Lorenzo masters Aragon
Today’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón proved to be the most dramatic of the season so far as Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo defied both his rivals and the changing weather to deliver a master class in Grand Prix riding and claim his first victory of the season.
Teammate Valentino Rossi’s Aragón fortunes were the mirror opposite, the Italian crashing out in the early laps. With a dry start to the race, Lorenzo was one of the few to opt for the soft front medium rear tire combination and made a jump of three places to fourth in the opening corners. Third was to follow quickly and then a promotion to second as front runner Andrea Iannone became one of the first of many to crash out.
Lorenzo tucked in behind race leader Marc Marquez, beginning the Spanish duel that race fans had been waiting for. Never more than half a second apart, it wasn’t until there were just 15 laps remaining that Lorenzo made his move through the uphill section of the circuit for the lead.
Three laps later Marquez was back through, passing into turn one. One lap later and the weather became another rival to face on track as the white flag was waved. With some drops of rain falling riders were now clear to change to wet bikes if wanted. The lead group stayed out and with 9 laps remaining Lorenzo mirrored Marquez’ earlier pass, re-taking the lead into turn one. A lap later and with the track getting damper in places, Lorenzo slowed and both Marquez and Dani Pedrosa passed in the uphill series of corners.
With rain now clearly evident the front three played a dangerous gamble, not wanting to allow the others to get away by pitting. With four laps to go Lorenzo made his move, diving in to change for his wet bike and returning immediately to the track. In the meantime, Pedrosa had crashed out in the start straight, promoting Lorenzo to second. Race leader Marquez opted not to pit and a lap later also fell victim to the wet, crashing out and leaving Lorenzo with a clear run to the finish line and his first victory of the season.
Teammate Rossi had started well from his sixth place grid position and had been making progress when he ran wide in the down hill section, running off track and onto the slippery grass where he crashed heavily. He lost consciousness briefly after the crash but regained it quickly and was taken immediately to the medical centre for a check up. There appears to be no injuries however he has now transferred to hospital for a precautionary check up.
Lorenzo’s superb race craft delivers the maximum 25 points. He remains in fourth position, now just 12 points behind his teammate in third. Rossi’s DNF means he stays on 214 points, now three behind Pedrosa in second.
1st / 44'20.406 / 23 laps
“It's been a very crazy race, because we won at a track where we’ve never won and we’ve had a lot of problems all weekend. I made a really good start, my first lap was very good and I kept at the wheel of Marc. The bike was working very well and Marc was a little bit slower than in practice so I could stay with him and I passed him one or two times. The problem was it was spitting, so I didn't have much confidence, I was very careful and the others were going away in front. Andrea was catching me and I thought I was going to be fighting for third or fourth position. But finally I had an intuition; every lap I felt the spotting was coming worse and it was very dangerous and easy to crash. When I saw Marc and Dani keeping on racing and without going into the pits in the last corner, I said ok, I will take a risk and enter. I changed the bike, the new tires were very difficult to warm up, not so much grip but I tried to be very focused and not make many mistakes. When I passed the board on the straight I was in fourth position so I thought we are going to finish very far but then the next lap I was first! I was surprised; I didn't expect to be first. Having this victory is a great relief for me after so many months of challenges and fights so I’m very proud.”