These just in:
Marquez takes sixth win and extends lead after incident with Pedrosa
The Grand Prix of Aragón has been an event of mixed emotions for the Repsol Honda Team.
Championship leader Marc Marquez, starting from pole for the seventh time this season, extended his Championship lead with a fantastic win - his sixth of the season, but en route he and teammate Dani Pedrosa touched on lap six and as a result, Dani crashed out of the race.
Marc and Dani slipped back to 2nd and 3rd on the first lap but they both chased Lorenzo down and Dani set a new fastest race lap on lap two with 1'48.565. Dani passed Marc on lap five and the two Repsol Honda riders began to catch Lorenzo. It was during this chase that in the back straight, Marc and Dani briefly touched and during the contact, Marc caught a cable on Dani's real wheel and it snapped - disabling Dani's traction control and causing him to crash.
It is another disappointing blow for Dani in his bid to become World Champion. He remains on 219 points, 59 points off leader Marc on 278 points with four rounds remaining, Lorenzo is on 239 points - 39 off Marc.
Marc Marquez 1st Championship Standing: 1st - 278 points
"Today was a very gruelling race, because I had to make two comebacks; the first was to catch Jorge after he broke free at the start, then I needed to make another after Dani passed me and I wanted to overtake him after two laps. I felt comfortable but I went a little wide under braking, lifted the bike up and made light contact with him. I'm not sure he even noticed it, but it was a bit of bad luck because the team told me I caused his traction control cable to snap and I'm sorry for that - it's something very unusual to see. The important thing is that Dani is OK. I was eventually able to overtake Jorge and take the victory, which is important in terms of both the 25 points and for my morale"
Dani Pedrosa DNF Championship Standing: 3rd - 219 points
"Fortunately I'm fine physically. I took a heavy knock to my hip and my groin area, but I was unable to escape relatively unhurt from what was a big crash. Marc went in too wide on the corner entry, clipped me from the outside and I went flying when I got on the gas. My mechanics told me later that the traction control cable had been cut by the contact"
Double Delight for Yamaha in Aragon
Aragon (Spain), 29th September 2013
Yamaha Factory Racing riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi fought an intense battle this afternoon to take second and third respectively in the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon.
Defending world champion Lorenzo made a flying start from second on the grid to lead the MotoGP field into turn one with rivals Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa in pursuit. The Mallorcan's stunning first lap pace saw a one second gap created as they headed into the second lap. Pedrosa and Marquez remained hot on the heels of Lorenzo until with 18 laps to go the two chasing riders made contact, Marquez running wide and Pedrosa crashing out. With ten laps to go Marquez caught and passed Lorenzo, but was unable to pull away as the reigning champion tucked in behind to give chase. Lorenzo eventually crossed the line in second, just 1.3 seconds back from Marquez.
Teammate Rossi held his fourth grid position off the line and into turn one, closely followed by Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl. The nine-time world champion, promoted to third by Pedrosa's crash, was able to hold the provisional podium spot until a late attack by Bautista with six laps remaining. The fight for third ran until the penultimate lap, Rossi making the decisive move through the uphill section of the track to retake the final podium spot and hold it to the line.
The race result keeps Lorenzo in second in the standings, 20 points ahead of Pedrosa and 39 behind Marquez in the lead. Rossi remains in fourth place after his podium finish, now on 185 points, 29 clear of Cal Crutchlow in fifth.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
2nd / +1.356 / 23 laps
"My tactic was to start well and open a gap like I did in the last races. I could make one second at the beginning but then simply Marc was faster. When he caught me I closed the throttle to try to save some energy until the end; then he passed me and tried to go away. I tried my best to catch him but it was impossible. Today he was faster than me; there are no excuses. We have to congratulate him and now we think about the next races. The championship is more difficult now than before the race but we are going to fight for it until the end. We will try to win as many races as possible."
99 Valentino Rossi
3rd / +12.927 / 23 laps
"Third position is positive, to be on the podium is good. I expected to go a little bit faster after the practice this morning where I was very strong. I decided for the hard front tyre whilst Marc and Jorge went for the soft and I think it was a better choice for this afternoon as I was a little bit slower. In the end the third position is very positive."
Marquez seizes sixth victory of the year at Aragon
Round 14: Aragon MotoGP? - Race
Motorland Aragon, Sunday 29 September 2013
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: Dry. Ambient 24-25°C; Track 31-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez returned to winning form at Motorland Aragon, his sixth victory of the season helping the Repsol Honda to take a stranglehold on the MotoGP? championship with four rounds remaining.
Starting from pole position, Marquez lost out to Yamaha Factory Racing's Jorge Lorenzo as the lights went out and found himself in third place after his teammate Dani Pedrosa passed him on lap five. Marquez regained second place after Pedrosa crashed out on the exit of turn sixteen on lap six, after which Marquez reeled in and passed Lorenzo for the lead on lap thirteen. Although he was pressured over the remainder of the race by Lorenzo, Marquez held on to take the chequered flag by 1.356 seconds ahead of his compatriot, while Valentino Rossi took third place on the other Yamaha Factory Racing M1 after an entertaining battle for the final podium position. Power Electronics Aspar's Aleix Espargaro was the top CRT finisher at Aragon, finishing in eleventh place.
Ambient and track temperatures were cooler today, with a reading of 31°C recorded at the start of the race. The lower temperatures resulted in all riders selecting softer rear slick options, while four riders - including Marquez and Lorenzo - opted for the soft compound front slick. The pace of this year's Aragon Grand Prix was the fastest ever recorded at this circuit, with the overall race time bettering the old mark by seven seconds and Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa setting a new race record lap of 1'48.565 on lap two.
Marquez's sixth win of the year stretches his lead in the championship over Lorenzo to thirty-nine points, while Pedrosa remains third in the standings and a further twenty points behind after his second DNF of the season.
Hiroshi Yamada - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Congratulations to Repsol Honda and Marc on their victory today, both he and Jorge gave everything they had and it was fantastic watching them push each other to the limit. It was a great shame that Dani suffered from a technical issue today as he was looking so strong in the race, but I am sure we will see him back challenging for the win at Sepang. I think the prospect of watching an exciting battle between the championship contenders was a key factor in the large crowds at Aragon this year compared to last, and I hope that we will see big crowds at the remaining races as the championship heads towards a thrilling conclusion."
Masao Azuma - Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
"Today's temperatures were the coolest of the race weekend but they didn't drop to a level that resulted in many riders opting for the soft compound front slick, with ultimately only four riders selecting this option. The cool weather also meant that no riders selected harder rear slick options for the race. Both the soft and hard compound front slick performed well in the race, as the teams and riders were able to take advantage of the different characteristics these two compound options offer. The overall race time was the quickest ever here and new qualifying and race lap records were set, so on the whole this was a positive weekend for Bridgestone.
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda - Race Winner
"The start of the race was not so good but I was able to be aggressive on the opening few corners and only lost around a second to Lorenzo on the first lap, after which I was able to recover step by step. After Dani passed me I started to feel better with the bike though I did lose some time after I touched him at the end of the back. I was on the limit for many laps after that point, but I could catch and pass Jorge quite quickly and getting twenty-five points here was very important."
BRADL (FIFTH) ENJOYS LAST LAP BATTLE WITH ROSSI AND BAUTISTA AT THE MOTORLAND
Aragón, 29 September: LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl raced amongst the protagonists once again in today's 23-lap race at Aragón Motorland exciting his squad and his fans with a breath-taking last lap which saw him challenging Rossi and Bautista till the chequered flag. The German had realistic podium aspirations after his impressive pace throughout the weekend and today's positive performance reflects a return to strong form for the 23-year-old.
"Probably it was an exciting race to watch and it was fun also for me. Overall we had a good weekend and a good race although I lost the last-lap battle with Rossi and Bautista but I am happy anyway. Of course I was dreaming about the podium as we were fast and consistent over the three days, but Alvaro was very strong in the last lap. After Silverstone and Brno tough weekends, our performance is getting stronger and stronger and I gained more confidence on the bike. I only need some more experience to manage the last laps and the drop of the tyres but we took the right direction".
Encouraging twelfth place for Yonny Hernandez and Ignite Pramac Racing Team
In front of over 61,000 spectators, on a warm and breezy day at the circuit of Aragon, Yonny Hernandez ended his first race as a substitute rider for Ben Spies with the Ignite Pramac Racing Team.
Riding at a pace that was just a few tenths of a second from that of his fellow Ducati riders, Yonny fought for the entire race to stay close to the top ten before eventually crossing the finish line in twelfth place.
All in all, it was a positive day for the Colombian, whose main goal was initially to understand the bike's behavior and the duration of the tyre in view of the challenging races that he'll face during the upcoming tripleheader, scheduled start in Sepang on Sunday, 13 October.
Yonny Hernandez - Ignite Pramac Racing Team
"I'm very happy that I was able to finish the race. I kept a good pace, and now I know some more important things pertaining to the behavior of the bike. Compared to a CRT, it's indeed very different in terms of tyres, traction control and power. I think it's been a good start, and I'd like to continue on this path, improving step by step and getting better results."
Unsatisfying day for Ducati Team at MotorLand Aragón
The results of the Aragón Grand Prix, the fourteenth round of the MotoGP World Championship, were less than satisfying for the Ducati Team. Both Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden were able to improve slightly on their grid positions (on the third and fourth row, thanks to ninth and eleventh place finishes in qualifying), but at the finish line, they had to settle for eighth and ninth place, respectively, the same results they posted at the previous round.
After a difficult start, Dovizioso found himself in eighth place on the sixth lap, followed by his teammate. The Italian then tried in vain to stay with Bradley Smith, while Hayden ceded a position to Andrea Iannone when he went off the track four laps from the end. The American was able to take ninth place back, and he and Dovizioso held their positions to the end.
The MotoGP teams and riders will now get a weekend off before embarking on a trip to Asia and Australia that will include three races in three weeks.
Andrea Dovizioso - Ducati Team, 8th
"I knew that the best I could hope for was to stay with Smith, but unfortunately, I couldn't do it. The first three-quarters of the race were good, as I gritted my teeth and tried to stick with him, but with nine laps left, the rear tyre began to lose grip and I couldn't stay with him to the end. I'm disappointed, but like I said Friday, this track doesn't suit us very well. The fact that we have trouble in fast corners is a big disadvantage here, and when the tyres are worn, this problem becomes worse."
Nicky Hayden - Ducati Team, 9th
"It's been a tough weekend. We've tried so many things to find grip and get the bike to stop, but we didn't make much progress. On the start, I got a good jump off the line but bogged and lost some positions. I made up a couple and then ran wide in the last corner two different times. Toward the end I went straight at turn twelve, where I'd been having trouble stopping all weekend, and went into the gravel trap. I lost twelve seconds and one spot, which I had to fight to get back. It was a very tough race, and the feeling with my Desmosedici GP13 wasn't great for the whole weekend, but I also made too many mistakes. I'm not very happy at all, so I look forward to getting to Malaysia to put this behind us."
Paolo Ciabatti - Ducati MotoGP Project Director
"After the practice sessions, we knew that it would be difficult for our riders to do better than eighth place today. Unfortunately, this seems to be our potential at the moment. Andrea battled with Smith until his rear tyre began losing grip, whereas Nicky's race was more difficult, as he never found a good feeling with his bike. Obviously, we're not satisfied, and there's not much else to say."
Crutchlow and Smith take valuable points at Motorland Aragon
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team celebrated one of its best double finishes of the season at the Motorland Aragon track this afternoon, with Cal Crutchlow racing to sixth spot and teammate Bradley Smith finishing in a fantastic seventh position.
Crutchlow was one of the main protagonists in the most enthralling battle of a dramatic 23-lap race, as the British rider fought superbly for third position with Valentino Rossi, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl throughout.
The 27-year-old displayed typical fighting spirit to keep himself locked in the battle right down to the last lap, though he was just unable to force his way into contention to claim a fifth podium of the campaign.
Crutchlow's sixth position saw him pick up 10 more precious World Championship points that keep him firmly in control of fifth place in the rankings and on course to end 2013 as the leading non-factory rider.
Today's race, which took place in the coolest conditions of the weekend, saw rookie Smith deliver one of his most impressive performances of the season.
Taking full advantage of improved braking performance after tweaking his riding style earlier this weekend, Smith finished in a terrific seventh position. The highlight of his race was his excellent charge away from experienced rival Andrea Dovizioso after passing the Italian on lap three.
The 22-year-old maintained a consistent pace throughout the race and one pleasing aspect of his performance today was he managed to finish just over 30 seconds behind eventual winner Marc Marquez. That improvement on recent races bodes well for the final races of the campaign, which includes three back-to-back flyaway races in Malaysia, Australia and Japan.
Cal Crutchlow Cal Crutchlow 6th - 156 points :Cal Crutchlow
"I am not unsatisfied with a top 6 result this weekend, I just think we are far from where we should be and that is clearly because we are lacking speed. We lose more than 10km/h every single lap on the straight and in acceleration and that is not good for us, we honestly don't know why also because we used a new engine since this morning and I really don't need to find excuses because you could clearly see it on TV how much I was struggling. In any case we can still take quite a few positives out of this weekend, we had two days of track time less than the others and we don't have the seamless gearbox but we were still able to finish just 1,5 seconds behind Valentino, so we have not done a bad job. Now I am looking forward to the overseas and I am confident we can still fight for the podium this season."
Bradley Smith 7th - 80 points :Bradley Smith
"The positive point of today is that we scored our best result since Sachsenring and altogether it was good to stay in front of the Ducatis and especially to pull away from them at the end of the race was a nice feeling. I still believe that we have some more potential to improve our race setting . This will surely be our main aim for the flyaway races and I have no doubt that we will progress is this area. But all in all I can't be unsatisfied with this weekend, especially considering how tough Friday was, when things did not really go according to plan, so to travel to Malaysia with a 7th position in my luggage is not too bad."
Herve Poncharal - Team Manager :
"It's always a pity to finish sixth when you are so close to third. Clearly we were down on speed and that definitely did not help Cal. But as always he showed his huge determination and fighting spirit and gave it his all to stay with the group and I want to thank him for his commitment. For sure his performance and his competiveness will help the team go to the next round with a positive frame of mind. I also want to congratulate Bradley for the race he did. He did a really good job and managed to keep the two factory Ducatis a long way behind him and that is not easy, especially with Andrea, who we know is really fast on this track after his podium with us a year ago. At some stage he was lapping with the same times as Cal, Bautista, Bradl and Rossi, which is a big positive and I'm very pleased with the performance of both of them today."
Top-ten finish for Andrea Iannone at the GP of Aragón
The the fourteenth round of the MotoGP World Championship, hosted at the Aragón circuit, saw Andrea Iannone defend his tenth position to the finish, putting him third among the Ducati riders. Along the way, the Italian posted a best time of 1.50.824, recorded on the second of twenty-three laps.
The early stages of the race went well for Iannone, who held the pace of Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Nicky Hayden and even managed to put himself between them at times. However, he eventually began struggling with a lack of grip. At that point, his goal became to preserve a top-ten result, and although it was challenging, he was successful in the end.
Next on the schedule is the challenging tripleheader, which will begin at Sepang International Circuit on Sunday, 13 October, to be followed by the Phillip Island round before finishing at Motegi on 27 October.
Andrea Iannone - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing Team
"It was a difficult race. I wasn't fast in cornering and I was sliding while braking. This time I'm not very happy. It wasn't a good race, and I continued to have problems with the lack of grip. We have to work to solve this problem. Today I didn't have the right confidence, but on the positive side, now I'm managing the bike better throughout the race. My goal now is to stay with Nicky and Dovi, as I did today in the beginning. Unfortunately, I had to let up after that to keep from falling, and they pulled ahead. I'm disappointed because every time I try to push harder, I risk falling. We'll tackle the coming races the best we can in order to take some small steps forward."