Round 13 of the MotoGP Championship is in the books after Ducati Team rider Casey Stoner won Sunday at Motorland Aragon, a 3.15-mile track containing 17 turns.
Stoner led every lap of the race, and was joined on the podium by Repsol Honda rider Dani Pedrosa and his teammate, Nicky Hayden.
Fiat Yamaha team rider Jorge Lorenzo finished fourth, which was the first time the Spaniard was not on the podium this season. Taking fifth was the American rookie, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider Ben Spies.
The reigning world champion Valentino Rossi managed a sixth-place finish after struggling all week at Aragon.
Here’s what the riders were saying following Sunday’s Motorland Aragon Grand Prix.
Jorge Lorenzo says: “My start was very good, but during the race I struggled a lot with Nicky always behind me, very close! We can’t be happy with the result and I am disappointed to finish my podium run, but the most important thing is that we did finish and we still took points for our championship. We have five more races to go and, although this is a complicated moment for us and we have some things to address, I am confident that we can improve again. Now we go to Motegi and I am looking forward to a good result at the home of Yamaha.”
Valentino Rossi says: “This was a very difficult race for us; we had a lot of problems all weekend and I was very slow today. I had to try to arrive to the end but I couldn’t do better than sixth. All the Yamahas have suffered here but my shoulder problems made it even worse for me and this, combined with the problems with our package at this track, made it extra hard. We’re very sad this afternoon and we hope for better in Japan.”
Casey Stoner says: “This win is a big relief, to be honest! We had the first race in Qatar wrapped up until I made a mistake and their have been other opportunities to win this year that I have missed out on through my own errors. We have had a lot of problems trying to find the final two or three tenths to run with Dani and Jorge this season but we changed the bike completely this weekend to adjust my position on it and got it working almost how we want it to.”
“I had a little slip off in warm-up this morning which was a worry going into the race. I was staying away from every white line that I could over the first few laps but we were able to pick up the pace when we needed to and bring home a win. I want to thank the team, the factory and everybody who has stuck by me – I’m just sorry it took so long!”
Nicky Hayden says: “It feels great to be back on the podium and I really enjoyed myself today. The bike has been working really well all weekend and in the race I was able to get a good start and stay with Jorge. There wasn’t really anywhere I could get a wheel in and over the last couple of laps he pushed hard to get away but I decided that fourth wasn’t good enough for me today. I did a bit of a backyard move in the chicane over there and managed to hold him off to the line.”
“It’s nice to be on the podium, it has been a really good weekend for us and for the team, the sponsors and the supporters I’m glad we could be up here today. We’ll try to do it again a few more times before the season’s over!”
Ben Spies says: “That was a really good race. I like racing like that and I told my crew that even if I’d finished sixth it would have been t he funniest race of the year for me. Dovi and me started going at it with four laps to go and it was fun. I wish it didn’t end with him crashing and I’m sure he’s mad he fell down but we were having a blast. We kept it clean and close and he just made a small mistake on the last lap. I must admit I wasn’t too far away from making one myself because it was getting pretty hectic. On the last lap I got him at turn one and then he got me back at turn eight.”
“Going into turn 11 I passed him but got in deep and when we went back to turn 12 I was ahead of him but I didn’t have the right line. So he had to go around me but unfortunately he fell and that’s a shame because he rode great. I did too and for a while I was pulling back Nicky and Jorge but fifth is still a great result. I wasn’t far behind Jorge and I beat Valentino and I was the top non-factory rider again. And the points are good for my championship, so I’m looking forward to this big final run of races with a lot of c onfidence.”
Colin Edwards says: “It wasn’t a good race at all and it’s a strange feeling because I really like the track. But for whatever reason I’m just not fast enough and I haven’t figured it out yet. I made a terrible start and that put me on the back foot immediately but in the first few laps I couldn’t get into my normal rhythm. And when I was trying to make up some time I just made a few silly mistakes here and there and it felt like I’d never done a lap here before.”
“Once I got into a rhythm my pace wasn’t too bad but I’d lost way too much time in the first ten laps. I ran the softer front tire but I don’t think that had anything to do with it. I was more comfortable on the soft front all weekend because I couldn’t get the hard option to turn. It was a bit hotter today but I can’t blame that and truthfully I just wasn’t fast enough all weekend.”
Marco Simoncelli says: “At the start I was hoping for a better result because I felt good but I have to be satisfied with seventh place. I was running with Spies and Dovizioso over the first seven laps but but once I lost touch with them I made a couple of mistakes. Once Valentino came past I started to ride well again and even tried to attack him but made another mistake. After that there wasn’t much else I could do. Overall it has been a positive weekend and we have taken a step forward compared to other races.”
Marco Melandri says: “It has been a bad weekend for us and the race didn’t go any better. Unfortunately over the first few laps the bike was unpredictable and the front kept pushing. Even when I put together a pace that was faster than the guys in front of me there was no way I could pass them. I haven’t made a pass on the brakes since the start of the season – I can only overtake in direction changes and that shows something is wrong because I have always been a late braker but right now I can’t. I am really disappointed because things are not improving and we need a little help from Honda because I can’t do anything on my own.”
Aleix Espargarò says: “What a sprint we did with Bautista and Melandri, for just a few tenths of second I was not able to gain a better position. In any case, the tenth position is not so bad if I think about how my weekend was started on the new track of Aragon. During the first few laps I was pretty fast, but my pace did not allow me to be very close to the other riders.”
“After the fourteenth lap where I overtook De Puniet, I had a gap to recover from Melandri and from the group that was fighting for the ninth position. Last lap I was getting close to the group and I managed to pass Barberà in the last few corners. In the final sprint for a few meters, Bautista and Melandri had finished the race in front of me with a lead gap of less than two tenths of second. I am still happy for the result. ”
Mika Kallio says: “Too bad the final result, during this morning warm up we had solved some problems we had yesterday and the gap from the first riders was not so bad. During the first few laps I had a good lap pace and I thought I could overtake some positions. Unfortunately thirteen laps from the end I have been overtaken by Edwards first and then by Aoyama, and I was never able to regain positions. It wasn’t a good weekend for me. I really hope to conquer a good position in the next race in Japan on Motegi circuit that is one of my favorite tracks.”
Álvaro Bautista says: “I had some great battles out there with De Puniet, Barbera and some other riders and I really had fun during the race. At the beginning I had a bit of a problem when I was braking and I felt a lot of moving in the front, so I couldn’t keep up my speed entering the corners. I wasn’t able to push how I wanted, but luckily after a few laps the bike started to work how I wanted it to – it was much more like the bike I had in qualifying so I was able to find a good rhythm. In the middle of the race the performance started to deteriorate and it was getting very difficult to follow Barbera on the fast back straight.”
“This made it very difficult to overtake him and if I did manage he immediately came back past on that straight, so that made me lose more time on the guys in front and the riders behind started to catch us. I had to fight right until the last corner on the last lap to keep eighth place once I’d got past Barbera, I was forced to close every line and in the very last turn Melandri tried to come past but I was able to block him. Today the bike was probably not perfect because the tyres started to slide from the middle of the race onwards. I fought as hard as I could and eighth is not a bad result, but I certainly think we can do better.”
Hiroshi Aoyama says: “As you may can understand I am not really happy about the 13th position. My rhythm was good when I was riding alone. At the beginning I lost a lot of time and I could have been faster if I would have overtaken Kallio earlier. I tried it in each corner, but couldn’t. When I finally passed him, because he made a mistake, it was too late to better the result and I am very angry about that.”