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.
1st / 41'44.933 / 23 laps
"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."
3rd / +2.773 / 23 laps
"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 - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 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 honoured us with his presence in the garage during the race."
Smith and Espargaro conclude Aragon challenge inside the top ten
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith battled his way to 8th position in the demanding 23 lap sprint around the MotorLand Aragon circuit today aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1. When the lights went out, the young Briton undertook a decent start from 10th to close the first lap one position higher from where he began. He then built up his speed before firmly setting into his race rhythm as he confidently attempted to force his way into the top six. By the end of the 7th lap, Smith was running comfortably in 6th as he homed in on Andrea Dovizioso ahead. However, he unfortunately ran wide eleven laps from the end and was shuffled back two places. Nevertheless, the 24 year old remained focused and set his sights on closing back in on the fierce fight for 5th, with Cal Crutchlow in front of him. Smith pushed onwards as he continued to plug the gap and on the last lap he was still right behind Crutchlow, but despite his best efforts, he fired across the finish line in 8th. The result sees the young British rider still hold his record of completing every round this season in no lower than 8th. Furthermore, he remains as one of only three MotoGP riders who have concluded every race and he will now confidently head to Japan for the 15th event of the 2015 World Championship.
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro finished the MotoGP race one position behind his teammate after producing a resolute effort in front of 67,000 Spanish fans. The young Spaniard got off to a solid start today by completing the morning's warm up practice in 3rd position, leaving him fully optimistic of a good run in the afternoon's race. When the fight began, Espargaro lunged forward from the head of the second row and diced with the factory MotoGP riders as he closed the first lap in 6th. He was running in 5th one lap later as he looked to mount a challenge to battle the front runners, but unfortunately he then slipped back to 9th on the 4th lap. Yet, Espargaro remained fully determined as he undertook a recovery charge to close back in on the group in front. At just over half race distance the 2013 Moto2 World Champion was closing in as he joined the pack of five, including his teammate fighting for 5th. He did his best to move in on Smith, despite suffering with an issue with his gear lever, yet time ran out before the chequered flag was waved. Next up for the 24 year old is the Motul Grand Prix of Japan where he intends to achieve a strong finish aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
8th / +25.503 / 23 laps
"I have to be happy with the result today after what was certainly a tough race at Aragon. All of the different manufactures were in the group that I was fighting in and each one was stronger in different areas of the track. As a result, the pack was really competitive and all of us were pushing as much as we could. Unfortunately, I made the mistake when I was right behind Dovizioso and almost ran into him. To avoid this, I had to go wide and it took me ten laps to make up that second that I lost which just proves how easily matched we all were. Yet, I am pleased with the result, especially considering that things didn't go exactly as we wanted them to this weekend. Moreover, we were still in the hunt for 5th today which I was not convinced about before the start of the race. Therefore, to come away with this result and without loosing too many points in the championship is overall quite positive. In addition, it's easy to make a mistake at a track like this, so I am happy to have kept it on two wheels! Next up is Motegi which I am looking forward to. The track layout is grueling but I feel that I can run well there and I hope to give the Japanese fans a good show."
9th / +26.452 / 23 laps
"It goes without saying that today's race was very demanding for me. The beginning itself was actually really positive but just when I pulled away from the riders behind me, I had to run wide as my gear didn't engage and I was in neutral. Because of this, I lost several positions as well as some vital seconds which I tried to make up afterwards but it really wasn't easy. In the following laps, I checked which engine maps gave me the best chance of catching the group in front. However, whilst I was pushing my hardest to make up the time, I lost the rubber on my gear shifter which caused the lever to be very slippery so shifting up and down was truly difficult for the rest of the race. Taking all of this into consideration, we have to be quite pleased with the fact that we finished less than two seconds from fifth, even though it is a pity to end up in 9th. We now have to look forward to the three overseas races, with the first round being in Japan, a place which I'm happy to return to after the incredible experience this summer at the Suzuka 8 Hours race."
Baz keeps the Open leadership
The Grand Prix Movistar de Aragon weekend closes with both riders out of the points for the Forward Racing team. Loris Baz, riding again the Yamaha Forward after yesterday's bad accident, crossed the line in the 17th place, while Toni Elias, at his first race with the Swiss team, was 21st.
Baz, who started from 22nd position on the grid, quickly regained contact with the group of other Open and fought for the whole race with Jack Miller, Nicky Hayden and Hector Barbera. Despite pain in his neck, a result of a cervical contracture he sustained in yesterday's morning practice, the Frenchman passed under the checkered flag in 17th. With this placement he keeps the lead of the class with a five-point advantage over the Spaniard chasing him.
It was the first race with Yamaha Forward for Toni Elias, who started at the back of the grid. After a good start, the Spaniard struggled a bit and had little feeling with the front, eventually losing contact with the group ahead of him. He finished in 21st position.
17th / +51.997 / 23 laps
"The overall balance at the end of this weekend is positive. The gap with other Open bikes was not huge and I did practically the whole race fighting with my direct opponents. I was not 100% fit because of the bad accident of yesterday, I had an intense pain in the neck during the race and I could not stay on the bike. I have not collected points in the championship nor I did I lose any, I'm leaving for the overseas trip convinced we can do well."
21st / +1'15.237 / 23 laps
"I had a good start and I immediately attacked the group in front of me. I was fighting with Alex De Angelis, but he was forced to retire and I lost contact with those ahead of me. I was alone and, since this is my first race for Yamaha Forward, I did not have the pace to recover. My first weekend with the team is over and I really like the power delivery of this engine, but I have to keep working on the front to find the right feeling."