Double Podium for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP at Motorland Aragón
Today's Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón proved to be the most action-filled race of the season so far, as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo fought off his rivals to secure a hard-fought second place. Teammate Valentino Rossi also used his YZR-M1 to the fullest to fend off the competition and secured the fourth double podium of the season for the Factory Yamaha team.
Lorenzo didn't let a crash in warm-up this morning hold him back in today's race. The local hero had a brilliant start from third on the grid and fought for the holeshot with Marc Marquez. Maverick Viñales soon joined the fight for the front, beginning a Spanish duel that had the race fans on the edge of their seats. A flurry of activity followed that saw Lorenzo finish the first lap in third position, closely followed by his teammate. A mistake by Marquez two laps later made Lorenzo storm to second place and he continued to claw his way to Viñales, but he had to let his teammate past.
The top three riders briefly formed a leading group as they upped their pace, dropping low 1'49s laps. However, Marquez was closing in and with 17 laps remaining he found a way past Lorenzo, but the Mallorcan wasn't fazed. He made his experience count and waited for the right moment to fight his way back to the front, which came with 14 laps to go when he didn't need a second invitation to pass Viñales after the compatriot had gone wide.
Lorenzo cleverly continued his race in such a way that he still had enough rubber left on his Michelins to make a final charge five laps before the end of the race to smoothly take over second place. He was consistently stalked by Rossi, but he didn't let it shake his confidence and held off the Italian's attack to take second place over the line, 2.740s from first.
Teammate Rossi had a good start from his sixth place grid position and slotted into fourth place after turn 1, determined not to let the leading group out of his sight. With 21 laps to go, Marquez dropped back to fifth, allowing Rossi to take hold of a podium finish for the first time in the race, fuelling his ambitions even further. He hunted down his teammate and bided his time to make a move with 18 laps left, to close the gap to the race leader. He was the first rider to drop into the 1'48s as he reeled in Viñales and went on to take the lead of the race after a block pass in turn 4 with 15 laps to go.
The Doctor's pace proved too hot for the Spaniard, who went wide in turn 1 a lap later, allowing Rossi some breathing space before Marquez made his move with 12 laps to go. Rossi wasn't willing to let his rival go and put his head down, but he was unable to stick to the home rider and with five laps to go he put his attention towards his teammate, who pushed him back one place. The Doctor followed the fellow Yamaha rider like a shadow, but was unable to get past and took the chequered flag 5.983s behind the man in first place.
Lorenzo's superb race craft delivers him 20 points. He remains in third position, now just 14 points behind his teammate in second. Rossi's third place gives him a total of 196 points, now 52 points behind the championship leader.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP will next head to Japan in three weeks' time for the Grand Prix of Japan, the first of the three overseas races.
Massimo Meregalli - Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We knew that it was going to be difficult to beat Marquez today, but we tried as hard as possible until the rear tyre dropped, leading the race with Valentino. We have suffered from this problem since the beginning of the weekend and although we tried different settings we weren't able to fully get rid of the problem. The decision to change the tyre on the grid for Jorge paid off and as a team, we achieved a great result, finishing with two riders on the podium at our Title Sponsor's Grand Prix. When we arrived in Aragón we had our eyes on the win and we carry this objective forward to the next round where we want to fight for the victory again."
2nd / +2.740 / 23 laps, Championship: 3rd, 182 points
"Sometimes a bad situation or a bad thing brings you a good thing and that's what happened when I crashed. I got almost injured and was almost in pain, as has happened in the past, but this made me do two warming up laps, one with the hard tyre and one on the soft tyre. Finally on these two laps the hard tyre suddenly gave me a good confidence, even if I was warming up and very slow, so my instinct told me that I needed to change my race tyre to the hard one and this crash and bit of instinct for sure gave me the possibility to do this race the way I was riding it. I didn't expect to finish on the podium, I thought I would finish maybe sixth or seventh, but finally the race was again surprising. It's been a difficult weekend for me, but sometimes these kind of situations bring you to the top."
3rd / +5.983 / 23 laps, Championship: 2nd, 196 points
"We started with a different setting and we tried to be stronger towards the end of the race, but in the final stages I was spinning a lot, but I think everyone was in the same boat anyway. It's a shame that with two laps to go I made a mistake in braking and I had to go wide. If not for that we could have fought for the second place, but anyway the podium is OK. I'm happy because it's a good podium. Here, in Aragón, we always suffer a bit. It's a shame and I'm not fully happy, because I wanted to arrive as the first of the Yamahas and in front of Lorenzo, but unfortunately in the second half of the race he was faster than me. It's a shame, because I had some cards up my sleeve for the last laps, because I was there, but I made a mistake. I decided to go straight because else it would have been very dangerous for both of us. I lost the four points to Jorge, but it's another podium. We hope we can improve and that we can be more competitive for the overseas races."
Espargaro finishes inside the top 8 under the Spanish sun at Aragon
Monster Yamaha Tech3 team rider Pol Espargaro delivered a relentless performance in front of nearly 70,000 fans today at the Aragon Grand Prix which he completed in 8th. The young Spaniard impressively concluded the morning warm up in 3rd place, which left him highly motivated for the afternoon. Here, he kicked off his fight from the fourth row of the grid and bolted forwards when the lights went out. Espargaro was shuffled back to 12th place by the close of the first lap, yet he remained focused and set into a consistent rhythm as he targeted climbing back up through the field. The home hero progressed forward and by the 4th lap, he was running in 9th. Following this, he continued to inch closer to the rider ahead and on lap 16 he seized 8th after moving past Andrea Dovizioso. He then set his sights on closing down the San Marino race winner, Dani Pedrosa and gave his all before eventually crossing the finish line in this position. The 2013 Moto2 World Champion now confidently looks ahead to the Japanese GP where he will aim to clinch the leading satellite honours at Yamaha's home Grand Prix alongside returning teammate, Bradley Smith.
Espargaro was the sole rider for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team today after Alex Lowes, who was standing in for the injured Bradley Smith, was deemed unfit after being medically reviewed this morning following his crash in FP3 yesterday. In the accident, the young Briton injured his left foot and suffered swelling and contusion, which did not improve overnight and subsequently he was ruled out of the race.
8th / + 19.432 / 23 laps, Championship: 9th / 96 points
"First of all, I have to thank the Tech3 team who did an amazing job this weekend with all the crashes that we had. The guys were always quick at repairing the bikes and today the motorcycle that I ran with felt very strong. However, I must say that I am a little bit disappointed with myself and the end result. I think we had some more bad luck yesterday and it penalised us to start from 11th on the grid. I was truly comfortable on the Yamaha today and I was confident about my chances, but unfortunately, I made a mistake at the beginning of the race and went wide at the end of the back straight and this is where I lost contact to the group in front of me. Without this slip-up, I would have probably been able to finish in front of Dani and my brother. Nevertheless, a top eight is still positive and the points that I collected are vital for my championship aspirations. Next up is the Japanese GP which is a very special race for me after my second consecutive Suzuka 8 Hours victory so I'm looking forward to seeing the Japanese fans again."
"It's a real shame that I didn't end my time in MotoGP in a positive way, but I've really enjoyed the experience and the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team were very welcoming to me. I have learnt a lot and even though it's a pity that this race didn't end in a positive way, Silverstone and Misano were fantastic. With regards to my injury, the top of my foot is still swollen and I've lost a lot of movement so I'm going to get everything checked as there are a couple of areas that are still sore and I have the Superbike race in France next week. The crash yesterday was big and I feel quite lucky to get away with just this injury and nothing worse. I must thank the whole team again and also wish them all the best for the rest of the season. It was definitely special to complete my first ever MotoGP race in Silverstone as it was my home GP, and I can happily look back on the past month which certainly improved my ability as a motorcycle rider and I hope I can come back to the championship in the future."
"I am really happy that I will be getting back on the Yamaha YZR-M1 in Motegi. I have to admit that it has been challenging for me to watch the last three races from the sofa on a Sunday, even though it looks like the conditions in those rounds were tough. It's good that this period is over now and I can finally return to the track. I have been working hard on my entire rehabilitation and many people have committed a lot of time and effort to give me the best chance to be ready as quickly as possible. In fact, the recovery process was due to be six months but after the efforts by myself, the doctors and everyone else, I managed to do it eight to nine weeks. For sure, it's super that I am fit enough to race again and I am excited for the last four MotoGP events of the 2016 season, including the flyaway races and in addition, I am looking forward to seeing the whole Monster Yamaha Tech3 team again."