Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Primed for Action at the Aragon GP
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales return to Spain for round 14 of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, held this Sunday, at the MotorLand Aragón.
The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón holds special significance for the team as it's not just a home race for Viñales but also for the team's title sponsor, Movistar, who are the title sponsor of the Aragon GP as well.
Following his home Grand Prix, Rossi is in third place in the championship, 3 points from second place and 70 points from the top of the standings. He has his heart set on a place on the podium this weekend, especially since he so narrowly missed out on one last year, when he made his incredible comeback from injury just 24 days after leg surgery, securing fifth place.
Though the Aragón circuit wasn't added to the MotoGP calendar until 2010, the Doctor already stood on the podium there three times before. He secured three third places in total in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
This weekend Viñales will be fighting again to move up from fifth place in the championship rankings. He currently sits 6 points behind the rider in fourth place in the overall results and has a 97-point margin to first place.
The local hero has stood on the podium in Aragon three times before. He secured a third place in 2011 in the 125cc class, a Moto3 second place finish in 2013, and a Moto2 victory in 2014. However, he is still missing the MotoGP rostrum to complete the set. Having just missed out on the premier class podium in the last two years, securing fourth position, he is eager to make it happen this time round.
The MotorLand Aragón circuit is situated near the town of Alcañiz in Northern Spain and is only a few hours' drive from Barcelona. The circuit was given the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year award in its debut year, reflecting the riders' and the fans' appreciation of the venue. The fast and challenging 5.1km long track has ten left and seven right corners, and a 968m longest straight. It draws thousands of fans, especially as it's the last European race before the triple-header overseas, making it a round motorsport enthusiasts don't want to miss.
Championship: 3rd - Points: 151
"Another intense GP is waiting for us. The Aragon circuit is not one of our favourites, but we will do everything we can and as always we'll try to do our best. Recently we did a test there, and we will use all the data available to improve our performance during the weekend. We want to fight for the podium, and it will be important to work well from day one, because we want to be on the podium again."
Championship: 5th - Points: 124
"I'm very happy to head to Aragon. For me all the Spanish rounds are very special, because of the atmosphere and the fans that are always there supporting the Spanish rider. It's like my second home Grand Prix and we know that we can deliver a good performance there with the M1. It's also one of my favourite tracks because of its lay-out, so in Aragon we can be very fast. It's very important to stay focused and keep improving from Grand Prix to Grand Prix to achieve the best set-up possible for our bike. Last year in Aragon we stayed at the podium's doors, because we had some problems with the tyres and it was a difficult race for us. This year I want to fight to get on the rostrum. I'm optimistic after being here for a test some weeks ago, so I think that we can do a good job."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"This will be a special weekend for the team, because we share the sponsor title with the GP round and naturally we want to do well here. It's Maverick's home GP and he really likes this circuit, so everyone will be 100% committed to the task ahead. Last year we had a good race, despite the tyres playing a big part in the outcome. Nevertheless, I'm certain nobody has forgotten Vale's heroic comeback, 24 days after leg surgery. This year we come to the Aragon GP with a completely fit team. We aim to use the data we gained last year to the fullest, as well as the test results gathered here a few weeks ago. The whole team will be working hard and remain as determined as ever to score top results."
Zarco and Syahrin Focused on MotorLand Challenge
Monster Yamaha Tech3's Johann Zarco showed a strong effort just a few days ago in Misano earning a 10th place finish following a tough race. Now the fast Frenchman is more than eager to collect as many points as possible in Spain's MotorLand Aragón as well in order to maintain a good base in the fight for the top independent rider spot of the MotoGP World Championship.
Meanwhile Hafizh Syahrin is set to break new ground again this weekend at the Gran Premio de Aragón as the MotoGP newcomer will compete there for the first time with his Yamaha YZR-M1. The Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider aims to retake the best rookie spot from Franco Morbidelli, who lies just two points from the Malaysian in the overall standings ahead of the 14th round in 2018.
Championship: 7th – Points: 110
"The Aragón circuit is a huge track where I was many times struggling, so it would be fantastic to maybe struggle less this year, but to be honest, I don't know what awaits me. Anyway, it's a track I like, because even if I was fighting hard there, it's always so good to ride these fast and nice corners. We don't know the weather yet, but normally it should be dry as usual in Spain. This year I seem to find issues in many places, so maybe it's a good sign that this might be the track where I struggle less. Anyway, the target now is to ensure the best place for the first independent rider. The championship is tight between Crutchlow, Petrucci and me, so this is the first goal to be clever, take the points and finish in front of them till the end of the year."
Championship: 17th – Points: 24
"I'm really looking forward to arrive in Aragón because the last two races I was not really good and we want to understand why, try to learn from the mistakes and will work hard from day one until the race. I hope that I can find a good feeling with the bike during this last race weekend in Europe before we head over to the Asian and Australian rounds. I'm really happy with my work now, I train hard and try to be ready and I hope to arrive in Aragón with a good feeling and my body prepared 100 percent."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"The next Grand Prix is Aragón, a place we really love. Not just the circuit itself but also the surroundings. It's a beautiful part of the world and also the last race in Europe before flyaways and then there's only one more, the finale in Valencia. It means a lot because not only we will have to take care of the result there but also prepare the freight to be send to Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia, which is a big task and a lot of thinking before heading to Aragón not to forget anything in the workshop or in the trucks. But thanks to the fact that we've done it for many years and we have this unbelievable logistics that Dorna arranges, it is something that can be done quite smoothly. The GP itself takes places at a circuit we all love, but which is also very technical and demands a good handling and a very fast engine. The past races since we returned from the summer break have been difficult. We are always targeting a potential top 5 and recently this is target has been unachievable. I would like to say that I still have 100 percent faith in Johann to reach this target, also as the team is working hard. In Misano he showed great determination and didn't give up, but at the moment it's not easy. Hopefully we can find this extra to fight for the above-mentioned top 5. Regarding Hafizh, we lost the rookie lead, but we're only two points behind Morbidelli, which is a lot and nothing at the same time. Clearly, it is difficult to score points in the races right now, so we have to fight and see what we can do, but also in Hafizh we have a lot of faith. The weekend in Misano started not easy for him, but he ended up on a more positive note, so hopefully he arrives in Spain with the energy you need to have a strong MotoGP weekend. Let's see and all meet under the Aragón sun."