Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport MotoGP News
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team, MotorLand Aragon GP, Race Report
Lorenzo Lands Aragón Victory as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Locks up Team World Title
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo secured his sixth win of the season and 60th Grand Prix win over all classes with a heroic ride at the challenging MotorLand Aragón circuit. Valentino Rossi also fought bravely to secure third in the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, giving the team, which shares the same title sponsor, its eighth double podium of the season and the Team World Championship Title.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team‘s Jorge Lorenzo was on another level today at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón and took a stunning victory. Valentino Rossi had the Spanish crowd at MotorLand Aragón gasping for air as he entertained them with a sensational battle for second place in which he came just 0.090s short.
Lorenzo made a flying start from second on the grid to lead the MotoGP field into turn one with rival Marc Marquez in pursuit. The Yamaha rider showed his usual stunning pace on the opening lap, creating an advantage of over half a second as they headed into the second lap. Marquez tried to stay on the heels of Lorenzo, but was unable to keep up with his blistering pace and with 22 laps to go he crashed out.
By then Lorenzo already had a more than 1.7s advantage over the chasing group fighting for second, including Andrea Iannone, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi. As they dueled, Lorenzo in no time built up a margin of over three seconds, which he managed beautifully. It was a lonely race for the Spaniard, but his incredible consistency proved unbeatable today. With no rider able to match his pace, Lorenzo crossed the finish line with a convincing 2.683 seconds advantage over the rider in second place, and clinched the by himself designed Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón trophy.
Rossi defended his lead in the championship with tooth and nail today. He held his sixth grid position off the line going into turn one, and soon moved up the order as he overtook Pol Espargarò. The Italian, promoted to fourth by Marquez‘s crash, was able to get hold of a provisional third place podium spot when he overtook Iannone on lap four.
His next target was Pedrosa, who he shadowed for most of the race before making his move after 18 laps. What followed was a five-lap battle for second that ran that until the finish line. Rossi skillfully passed Pedrosa various times, but was unable to make it stick and ultimately had to settle for the final podium spot, 2.773s off his teammate.
Today‘s race results keep Lorenzo in second in the rankings and see him inch closer to his teammate Rossi, who holds the lead in the standings with a 14-point advantage and a total of 263 points.
I took a big sigh of relief, because I was pushing so much and my tension-level was very high. I was trying to pull away by some metres from Marquez. I knew it was going to be difficult because my pace was very similar to his and after the warm up I knew his pace was very strong. We probably would have fought all the race and he may have beaten me in the final part because he may not have noticed the drop of the tyres as much, but today I was lucky. I saw his crash on the board and then I had to wait another lap to see the gap to Pedrosa. That was already very big after two laps, but I still couldn‘t relax because I knew that Dani had Valentino behind him and on this track he can have a good pace. I needed to stay focused and not make any mistakes to maintain the distance and that‘s what I did all the race. I remained very concentrated and focused and it was worth it. This race was very important to forget about the last two races with bad luck concerning the weather and where I made some mistakes. Had I lost more points to Valentino, it would have been almost impossible to win the championship. Now it‘s a bigger chance, but you never know what happens at the three fly-away races, so we have to keep our feet on the ground and keep working well as we are doing now and try to beat the others on all laps of these next four races. Over the last two years we did a good job in Motegi, the bike works well there in what is usually a difficult track for us. The hard-braking and acceleration suits our rivals better, so it‘s not easy, but these last few years I‘ve been very fast and competitive. Maybe we can win, but for sure, with Marquez around it will be very tough.
I‘m very proud of the team and very proud of the work that everyone from Yamaha did in Japan. They worked on all aspects but especially on corner entry. That was our main weakness over the previous years. This Team World Championship title, that we secured already four races before the end of the season, means a lot to us. It‘s been an unbelievable year from the results to the performance of the bike and we are very happy.
I try everything, I give the maximum, because for sure it is important to arrive second and lose just the five points to Jorge, but at the end Dani today was very strong. I tried everything, but in the end he arrived in front of me. On the other hand I am happy about the race. First of all because it was very fun, and secondly because I was competitive, I was strong in the race and it was the best race of my career in Aragon, for sure, this circuit is always difficult. But now we have to look forward and try to do better. I stayed behind Dani because in the beginning it was very difficult to overtake and I didn’t have enough pace to stay in front. So I had to fight for everything in the last lap. I tried to overtake where I saw I was strong, but already from the first overtake I saw that Dani today was very strong, because he always came back. I tried to concentrate and stay on the line at entry every time, but on the last lap we touched at one time and I went over the curb, so at that moment I had just to try all or nothing, you know. In the chicane I tried without thinking, but he was able to cross the line somehow. Now we go to Motegi, it is a track that I like, where also last year I did a very good race. But Jorge last year was stronger than me and he was able to win. For this reason we have to try the maximum, the difference is just fourteen points and it will be very difficult, because the advantage is so small. We have to give the maximum, because we are competitive.
The Team World Title is a great achievement for everybody, because all the team, all the engineers were able to improve the M1 and gave us a great bike. We did a great step compared to last year and compared to Honda also, especially. It is also a great achievement for the riders, because we always care about this and this year me and Jorge were able to win a lot of points and arrived in front a lot of the time. So everybody in the team is very happy.
Massimo Meregalli – Team Director
It was a state of the art performance by Jorge, his level was unmatched and he managed the gap perfectly. He didn‘t make any mistakes and fully deserved his 60th Grand Prix win over all classes. Valentino did well to ride from sixth to third early on in the race and got caught up in a battle with Dani Pedrosa for the final two podium positions. The team has worked very hard all season long and it had paid off as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP is now the World Champion Team. I want to dedicate this title to all team members, who always put a lot of effort in finding solutions to bring us to a highly competitive level. I also want to dedicate this victory to Movistar, as we could not have given them a better gift than the Team World Championship title at their own title sponsored Grand Prix. I‘m especially happy that we have won this title in front of Mr. Alierta, President of Telefonica, who honored us with his presence in the garage during the race.