MotoGP: Aragon Motorland Rider Talk

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2011 MotoGP

After taking his ninth podium of the 2011 MotoGP Championship at Aragon Motorland Saturday, Repsol Honda’s Casey Stoner went on to win Sunday’s race, his eighth victory in 14 races.

And the race was completed in usual fashion for the Australian during his debut year on the Honda; once Stoner got into first position on the second lap, he remained there, gradually extending his lead until taking the checkered lap over eight seconds ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa.

Rounding out the podium was the reigning MotoGP Champion, Yamaha Factory Racing’s Jorge Lorenzo.

With his win, Stoner now has a 44-point lead over Lorenzo as the MotoGP grid heads to Motegi for the Japanese Grand Prix Oct. 2. The Motegi race is the first of four remaining races.

Here’s what the riders were saying following Aragon MotoGP.

Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “Before the race everyone was a little cautious with the wind picking up after the morning warm up session and conditions being a lot different to those we have seen all weekend. This was on our mind and also warming the hard tyres to makes sure everything was good for the beginning of the race.

“Our start was pretty average, I pulled to the left a little on the start and managed to avoid hitting Dani (Pedrosa) but Ben (Spies) came around the outside and I ended up third or fourth going into turn one, but from there we were able to settle down and feel pretty comfortable with the bike. I wanted to get to the front as soon as possible as the bike has been working perfect all weekend and it was our race to lose, so I wanted to try and get out in front and pull a gap.

“I passed Dani as soon as I could and tried to pull that gap, Dani kept with me for the first few laps but slowly I was able to push and put in a gap and from there manage the race. I think everyone was struggling with tyres to some degree but the bike was fantastic and I don’t mind the bike when it slides around a little! A big, big thank you to the whole team and to take this hundredth win for Repsol Honda is something special.”

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “We already saw in practice that Casey (Stoner) was very fast here and it was also like this in the race. I was loosing some tenths in the first sector and I was unable to reduce the gap in the other parts of the lap. The second half of the race I was sliding all the time and I had some fun, but it was a shame not to be closer to Casey, I had many problems with the rear tire for the whole race.

“My priority was to control the gap to Spies and Jorge [Lorenzo] in the final laps and get another podium. We’ve been second in the last three races, which is not so bad, but we want to keep improving in the coming races.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “I made a small but fast slide at the first right turn, all the weight went on the front, I wasn’t able to control the bike and I immediately lost it as the front tire was still not at temperature. It’s so disappointing to see your race over on turn two of the first lap after all the hard work done during the race weekend.

“This morning we struggled during the warm up on used tires and of course a bad session can affect you slightly, but at the start I was 100% focused and motivated for the race. It’s a pity because we had the pace to fight for the podium and the team did a good job.

“Leaving Aragon without scoring any points is also so bad for the Championship. We are still third with fifteen points advantage over Dani [Pedrosa], but now we need to return on the podium and have good results. Last year we had a strong end of the season, especially in Japan and Malaysia, so I look forward to the next GPs.”

Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “We
struggled a lot from the beginning of the race, losing positions and
having to recover step by step. We couldn’t get more than a podium; that
is the best result we could get today! I didn’t have confidence in the
rear and it is impossible to catch Dani on this track. It’s a pity, but
at least I got the podium I couldn’t get last year. We are still
fighting for the Championship and that’s the most important thing, we
are going to Japan with hope still alive.”

Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing M1 MotoGP) says: “I knew the start wasn’t going to last long the way Casey and Dani were riding but I felt pretty good in the beginning. Even when we got to the fourth or fifth lap I thought our advantage to fourth place was growing. I felt really comfortable and thought we had a podium fight in us.

“Then the sixth or seventh lap the tire just made a huge drop and just kept going down. Usually they make one drop then stay consistent. I had no confidence in the rear and no grip. I’m frustrated as before that we were riding well and the bike was working great.”

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V MotoGP) says: “I am pleased with this result – we had to grit our teeth and I’m sure that even without the mistake I wouldn’t have been challenging for the podium anyway. Lorenzo was faster than me on used tires so no complaints there. I didn’t get a great start but I managed to get into my rhythm quickly and make some passes to get up to third place. From the tenth lap onwards the tires really dropped off and then again after another five laps, although Spies was in even worse shape than me so I was able to fight back to fourth.”

Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V MotoGP) says: “It was a nice race and a fun battle with Rossi and Crutchlow. The final position isn’t great but I am happy with the way I rode in difficult conditions, with much less grip than yesterday which made it tough. Valentino, Cal and I passed each other a few times and it was great fun. Now I am hoping to put up a much stronger performance at our home GP.”

Cal Crutchlow (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP) says: “I’m really pleased with how the race went today because I was back inside the top and having a really good and enjoyable fight with two of the best riders on the grid, who have had a lot of success in Grand Prix racing. It is a shame that I lost a couple of places at the first corner because I’m sure with a better start I could have been battling with Bautista and Hayden.

“I got on the inside on the dirty part of the track and when I braked I locked the front wheel and nearly crashed. What pleases me the most is that I could make up for the lack of speed on the straight in the corners because the Yamaha handles brilliantly and my Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team gave me a really good bike today. But to hold off Valentino and Hiroshi at the end took a massive effort.

“I think if they’d started the final lap in front of me on the straight it would have been hard for me to slipstream. There are a lot of positives to take from this weekend because I’ve got back in the top 10 on a track I’d never seen before and beaten two guys with a lot more experience than me. I gained a lot of experience today riding with Valentino and that has given me a lot of confidence for the next few races.”

Colin Edwards (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha M1 MotoGP) says: “That certainly wasn’t a great way to celebrate my 150th race in MotoGP. We tried to get the bike right all weekend but we were pretty much chasing our tails the whole time.

“We were trying to improve the rear grip to compensate for the speed we lose on the straight and for the race we altered the weight distribution again. We put a lot of weight on the rear but it never really worked. After about five laps the grip just went down and I wasn’t expecting it to drop off that quickly.

“Once that happened I couldn’t stay in that group I was in and I just went backwards. If somebody gave me 10 million Euros to do a 1.51 right now, there is no way I could do it. The last two races have been pretty tough, so we’ll get our heads together and try and come up with a solution for Japan and aim to be fighting back in the top 10 where I have been all season.”

Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “I had a good start and was decent at the very beginning. We knew tire wear was going to be an issue, and we had a drop in performance after the first couple of laps. It lost grip, and I also wasn’t able to load the bike well for turning.

“I was okay in parts of the track, but compared to the fast guys, I was losing time in the last corner. I hoped to hang onto the second group for a while, but it just wasn’t possible. I’d like to have fought with Bautista on the last lap because he was on our pace, but Barbera and I were going back and forth, which hurt both of us and let him escape.

“It’s unfortunate, because coming here we hoped that we could put up a better fight. Still, this is the first race I’ve finished normally with the GP11.1, since at Indy I reentered just to get points. Hopefully that will help us to get some data and be better off in the future.”

Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team GP11.1 MotoGP) says: “It was definitely a difficult race, even if objectively speaking, we could have done a little better than we did. We used the setup from yesterday morning, with which I had done some good laps with a very used tire.

“Unfortunately, in the race the rear tire was sliding much more than it did in practice. It was almost used up just when I was catching Nicky and his group. That said, we’re still not where we should be. We’re working on several fronts, with short-term solutions that haven’t been conclusive, and others that are longer-term and that I still hope can bring more substantial improvements. We’ll see what they think at the factory.

“For now, we’re still pretty far, and given that time is our biggest enemy, we’ll continue also working on development during the races.”

Alvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki GSVR MotoGP) says: “Today we had very different conditions from the practice and the temperature was much lower. I wanted to have a good race in front of my home fans, so I pushed as hard as I could to make the bike and tires work right from the beginning, but I didn’t get a good start and other riders got in my way in the first corner and it was quite difficult to overtake early on.

“I got up to Hector and Nicky we had a big battle and fought a lot between us and when I got into sixth the riders in front were very far away and I was still fighting with the other two, so I couldn’t get a good rhythm. In the last laps I made a break from the other two and was able to ride more consistently and smoother and pull away to secure the sixth place. It was a good result, but I think if the conditions had been the same as qualifying we had the potential to be with the group fighting for podium positions. I am happy with all we have done this weekend and looking forward to the next race and to continue with this work.”

Randy De Puniet (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: “Once again I have to say that I’m disappointed after a race. I could have been in the top five or six positions, but instead I finished the race in twelfth place. When Abraham crashed, I couldn’ t do anything but go off, and after that I was able to make up a lot of seconds and some positions. I had almost caught the group in front and was pushing really hard when I made a mistake and lost everything I had gained. We’re not very fortunate, that’s for sure.”

Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing Ducati GP11 MotoGP) says: “There’s little to say. I crashed on my famous right shoulder and suffered another dislocation as a result. It hurts a lot, even with the pain-killer I received. After the Misano race, I wanted to try to at least finish the race, but instead things went like they did. At this point, my presence in Japan is in serious doubt, but I still hope to recover in time.”

Toni Elias (LCR Honda RC212V MotoGP) says: “Despite the crash I feel satisfied because I have pushed hard for the whole race. Once again I took a very good start and the first laps I have tried hard to follow the group. But, as happened in the past races, I missed traction control and the guys started to pass me. I could not maintain the same pace and then Loris hit me at 7 laps to go. We went both out in the gravel but I am not angry because this is racing and I am happy we are both okay.”