The MotoGP Championship returns to the Motorland circuit in Aragon this weekend for round 14 of the 2011 season. This will be only the second visit to the Spanish circuit, the third home race of the year for Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan arrives in Aragon with renewed confidence and motivation in the battle for the title after taking a perfect victory last week in Misano. The race win reduces his points gap from leader Casey Stoner to 35 points with five races remaining. The 2010 Aragon race saw Lorenzo start from second on the front row having narrowly missed pole and finish just off the podium in fourth after a battle with Nicky Hayden.
Aragon provides one of the few circuits which put Lorenzos team mate Ben Spies on a relatively equal footing to the GP grid, all sharing the same level of track experience there. Spies delivered an exciting performance in last years race, battling and ultimately bettering Andrea Dovizioso with a last lap thriller to take fifth. The Texan prepares for the final five races in fifth position in the Championship, 15 points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth.
Aragon was first scheduled as a replacement for the Hungarian MotoGP round last year. The track is situated near the town of Alcaniz in northern Spain, a few hours drive from Barcelona. Designed by Hermann Tillke, the circuit is impressive and challenging with spectacular elevation changes and fast, flowing corners.
“I am very happy to be riding at home again and for a second time in Aragon. Im looking forward to seeing all the fans there, and especially my Fan Club who are coming. Last year I couldn’t get the podium which was a big shame. I wanted it because I was competing in Spain and the season had been perfect and also because I was wearing Shoya’s helmet in his memory. I had a good race two weeks ago in Misano and now I am very confident we can obtain another podium, we believe we can again reduce our gap to Casey.”
Its great to come to a track on the calendar where I have the same level of experience as the rest of the field. Last year was one of my most enjoyable races, it was great fun fighting with Dovi to keep fifth and we werent so far from the battle for third until I made a small mistake. Ive had a chance to relax at my home in Como after the Indianapolis and Misano back to back races so Im feeling good and looking forward to seeing what we can do.
Wilco Zeelenberg – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager
Jorge is in a winning mood, we saw that in Misano. All our efforts are focused on another victory which is what we need to close the gap. We didnt have a very good weekend at Aragon last year but in the meantime many things have changed so I believe we are able to change our feeling for the track. Jorge is well rested and physically fit so we are in the best place to challenge for another win.
Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director
We left Misano last week in a great mood after a fantastic result. We still have five races to go and 35 points to make up so we are going to Aragon ready to fight. Ben is recovering well from his trapped nerve issue and is getting closer to full fitness again. Apart from one corner the Aragon circuit layout should be good for us and suit the YZR-M1, so our expectations are quite high for this weekend.
Lives: Barcelona, Spain
GP victories: 38 (18 x MotoGP, 17 x 250cc, 4 x 125cc)
First GP victory: Brazil, 2003 (125cc)
First GP: Jerez, Spain, 2002 (125cc)
GP starts: 159 (64 x MotoGP, 48 x 250cc, 46 x 125cc)
Pole positions: 44 (16 x MotoGP, 23 x 250cc, 3 x 125cc)
World Championships: 3 (MotoGP 2010, 250cc, 2006/7)
Lives: Longview Texas / Lake Como Italy
GP victories: 1
First GP victory: Assen, Netherlands, 2011
First GP: Donington, UK, 2008 (MotoGP)
GP starts: 34
Pole positions: 1
World Championships: 1 (WSB 2009)
Grand Prix Results: Alcañiz 2010
1. C.Stoner Ducati 42’16.530
2. D.Pedrosa Honda +5.148
3. N.Hayden Ducati +9.496
5. Ben Spies Yamaha Tech 3 +13.771
Alcañiz Record Lap
D.Pedrosa (Honda) 2010, 1’49.521
Alcañiz Best Lap
C.Stoner (Ducati) 2010, 1’48.942
Magnificent Motorland Aragon awaits Edwards and Crutchlow
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team makes its third visit of the season to Spain this weekend for the 14th round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship at the magnificent Motorland Aragon circuit.
Sunday’s race will provide another milestone in the distinguished career of Colin Edwards, who is poised to make his 150th MotoGP start. The 37-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers in the Championship since he arrived in the paddock back in 2003 and this season has been no exception, the popular American chasing an 11th consecutive point-scoring finish of the season this weekend.
Edwards currently sits ninth in the overall standings on 87-points and he is hoping for a strong result this weekend to bounce back quickly from a difficult race at Misano. Edwards was battling for a place inside the top seven before he was struck by a severe arm pump problem. Edwards has been able to rest and recover for more than a week at his Texas home and he’s confident the issue won’t be a problem at the Motorland Aragon. British rider Cal Crutchlow heads into the weekend with his confidence boosted by a hard fought 10th place in Misano. Crutchlow has worked tremendously hard in the last races to find a more confident front-end set-up with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine and he is looking forward to continuing that progress this weekend.
The Motorland Aragon track throws up another new challenge for Crutchlow, who has never raced on the technical 3.155 miles layout before. The 2009 World Supersport champion though has demonstrated his ability to quickly learn new tracks in his rookie campaign and he’s targeting another top 1 0 assault in Sunday’s 23-lap race.
The Motorland Aragon first appeared on the MotoGP schedule last season as a replacement for the Balatonring in Hungary. The circuit was universally praised by riders and its state-of-the-art facilities helped it secure the coveted IRTA Grand Prix of the Year accolade. The circuit is now a permanent fixture on the calendar and is the last race before the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team embarks on flyaway trips to Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
I can’t believe I’m going to be making my 150th MotoGP appearance this weekend. It feels like only yesterday since I moved from World Superbikes but I’ve had an awesome time in MotoGP and long may it continue. Although it is a landmark race in my MotoGP career I’ll just try and treat it like every other race and do the b est possible job I can for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. The Aragon track has a really cool layout and I can’t wait to get back there, even though my result wasn’t the best last season. And I’m definitely keen to bounce back from Misano, which didn’t end how I expected at all. I had a great weekend up until the race but the arm pump was the worst I’ve ever had. I’ve had a few days to rest and relax at home so I’m sure I’m going to be 100 per cent this weekend.
I’m raring to start this weekend having spent a few days with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in France. It has been great spending some quality time with the crew while also training hard after a couple of really physically demanding races in Indianapolis and Misano. We’ve managed to pick up a couple of respectable results recently to restore my con fidence, but as a rider you always want more, so the goal this weekend will be to qualify and finish the race inside the top 10. Aragon is another track I’ve only ever seen on TV and I can’t wait to ride it. It looks like a lot of fun with some undulation and some fast, sweeping corners. I think it might suit my style because it doesn’t look like a circuit with a lot of strong braking points. It is never easy trying to learn a new track, but the confidence gained in the last couple of the races means we can start the weekend in a positive frame of mind.
2011 MotoGP Spain
Motorland Aragon 13/09/2011
Fastest Lap Ever:
(Casey Stoner, 9/19/2010)
Last Years Winner: