Ahead of this weekends 14th round of the 2014 MotoGP Championship at Motorland Aragon, six of GP racing’s top riders were present Thursday during the traditional pre-race press conference.
The only MotoGP pilots to win this season – Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi – were in attendance, along with Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone and the current Moto3 points leader, Jack Miller.
Repsol Honda’s Marquez, who won 11 of 13 rounds so far this season, says Motorland Aragon is one of his favorite circuits. The 21-year-old Spaniard will look to not only entertain his home crowd, but also redeem himself from 15th at Misano. This was Marquez’s worst finish in the premier class, and only the fourth time he didn’t make the podium.
“In Misano on Sunday we weren’t ready to fight for the win. Anyway I tried because my idea was to try and win the championship here in Aragon, but it has not been possible. I took a risk and I was too far over the limit. Now we have to think about the championship and manage our advantage,” the reigning MotoGP Champion Marquez says.
“Here is one of my favorite tracks, maybe even my favorite. I like to ride here, the layout is incredible. In 125cc I was not so lucky in that race and I crashed on the first corner, but since then we have been good here. Hopefully we continue that way.”
Pedrosa, who broke his teammate Marquez’s 10-race winning streak with a win at Brno, is currently second in the championship, 74 points behind. He won at Aragon in 2012, but suffered a DNF last season. Why? Marquez unintentionally crashed into him, and a sensor broke on Pedrosa’s RC213V.
But Pedrosa has an optimal outlook as he looks to earn his first-ever premier-class title.
“It’s a good track, I enjoy it here quite a lot. The corners are nice and there is always a chance to slide a little bit. The overall lap is interesting. We have to do our best this weekend, as Valentino is closing in on us. We have to maximize our points on Sunday and give the fans a good show,” Pedrosa says.
Nine-time World Champion Rossi returns to the grid with much incentive after a dominating performance at his home race in Misano. That was the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP pilot’s first win since Assen last season. With five rounds remaining, Rossi trails Marquez by 75 points.
“The win was a great thing for us, we had a great week after Misano. My friends, my family and I enjoyed it a lot and we waited a long time for the victory so that made it even better. During the weekend we found an important step on the bike to improve the setting and pace. The Misano the track helped as the M1 usually goes well there. Now we have to compare our level here at Aragon, we’re focused and pushing hard,” Rossi says.
As for Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo, the two-time MotoGP Champion seeks his first victory of 2014. He finished second in the last four consecutive races, but can’t capture a win.
“For sure it’s not the best to have so many second places. Being in second isn’t the worst though, as this is MotoGP and everyone is here to win. I want to get a victory this year, but it’s not simple,” Lorenzo says.
“We’re getting stronger and stronger, but we made a bad tire choice on Sunday in Misano and we have to learn from this. This track isn’t the best for us but we’ve had a good test and a good race here last year, so we’ll fight regardless.”
The only Ducati rider present at the conference was Andrea Iannone of Pramac Racing. The Italian, who joins Andrea Dovizioso on the factory Ducati Team in 2015, finished fifth at Misano two weeks ago. He may be piloting a new version of the GP14 at Aragon.
“In Moto2 I had good memories here, it’s very fast and technical and the corners are very good. With the MotoGP bike it’s the same and I think I can ride well tomorrow, so I will try to do best,” Iannone says.
“This weekend I have two bikes. I use the GP14 and the GP14.2. I tested it in Mugello on Tuesday. I didn’t improve a lot and I couldn’t compare the two bikes in Mugello. Tomorrow I’ll compare the two bikes and see which bike we prefer.”
Moto3’s Miller was also present. The Australian Red Bull KTM Ajo pilot, who joins MotoGP next season with the CWM LCR Honda team, is looking forward to his next adventures.
“I’m over the moon to have this chance, but of course you know there will be a lot of questions. When Marc (Marquez) went up to the Moto2 he was lighter and smaller than me, so physically I think I can ride now in MotoGP. I’ve only been on a road bike since 2009 so it’s a big step. It’s a long-term project and with the time and attitude we can do it.”
Earlier in the day, celebrating the racing heritage of the Aragon area ahead of the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon, MotoGP visited the old urban race circuit of Guadalope in the city centre of Alcañiz to start the festivities which will mark the 50th anniversary of the track in 2015, MotoGP reports.
The 2010 and 2012 MotoGP World Champion Lorenzo drove around the 3.9km track on some demonstration laps in a 1985 Alfa Romeo 155. The event was also attended by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who was Lorenzo’s co-driver for a couple of laps of the old track. The video of Lorenzo’s Alcañiz street drive can be downloaded by clicking here and can be published freely for Broadcast and Digital platforms in its original format only, MotoGP reports.
For a preview of the round 14, visit 2014 Aragon MotoGP Preview.