Jorge Lorenzo gave a fine display of his increasing competitiveness with the factory Ducati in the sun-splashed fourteenth round of eighteen of 2017 MotoGP at Motorland, Aragon with a front row qualification berth and his second podium appearance of the year. The #99 blood-red Desmosedici was a major player in the final European stop on the ’17 slate and spearheaded the pack for fifteen laps before just losing out to Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Movistar Yamaha duo Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi – the Italian competing less than three weeks after breaking his right leg in two places – filled the top five.
Viñales sped to his fifth pole position of the season on Saturday, just a tenth of a second ahead of an improving Lorenzo and Rossi magnificently fast despite the physical and mental limitations of his weak limb. The race however pushed pre-event favourite Marc Marquez back to the fore. The reigning number one challenged the quick-starting Lorenzo, with the Ducati man holding onto the lead for over half the race before suffering with rear grip and dropping two places to the Hondas. Marquez won for the fifth time to extend his cushion at the top of the series and further back – only five seconds, to further emphasise the close nature and tight competition in MotoGP this year – was Viñales and Rossi.