2014 Aragon MotoGP Preview

After 13 of 18 rounds in the 2014 MotoGP Championship, only three riders have claimed victory – Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi.

Marquez and Pedrosa – the two Spaniards aboard the Repsol Honda RC213V – and Rossi – the Italian aboard the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1 – have battled among each other all season.

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By the end of each race when tire grip diminishes, only two other pilots have truly challenged these three – Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso.

These five riders – along with GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista – were the only ones to finish on the podium so far this season.

But Marquez continues to top the headlines; he dominated the opening 10 rounds before losing at Brno to his fellow countryman and Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa at Brno. Marquez returned to the top of the podium at Silverstone, but lost once again at Misano – a race that was won by nine-time World Champion Rossi.

And due to the constant podium finishes by Marquez’s top challengers, there is still plenty of time to rob the 21-year old of a second-straight MotoGP title. With five rounds remaining, Marquez currently has 289 points – 74 ahead of Pedrosa, 75 ahead of Rossi and 102 ahead of Lorenzo.

This situation creates much anticipation ahead of this weekend’s Grand Prix of Aragon at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Marquez’s home country. This is the fifth time Aragon will host a GP since joining the calendar in 2010, and it  also marks the 800th premier-class race since GP racing began in 1949.

It is also an important round considering the following three stressful “fly away” race weekends occur back-to-back throughout next month – Japan (October 12), Australia (October 19) and Malaysia (October 26).

Marquez has won at Aragon twice, including last season en route to garnering the MotoGP title in his rookie year, and in 2011 while competing in Moto2. After his un-Marquez performance of 15th at Misano – only the fourth time he had finished off the podium since joining the premier class – Marquez will work extra hard to garner another win at his “favorite” circuit.

“After a disappointing weekend in Italy, it will be nice to return home to race in front of our home fans in Aragon this weekend and also my fan club will be coming,” Marquez says.

“This is my favorite track of the year and we’ve had good results here in the past three years so I hope to continue this way. It has technical first and final sections, and you need to be strong in cornering, but we will be working hard from Friday to be back on top on Sunday!”

Except for crashing out at last season’s Aragon MotoGP due to a broken sensor that Marquez “innocuously clipped,” Pedrosa has quite a performance there. He won in 2012, and finished second in 2011 and 2010. As for Rossi, his luck isn’t the best at Aragon, though he has one podium (third, 2013).

But Rossi has much drive due to the status he received after winning at Misano two weeks ago – from the time of his first win at Brno in 1996 in the 125cc class to his Misano victory, Rossi has the longest-winning career of all time in Grand Prix Racing. He took the record from his fellow countryman Loris Capirossi.

Rossi’s teammate will Lorenzo will present quite a threat to the front runners as he seeks his first victory of 2014 MotoGP. He has finished second in the past-four consecutive races, and took second at the past two Aragon rounds.

On the Ducati side of the paddock, Dovi settled for fourth at Misano, but will seek his third podium of the season at Aragon. His future teammate, current Pramac Racing Ducati pilot Andrea Iannone, will look to improve on his fifth-place at Misano.

Vying for top-10 positions during this weekend’s round in Aragon will be 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).

Returning to the grid after a four-race hiatus due to wrist surgery is the 2006 MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden. The Drive M7 Aspar team is currently the only American rider in all of Grand Prix racing due to the mid-season retirement of Colin Edwards and the dropping of Josh Herrin from the Caterham Moto Racing Moto2 team.

2014 Aragon MotoGP on TV

Fox Sports 1 will provide live-broadcast coverage of Aragon MotoGP beginning at 7 a.m. ET Sunday, September 28. The coverage includes a reply of Misano MotoGP.

2014 MotoGP Point Standings (after 13 of 18 rounds):

Pos. Rider Bike Nation Points
1 Marc MARQUEZ Honda SPA 289
2 Dani PEDROSA Honda SPA 215
3 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha ITA 214
4 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha SPA 177
5 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati ITA 142
6 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha SPA 98
7 Aleix ESPARGARO Forward Yamaha SPA 92
8 Andrea IANNONE Ducati ITA 92
9 Stefan BRADL Honda GER 74
10 Bradley SMITH Yamaha GBR 74
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA Honda SPA 64
12 Scott REDDING Honda GBR 54
13 Cal CRUTCHLOW Ducati GBR 47
14 Hiroshi AOYAMA Honda JPN 43
15 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati COL 38
16 Karel ABRAHAM Honda CZE 33
17 Nicky HAYDEN Honda USA 29
18 Colin EDWARDS Forward Yamaha USA 11
19 Michele PIRRO Ducati ITA 11
20 Broc PARKES PBM AUS 7
21 Mike DI MEGLIO Avintia FRA 4
22 Danilo PETRUCCI ART ITA 4
23 Alex DE ANGELIS Forward Yamaha RSM 3
24 Michael LAVERTY PBM GBR 2
25 Hector BARBERA Avintia SPA 2
26 Leon CAMIER Honda GBR 1