Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first victory of the year on home soil at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon ahead of Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow.
Jorge Lorenzo: “What a race, unbelievable! Everything happened, our sport is crazy and full of ups and downs. Today was very positive and you have to be very focused in these conditions. Knowing when to change was very tough and we got some luck to help us out too. I gave everything to stay with Marc, it’s a combination of things. The low temperature helped us. Our second tyre in Q2 was not good so I knew we were faster. I was able to carry a lot of speed in the corners so I was upset when it started spitting, as I had to roll off and the Hondas pushed ahead. I had settled for third or fourth,” he said.
“I saw the time on my board and saw the times were dropping too much, I made a last second decision to swap in the box and we got some luck. I was able to stay comfortable in the wet.”
The race saw drama as Italians Valentino Rossi and Andrea Iannone both suffered big crashes in the dry before Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa went down after the rain began to fall.
Rossi had started well from his sixth place grid position and had been making progress when he ran wide in the down hill section, running off track and onto the slippery grass where he crashed heavily. He lost consciousness briefly after the crash and was taken to hospital for precautionary scans. After being released from hospital Rossi tweeted …”Hi guys, I’m ok apart from a headache.”
Lorenzo took victory by over 10 seconds as he judged the conditions better than his rivals, changing bikes with four laps to go, with Espargaro (NGM Forward Racing) beating Crutchlow (Ducati Team) to the line to complete the podium. This was Espargaro’s first MotoGP first rostrum result and Crutchlow’s first for Ducati.
Aleix Espargaro: “I’m really proud of this race, it wasn’t easy! We changed the bike fully and didn’t test it in the Warm Up. I got touched by Smith in Turn 3 and I crossed the line last. I had to breathe and overtake a lot of riders, I got up to sixth but then the rain came and we got slower and slower. The rain never really stopped it just kept getting a wetter. I changed one lap before everyone else and this was key.”
“It was strange as I had problems with my visor so I couldn’t see anything and I was focusing so hard. I heard Cal’s engine so I thought ‘oh no’ and opened my arms to stop him. He couldn’t change gears as we touched so we got a little lucky because the Ducati has so much power. The last laps were the longest five laps of my life. It’s great for the team and thanks to them and my family.”
The riders were forced to change to wet set-ups in the final stages after the rain began to fall heavily – having started the race on a drying track. The tricky conditions caused Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) to crash out before swapping to his wet bike and he was taken to the medical centre for checks on a hip trauma.
With just four laps remaining Repsol Honda team-mates Marquez and Pedrosa made the choice to stay out. Dani made a small mistake in turn one and crashed out, then unfortunately on the next lap Marc also crashed. Both riders were able to get back to the pit lane and change the bike, but with two laps remaining it was too late. Marc finished 13th and Dani 14th.
Marc Marquez: Today’s race was difficult because I, like many other riders in MotoGP, had never experienced track conditions like this before. It was a shame that it started to rain; if it hadn’t, then I think that Dani, Jorge and I would have made the end of the race really exciting for the fans. I think that we did a good job all weekend – it was just a pity about the crash. I tried to hold on because there were only a few laps remaining, but today I learned that in these situations it is better to use a different strategy.”
Dani Pedrosa: “It was a difficult race in extreme conditions, but we were able to ride a good first part and were in contention for the win. I made the wrong decision about when to come in to change bikes and didn’t make the switch on the lap that I should have. My tyres couldn’t hold out any longer and I crashed. Luckily I was able to remount and pick up two points from this race. It is a little disappointing to have gone so far and not taken a good result, but these experiences are useful for learning and heading to the next race stronger.”
The top five was completed by Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP) and Bradley Smith (Monster Yamaha Tech3) as they took advantage of the crashes ahead of them. Smith just beat his team-mate Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech3) to the line by 0.203s.
The top ten was completed by Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini), Hiroshi Aoyama (Drive M7 Aspar), Nicky Hayden (Drive M7 Aspar) and Scott Redding (GO&FUN Honda Gresini).
Before the rain had fallen Iannone (Pramac Racing) crashed as he ran wide having led for the opening laps. He looked as though he might stay upright but wet grass sent him skyward. Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had a similar incident, running wide and touching the grass resulting in a vicious highside. He was taken to the medical center but deemed ok, before being taken to hospital for precautionary head scans.
Karel Abraham (Cardion AB Motoracing) retired with a mechanical problem early in the race.
1. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) 44m 20.406s
2. Aleix Espargaro ESP NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 44m 30.701s
3. Cal Crutchlow GBR Ducati Team (Desmosedici) 44m 30.718s
4. Stefan Bradl GER LCR Honda MotoGP (RC213V) 44m 32.124s
5. Bradley Smith GBR Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1) 44m 49.889s
6. Pol Espargaro ESP Monster Yamaha Tech 3 (YZR-M1)* 44m 50.092s
7. Alvaro Bautista ESP Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RC213V) 44m 50.169s
8. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 44m 58.247s
9. Nicky Hayden USA Drive M7 Aspar (RCV1000R) 45m 3.363s
10. Scott Redding GBR Go&Fun Honda Gresini (RCV1000R)* 45m 14.343s
11. Danilo Petrucci ITA IodaRacing Project (ART) 45m 20.230s
12. Alex De Angelis RSM NGM Forward Racing (Forward Yamaha) 45m 21.124s
13. Marc Marquez ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 35.633s
14. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team (RC213V) 45m 44.932s
15. Yonny Hernandez COL Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) 45m 58.661s
16. Michael Laverty GBR Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART) +1 lap
17. Mike Di Meglio FRA Avintia Racing (Avintia)* +1 lap
18. Broc Parkes AUS Paul Bird Motorsport (PBM-ART)* +1 lap
19. Hector Barbera ESP Avintia Racing (Desmosedici) +1 lap
Andrea Dovizioso ITA Ducati Team (Desmosedici) DNF
Valentino Rossi ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP (YZR-M1) DNF
Andrea Iannone ITA Pramac Racing (Desmosedici) DNF
Karel Abraham CZE Cardion AB Motoracing (RCV1000R) DNF
1 Marc Marquez Repsol Honda Team 292
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 217
3 Valentino Rossi Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 214
4 Jorge Lorenzo Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 202
5 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Team 142
6 Aleix Espargaro NGM Forward Racing 112
7 Pol Espargaro Monster Yamaha Tech 3 108
8 Andrea Iannone Pramac Racing 92
9 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda MotoGP 87
10 Bradley Smith Monster Yamaha Tech 3 85
11 Alvaro Bautista GO&FUN Gresini Honda 73
12 Cal Crutchlow Ducati Team 63
13 Scott Redding GO&FUN Honda Gresini 60
14 Hiroshi Aoyama Drive M7 Aspar 51
15 Yonny Hernandez Emergy T.I. Pramac Racing 39
16 Karel Abraham Cardion AB Motoracing 33
17 Nicky Hayden Drive M7 Aspar 29
18 Colin Edwards NGM Forward Racing 11
19 Michele Pirro Ducati Team 11
20 Danilo Petrucci IodaRacing Project 9
21 Broc Parkes Paul Bird Motorsport 7
22 Alex de Angelis NGM Forward Racing 7
23 Mike di Meglio Avintia Racing 4
24 Michael Laverty Paul Bird Motorsport 2
25 Hector Barbera Avintia Racing 2
26 Leon Camier Drive M7 Aspar 1
Moto3 – Miller loses championship lead after Miller, Marquez clash
Jack Miller lost the championship lead after an incident with rival Alex Marquez resulting in the KTM rider falling and costing the Australian the title advantage. The incident is to be investigated by Race Direction.
Romano Fenati judged the conditions best to take victory in Moto3 in tricky conditions, with Alex Marquez and Danny Kent completing the podium.
The start of the race had been delayed by mist and fog which disrupted morning Warm Up and although a dry line formed for the Moto3 contest the conditions were difficult for the lightweight class competitors.
Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) produced a superb ride from 13th on the grid to win an incident packed race on the last lap, crossing the line 0.057s ahead of Marquez and 0.226s ahead of Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo).
The result saw Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) take over the championship lead by 11 points with four rounds to go. Miller and Marquez touched in the early stages with Miller going down as the pair battled for the race lead, with the Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo rider eventually finishing 27th after a second crash.
A mistake by Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) half way through saw him drop to seventh after contesting the race lead, the Spaniard eventually finishing fourth, ahead of Jakub Kornfeil (Calvo Team) who was fifth – the Czech rider having also made an error to crash and drop from a provisional race lead.
The top ten was completed by Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing), Niccolo Antonelli (Junior Team GO&FUN) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold). Wildcard Hiroki Ono (Honda Team Asia) rode well for 11th from 19th on the grid.
The wet-drying conditions saw a huge number of crashes throughout the race, some riders falling multiple times. Luca Grünwald (Keifer Racing) fell at Turn 1 having opted for wet tyres. Matteo Ferrari (San Carlo Team Italia) fell soon after, as did Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) with the latter able to rejoin. Scott Deroue (RW Racing GP) and Juanfran Guevara (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3) both fell and were unable to remount.
Jorge Navarro (Marc VDS Racing Team), Alessandro Tonucci (CIP) and Philip Oettl (Interwetten Paddock Moto3) all crashed out of the race, joined by Andrea Migno (Mahindra Racing) soon after. Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team) fell twice and was able to rejoin both times.
SAXOPRINT-RTG team-mates Efren Vazquez and John McPhee both crashed, the latter crashing twice.
1. Romano Fenati ITA SKY Racing Team VR46 (KTM) 40m 52.209s
2. Alex Marquez SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (Honda) 40m 52.266s
3. Danny Kent GBR Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo (Husqvarna) 40m 52.492s
4. Alex Rins SPA Estrella Galicia 0,0 (Honda) 41m 3.840s
5. Jakub Kornfeil CZE Calvo Team (KTM) 41m 10.591s
6. Enea Bastianini ITA Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 41m 11.468s
7. Miguel Oliveira POR Mahindra Racing (Mahindra) 41m 15.915s
8. Brad Binder RSA Ambrogio Racing (Mahindra) 41m 16.982s
9. Niccolò Antonelli ITA Junior Team GO&FUN Moto3 (KTM) 41m 29.232s
10. Alexis Masbou FRA Ongetta-Rivacold (Honda) 41m 31.253s
27. Jack Miller AUS Red Bull KTM Ajo (KTM) +3 laps