Marquez bites back at Aragon
|Marc Marquez speeds to victory|
Marc Marquez returned to the top spot of the podium at a Spanish race for the first time since the 2014 finale in Valencia, taking a maiden victory at the Aragon GP. At just 23 years of age, Marquez brings his career tally to 54 wins, equaling Australian legend Mick Doohan. The only rider so far this year to win four races, Marc has extended his championship lead to 52 points over Valentino Rossi and 66 over Jorge Lorenzo, with four rounds to go.
The crowd of 69,714 fans at trackside were treated to a fascinating battle for the final two podium places as Jorge Lorenzo (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) and team-mate Rossi produced an enthralling contest which saw the current World Champion Lorenzo – medium front and hard rear – take the spoils after the pair had traded places over the closing stages. Vinales took fourth position, with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crossing the line in fifth to take the Independent Team Rider award, this was after an exciting three-way battle with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) in sixth and Aleix Espargaro (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) seventh. Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was eighth, followed home by Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) in ninth, with Stefan Bradl (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) rounding out the top-10.
With today's colder air and track temperatures, tire choice was always going to be a vital factor and with the experience and advice from the knowledgeable Michelin technicians the riders were able to make informed choices. This did lead to different combinations of tires which saw the hard front and hard rear paired together, along with the medium front and hard rear and the medium front and medium rear being matched together, again emphasising the choice that Michelin is providing to make sure all riders have a tire to choose that will give them the optimum performance during the race.
The race was incredibly challenging and close. Starting from pole, Marquez fought hard to overtake Maverick Vinales and Lorenzo, taking the lead on the second lap. Soon after, a risky moment on lap three could have changed the outcome of his race; Marquez almost lost the front in turn 7 and nearly crashed out. He saved it but dropped back to fifth.
It took the Spaniard a few laps to calm down and begin his recovery; he overtook Andrea Dovizioso on lap five, Lorenzo on lap seven, Vinales on lap 10 and finally Rossi on lap 12. He pushed hard for a few laps to pull a gap and then managed the advantage until the checkered flag. Marquez was joined on the podium by Honda Motor Director Shinji Aoyama, celebrating the fifth victory by a Honda rider in the last seven races and Honda extending its leading in the Constructor and Team standings.
After a scuffle off the line through Turns 1 and 2 at a dry but cool MotorLand Aragon, it was Team Suzuki Ecstar rider Maverick Vinales who emerged from the melee to turn his front row start into the early lead in the race. With the front group close all the way down to P8, Marquez soon struck to take the lead, before a wobble through Turn 7 saw the championship leader drop back into the group slightly, down to P5. Lorenzo was the man on the chase behind new leader Vinales, with teammate Valentino Rossi in very close company.
The lead began to stretch for the Silverstone winner, before it was Rossi tagged onto the back of the Suzuki rider and looking for a way past, finally making a clever but aggressive move to take the lead with 15 to go and sit the younger Spaniard up. Vinales, pushing to find a way back through, then ran wide at Turn 1 and let Marquez through to hunt down his championship rival. With Lorenzo then on the scene, the front group divided into two duels.
[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Once with rider from Tavullia, former apprentice Marquez moved quickly to overtake the master, through on the inside on the 'Aragon Corkscrew' and making it stick. The championship leader then had the pressure of 9 world titles close behind and trying to hang on, but Marquez kept his head down and the pace up to slowly begin to get the better of the Italian and create a gap. The pace shown by the 2013 and 2014 MotoGP World Champion throughout the weekend on home turf proved to have survived the trip to Sunday, as the number 93 bike started to get smaller and smaller in front of the 46 plated Yamaha – with Rossi then forced to start looking over his shoulder instead as Lorenzo and Vinales threatened.
As the laps ticked on, Lorenzo left Vinales and caught Rossi, with the Movistar Yamahas then locked together in a fight for P2 and the 'Spartan' holding off the 'Doctor' – until the Italian ran wide into Turn 1 on the final lap. For Rossi, the missed opportunity is a big one as he fights to close on title leader Marquez – dropping 9 points with the championship leader taking the win. Lorenzo, after a difficult weekend until a last minute front row, recovered well from a crash in morning Warm Up to cross the line in an impressive P2.
|Marquez waves to the crowd|
Vinales kept his Suzuki in fourth after dropping back in the latter stages of the race, earning another top five for the impressive Spaniard in only his second season. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) had a solid ride to prove top Independent Team rider in fifth, just ahead of Misano winner Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) – who had a more difficult race at MotorLand but crossed the line in sixth to beat Aleix Espargaro (Team Suzuki Ecstar) in the final stages, with brother Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) behinds him in P8.
Ducati Team's Andrea Dovizioso had a tough race despite being a frontrunner in the early stages, and was one of the only bikes in the initial group of frontrunners to have chosen both medium compound tires. With six laps to go the Italian veteran was under fire from Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider Alvaro Bautista, with Bautista taking the Ducati to finish in an impressive P9. 'DesmoDovi' then found himself taken by the second Aprilia of Stefan Bradl, and ended the race just outside the top ten in P11.
Nicky Hayden's (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) one off return from WorldSBK to sub for injured Jack Miller was a success for the 'Kentucky Kid', as the American scored points in P15 despite never having ridden the bike, tires or electronics.
The land of the rising sun is the next stop for the 2016 MotoGP World Championship, as the Twin Ring Motegi beckons Marquez back to the scene of his 2014 title win – now 52 points clear at the top.
Marc Marquez 93
"I'm very happy to have taken the win at a home Grand Prix, and one of my favourite races. I was waiting for this GP, it was a 'red point' on the calendar for me, as I saw it as one where I wanted to attack and where I could win the race. It was an important victory, but nothing is finished yet. I said yesterday that something can always happen in a race, and it was a miracle that I didn't crash today when I almost lost it in turn 7. That was when I decided to relax a little and go back to my mentality from practice of riding precisely and braking in the right places. All this made for a more entertaining race, with many overtaking moves at the start, and a second part in which I was able to open a gap to Valentino, which was important. He had gone several races gaining points on us, and we wanted to stop that trend, because otherwise it would boost his morale and perhaps create doubts for us. Now we leave AragÃ³n with a larger advantage and more convinced ahead of the flyaways. I was very happy on the podium, but the most emotional moment for me today was when [brother] Alex scored his first Moto2 podium. That was really special for me."
|1||25||93||Marc MARQUEZ||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||41'57.678|
|2||20||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+2.740|
|3||16||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||+5.983|
|4||13||25||Maverick VIÂ¥ALES||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+8.238|
|5||11||35||Cal CRUTCHLOW||GBR||LCR Honda||Honda||+13.221|
|6||10||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||+17.072|
|7||9||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||+18.522|
|8||8||44||Pol ESPARGARO||SPA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||+19.432|
|9||7||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+23.071|
|10||6||6||Stefan BRADL||GER||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||Aprilia||+27.898|
|11||5||4||Andrea DOVIZIOSO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+32.448|
|12||4||51||Michele PIRRO||ITA||Ducati Team||Ducati||+35.033|
|13||3||8||Hector BARBERA||SPA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+36.224|
|14||2||50||Eugene LAVERTY||IRL||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||+37.621|
|15||1||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||+40.509|
|16||0||68||Yonny HERNANDEZ||COL||Pull & Bear Aspar Team||Ducati||+43.906|
|17||0||9||Danilo PETRUCCI||ITA||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||+56.740|
|18||0||76||Loris BAZ||FRA||Avintia Racing||Ducati||+59.681|
|19||0||45||Scott REDDING||GBR||OCTO Pramac Yakhnich||Ducati||+1'34.126|
|DNF||0||53||Tito RABAT||SPA||Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS||Honda||7 Laps|