Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo scored his first victory of the season at Sunday’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon. He crossed the finish line 10 seconds ahead of his competition after a chaotic series of events derailed several top competitors’ races.
Lorenzo’s victory was Yamaha’s first ever at the 5.078-mile Motorland Aragon, and it came as Factory Yamaha’s second consecutive win of the season.
The race was characterized by a slow-building onset of rain, which led to the demise of several riders’ efforts. Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Dani Pedrosa, the top three riders in the points standings, all experienced wrecks, which left Lorenzo in front at the finish line.
Lorenzo’s win wasn’t simply handed over to him. Hard racing early and timely rain strategy later proved to be the winning formula.
Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone started the race from the front row and took an early lead aboard his new heavily modified, narrower Ducati 14.2, and looked strong battling with Marc Marquez until dropping into second place and running off the track and crashing early on.
Misano’s winner Rossi ran out of track as well on Lap Five, enduring a hard hit and eventually being taken off the course on a stretcher.
Lorenzo pursued Marquez until they exchanged the lead on Lap Nine, and then again on Lap 12. They swapped the lead a few more times on Lap 14, until Marquez waved Lorenzo by to surrender the lead. Two laps later, Marquez and his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa overtook Lorenzo for first and second places.
Pedrosa took the lead from Marquez on Lap 17, and they spent the remainder of that lap swapping position and running side-by-side. Meanwhile, the rain had grown much heavier and riders began coming into the pits to switch to wet tires.
Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso crashed the other new Ducati 14.2 bike with five laps to go, shortly before planning on coming into the pits.
Marquez regained the lead with five laps to go, and as he and Pedrosa crossed the finish line with four laps left, Pedrosa lost the front end of his bike and wrecked. At the same time, Lorenzo had elected to swap his bike out for the wet conditions.
Marquez slipped around the track several times until the powers of nature finally won the battle, slipping his Honda out from underneath him with three laps to go. This opened up the lead to Lorenzo, who carefully navigated the track for the final three laps and took the win with a comfortable margin of victory.
The real race was for second, as NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro made contact with Ducati Team’s Cal Crutchlow and barely edged him out in a neck-and-neck dash to the line, scoring his first podium finish of his premier class career. Espargaro rebounded from an early race mishap that shuffled him off the track, and Crutchlow received his first podium result with Team Ducati.
In fourth place was Stefan Bradl, whose place Crutchlow will be taking at LCR Honda next year. Rounding out the top five was Tech 3 Yamaha’s Bradley Smith after recovering from 20th place on the opening lap.
Drive M7 Aspar’s Nicky Hayden, the only American premier class rider, returned after a four-race injury hiatus and finished in ninth place.
Marquez and Pedrosa salvaged three and two points, respectively, and maintained their spots as the top two drivers in the standings. Marquez leads Pedrosa by 75 points. Rossi, who had trailed Pedrosa by one point in third heading into Aragon, failed to complete the race, allowing Pedrosa’s 14th place finish to increase the gap between them to three points.
- Jorge Lorenzo
- Aleix Espargaro
- Cal Crutchlow
- Stefan Bradl
- Bradley Smith
- Pol Espargaro
- Alvaro Bautista
- Hiroshi Aoyoma
- Nicky Hayden
- Scott Redding
- Danilo Petrucci
- Alex de Angelis
- Marc Marquez
- Dani Pedrosa
- Yonny Hernandez
- Michael Laverty
- Mike Di Meglio
- Broc Parkes
- Hector Barbera