jump off the line but bogged and lost some positions. I made up a couple and then ran wide in the last corner two different times. Toward the end I went straight at turn twelve, where I’d been having trouble stopping all weekend, and went into the gravel trap. I lost twelve seconds and one spot, which I had to fight to get back. It was a very tough race, and the feeling with my Desmosedici GP13 wasn’t great for the whole weekend, but I also made too many mistakes. I’m not very happy at all, so I look forward to getting to Malaysia to put this behind us.” Paolo Ciabatti – Ducati MotoGP Project Director “After the practice sessions, we knew that it would be difficult for our riders to do better than eighth place today. Unfortunately, this seems to be our potential at the moment. Andrea battled with Smith until his rear tyre began losing grip, whereas Nicky’s race was more difficult, as he never found a good feeling with his bike. Obviously, we’re not satisfied, and there’s not much else to say.” — Bridgestone Report Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric) Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative) Weather: Dry. Ambient 24-25°C; Track 31-34°C (Bridgestone measurement) Marc Marquez returned to winning form at Motorland Aragon, his sixth victory of the season helping the Repsol Honda to take a stranglehold on the MotoGP™ championship with four rounds remaining. Starting from pole position, Marquez lost out to Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo as the lights went out and found himself in third place after his teammate Dani Pedrosa passed him on lap five. Marquez regained second place after Pedrosa crashed out on the exit of turn sixteen on lap six, after which Marquez reeled in and passed Lorenzo for the lead on lap thirteen. Although he was pressured over the remainder of the race by Lorenzo, Marquez held on to take the chequered flag by 1.356 seconds ahead of his compatriot, while Valentino Rossi took third place on the other Yamaha Factory Racing M1 after an entertaining battle for the final podium position. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT finisher at Aragon, finishing in eleventh place. Ambient and track temperatures were cooler today, with a reading of 31°C recorded at the start of the race. The lower temperatures resulted in all riders selecting softer rear slick options, while four riders – including Marquez and Lorenzo – opted for the soft compound front slick. The pace of this year’s Aragon Grand Prix was the fastest ever recorded at this circuit, with the overall race time bettering the old mark by seven seconds and Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa setting a new race record lap of 1’48.565 on lap two. Marquez’s sixth win of the year stretches his lead in the championship over Lorenzo to thirty-nine points, while Pedrosa remains third in the standings and a further twenty points behind after his second DNF of the season. Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department “Congratulations to Repsol Honda and Marc on their victory today, both he and Jorge gave everything they had and it was fantastic watching them push each other to the limit. It was a great shame that Dani suffered from a technical issue today as he was looking so strong in the race, but I am sure we will see him back challenging for the win at Sepang. I think the prospect of watching an exciting battle between the championship contenders was a key factor in the large crowds at Aragon this year compared to last, and I hope that we will see big crowds at the remaining races as the championship heads towards a thrilling conclusion.” Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department “Today’s temperatures were the coolest of the race weekend but they didn’t drop to a level that resulted in many riders opting for the soft compound front slick, with ultimately only four riders selecting this option. The cool weather also meant that no riders selected harder rear slick options for the race. Both the soft and hard compound front slick performed well in the race, as the teams and riders were able to take advantage of the different characteristics these two compound options offer. The overall race time was the quickest ever here and new qualifying and race lap records were set, so on the whole this was a positive weekend for Bridgestone. Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda – Race Winner “The start of the race was not so good but I was able to be aggressive on the opening few corners and only lost around a second to Lorenzo on the first lap, after which I was able to recover step by step. After Dani passed me I started to feel better with the bike though I did lose some time after I touched him at the end of the back. I was on the limit for many laps after that point, but I could catch and pass Jorge quite quickly and getting twenty-five points here was very important.” — Qualifying – 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 — Moto2 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. — Moto3 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 — Moto2 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. — Moto3 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.”