Pedrosa Takes Thrilling Second Place; Marquez Slides Off
Credit – Honda Worldwide
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) won a breath-taking battle for second place at Aragon this afternoon, successfully resisting a frantic assault from World Championship leader Valentino Rossi (Yamaha). Pedrosa’s team-mate and reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) was dueling for the lead with race-winner Jorge Lorenzo when he slid off on lap two.
The Pedrosa versus Rossi duel was the highlight of the 23-lap race, with the huge crowd on their feet as they watched the Spaniard fight it out with the Italian. The pair saved the best for last, changing positions time and again during the final few laps, Pedrosa finally making sure of second place when he outdid Rossi exiting the final chicane for the last time. It was proof positive that the former 125 and 250 World Champion can fight with the best of them.
With four races remaining Pedrosa is seventh in the championship – after missing three earlier races due to surgery – and if he continues his current form then fifth-place overall is within his sight. A brilliant performance considering he was 14th after the first four races of the season.
Marquez knew he had to follow up his recent Misano victory with another win here if he was to haul in championship leaders Rossi and Lorenzo; thus he had to take risks to chase his fellow Spaniard. However, he slid off at Turn 12 and his race was over. He now stands 79 points behind leader Rossi with four races to go.
Honda’s second finisher today was Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) who had a busy ride to seventh, crossing the finish line in a group of five riders who were separated by just two seconds. The Briton had fought back from tenth place on the first lap and spent the final few laps battling with Aleix Espargaro (Suzuki) and Bradley Smith (Yamaha), with less than seven tenths covering them at the flag.
Scott Redding (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) finished 12th behind Maverick Vinales (Suzuki) and ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia).
MotoGP rookie Eugene Laverty (Aspar Team Honda RC213V-RS) for the first time achieved his target of finishing top Open rider, taking two points for 14th place, less than a tenth of a second ahead of Nicky Hayden (Aspar Team Honda RC213V-RS). Fellow rookie Jack Miller (LCR Honda RC213V-RS) was 19th.
Karel Abraham (AB Motoracing Honda RC213V-RS) struggled manfully with the serious foot injury he sustained at Catalunya but had to return to the pits just after half-distance, unable to continue safely.
Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) won a thrilling final-lap Moto2 showdown with Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex) to hold onto his World Championship crown for another few weeks. Current series leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex) had the chance of taking the title from Rabat today if he finished well ahead of the Spaniard, but instead he could do no better than sixth, which takes him to the next race in Japan with a 78 point advantage.
Rins and Rabat were together throughout the shortened race – reduced to 14 laps after a double crash following the first start – and they built up to a brilliant last lap in which Rins briefly got ahead, only for Rabat to immediately retake the advantage. The result was in doubt until the very last corner, Rabat crossing the finish line just 0.096 seconds ahead.
Sam Lowes (Speed Up Racing Speed Up), the only rider in the top 12 of the Honda-powered championship not riding a Kalex-framed CBR600, finished a strong third for his first podium since Assen. He beat Jonas Folger (AGR Team Kalex) by almost two seconds, with fifth-placed Thomas Luthi (Derendinger Racing Interwetten Kalex) a further eight seconds back and just ahead of Zarco and the impressive Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex).
Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) took eighth, with Simone Corsi (Forward Racing Kalex) and Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Racing Kalex) completing the top ten.
An astonishing final lap changed everything in the Moto3 race, which had been a nail-biting ten-man battle until those final few kilometers. Honda riders and title rivals Danny Kent (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) were in the thick of the fight throughout, along with Jorge Navarro (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW), Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold Honda NSF250RW), Efren Vazquez (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) and KTM men Miguel Oliveira, Brad Binder and Romano Fenati.
Bastianini was gunning for a podium finish when he collided with Binder at the final chicane, bringing both of them down. That left Kent a clear run to the podium and a much-increased title lead, until he overdid it at the last corner and also fell. The only positive for the Briton is that he retains his 55 point lead over Bastianini with only four races remaining.
Eventual winner was Oliveira, followed by Navarro who recovered bravery from a hefty tumble in morning warm-up to achieve his first Grand Prix podium. Last man on the podium was Fenati. Kent’s team-mate Vazquez came home fourth, just 0.287 seconds off the podium, with Brno winner Antonelli sixth and Qatar GP winner Alexis Masbou (SaxoPrint RTG Honda NSF250RW) seventh, a fraction ahead of Hiroki Ono (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW).
The MotoGP circus now packs up and heads east for the Japanese Grand Prix on October 11, followed by the Australian and Malaysian events on subsequent weekends, before the season finale at Valencia on November 8.
Honda MotoGP rider quotes
- Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
- “I’m really happy as it was a great race with Valentino! It was difficult, because I had him on my tail every lap and during the last five he tried to pass me, but I managed to stay in front of him. He is a rider who is very strong in this part of racing, and can usually beat anyone on the grid – and for me it is one of my weaker points. However, today I was able to beat him and I’m so happy because during the battle we swapped positions many times which gives me great motivation. I want to thank the entire Repsol Honda team and we will try to be stronger at the next race!”
- Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda: 7th
- “I’m not too happy with the position but I was riding okay and that was the best we could do today. We weren’t so bad on corner entry today, but we struggled in the middle of the corner and through the exit, so I was losing to Aleix’s bike on acceleration. That’s what we need to look at when we really sit down to look at this race and see how we can improve for the next race at Motegi. It also didn’t help that I didn’t get off the line well, which always makes for a difficult race.”
- Scott Redding, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 12th
- “It wasn’t a great day and a tough race capped off a pretty difficult weekend to be honest. We came here on a high after Misano knowing it would be difficult, but I had some brake issues getting up to temperature and a lot of pumping from the rear. I thought I could get Hernandez but in the last few laps I lost a lot of feeling with the bike. The rear tire turned on the rim a bit but I don’t think that was my biggest issue. I felt some vibration and it had an impact on rear grip. But the last laps were a struggle and it was disappointing to see the times increase so much.”
- Eugene Laverty, Aspar Team: 14th
- “I am very happy with the result in the race here at Aragon. The qualifying session yesterday was fantastic but it was just one lap, today was very important because we were strong in 23. I was used to fighting for the top positions and fighting to get into the points now is different, but the Open concept is something that helps us to stay motivated. I felt relaxed on the bike, and the bike was working better towards the end. I just rode my own race and focused on what I was doing. Even though we were battling for fourteenth, I treated it as if we were in the fight to win the race. That’s the way you have to approach it. Nicky is a great teammate and a great racer. You don’t know where he is going to be in practice; he might have a bad practice or a bad qualifying session, but then come Sunday he really puts it together for the race. He did just that today, and we had a great fight together. We have been doing a great job in the second half of the season and finally we were able to have something to show for it today, I hope to continue to progress in the upcoming rounds.”
- Nicky Hayden, Aspar Team: 15th
- “I got a really good start, and I felt good for a couple of laps, but a few guys got past me and I couldn’t tag onto the group in front. We ended up in a big battle, and it’s a shame that we were so far back because there was some good racing. It was a lot of very hard racing for fifteenth. It’s not been the worst weekend for us. We definitely qualified well, and even this morning we weren’t so far off, inside the top fifteen a lot. I did my fastest lap of the race on lap 18, which was nice. It shows the bike was working well, to be able to go fast like that. I was fighting with Eugene at the end, and I actually got in front of him late on at one place, but then he came past me at Turn 8. We had a little contact and I went wide, losing a little time, but I was able to catch up. It’s fifteenth place, but there a couple of positives to take from the race; the bike is working well. My thumb didn’t make things easy this weekend, but I don’t want to say that is the reason why I finished where I did. We are going to get it X-rayed to make sure nothing moved, and as long as that’s the case I’ll be ok and hopefully I will be better for Japan.”
- Jack Miller, LCR Honda: 19th
- “I was happy with about 90 percent of our race. It was really, really good all the way through until about five laps to go, then the front tire gave way and it was too much as we were already struggling with the rear. After that I couldn’t hold the pace of the group anymore and I had to slow down otherwise I would have crashed. For most of the race I was pushing to close the gap on the brakes from what I was losing on the gas and it was working, unfortunately the tire let us down at the end. We are happy as we stayed in that big group for a long period and gained a lot of experience, but we will just have to keep working hard on the set-up of the bike.”
- Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: DNF
- “Today I can only apologize to the team and the fans, because we were working very well and we had a very good pace all weekend. On the second lap, when braking for Turn 12, I made a mistake and lost the front. It was my fault and I apologize. When a season is not going well for you, then nothing goes your way, and it seems that this season we are finding things hard. There are still four races to go and we will try to be at the front and fight to the end.”
- Karel Abraham, AB Motoracing: DNF
- “This race weekend in Aragon was really demanding for my bad foot and in the race I couldn’t handle it anymore. After I was in the Clinica Mobile and we were discussing whether something had moved in my foot. We have also done an x-ray and it seems it was just overburdened. I will continue with rehabilitation but honestly I don’t feel it’s helping.”
Honda Moto2 rider quotes
- Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: race winner
- “On the last lap I knew that Alex was going to be fast at the end of the race because he had used a new soft tire for the second start and we had to use the same tire as the first start. I am so happy to win here at home so I want to say a big thank you to my team. We have still got four races to go until the end of the year, so I want to enjoy those races and, hopefully, add some more wins.”
- Alex Rins, Paginas Amarillas HP 40: 2nd
- “That was a great race with Tito, we were very closely matched on speed, so I hope all the fans who came here enjoyed the battle. Eventually he was untouchable today but I’m glad I could stay with him through the 14 laps because I learned many things all around the track which for sure will help me for the last races and also for next year.
- Sam Lowes, Speed Up Racing: 3rd
- “I thought we would have the pace to go with the other guys at the front today but it didn’t turn out like that for us. But I pushed all the way through the race, so I’m happy because me and the team have done a good job all weekend. Over the last few races we’ve just been missing a bit and we’ve had a few races with some bad luck, so I’m really happy to be back on the podium and I feel good.”
Honda Moto3 rider quotes
- Jorge Navarro, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 2nd
- “Getting my first World Championship podium here at Motorland feels great. We knew we had a good pace but still, it was a difficult race. This weekend things were harder than I expected. This morning I crashed in the warm up, but luckily there have been no bad consequences. The Estrella Galicia 0,0 team did a great job preparing the bike again in perfect condition, and keeping me calm for the race. I knew that to finish on the podium or to fight for victory, I had to start the last lap in the top three, but then I was unable to place myself in a good position. When Danny Kent was behind, coming out of Turn 10, I saw he was not going fast and, on reaching the braking point I made my move and overtook him. It was a pity Miguel Oliveira was a bit far ahead because otherwise I could have taken a little slipstream and maybe would have had a chance to win the race. When I crossed the line, the first thing that came to mind were those not so good moments, but in the end, with hard work and team work, everything comes together. I’ve finally got my first podium in the World Championship, so I’m thrilled! Now, we will continue working in Japan.”
- Efren Vazquez, Leopard Racing: 4th
- “So thirteen points for the championship is of course the positive thing after this race. But on the other hand I’m a bit disappointed because during the entire race distance I had a disadvantage in acceleration out of every corner. We were able to set up the bike perfectly, I was strong on the brakes and I could fight for positions, as well as our pace was high, but I missed something in acceleration today. So I’m not pleased with that. Overall, it’s mixed emotions because to finish the race in fourth you should be happy with as well as I was fighting for a possible podium finish. But if you came home in fourth because some other rider made a mistake it’s difficult to agree with.”
- Niccolo Antonelli, Ongetta-Rivacold: 6th
- “It was a hard-fought race all the way to the last corner. Sixth is a good result but I cannot say we’re satisfied because the podium was within my reach. A few laps from the end I had a problem entering the start/finish and I lost contact with the first guys, but then I managed to close the gap quickly. On the last lap the fight was with Fenati. We battled for a few corners, but when Kent fell in front of me I had to go outside. Too bad, but we try again in Japan.”
|1||Jorge LORENZO (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|2||Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)||F|
|3||Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)||F|
|4||Andrea IANNONE (Ducati Team)||F|
|5||Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)||F|
|6||Aleix ESPARGARO (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP)||F|
|7||Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda)||F|
|8||Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|9||Pol ESPARGARO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)||F|
|10||Yonny HERNANDEZ (Pramac Racing)||F|
|11||Maverick VIÑALES (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP)||F|
|12||Scott REDDING (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)||F|
|13||Alvaro BAUTISTA (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)||F|
|14||Eugene LAVERTY (Aspar MotoGP Team)||O|
|15||Nicky HAYDEN (Aspar MotoGP Team)||O|
* F=Factory option, O=Open category
|1||Tito RABAT (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)|
|2||Alex RINS (Paginas Amarillas HP 40)|
|3||Sam LOWES (Speed Up Racing)|
|4||Jonas FOLGER (AGR Team)|
|5||Thomas LUTHI (Derendinger Racing Interwetten)|
|6||Johann ZARCO (Ajo Motorsport)|
|7||Hafizh SYAHRIN (Petronas Raceline Malaysia)|
|8||Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|9||Simone CORSI (Forward Racing)|
|10||Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Racing)|
|11||Mika KALLIO (QMMF Racing Team)|
|12||Axel PONS (AGR Team)|
|13||Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)|
|14||Azlan SHAH (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)|
|15||Marcel SCHROTTER (Tech 3)|
|1||Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)|
|2||Jorge NAVARRO (Estrella Galicia 0,0)|
|3||Romano FENATI (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|4||Efren VAZQUEZ (Leopard Racing)|
|5||Philipp OETTL (Schedl GP Racing)|
|6||Niccolò ANTONELLI (Ongetta-Rivacold)|
|7||Jorge MARTIN (MAPFRE Team MAHINDRA)|
|8||Alexis MASBOU (SaxoPrint RTG)|
|9||Hiroki ONO (Leopard Racing)|
|10||Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)|
|11||Francesco BAGNAIA (MAPFRE Team MAHINDRA)|
|12||Stefano MANZI (San Carlo Team Italia)|
|13||Jakub KORNFEIL (Drive M7 SIC)|
|14||Maria HERRERA (Husqvarna Factory Laglisse)|
|15||Livio LOI (RW Racing GP)|