Gran Premio IVECO de Aragón – Weekend Review: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
In a weekend that produced three enthralling races at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón it was Repsol Honda Team’s Dani Pedrosa who took a dominant victory under sunny skies at his home race in the premier-class ahead of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso.
Yamaha Factory Racing’s Lorenzo got the holeshot ahead of Pedrosa, with Yamaha’s Ben Spies in tow. The first two laps were not good for the Ducati team, as Valentino Rossi almost touched the rear wheel of Repsol Honda’s Jonathan Rea, with the Italian forced to run off. This was followed by a big crash form Nicky Hayden, who was violently thrown over the advertising boards in Turn 16, after failing to slow down in time. He received instant medical attention and was later declared ok by the medical centre, yet has been given a neck brace and is undergoing more precautionary checks.
Lap four saw Pedrosa close in on Lorenzo’s rear wheel, as Avintia Blusens’ David Salom had to retire from the race. Meanwhile LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl took Spies for third, yet crashed out a few turns later as he lost the front pushing too hard. This left the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo of Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Dovizioso to hunt down the American for a spot on the podium. It took Pedrosa until lap seven to make his move on Lorenzo, taking the lead for the first time.
On lap nine Lorenzo had a big wobble giving Pedrosa a bigger gap at the front, as Rossi was making his way up through the pack. With 13 laps left, Crutchlow ran wide coming onto the home straight, letting Dovizioso into fourth. Six laps later Pedrosa had pulled out a gap of over four seconds at the front, as Dovizioso made his way past Spies, with Crutchlow probing the inside line of the American, but to no avail.
The Tech 3 pair provided a thrilling last couple of laps fighting for the final podium spot, with the Brit desperately looking for a way past. In some hard passing where the two went fairing-to-fairing, Crutchlow was altering his line in numerous corners to get past the Italian who was defending aggressively.
In the end it was Pedrosa who crossed the finish line first over six seconds ahead of second placed Lorenzo, with Dovizioso taking his sixth podium this year. Pedrosa has now cut the championship gap to Lorenzo to 33 points. Crutchlow came in a close fourth, with San Carlo Honda Gresini’s Álvaro Bautista, Rea, Rossi, and Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham completing the top nine. Power Electronics Aspar’s Aleix Espargaró came in tenth as top CRT in tenth.
Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró charged to a spectacular win in an exciting Moto2™ race at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón in front of Marc Márquez and Scott Redding.
Came IodaRacing Project’s pole-sitter Simone Corsi led into the first turn followed buy Italtrans Racing Team’s Claudio Corti and Pons 40 HP Tuenti’s Pol Espargaró. And there were incidents from the off, as Corti’s teammate Takaaki Nakagami slid off track, taking out NGM Mobile Forward Racing’s Alex de Angelis.
The opening laps were already a hard-fought affair, as Speed Master’s Andrea Iannone and Team CatalunyaCaixa Repsol’s Marc Márquez pushed their way into podium positions behind Corsi, with Espargaró on their tail. With 17 laps remaining it was also misery for Tech 3 Racing’s Xavier Siméon, with the Mistral rider crashing out, whilst back at the front Corsi’s reign was over as Márquez made his move to lead the race for the first time.
Espargaró and Iannone made use of Corsi’s apparent drop of pace, going into second and third, with JiR Moto2’s Johann Zarco also looking for a way past. Corsi however refused to yield, and forced his way past Iannone to retake third heading into lap eight. And the predictable nature of Moto2 kicked in once more as Corsi took advantage of a gap for second, however was immediately taken back. Yet it was Iannone who looked to have found second wind as he went into second place with nine laps remaining.
Five laps before the end Iannone, Espargaró and Márquez were fairing to fairing with positions swapping almost every corner. Along with Zarco, Tech 3’s Bradley Smith and Marc VDS Racing Team’s Scott Redding got involved in the battle, with Redding pushing Márquez particularly hard. The final two laps were an edge-of-your-seat affair, as Espargaró pulled out a small lead, with Márquez and Iannone touching in every corner as they fought for second. Yet it was Redding who capitalised on this as he took Iannone for third on the final lap.
And it was Espargaró who kept his nerve to take his third victory of the season, with Márquez and Redding completing the rostrum. Márquez still keeps the lead in the championship by 48 points, whilst Redding celebrated his fourth podium this season. Iannone came in fourth ahead of Smith, Zarco, Corsi, Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2’s Jordi Torres, Corti and QMMF Racing’s Anthony West, who had a terrific race.
In an exciting Moto3™ race at the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragón it was RW Racing’s Luis Salom who emerged victorious for the second time this season in front of Sandro Cortese and Jonas Folger.
Blusens Avintia’s Maverick Viñales dramatically suffered a technical problem on his out lap, leaving the title challenger unable to contest his home round. Once the race did get underway it was Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3’s Folger who got the holeshot and led the early stages ahead of Salom. Moto FGR’s Jasper Iwema was also unfortunate as he crashed out on the second lap, followed by Bradol Larresport’s wildcard Jorge Navarro.
AirAsia-SIC-Ajo’s Zulfahmi Khairuddin made a brave move three laps in to take the lead from Folger, taking Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Cortese with him. A lap later, JHK t-shirt Laglisse’s Efrén Vázquez also started charging up the field into fourth, sticking to the back wheel of Folger until he was able to take him up the inside for third. The German was under pressure a few laps later heading into turn one and was handed down the grid further, as Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Alex Rins joined the front-runners.
In true Moto3 fashion, the leading group, consisting of 13 riders, was changing positions frequently, with Cortese taking the lead with 14 laps left. This group thinned out to seven riders three laps on, with Rins’ teammate Oliveira and Racing Team Germany’s Luis Rossi hanging on at the back. On the same lap Team Italia FMI’s Romano Fenati retired with a small oil leak. Six laps before the end it was heartbreak for Khairuddin as he crashed out of the race, putting an end to the young Malaysian’s charge.
Three laps on and Vázquez’s teammate Adrian Martín crashed out at turn two, as the lead was starting to swap frequently at the front as rider started to attack for the lead. And the last lap once again proved a thriller as Cortese, Salom and Folger went fairing to fairing until almost the final turn, with Salom showing none of the effects of his big crashes in the preceding sessions.
And in the end it was the Spaniard who took the chequered flag for his second win this year ahead of Cortese and Folger. With Viñales’ retirement this now puts Cortese 51 points clear at the top of the championship, with Salmon now in second, 15 points ahead of Viñales. Fourth spot went to Cortese’s teammate Danny Kent, with Vázquez, Rins, Rossi, Estrella Galicia’s Oliveira, Red Bull’s Arthur Sissis and San Carlo Gresini Moto3’s Niccolò Antonelli rounding out the top ten.