Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, raceday roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo rode brilliantly to secure his 60th career GP victory in front of 67,000 fans at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. Repsol Honda’s Pedrosa was involved in an excellent fight with Rossi over the final few laps for the second step of the podium at MotorLand Aragon. Eventually Pedrosa would beat Rossi to the line by just a tenth of a second, while his teammate Marc Marquez crashed out of the race.
This means that Lorenzo has reduced Rossi’s advantage in the standings by 9 points to just 14 heading into the flyaway rounds, with just four races remaining. Movistar Yamaha’s first double podium since Brno saw them lift the team title for the first time since 2010.
There was drama at the start, as Marquez seemed to make a mistake allowing Lorenzo to lead into the first corner with Iannone in second, as the pole man dropped down to third. The Spaniard recovered to make a move on Iannone into second through the first few corners and set off after Lorenzo at the front.
Rossi, who knew he couldn’t let Lorenzo get away, started making his way through the field from sixth on the grid immediately, moving up to fifth at the end of the first lap at the expense of Pol Espargaro. The Italian was already two seconds behind Lorenzo in second.
Unbelievably, just as he was closing down Lorenzo at the front, Marquez lost the front at turn 12 and crashed out of the Aragon GP for the second year in a row. It was Marquez’s fifth DNF of the year – the most he has ever had in a World Championship season – which sees him now trail Rossi by 70 points in the standings with only 100 up for grabs.
Marquez’s crash moved Iannone up into second, but not for long as Marquez’s teammate Pedrosa passed the Ducati man on the 3rd lap. All the while Lorenzo was looking untouchable at the front as he opened up a 2.4s lead by the end of lap 3.
Rossi knew he had to get a move on and he passed Iannone to move into 3rd on the 4th lap, although at this point he was lapping 0.3s a lap slower than Lorenzo as his teammate opened up a 3 second lead at the front. Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Espargaro was involved in the battle for fourth with Iannone when he ran wide on lap 6 and dropped down to 11th.
By lap 8 both Pedrosa and Rossi started to lap faster than Lorenzo and the gap had been reduced to 2.6s. Lorenzo got the “hurry up” signal from his pit board and responded, managing his pace beautifully over the next few laps.
Further back through the field Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro had caught Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) in sixth and was starting to attack, while Cal Crutchlow and Danilo Petrucci also started to close in on the duo in front of them. That was before Petrucci trailed the brakes too much into turn 14 with 13 laps to go and lost the front, leading to Petrucci’s first DNF since the Malaysian Grand Prix last year. Smith, Espargaro and Crutchlow caught up with Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso in fifth with 12 laps to go and an excellent battle ensued between the four riders. However Smith ran wide at turn 1 and dropped to the back of the group, undoing all of his hard work.
With 10 laps to go the gap at the front between Lorenzo and Pedrosa was up to 3.3s, with Rossi still hanging onto the back wheel of the Repsol Honda in third. Lorenzo was riding a simply brilliant race at the front, consistently running in the 1’48s and increasing his lead on every lap.
Rossi meanwhile, was starting to size up Pedrosa ahead of him in an effort to secure a vital extra 4 championship points by finishing in second. With 5 laps to go he made his first move in anger into turn 4 but Pedrosa immediately responded to re-take the Italian. Undeterred, Rossi tried it again into turn 1, but he couldn’t get it stopped and once more Pedrosa fought back as the two became embroiled in a spectacular duel over the final few laps.
On the penultimate lap, once again Rossi made a move under braking into turn 1, but once again he could not get his M1 stopped and couldn’t make it stick as Pedrosa showed incredible grit to fight back. It was shaping up for an epic final lap battle between the two and it didn’t disappoint, Rossi went past in turn 4, before Pedrosa stuffed it up the inside into turn 7. It seemed as though Pedrosa had second in the bag, before Rossi made an outrageous move through turn 15, but once more he couldn’t make it stick. The Italian sacrificing the drive onto the back straight in an effort to make the pass, meaning Pedrosa could power his way back past Rossi.
In an incredibly exciting finish Pedrosa managed to hold on through the final corner to take second by just nine-hundredths of a second from Rossi. All the while Lorenzo rode the perfect race at the front as he took his 39th premier class victory by over 2.6s.
It was Pedrosa’s 97th premier class podium, but only his third of the season and first since the German GP. Rossi claimed his 14th podium from just 15 races this season and the 209th in his illustrious GP career, although the damage done to his championship lead could prove to be costly in his bid for a tenth title.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone ended up in an excellent fourth despite having to ride through the pain due to the shoulder he re-dislocated earlier in the week. He crossed the line 16 seconds ahead of his teammate Andrea Dovizioso who finished in fifth after holding off the charging pack behind him.
Aleix Espargaro came out victorious in the battle for sixth, crossing the line ahead of Cal Crutchlow and Bradley Smith in a frantic dash to the line. Pol Espargaro managed to fight his way back into ninth, while Yonny Hernandez on the Octo Pramac Racing Ducati completed the top ten.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Scott Redding finished in twelfth, while Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista crossed the line in 13th in his 100th GP. Eugene Laverty (Aspar MotoGP Team) took his first Open victory in 14th as he beat his teammate Nicky Hayden to the line by less then a tenth of a second. Forward Racing’s Loris Baz was in 17th having earlier announced he will make the switch to the Avintia Racing team for 2016. Australian Jack Miller on the Open LCR Honda finished in 19th while there were crashes for Karel Abraham and Alex De Angelis.
All of this means that Rossi (263pts) saw his advantage over Lorenzo (249pts) in the MotoGP™ championship standings reduced by nine to just 14 points with four races remaining. Marquez (184pts) remains in third, but now he is only 8 points ahead of fourth placed Iannone.
EG 0,0 Marc VDS’s Rabat ensured the Moto2™ championship battle would continue into the flyaway rounds by taking a sensational victory in a re-started race at MotorLand Aragon. The Spaniard enjoyed an excellent fight with his compatriot Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Rins, whose family lives just 18 minutes away from MotorLand Aragon. Rabat, starting from pole for the 15th time in his Moto2™ career, held on despite a dramatic last lap to cross the line just 0.096s ahead of Rins.
Speed Up Racing’s Sam Lowes completed the podium, while championship leader Johann Zarco will have wait until the Japanese GP for his next chance to lift the title as he saw his lead in the standings reduced to 78 points after finishing in sixth.
The original race was red flagged after Xavier Simeon (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag Racing Interwetten) crashed at turn 15 on the opening lap. Simeon was unhurt and able to take place his place back on the grid for the restart. Aegerter was taken to Alcañiz Hospital after being declared unfit at the track’s Medical Centre. He sustained fractures in several vertebrae, in his right wrist and 4th metacarpus of the right, as well as in some ribs. His general condition is, however, good.
The re-started race was reduced to 14 laps and it was Rabat who led into turn 1 ahead of Rins and Lowes while Simone Corsi (Forward Racing) made a great start from 11th on the grid and was up to fifth by the end of the first lap.
It didn’t take Rins long to make his move into the lead while Championship leader Zarco found himself down in sixth as they crossed the line for the first time.
On lap 2 Alex Marquez also went past Zarco, pushing the French Rider into 7th and Zarco started to see his chances of lifting the title at Aragon disappear as the front five opened up a two second gap.
Paginas Amarillas HP40’s Luis Salom crashed out on lap 3 at turn 9 while Simeon crashed again, this time at turn 7, to cap off a miserable day for the Belgian.
All the while Zarco was lapping almost a second slower than the front two and found himself dropping back into seventh. Unfortunately for the hard-charging Corsi he would run wide on lap 4 and dropped down to 14th.
With 10 laps to go Rins and Rabat were starting to pull away from Lowes in third and had opened up a 1.4s gap at the front as the field began to spread out.
Rabat made his move on Rins into turn 1 under braking with 8 laps to go to re-take the lead from Rins. Rabat’s teammate Alex Marquez was in sixth and had been closing down the men in front of him but crashed out with 6 laps to go.
The two leaders kept increasing their lead and with 5 laps to go the gap to Lowes was 2.6s as it became clear that it would be a two horse race for the win. All the while Zarco was involved in an excellent battle for 6th with Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), Lorenzo Baldassari (Forward Racing), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) and a now recovered Corsi.
As the laps ticked down Rabat could not break Rins and the two remained inseparable at the front while Zarco made a move stick on Syahrin and was up into sixth by the penultimate lap.
Rabat led the way as they started the last lap, but it was obvious that a move from Rins was coming and it was a case of when not if. Rins tried it under braking into turn 12, but he ran a bit wide and Rabat fought back. Rabat lead down the back straight and despite almost running wide in the final corner he managed to hold on to take his 12th Moto2™ career victory. In the process he ensured the championship battle would continue for at least one more round.
Rins’ excellent rookie season continues with his 8th podium finish in just his 14th Moto2™ start, while Lowes crossed the line in 3rd to claim his fourth rostrum of the season.
AGR Team’s Jonas Folger ended up having a rather lonely race in fourth after battling hard with Lowes at the start as he pulled off his best result since his win in Barcelona. Derendinger Racing Interwetten’s Luthi held off the late-charging Zarco to claim fifth, with the championship leader crossing the line in sixth.
Syahrin, Nakagami, Corsi and Baldassari completed the top ten while there were also crashes for Federico Fuligni, Julian Simon and Edgar Pons.
This means that Zarco (284pts) still leads the standings from Rabat (206pts), with Rins in third (184pts).
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira took his third victory of the season in a dramatic finish that saw the two men fighting for the Moto3™ title crash out on the final lap. Leopard Racing’s Danny Kent and Enea Bastianini on the Gresini Racing Team Moto3 Honda scored no championship points. This means Kent will take a 55-point lead into the flyaways.
Estrella Galicia’s Jorge Navarro (+0.193s) took his first Moto3™ podium after crossing the line in second ahead of Romano Fenati (+1.505s) on the Sky Racing Team VR46 KTM.
From the start it was Oliveira who got the holeshot as Kent found himself dropping down to fifth, but it didn’t take long for Bastianini to get to the front and he led across the line after the first lap.
Oliveira then re-took the lead on lap 2 and tried to break away but the slipstream effect at Aragon meant that it was almost impossible to do so. Kent did not have a great start and found himself as low as eighth at one point. Romano Fenati on the other hand enjoyed a good start and by the end of lap 4 he had worked his way up into fifth from tenth on the grid.
On lap 6 Kent and Binder almost made contact and the British rider dropped back while Romano Fenati made his move into the lead. Kent recovered and found himself in an excellent scrap with his main title rival Bastianini before starting a charge that saw him up into third at the start of lap 8.
A few corners later Kent hit the front for the first time and immediately pulled the pin. The newly announced teammates for 2016, Kent and Oliveira, then had an excellent scrap at the front, swapping the lead a number of times. By this point a leading group of ten had broken away from the rest of the field with Alexis Masbou leading the chasing pack.
On lap 10 Antonelli decided to join the party at the front, and Fenati was looking menacing in fourth as the action heated up. Jorge Navarro started to make his move and Enea Bastianini had also started to mix it with the leading riders.
With 8 laps to go Isaac Viñales (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) and Darryn Binder (Outox Reset Drink Team) crashed out under braking into turn 12 whilst battling at the front of the chasing group and Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) had a nasty highside at turn 2. At the front each rider seemed to be taking turns leading the race as no one could open up a decisive gap try as they might.
Kent then had a big moment with 4 laps to go as he tried to move into the lead and found himself dropping back to 5th and into the grasp of Bastianini, while Oliveira took over at the front.
With two laps to go there were nine riders battling for the win as Martin started to drop off the back of the leading pack. Brad Binder took the lead for the first time on the penultimate lap and he and his teammate Oliveira looked like they had timed it perfectly as they opened up a slight gap heading to the final lap.
On an incredible final lap Bastianini had closed the gap and it was a three-way battle for the victory. Then in dramatic fashion the Italian caught the back of Binder and both crashed out in an incident that could have had a huge impact on the championship.
Just when it looked like Kent would benefit from his title rivals fall to extend his lead in the standings he also amazingly crashed out, as he lost the rear on the very last corner.
This left Oliveira to take his third victory of the season while Jorge Navarro claimed his first Moto3™ podium despite experiencing a heavy crash in the morning’s Warm Up session. Fenati completed the rostrum for his third podium of the season.
Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing) was in fourth, ahead of Phillip Oettl (Schedl GP Racing) and Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold). Mapfre Team Mahindra’s Jorge Martin, Alexis Masbou (SAXOPRINT RTG), Hiroki Ono (Leopard Racing) and Andrea Migno (Sky Racing Team VR46) completed the top ten.
Maria Herrera (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse) pulled off her career best finish in 14th, while Scotsman John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) crossed the line in 17th.
All this means Danny Kent (234pts) still leads the championship standings from Enea Bastianini (179pts) while Miguel Oliveira (159pts) closes the gap to the Italian to 20 points in third.