Round 14 Aragon

  • Masterful Marquez Scores Brilliant Aragon Hat-trick

    Marc Marquez took a vital sixth victory of the year at scorching-hot Aragon to continue his brilliant quest for a historic fifth MotoGP World Championship in his six seasons in the premier class.

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Masterful Marquez Scores Brilliant Aragon Hat-trick

MOTORLAND ARAGON, Aragon, September 24, 2018

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) took a vital sixth victory of the year at scorching-hot Aragon today to continue his brilliant quest for a historic fifth MotoGP World Championship in his six seasons in the premier class. The 25-year-old’s hard-fought win – less than a second ahead of runner-up Andrea Dovizioso – also increases Honda’s advantage in the prestigious Constructors World Championship. It was his third consecutive victory at the popular anti-clockwise hillside circuit.

This afternoon’s 23-lap encounter was one of the best of a thrilling season, with Marquez engaged in a race-long duel with Dovizioso, who had beaten the defending champion into second at Misano two weeks ago.

Dovizioso led most of the way, Marquez unleashing several attacks to briefly lead the Italian, but saving his best for the final stages when he risked everything to grab the lead from Dovizioso, while fellow Italian Andrea Iannone joined the skirmish up front. This was MotoGP at its best, because at one point Marquez, Dovizioso and Iannone were side by side on the main straight! At the checkered flag, the podium trio was covered by just over one second.

Marquez led the last three laps – the impressive horsepower of his RC213V allowing him to maintain his advantage on Aragon’s 1km straight, where bikes reached 344km/h. His 41st MotoGP victory made him Honda’s equal fourth most successful rider in Grand Prix history, alongside 1960s legend Mike Hailwood (who won 41 GPs with Honda on 125, 250, 350 and 500cc machines between 1961 and 1967). The only Honda riders now ahead of him are Jim Redman (who won 45 GPs on 125s, 250s, 350s and 500s, between 1961 and 1966) and Honda’s most successful riders, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Mick Doohan, who are equal first with 54 wins each. Like Marquez, Doohan won all his victories in the premier class.

Pedrosa, who won 54 races with Honda in the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP classes, also rode a great race today, finishing fifth, just 2.6 seconds outside a podium finish and less than three seconds behind fourth-placed Alex Rins. The 32-year-old Spaniard had qualified sixth, his best grid position since he was second fastest at May’s Spanish Grand Prix. He rode superbly, chasing the leading foursome throughout, but never quite getting close enough to join the podium battle. Pedrosa’s excellent ride will no doubt boost his confidence for the next few races, especially the Thai and Malaysian GPs, which will take place on hot tracks, which suit him better. Today his RC213V was the fastest bike of the race, achieving 344.1km/h.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) had a more difficult day. The 32-year-old Britain came into the race on the back of an excellent run, including a third-place result at Misano. He qualified a very promising fourth quickest yesterday and was chasing the lead group when he crashed out of seventh place on lap five. He was unhurt in the tumble.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) had a strong ride to 11th place, despite being relegated six positions on the grid after a rules infringement during yesterday’s Q1 qualifying session. The Italian came through well to overtake fellow rookie Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) just after half-distance. The 23-year-old from Pesaro and the 26-year-old from Chiba finished less than a second apart following a great late-race charge from Nakagami. This was Nakagami’s third points-scoring ride in a row and takes him into the Asian segment of the champion full of optimism.

Dani Pedrosa

Cal Crutchlow

Honda’s third MotoGP rookie Thomas Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) qualified 20th fastest and worked hard to improve to 17th at the finish of the race.

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) rode a storming Moto2 race to take his second victory in the Honda CBR600-powered championship. The 23-year-old South African charged through to take the lead from Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex), the pair touching at least once as they fought for position.

Binder had built a 1.5 second lead by the finish, strengthening his third place in the championship. Meanwhile the title battle between series leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) and Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) took quite a turn, with Bagnaia finishing second and title-rival Oliveira ending the race down in seventh. That increased the 21-year-old Italian’s lead over the 23-year-Portuguese rider to 19 points. Once again, Oliveira’s main issue was a less-than-perfect qualifying, which put him 18th on the grid, while Bagnaia started from fifth.

Binder had the final stages of the race all to himself, as he found himself able to up his pace with a clear track ahead of him. Meanwhile the fight for second raged behind him, with Bagnaia having to work very hard to get the better of Marquez and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex). The contest became quite fraught in the final laps, Bagnaia snatching second from Marquez, who then got the same treatment from Baldassarri. Bagnaia’s second place was his 25th consecutive points-scoring ride and his fourth podium in a row, while 21-year-old Italian Baldassarri secured his first podium since he finished second at his home Grand Prix in June.

Marquez, having led the early stages, was understandably disappointed to cross the line in fourth, three tenths of a second away from the podium. The 22-year-old Spaniard finished three seconds clear of Misano podium finisher Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter), who was just ahead of rookie Joan Mir (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and Oliveira, who made impressive progress from 18th to seventh.

The top ten was completed by Argentine GP winner Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) and front-row starter Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex).

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) rode to a masterful sixth Moto3 victory of the year to extend his World Championship lead to 13 points, with five races remaining. The 20-year-old Spaniard qualified on pole and escaped from the pack immediately, because he knew he had to get far enough ahead to deny his rivals the chance of a slipstream on Aragon’s 1km main straight.

Importantly, Martin also increased Honda’s advantage in the Moto3 Constructors World Championship. Honda is chasing its third constructors title in the last four years. Currently, four of the top five riders in the 2018 title chase ride Honda NSF250RW machines.

By the end of the first lap Martin was 1.58 in front and by lap 11 he had extended his lead to more than five seconds. He took the flag 5.984 seconds ahead. This was a masterclass from the youngster, who will graduate to Moto2 at the end of this season.

Behind Martin a battle raged for the last two places on the podium, with half a dozen riders fighting back and forth. Many riders had suffered grid penalties for riding slowly in yesterday’s qualifying session, including Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who qualified third fastest but had to start from the fifth row of the grid. The 20-year-old came through superbly to join the contest for second. At the flag he finished third, just six hundredths of a second behind runner-up Marco Bezzecchi. This was Bastianini’s 23rd Moto3 podium.

Martin’s team-mate Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) made it three Hondas among the first four finishers with a fine ride to fourth place, a tantalizing 0.50 seconds away from a podium finish. The 19-year-old Italian crossed the line a similar fraction ahead of Marcos Ramirez and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW).

This was a welcome return to form for Suzuki, who not only competed with some of Moto3’s strongest riders, ending the race less than half a second off the podium, but also scored his best result since he took fifth at June’s Catalan Grand Prix. The 20-year-old from Chiba now stands 15th in the World Championship.

Adam Norrodin (Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) also had a great ride, finishing eighth, four seconds off the podium. This was the 20-year-old Malaysian’s first top-ten finish since he took a superb fifth at April’s Argentine GP.

Honda’s other points scorer was Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW), who won his debut Grand Prix victory last time out at Misano, and today finished 13th in the ten-man skirmish for eighth place, won by Norrodin.

The MotoGP paddock now leaves Europe for the first time since the opening three rounds in March and April to go east for the Thai, Japanese, Australian and Malaysian Rounds. The season concludes back in Spain, at Valencia, on November 18.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st

“I woke up this morning with the idea that today I could take a risk. I hadn’t felt totally at ease during the weekend with the hard rear spec tire so, after the warm-up, I said to my team that I wanted to use the soft rear. That started many meetings and discussions but in the end I won the race because I could convince my box to take that gamble! In the end, it was the correct choice. I had a good start but soon after I almost lost the front in a dirty spot on the track, so I had to release the brakes and go a bit wide. I didn’t realize until the end that Lorenzo had crashed. Anyway, the fight was very tight with Dovi and Iannone as well; it was a hard fight but within the limit. This is MotoGP, and it’s what the fans enjoy to watch. MotorLand is one of my favorite tracks, and I enjoyed so much riding here over the weekend even if the pressure was high, with events, people, and many things to do every day. I mean, it’s good but also demanding. Even with this, I managed to remain focused, work well with the team, and ultimately to stop Ducati’s momentum. This morning I listened to “In my feelings” from Drake and in the honor lap I thought back to that song and it was great. Anyway, now more than ever it’s the moment to keep calm and manage well the race weekends because I want to win the Championship and to do that you must remain fully concentrated.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 5th

“Today I could be more competitive than other races and closer to the front group. Unfortunately, I think the key to the race today was the tire choice. It’s a shame because my riding and my pace was good but the grip on track wasn’t that high and the hard rear tire wasn’t offering the same grip we had in the practices; maybe the soft better matched today’s track conditions. I was losing some tenths every lap and couldn’t stick to the others. Otherwise, today I could’ve fought for a podium finish or the victory. Step by step we are improving a little bit; let’s see if we can be faster in the next race.”

Franco Morbidelli: 11th

“I did a good job today which shows just how well the team worked over the weekend. Unfortunately with the grid penalty I started 19th but was able to recover a lot of positions and I’m very pleased to arrive 11th. I could not have done this without the support of my team.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 12th

“I knew it would be a tough race because of the very hot conditions. I got quite a good start and at the really tight first corner everyone was very close together, but I saw a gap and that got me up to eighth or ninth. I had a big fight with Aleix [Espargaro], but then lost concentration, so I used third gear for a second-gear corner and lost acceleration, so many riders came past me. After that I improved again and had a fight with Valentino [Rossi]. However, after about ten laps I had a bad feeling with the front tire and lost some speed, so I was fighting with Smith, Zarco and Morbidelli. I think this result is the best I could do today, but I’m not so happy – I want to keep improving. Thanks as always to my team and I’ll work to improve again at the next race in Thailand.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 17th

“I was so close to scoring points so it is a pity to just miss out. My rhythm at the start was really good but I was lucky to go on the inside when Jorge Lorenzo crashed at the first corner. I had good pace until mid-race when tire wear became an issue and then over the final four laps I had some vibration on the rear wheel. I need to find a way to save the tires at the beginning of the race. I learnt a lot racing in these hot conditions which will be useful for the coming races.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: DNF

“Obviously I got a good start, but Jorge crashed in front of me – it was no fault of his own, it was just one of those racing incidents. I had to shut off because I thought I was going to hit him and dropped back to ninth or tenth. I made my way through, but then I had exactly the same crash that Marc had this morning at turn one, the bike kicked a little bit and l lost it in braking. I felt quite good in the race, I was happy with my pace at that point and felt I could go faster when I needed to. But I knew it was a long race so was quite content with the position I was in, over the next few laps I needed to pick off Aleix and Dani and then maybe fight for the podium. But Dovi and Marc had a great run and the Suzukis competed well today so it would have been tough. We crashed anyway, so now we just have to look forward to Thailand.”

Moto2

Brad Binder, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 1st

“It's been an incredible weekend. Yesterday we got an unexpected pole and I was very happy to have qualified at the head of the grid. That gave me a lot of confidence for the race. Sunday did not start very well, because in the warmup I did not feel completely comfortable and had a few problems. However, thanks to a series of small changes that my team made for the race, everything worked normally, or even better. I am very grateful for the victory, which is my second in the Moto2 class, and I'm very happy to have got it here at MotorLand Aragon, which is a very special track for me. It's been a great day and I have taken some very important points for the championship; If I continue in this way I think I can have a great final run in the season. I have to thank the team for the excellent job they are doing.”

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 2nd

“I'm happy to celebrate my 100th GP in the world championship with a podium that means opening the gap to 19 points on Oliveira for the Championship. I had a good start, a good rhythm and in the first few laps I pushed hard to close the gap from Alex and Brad. I tried to overtake Brad, but he closed the door and we touched each other. I was a bit nervous but I tried to recover the pace, also because the tires were slipping a lot, and bring home the best result. We are leaving for Thailand, a track very similar to Spielberg, with many expectations, so I am curious to discover the new layout.”

Lorenzo Baldassarri, Pons HP40: 3rd

“Today I am very happy, because this third place is very important. Throughout the weekend we worked very well with the team. Yesterday we were able to do a good qualifying, which is what had been costing us the most, and today we knew that we would be strong in the race. I went well, attacking at the beginning and I have placed myself among the first. When I was second I saw myself able to get the victory, but it was a pity the fright I had with four laps to go, which prevented me from fighting for victory. But I'm very happy and I want to thank the team for giving their maximum and the sponsors who have come to watch.”

Moto3

Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st

“It has been a very long race but I knew I had a good pace on my side. Bezzecchi and Enea were starting from way back but I was sure they would have returned to the front. Fortunately when they got there I already had a gap of four seconds on them. Thirteen points with five races left are almost nothing but everything helps. The key to the win were the first four-five very quick laps at the start.”

Enea Bastianini, Leopard Racing: 3rd

“I do not agree with the grid penalty received. The communication came to the team a few minutes before warm-up, with no time to appeal by providing my version of events, nor to view the video evidence. I respect the decisions of Race Direction, but on this occasion I do not agree: I did my lap-time without any slipstream. Too bad, because today we were competitive and we could’ve won the race. I had to push a lot at the beginning to be able to recover as many positions as possible: it was exciting and I enjoyed it. In the second part I also had to handle the tire wear. I earned one more position in the world rankings as we near end of the championship.”

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 4th

“I’m not too happy because the team and I did our best and to be finishing fourth was not the goal we had set. The long straights at this track have penalized us a bit and I would have loved to finish the race in a different way. Let’s stay positive, though, and look forward to Thailand.”

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Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 14: Aragon Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
3 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
4 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
5 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
6 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
7 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
8 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
9 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
10 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
11 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
12 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
13 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
14 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
15 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
16 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
17 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
18 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
19 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
20 Jordi TORRES(Reale Avintia Racing)
RT Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
RT Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
RT Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
2 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
4 Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
5 Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
6 Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
7 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
8 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
9 Fabio QUARTARARO (MB Conveyors - Speed Up)
10 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
11 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
13 Augusto FERNANDEZ (Pons HP40)
14 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
15 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
16 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
17 Edgar PONS (AGR Team)
18 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
19 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
20 Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
21 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
22 Niki TUULI (Petronas Sprinta Racing )
23 Jesko RAFFIN (SAG Team)
24 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
25 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
26 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
27 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
28 Xavi CARDELUS (Marinelli Snipers Team)
RT Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
RT Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
RT Danny KENT (MB Conveyors - Speed Up)
RT Sheridan MORAIS (Willi Race Racing Team)
RT Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
2 Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
3 Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
4 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
5 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
6 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
7 Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
8 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
9 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
10 John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
11 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
12 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
13 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
14 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
15 Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Academy 77)
16 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
17 Raul FERNANDEZ (Angel Nieto Team)
18 Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
19 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
20 Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
21 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
22 Stefano NEPA (CIP - Green Power)
23 Jeremy ALCOBA (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0)
24 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)
25 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
26 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
RT Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
RT Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)

Photos