The wide and inviting expanses of Motorland Aragon was another challenging site for MotoGP and for what was the fourteenth round of eighteen and the penultimate European appointment on the calendar. Around the fast curves and undulations (only one of five anti-clockwise trajectories on the schedule) Movistar Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi disputed podium spots behind winner Marc Marquez with the World Champion earning the second step ahead of the Italian. Also in the headlines was Federal Oil’s Sam Lowes who confidently strode free to his second Moto2 victory of the year.
For the seventh time the newest facility on the MotoGP trail welcomed the FIM World Championship and with some bright Spanish sunshine eroding memories of the unstable climates of the previous events.
With Marquez setting the pace and then recovering after a mistake at Turn 7 that gave incentive to Maverick Viñales. At one stage nine riders were all chasing the Suzuki vying for honours in a season where more riders have won in any term since 2000. Lorenzo was able to capitalise on a mistake by Rossi to capture the runner-up ranking for the third time in 2016 and somewhat surprisingly after a crash in morning warm-up.
“I didn‘t expect to finish on the podium,” ‘99’ admitted after earlier messing up a classy Shark helmet livery. “I thought I would finish maybe sixth or seventh, but finally the race was again surprising. It‘s been a difficult weekend for me, but sometimes these kind of situations bring you to the top.”
“We started with a different setting and we tried to be stronger towards the end of the race, but in the final stages I was spinning a lot,” explained Rossi, who appeared in the top three for the eighth occasion this campaign. “It‘s a shame that with two laps to go I made a mistake in braking and I had to go wide. If not for that we could have fought for the second place.”
“Here, in Aragón, we always suffer a bit,” he added. “It‘s a shame and I‘m not fully happy, because I wanted to arrive as the first of the Yamahas and in front of Lorenzo, but unfortunately in the second half of the race he was faster than me. It‘s a shame, because I had some cards up my sleeve for the last laps, because I was there, but I made a mistake.”
LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow rode to fifth place. Two crashes in practice meant a tough weekend for Pol Espargaro but the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider rallied to eighth position today. The Catalan had a positive feeling on the M1 despite the setbacks and only a small mistake in the race itself prevented ‘44’ from being higher up the order. Full-in teammate Alex Lowes was counted out of action due to a fall on Saturday that injured his left foot.
Moto2 saw superb speed from Sam Lowes. ‘22’ was resiliently fast through the weekend. Recent testing and set-up modifications gave the Spanish Grand Prix winner greater feel through the front end of the Kalex that allowed him to squirt and slide the rear wheel in typically outrageous fashion. Increased confidence was evident and Lowes overtook Alex Marquez and controlled the 21 lap race until the flag for his third career Moto2 success. Also benefitting from a confidence booster was Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Marquez. The former Moto3 World Champion scored second position in front of teammate Franco Morbidelli (who set the quickest lap) for a Monster Energy sweep of the Moto2 podium. The 20 points represented Marquez’s highest haul yet in the category in just his second term.
“The weekend was great and I enjoyed it a lot" said Lowes, who ended his poor luck and run of three DNFs in the last five rounds in the best fashion and now sits 40 points behind championship leader Johann Zarco. “This victory came at a good time and although we are a long way off in the championship everything is possible. Let’s keep this good form and try to make a good weekend in Japan.”
Moto3 belonged to Estrella Galicia 0,0’s Jorge Navarro as the young Spaniard stood on the peak of the winner’s circle for the second time this season. KTM’s Brad Binder’s second place allowed the South African to celebrate world championship success but his Honda rival was quicker on the day in Aragon.
MotoGP will now exercise their packing skills. The October flyaway period begins with Grands Prix in Japan, Australian and Malaysia in a three-week period and before a final sortie is set for the flat ‘arena’ layout of the Ricardo Tormo in Valencia in November.