Aragon Grand Prix 2015 Press Conference
Two weeks following a confusing, rain-filled San Marino Grand Prix, the 2015 MotoGP Championship remains in Europe for the Aragon Grand Prix.
Ahead of Aragon MotoGP, round 14 of 18, the series title contenders – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo, and Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez – were joined by Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Marc VDS Racing’s Scott Redding and Moto2 Championship leader Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsports).
The nine-time world champion Rossi was the first to speak, the 36-year-old Italian holding the points lead by 23 ahead of teammate Lorenzo. Rossi was able to extend this lead due to finishing fifth at San Marino MotoGP, where Lorenzo crashed out.
Along with Circuit of the Americas in Texas, Aragon is the only other track Ross has yet to conquer. His top finish at the Aragon Grand Prix was third in 2013.
“This track for me is difficult in the past, but in the last years we’re coming better. I got a podium in 2013 but it was special, as Dani crashed and I was far from Jorge and Marc. I think last year I could have done a good race; I was fast on Sunday but maybe too fast as I did a mistake in braking with Dani and I crashed,” Rossi says. “I don’t know my potential for the rest of the race. It’s a difficult track but very good, it’s so exciting when you ride so I need to find the right speed.”
Lorenzo is looking for redemption after suffering his first crash of 2015 MotoGP at San Marino. The 28-year-old Spaniard has finished on the Aragon Grand Prix podium for the past-four years, including his flag-to-flag victory there last season.
“Aragon is not a Yamaha track historically from 2010 till last year. Last year in strange conditions I managed to stay in the dry fighting for the win and then in the wet, I was faster than I could ever remember. I found myself able to win for the first time; usually it’s tougher though. I believe this year with our improvements we can be much more competitive,” Lorenzo says.
As for Marquez, he earned his third win in five races at Aragon after him and the team made a smart decision to pit early and get back on slicks instead of rain tires. He is now 63 points behind Rossi with five rounds remaining – enough time to claim a third-straight title. Last year he qualified on pole at Aragon, but crashed out while in the lead.
“Misano was good and we did the right strategy. But you know, maybe here will be the same and I’ll do the wrong choices. It was an important win for me but here we’ll see as Yamaha have done five days of testing so they will be strong from the start, especially Jorge. But yeah, we will try to push from the start and stay fighting for the win. The podium is the target again and if we can win we will try,” Marquez says.
At San Marino, Smith earned his second podium of his MotoGP career (the first arriving at Phillip Island in 2014). The Brit now leads the satellite standings by 42 points; he finished last year’s Aragon Grand Prix in fifth.
“Misano was a fantastic result for me and the team. Like I said there, it makes it more special because for Satellite riders there haven’t been so many podiums. If you look at the numbers, I think Cal had a podium in Argentina and Danilo in Silverstone; it’s tough for us guys to be up there on the podium,” Smith says. “It’s nice when it does happen and it’s given me more points to fight for fifth in the championship. I didn’t expect to be in this position, after nine or ten races realistic I was just trying to hold onto the top satellite bike but after another five we’re still battling in there so let’s see what we can do in the final five.”
Smith’s fellow countryman earned his first-ever MotoGP podium at Misano, and has scored 32 points in the last four races compared to just 30 in the opening nine races. Redding favors the Aragon Grand Prix layout: “You have a lot of ups and downs, fast corners, tight corners and it’s quite exciting especially in MotoGP. I look forward to heading out in FP1 and seeing the feeling with the bike and hopefully I’ll keep improving. Going into Q2 would be a good start.”
The other rider present was the Frenchman Zarco, who has a 97-point lead over the reigning Moto2 Champion Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) Racing. He has a chance to clinch the title this weekend at Aragon.
“It’s pretty good to be in this position, but there can be some pressure to fight for the title. Every race my advantage has grown but I can’t really feel the pressure. For sure there are a lot more interviews and journalists asking about the title but I must remind myself the main thing is the title, not where I get it. I repeat it a lot to keep calm and we’ll see how the weekend goes. I just want to go out on the bike and fight for victory,” Zarco says.
Before the Press Conference Alvaro Bautista (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), Loris Baz (Forward Racing), Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP40), Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) took part in a traditional Iberian ham carving master class. The riders were shown how to cut, prepare and display this amazing Spanish delicacy, and it was Bautista who demonstrated the best carving skills, MotoGP says.
After the Press Conference Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo unveiled his design for the trophies that will be presented to riders on the podium at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. Lorenzo was given the honour to collaborate with renowned award designer Marc García Rojals on the design of the award, making it the first time the trophy for a MotoGP™ Grand Prix has been styled by a rider. The designer asked Lorenzo to define which features came to mind when he thought of the Alcañiz circuit and the Spanish rider answered without hesitance that it was the iconic stone wall. The sportsman and the artist considered various shapes for the design, before settling on a statuette representing a fragment of the wall of the circuit on a pedestal, MotoGP says.