The 2010 MotoGP Championship meets at Motorland Aragon in the town of Alcaniz in Northern Spain this weekend for Round 13 of 18.
Aragon is the third of four MotoGP races in Spain, including Jerez, Catalunya and the concluding round in Valencia.
Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo already won the first two rounds in Spain, and currently leads with 271 points. The Fiat Yamaha rider will be looking to further extend his point lead by taking another race in his home country this weekend.
But another Spaniard’s going to be looking to win his third consecutive race after taking the last two rounds in Indy and Misano. The rider, Dani Pedrosa, trails Lorenzo by 63 points, and he’s the only rider able to realistically contest against Lorenzo for the championship.
An intense battle has developed for third, which Andrea Dovizioso currently holds with 139 points. The Repsol Honda rider’s position is being closely stalked by two riders who have an equal amount of points at 130, Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner and Fiat Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi.
The usual 17-rider grid will be lacking Rizla Suzuki rider Loris Capirossi, who is recovering from a hand injury sustained during an accident at Misano.
In the original 2010 MotoGP schedule, the next round was supposed to take place at Balatonring for the debut Hungarian Grand Prix. But because the track wasn’t finished in time, Motorland Aragon replaced the Hungarian track.
Here’s what the rider’s are saying leading into the inaugural Motorland Aragon Grand Prix this weekend, Sept. 17-19.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “It’s our third race in Spain but the first time at Aragon and I’m excited. I went to test there last month and it’s an amazing track. The first corner reminds me of Turkey and there’s a lot of up and down, it’s a fun place. I would like to do a great race and dedicate it to Tomizawa. I hope lots of people but especially my fan club are coming because I think it will be a good weekend. My aim is to get on the podium again and to push as hard as I can. We’re ready to start working.”
Valentino Rossi says: “Last week I rode an R1 at the track and I really like it. It’s quite complicated but it’s a lot of fun and it’s fast, so I think it will be a real test. I think the best bit is the entry to turn 16 and I am looking forward to riding my M1 there. Misano was a very sad weekend for our sport but now we’re looking forward to a new race and we are hoping for a good weekend for everyone in memory of Tomizawa. I am feeling stronger and fitter every day so I will be aiming for the podium again this time.”
Dani Pedrosa says: “I’m looking forward to arriving at MotorLand Aragon and trying the new track on the RC212V. I did some laps in July with a Honda CBR1000RR street bike and I really enjoyed the layout – I loved the circuit. It’s very different to the ones we are used to racing at in the MotoGP championship, and so it will be really interesting this weekend. The circuit combines fast and slow corners which are quite technical, and the last straight and finish line section is going to be amazing. There are also some blind turns where you need to look for references outside the track.”
“The facilities are very high spec and it looks like the fans are in for a treat at this race. It’s always very nice to race in Spain and I can imagine that the atmosphere will be incredible; I’m looking forward to meeting the Spanish fans again. Me and the team also arrive in a very good mood thanks t o the great job we have been doing and our good results in the last races. It will be a challenge for everybody this weekend and we need to make the most of the practice sessions – in this area we have improved a lot in the second part of the season. Our bike has been working well at very different circuits, so I hope we can also do a good job in Aragon. I’m really looking forward to this Grand Prix.”
Andrea Dovizioso says: “I always enjoy the challenge of racing on a new track where no one has prior knowledge and we can all start from zero, so I’m especially looking forward to this race weekend. I had the chance to do some laps on a CBR1000RR last week which was good fun and let me learn the basic layout and get some ideas on how to start the machine set-up for the RC212V on Friday. It was actually the first time for me riding on a track with a street bike, and I enjoyed it.”
“The Aragon track is really nice, it has a lot of elevation changes and many of the braking areas occur where the bike is leaning over, which makes it quite technical and means there are many points where it should be possible to overtake. Because of this I think we will see a very good race. For us it is important to have an idea of the track in advance to give us a head start with the set-up of the RC212V. We are very determin ed to score a good result in Aragon. At Misano and in the previous races we have been fast and close to the front, but now we need to take the final step and convert that speed into a strong result at the end of the race. This is the target for the weekend.”
Casey Stoner says: “I’m happy to be going to Aragon. The last two races have been difficult for us and racing at a new track is exciting. We’ll go into the weekend with optimism and hope that the track is good fun and well suited to the Ducati, although being realistic we know we face a tough job to find something extra. The team and all the engineers are doing a fantastic job so it is a case of giving my maximum and helping come up with something new to improve the feeling with the bike, to get it turning better and find some more grip. More than anything we want to put the last couple of weeks behind us.”
Nicky Hayden says: “Misano was a really difficult GP for everybody, the kind of weekend we hope never to go through again, but we are racers and we have to continue doing what it is we love so the goal is to go to Aragon and try to be competitive again. It is always nice to race at a new circuit – it is exciting for the riders but also for the teams and everybody else that works in the paddock. It is a challenge to find the right setting for the bike, especially in terms of the gear ratios and suspension. We start from scratch, with no data to work from, but that is a challenge I always enjoy. Aragon has a lot of elevation changes and is a lot of fun to ride. My wrist is back to 100% so I can’t wait to get back on the bike and get back to work with the team.”
Loris Capirossi says: “I am extremely disappointed not to be racing at Aragón, but the surgeon has told me to rest the hand for another week. I am still feeling a bit of pain and I’m going to the hospital every day to have the wound cleaned and dressed, so although I could possibly be able to ride I wouldn’t be fit enough and it might jeopardize my attendance and competitiveness at Motegi if I did – so it’s best to stay at home.”
“I wish Álvaro (Bautista) all the best for the weekend and hope that he gets a good result for us – we certainly need one. I’ll be back for the trio of races next month and will be looking to get some good results at circuits where I know we can go well.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “I am really excited about this race as it is a new circuit for everyone and we are all starting from the same place. It will be good to have an extra practice on the Friday so we can get the bike set-up and start to learn the track as soon as possible. We went there earlier in the year for a PR event and rode some street bikes around the circuit; it is a great facility and one that I am looking forward to racing at.”
“It is a shame for Loris that he won’t be here and it puts more responsibility on me as I’m the only Rizla Suzuki rider, but I am determined to get a good result for the whole team in front of another home crowd for me.”
Hiroshi Aoyama says: “I am looking forward to this new GP circuit. There wont be a big difference between the rookies and the veterans of this class. I will have a bigger chance to improve, as it will be equal for all of us. My physical condition is also improving. I am not 100-percent fit yet, but I can feel that every time it is getting better. Also I think it is interesting that we will have four practice sessions. Like this we all have the chance to learn to know the circuit, as it is especially not easy as a rookie in this class. I am confident that we can be at our best in Aragón.”
Aleix Espargarò says: “During Misano’s race I tried to gain a good position, but unfortunately my starting grid position has affected the whole race and did not allowed me to overtake too many positions. I finished the race in eleventh position. Now back in Spain, on a new track for all of us, we were just allowed to take a test on this track but with road bikes. In the two races that I have raced in Spain during this season I managed to conquer just one point, which is not exactly the best think for a Spaniard like me. I will do my best to get a good result in Sunday’s race.”
Mika Kallio says: “I am really sorry for not have finished the race in Misano. Ten laps from the end of the race I had a problem on the bike that didn’t allowed me to push hard. I hope to get soon a good result in order to repay the trust and the support that my technicians have always placed in me. During the tests we made on Aragon’s circuit, I have noticed that there are many tight turns and that the track has many ups and downs, so we’ll have to meditate a lot to find the right setting. Having done some laps on this track have leave me some information that I’ll give to the Team, on which they will immediately work to find the right setting.”
Marco Melandri says: “I really want to get back on track and forget about a really difficult weekend at Misano. It started out in the worst possible way on Thursday night at the DediKato event, when Capirossi and I tried to liven the evening up but it didn’t go as I wanted and unfortunately there was a misunderstanding which I am very sorry about. Then on Sunday there was the Moto2 race with the terrible incident for Tomizawa in the same corner where I had a bad accident myself in 2007.”
“I was really upset because I had raised my concerns at the time about the artificial grass, which is too close to the rumble strip, but nobody listened. I will bring it up again this Thursday at the Safety Commission. To cap it off I had another forgettable race in which we struggled once again because of my lack of feeling with the bike. In any case, after the Moto2 race I had lost any excitement to race. At Aragon I want to make the most of every single minute of practice to try and rediscover the feeling we found at Silverstone before the crash. I’m not expecting miracles but I’ll do everything I can to have a good race.”
Marco Simoncelli says: “Immediately after the race at Misano I heard about the tragic incident involving Tomizawa and I was so shocked and upset I didn’t spend a second reflecting on my own result. Over the past week I have been able to think back and I am disappointed with my mistake, which compromised the final result. It was a shame because I was riding well, I was right behind the top five and with a good advantage over Edwards. I could have brought home a solid result and I would have been satisfied with that but I threw it all away with a silly mistake.”
“It was a shame but we will try to make up for it at Aragon. We have an extra session to work on the bike and we’ll start out with the base setting from Misano, which was working well for us and I had found some confidence. I know some riders have done a few laps here and Valentino Rossi has told me that the track is really nice, with fast corners and elevation changes – unlike Misano! It should suit me so I am confidence I can have a good race.”