Two weeks ago at the San Marino Grand Prix, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Jorge Lorenzo trailed teammate Valentino Rossi by 12 points. But the 28-year-old Spaniard did the unusual – he crashed out, suffering his first DNF of 2015 MotoGP. Due to Rossi’s fifth-place finish at San Marino MotoGP, which was plagued by rain, the nine-time World Champion extended his lead to 23 points ahead of Lorenzo.As he chases his third MotoGP title, Lorenzo was seeking redemption at round 14 of 18 – the Aragon Grand Prix. And this is just what the YZR-M1 pilot got when he dominated 2015 MotoGP Aragon. Lorenzo earned his sixth win of the season, but more importantly lessened Rossi’s lead to just 14 in the point standings.
As for Rossi, he fought hard with Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa for second, but had to settle for third. Pedrosa won the fight for second by a mere tenth of a second, his RC213V having just that little bit extra to take the runner-up position. His teammate, the reigning MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez, had no such luck – the 22-year-old Spaniard suffered his fifth DNF of the season while battling for the lead.The 2015 MotoGP Aragon win was also Lorenzo’s 60th career Grand Prix victory (39th in premier MotoGP class). Lorenzo and Rossi also clinched the 2015 MotoGP Team Title. Lorenzo had much to say following his 2015 Aragon Grand Prix win.“I took a big sigh of relief, because I was pushing so much and my tension-level was very high. I was trying to pull away by some meters from Marquez. I knew it was going to be difficult because my pace was very similar to his and after the warm up I knew his pace was very strong. We probably would have fought all the race and he may have beaten me in the final part because he may not have noticed the drop of the tires as much, but today I was lucky,” Lorenzo says.“I saw his crash on the board and then I had to wait another lap to see the gap to Pedrosa. That was already very big after two laps, but I still couldn’t relax because I knew that Dani had Valentino behind him and on this track he can have a good pace. I needed to stay focused and not make any mistakes to maintain the distance and that‘s what I did all the race. I remained very concentrated and focused and it was worth it. This race was very important to forget about the last two races with bad luck concerning the weather and where I made some mistakes.“Had I lost more points to Valentino, it would have been almost impossible to win the championship. Now it‘s a bigger chance, but you never know what happens at the three fly-away races, so we have to keep our feet on the ground and keep working well as we are doing now and try to beat the others on all laps of these next four races. Over the last two years we did a good job in Motegi, the bike works well there in what is usually a difficult track for us. The hard-braking and acceleration suits our rivals better, so it‘s not easy, but these last few years I‘ve been very fast and competitive. Maybe we can win, but for sure, with Marquez around it will be very tough.“I‘m very proud of the team and very proud of the work that everyone from Yamaha did in Japan. They worked on all aspects but especially on corner entry. That was our main weakness over the previous years. This Team World Championship title, that we secured already four races before the end of the season, means a lot to us. It‘s been an unbelievable year from the results to the performance of the bike and we are very happy.”When the 23-lap race began at the 3.16-mile Aragon circuit containing 17 corners, the pole man Marquez made a mistake that allowed Lorenzo into the lead. Marquez dropped down to third behind Lorenzo and Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone. Marquez quickly moved pass the Ducati GP15 and began chasing down Lorenzo.Rossi started from sixth on the grid, and moved up to fifth by the end of the opening lap. As Rossi progressed, the man who earned the past-two MotoGP titles, Marquez, made another huge mistake.While chasing the leader Lorenzo, Marquez lost the front of his RC213V at turn 12, and crashed out of the Aragon GP; this was the second-straight year he crashed at the Spanish circuit. Due to his fifth DNF of the season, Marquez is now 70 points behind Rossi with only 100 points available until the conclusion of 2015 MotoGP.After 2015 MotoGP Aragon, Marquez said: ”Today I can only apologize to the team and the fans, because we were working very well and we had a very good pace all weekend. On the second lap, when braking for Turn 12, I made a mistake and lost the front. It was my fault and I apologize. When a season is not going well for you, then nothing goes your way, and it seems that this season we are finding things hard. There are still four races to go and we will try to be at the front and fight to the end.”When Marquez crashed, Iannone moved into second. But Pedrosa was on a mission, and passed Iannone for second on the third lap. Rossi did the same on the fourth lap as Lorenzo opened up a three-second gap. The next rider to challenge Iannone was Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Pol Espargaro. But the Spaniard made a mistake, running wide on lap six and dropping back to 11th.By lap eight, Pedrosa and Rossi gained some time on Lorenzo, but the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP put up a “hurry up” signal on the Spaniard’s board, and he began riding smoother and faster. With 10 to go, he was running consistent 1:48s, and was three seconds ahead of the field.As Lorenzo rode comfortably up front, the battle began for second place. Rossi and Pedrosa dueled over the final five laps, and on the penultimate time around Rossi attempted a move on Pedrosa under braking into turn one. But the pass was unsuccessful, and the two continued to battle to the checkered flag. Pedrosa would earn second by a tenth of a second ahead of Rossi.The 2015 MotoGP Aragon result was Pedrosa’s 97th premier-class podium, but on his third of 2015. As for Rossi, it was his 13th podium in 14 races.Iannone finished fourth, regardless of riding through pain due to re-dislocating his shoulder earlier this week. The Ducati GP15 pilot finished 16 seconds ahead of teammate Andrea Dovizioso.Rounding out the top 10 were Suzuki ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro, LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Bradley Smith, Pol Espargaro, and Octo Pramac Ducati’s Yonny Hernandez.As for the sole American in MotoGP who broke his right thumb during a mini-moto crash, Aspar Honda MotoGP’s Nicky Hayden finished 15th.With his third-place finish at 2015 MotoGP Aragon, Rossi now has 263 points – 14 ahead of Lorenzo with four races remaining. The 2015 MotoGP Championship now breaks for two weeks ahead of round 15 at Twin Ring Motegi in Japan – a round that was won by Jorge Lorenzo last season.
2015 MotoGP Aragon Results
1. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 41’44.933 2. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team + 2.683 3. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP + 2.773 4. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team + 7.858 5. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team + 24.322 6. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar + 24.829 7. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda + 25.367 8. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 25.503 9. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 + 26.452 10. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing + 43.889 11. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar + 44.255 12. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS + 48.176 13. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 49.755 14. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team + 50.271 15. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team + 50.364 16. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing + 50.722 17. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing + 51.997 18. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini + 53.406 19. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda + 56.859 20. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing + 59.607 21. Toni Elias (SPA) Forward Racing + 1’15.237 22. Karel Abraham (CZE) AB Motoracing N.C. (12 laps) 23. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing N.C. (14 laps) 24. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion IodaRacing Team N.C. (18 laps) 25. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team N.C. (22 laps)
2015 MotoGP Point Standings (after 14 of 18 rounds):
1. Valentino Rossi (ITA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 263 2. Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 249 3. Marc Marquez (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 184 4. Andrea Iannone (ITA) Ducati Team 172 5. Bradley Smith (GBR) Monster Yamaha Tech3 143 6. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) Ducati Team 139 7. Dani Pedrosa (SPA) Repsol Honda Team 129 8. Danilo Petrucci (ITA) Octo Pramac Racing 93 9. Cal Crutchlow (GBR) CWM LCR Honda 88 10. Pol Espargarò (SPA) Monster Yamaha Tech3 88 11. Aleix Espargarò (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 76 12. Maverick Viñales (SPA) Team Suzuki Ecstar 74 13. Scott Redding (GBR) Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS 67 14. Yonny Hernandez (COL) Octo Pramac Racing 47 15. Loris Baz (FRA) Forward Racing 28 16. Alvaro Bautista (SPA) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 26 17. Hector Barbera (SPA) Avintia Racing 23 18. Jack Miller (AUS) CWM LCR Honda 16 19. Nicky Hayden (USA) Aspar MotoGP Team 13 20. Stefan Bradl (GER) Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 11 21. Eugene Laverty (IRL) Aspar MotoGP Team 9 22. Mike Di Meglio (FRA) Avintia Racing 7 23. Hiroshi Aoyama (JPN) Repsol Honda Team 5 24. Alex De Angelis (RSM) E-Motion IodaRacing Team 2
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.