Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón Preview, Monday, September 21st 2015
Ball in Lorenzo’s court as title fight moves onto #AragonGP
Rossi holds a 23-point advantage over Lorenzo as the epic 2015 MotoGP™ title battle moves onto to the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon.
The San Marino GP saw Marc Marquez break his duck at Misano by taking victory in one of the most exciting races in the history of the World Championships. We also saw Jorge Lorenzo dramatically crash out and Valentino Rossi cross the line in fifth to increase his lead over his teammate to 23 points after a pit stop free-for-all in the changing conditions. The incredibly tense title saga now returns to Spain for round 14 of the MotoGP™ World Championship, with what will happen next anyone’s guess.
MotorLand Aragon became the sixth different Spanish circuit to hold a World Championship race when it was added to the calendar in 2010. Located in the historic motor racing town of Alcañiz, this will be the sixth grand prix that the track has hosted. The circuit has proved a happy hunting ground for Spaniards with them winning 11 of the 15 GP’s held at the track across all classes.
It is one of only two circuits on the calendar, along with Austin, that Movistar Yamaha’s championship leader Valentino Rossi has not won at before. Unbelievably, the “Doctor” only has one podium to his name at the circuit, a third place from 2013. Last year he found himself fighting through the pack from sixth on the grid before he crashed out, briefly knocking himself unconscious. It was the last time that Rossi failed to finish a race and the last time he finished off the podium, until his fifth placed finish at Misano last time out.
Last year his teammate and closest championship rival Jorge Lorenzo took the win in a flag-to-flag race. If the two Movistar Yamaha teammate’s results were to repeat themselves, the Spaniard would take a two-point advantage into the flyaways. Lorenzo has finished on the podium four out of the five times he has raced at Aragon, with his worst finish a fourth back in 2010.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez will be aiming for his 50th GP victory across all classes as he trails Rossi by 53 points in the standings. The reigning MotoGP™ World Champion won the 2013 race from pole, after having achieved the same feat in Moto2™ in 2011. In last year’s race Marquez once again started from pole, but crashed while leading the race on slicks in wet conditions, and remounted to cross the line in 13th.
His teammate Dani Pedrosa suffered an identical fate last year while he was battling with Marquez for the lead, eventually crossing the line in 14th. He crashed out of the race in 2013 after Marquez had famously collided with him and damaged a traction control sensor, but was victorious in 2012. He also has two second-places to his name from 2010 & 2011.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso has crashed out of the race at Aragon in three of the last five years. His best result was a third place back in 2012 after a race long battle with his then teammate Cal Crutchlow for the podium. His current teammate Andrea Iannone crashed out of last year’s race after an excellent ride that saw him battling for the lead. The Italian won the Moto2™ race in 2010, making him one of only three non-Spanish riders to have won at the circuit along with Casey Stoner (MotoGP™ 2010 & 2011) and Romano Fenati (Moto3™ in 2014).
Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Aleix Espargaro achieved his only MotoGP™ podium last year as he crossed the line in second on the Forward Yamaha. His teammate Maverick Viñales has got three podiums to his name at the circuit across all classes (125cc – 3rd 2011, Moto3™ – 2nd 2013) after winning last year’s Moto2™ race from pole.
In the Satellite battle Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith (135pts) has a 42-point lead over Danilo Petrucci (93pts) on the Octo Pramac Ducati after his first podium of the season at Misano. The British rider finished fifth in last year’s race while Petrucci pulled of his best result of the season in 11th on the IodaRacing ART bike. Smith’s teammate Pol Espargaro remains on 81 points after his crash at the San Marino GP, while LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow is a further two points back. The Brit achieved his sole podium for the factory Ducati Team in last year’s race as he crossed the line in third.
In the Open standings it is Forward Racing’s Loris Baz who now leads the way after his incredible fourth in the mixed conditions at Misano. The Frenchman (28pts) has a 5-point advantage over Avintia Racing’s Hector Barbera (23pts), with Jack Miller on the Open LCR Honda in third on 16 points.
The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon begins on Thursday at 5pm with the official Press Conference; the on-track action kicks off at 9am local time with Free Practice.