Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón: Weekend preview – MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Following his Misano mishap MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez will look to make immediate amends in front of the Spanish fans this weekend at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon, the 14th round of the 2014 MotoGP™ World Championship.
This weekend’s event will be the fifth time that the Aragon circuit has hosted a GP since joining the calendar in 2010 and Sunday’s MotoGP contest in Spain will also be the 800th race in the premier-class class of Grand Prix racing, since the World Championships were first introduced in 1949.
The current runaway standings leader Marquez slipped out of podium contention as he tried to stay with eventual race winner Valentino Rossi last time out on the Adriatic coast, eventually finishing the race 15th. Marquez still has a 74 point lead in the standings with five rounds to go and a victory at Aragon would edge him closer to retaining the title before the forthcoming ‘flyaway’ triple header.
Still second in the World Championship, Marquez’s Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa will aim to prevent his colleague extending the standings advantage. The winner of the 2012 Aragon race, Pedrosa was unlucky in last year’s Grand Prix as he crashed out due to a broken sensor having been innocuously clipped by Marquez.
For Rossi, his sensational win in front of an ecstatic Misano crowd came more than 18 years after his first ever GP victory in the 125cc class at Brno in 1996, making him the rider with the longest winning career of all-time in Grand Prix racing – taking this record from his friend Loris Capirossi.
For Rossi and his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo their mission is to beat their Repsol Honda rivals again, with Lorenzo still aiming to register a first victory of 2014, after four recent consecutive second place finishes.
Ducati Team rider Andrea Dovizioso just missed the podium in Italy at round 13 and intends to continue his consistent form in the championship, as does his compatriot and future teammate Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) who rode well to fifth place at the last round.
The likes of Aleix Espagaro (NGM Forward Racing), his brother Pol Espargaro (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), Pol’s teammate Bradley Smith, Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda MotoGP), Alvaro Bautista (GO&FUN Honda Gresini) and Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team) will all be hustling for top ten prominence come Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Drive M7 Aspar team are expected to welcome back 2006 MotoGP™ World Champion Nicky Hayden at round 14, as the American returns from his recent lengthy lay-off due to wrist surgery.
Tito Rabat has seized the initiative in the Moto2™ title fight over the last three rounds and he will push to extend his winning run in front of the Spanish fans at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon this weekend.
Rabat returns to Aragon as the Moto2 standings leader, fresh from his third successive victory last time out at Misano. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider now holds a 22-point lead over his team-mate Mika Kallio, having beaten the Finn into second place in each of the last three races.
Indeed, at Misano Rabat became just the third rider – along with Toni Elias and Marc Marquez – to score three or more successive wins in the Moto2 class.
Meanwhile, although Kallio has won only three Grands Prix in comparison with Rabat’s seven, both riders have failed to finish on the podium in only four races thus far. Kallio has now finished on the rostrum at the last six events, dating back to Assen and can be expected to challenge Rabat again at round 14.
Third in the standings is Maverick Viñales (Paginas Amarillas HP 40), who is the only rider other than Rabat and Kallio who still maintains a mathematical possibility of winning the 2014 Moto2 title. The Spaniard was just off the podium in fourth place at Misano and will go in search of his sixth rostrum result of an impressive rookie campaign.
As Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing) missed the Moto2™ race at Misano, Dominique Aegerter became the only rider with a 100% appearance record in all 81 Moto2 races since the class was introduced in 2010. Aegerter sits fourth in the standings, with Corsi in sixth.
Unfortunately, Corsi will again sit out the Aragon weekend, substituted for again by Florian Marino as he continues to recover from the arm injury he sustained at Silverstone.
Last year in Aragon, Nico Terol (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2) celebrated a commanding victory from pole position. Terol, who will turn 26 on the day of qualifying, will continue his return from muscle fatigue problems suffered earlier in the season.
Courtesy of Rabat’s victory at Misano, Kalex is already the Moto2™ Constructors’ World Champion of 2014. Although second-placed Suter can match Kalex’s points tally of 315, the latter would still claim the title by virtue of a greater number of race victories.
On home territory this weekend at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon Alex Rins and Alex Marquez will be looking to apply further pressure on Jack Miller at the head of the Moto3™ standings.
With five rounds remaining in 2014, Australia’s Miller continues to hold the World Championship lead and the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider has won four races so far this season.
Miller has not clinched a victory since the German Grand Prix in July, but he has finished on the podium in seven out of 13 races so far and still leads the way by nine points.
Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Marquez has finished second to teammate Rins in the last two races, having earlier in the season won back-to-back GPs in Catalunya and The Netherlands.
Having headed into the last race weekend 29 points behind Miller, local Aragon rider Rins is now just 20 behind thanks to consecutive race victories at Silverstone and Misano.
Rins is targeting a second consecutive Aragon GP win and should he achieve this, he would become only the third rider (after Maverick Viñales and Luis Salom) to win three successive races in the Moto3 category since it began in 2012.
With their respective moves up to MotoGP™ and Moto2™ now confirmed Miller, Rins and Marquez look set to take the title fight down to the wire over the remaining five rounds.
Meanwhile the likes of Efren Vazquez (SaxoPrint-RTG), Romano Fenati (SKY Racing Team VR46) and Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) are all still in with a chance of taking the crown but they do have considerable points deficits to make up over the final phase of the championship.
At the top of the Constructors’ Championship, KTM and Honda are tied on 278 points. Austrian manufacturer KTM is pushing for a third straight crown to maintain its 100% title win rate in Moto3, while the Japanese marque is striving to claim its first Constructors’ title in the lightweight category since winning four in succession across the 125cc World Championship seasons of 1998 to 2001.