With no experience on the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, the Americans achieved positive results at the inaugural Aragon Grand Prix this past weekend, Round 13 of the 2010 MotoGP Championship, with one rider finishing third.
Taking the final spot on the podium behind race-winner Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa was Ducati Team rider Nicky Hayden, who was engaged in a tight battle with series’ leader Jorge Lorenzo for the position. As for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 duo, Ben Spies raced to fifth, and his teammate Colin Edwards finished 12th.
Starting from fourth on the grid, Hayden put in a flawless performance aboard his Desmosedici GP10, staying with the leaders in fourth position for most of the race. The Kentucky Kid kept closing the gap on Fiat Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo, and took the Spaniard on the final straight for third.
Hayden’s third-place finish put an end to Lorenzo’s season-long podium finish streak.
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!”
Starting from fifth on the grid, Spies put on another great MotoGP performance, showing his raw talent during a rookie year on a satellite Yamaha M1. The Texan chased down Hayden for the first half of the race, but lost his fifth-place position after losing rear grip, which allowed Repsol Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso pass.
Spies then chased down Dovizioso, and the two began an intense battle for fifth. Dovizioso had Spies on the penultimate lap, but Spies was aggressive on the brakes. As he began putting much pressure on Dovi, the Italian crashed out on the final lap, giving Spies the position. It was Spies’ ninth top-six finish of the season.
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 confidence.”
The other Texan, Edwards, started from 11th on the grid, and managed a 12th-place finish after struggling at Aragon on Sunday. He fell back a few spots early in the race, but would pass Hiroshi Aoyama and Mike Kallio to finish 12th.
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 tyre 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.”
Aragon MotoGP American Results:
3. Nicky Hayden, Ducati Team
5. Ben Spies, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
12. Colind Edwards, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha
American Championship Standings (after 13 of 18 rounds):
6. Spies, 131
7. Hayden, 125
11. Edwards, 70