Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon 2016
Posted on Sep 19, 2016 by Nick Harris
ROUND FOURTEEN 2016 MotoGP™ WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP – SUNDAY 25TH SEPTEMBER
With five rounds of the MotoGP™ Championship remaining Cal Crutchlow hopes to continue his amazing rise up the championship table at the Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon in Spain on Sunday. The Isle of Man based midlander has totally transformed a difficult season in the last five races with three podium finishes, including victory in Brno, to move into eighth place in the title chase to become the top Independent Teams and British rider. The LCR Honda rider is now just six points behind his former Ducati team-mate Andrea Dovizioso in sixth place in the championship standings. Two years ago Crutchlow finished third at the 3.155 miles magnificently situated circuit between Zaragoza and Reus.
Irishman Eugene Laverty has just five more MotoGP races remaining for the Pull and Bear Aspar Ducati team before returning to the World Superbike Championship. It’s been an amazing season for the 30 year old who is 11th in the championship just 12 points behind tenth placed Hector Barbara. Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding seeks to get back to at least a top ten finish after a really tough last three races on the Octo Pramac Ducati. Tyre problems have hampered his progress after a really good run of results including third and fourth places in Holland and Germany. Alex Lowes returns from his World Superbike Championship duties to replace the injured Bradley Smith in the Monster Tech3 Yamaha team. Despite his crash in Misano, Lowes has impressed everybody with the way he’s adapted to a MotoGP bike.
His twin brother Sam completed two days of testing last week to try and get his Moto2™ season back on track. The Federal Oil Gresini Kalex rider has slipped to fourth place in the championship after just one finish in the last five races. Last year he was third at Aragon and a repeat or even better would be a good start for the five Moto2 races before moving to MotoGP next year. Wiltshire – based Danny Kent has bad memories of the Aragon circuit after a last lap crash almost wrecked his Moto3™ Championship chances last year. He went on to clinch the title at the final round in Valencia but is finding life tough in Moto2 and is currently 21st.
Twenty – two year old Scotsman John McPhee has struggled since that brilliant maiden Moto3™ win at Brno in the Czech Republic three races ago. The Racing Steps Foundation supported Peugeot MC Saxoprint Mahindra rider has slipped to 19th in the table after failing to score points points in the two races since his historic victory.
Did you know?
This is the seventh time that the Aragon circuit has hosted a grand prix event and below are some facts and statistics related to grand prix racing at this circuit:
• Aragon first hosted a grand prix in 2010, when it became the sixth different circuit that has been used for grand prix racing in Spain. The other circuits that have been used in Spain are: Jerez, Catalunya, Jarama, Montjuich and Valencia.
• Casey Stoner won the first MotoGP race at Aragon in 2010 on a Ducati. In each of the following three years Honda riders won the race. For the last two years Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha have won in Aragon.
• Spanish riders have had great success across all three GP classes at the Aragon circuit, winning thirteen of the eighteen GP races that have taken place. The only non-Spanish riders to have won a grand prix at the circuit are: Casey Stoner (MotoGP in 2010 & 2011), Andrea Iannone (Moto2 race in 2010), Romano Fenati (Moto3 in 2014) and Miguel Oliveira (Moto3 in 2015).
• Casey Stoner’s two victories are the only occasions that a non-Spanish rider has stood on either of the top two steps in the MotoGP class at the Aragon circuit.
• Marc Marquez has been on pole on all three occasions he has raced in the MotoGP class at the Aragon circuit, but other than a race win in 2013 he has had less success in the race; he crashed and restarted to finish 13th in 2014 and crashed out of the race in the early stages last year.
• In addition to Casey Stoner’s win in 2010, the only podium finishes for Ducati riders at Aragon are; third for Nicky Hayden in 2010 and third for Cal Crutchlow in 2014.
• The best results at Aragon for Suzuki are sixth place finishes in 2011 with Alvaro Bautista and last year with Aleix Espargaro.
• Aragon is one of just five circuits on the current grand prix schedule that run in an anti-clockwise direction, along with Austin, Sachsenring, Phillip Island and Valencia.
MotoGP™ re-writes the history books
• There have been eight different MotoGP winners already in 2016 (Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo, Pedrosa, Viñales, Dovizioso, Crutchlow, Miller) and with five races of the season still to come this already the greatest number of different winners in a single season in the MotoGP era. The only other year in the 68 year history of motorcycle grand prix racing that there were eight different winners in a premier-class season was in 2000, when the eight different 500cc GP winners were: Kenny Roberts Jnr, Garry McCoy, Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Alex Barros, Alex Criville, Loris Capirossi and Norick Abe.
• The last eight races in the MotoGP class have been won by eight different riders. This is the longest ever sequence of successive different winners in the premier-class of grand prix racing.
• With Jack Miller’s victory at the Dutch TT, Andrea Iannone’s in Austria, Cal Crutchlow at Brno and Maverick Viñales at Silverstone, there have been four first time winners in the MotoGP class in 2016. The last year in which there were four first time winners in a single season was in in 1982 with Franco Uncini, Freddie Spencer, Takazumi Katayama and Michel Frutschi who won the French GP at Nogaro that was boycotted by most of the top riders. There has never been a season in the premier-class with five first time winners.
• There have been 23 different winners this year across the three classes of grand prix racing and with five events of 2016 remaining this is already the largest number of different grand prix winners in a single season since 1974 when the grand prix series also included the 350cc and 50cc classes and there were a record 24 different winners. Considering just the current three classes or equivalent there has never been as many as twenty three different winners in a single season in the 68 year history of grand prix racing.
Lorenzo chases hatrick to get season back on track
World Champion Jorge Lorenzo chases a hat trick of wins round the 3.155 undulating Aragon circuit to get his season back on track. The Movistar Yamaha rider has taken just two podium finishes in the last seven grands prix, with his last win coming in Mugello back in May. The Spaniard is third in the MotoGP™ World Championship a massive 61 points behind championship leader Marc Marquez and 18 behind his team-mate Valentino Rossi who is second in the title race.
With five rounds remaining Marquez still holds a comfortable 43 point lead, although Rossi has nibbled away at the advantage finishing in front of the Repsol Honda rider at the last four races. Rossi has never won at Aragon while Marquez has crashed out of the last two races after winning in 2013. His team-mate Dani Pedrosa arrives brimming with confidence after his first win of the season in Misano to move back into fourth place in the championship, just 17 points behind Lorenzo.
Maverick Vinales, a former Moto2™ Aragon winner, is just nine points behind Pedrosa on the Ecstar Suzuki with Andrea Dovizioso completing the top six on the factory Ducati. His team-mate Andrea Iannone is expected to return after damaging his back in a practice crash at Misano, to the track where he secured a Moto2 win six years ago. That battle for sixth place is really tight with Dovizioso in sixth and Hector Barbara in tenth separated by just 18 points.
Former World Champion Nicky Hayden makes a welcome return to MotoGP from the World Superbike Championship to replace the injured Assen winner Jack Miller on the Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Honda. Hayden finished third riding the Ducati in the first Aragon MotoGP race won by Casey Stoner in 2010. Frenchman Loris Baz is expected to return after missing Misano following his Silverstone crash while Alex Lowes continues to replace the injured Bradley Smith at Monster Tech3 Yamaha.
There will be a mighty Moto2™ showdown between World Champion and championship leader Johann Zarco and local boy Alex Rins. They are separated by just three points with five rounds remaining. It’s a massive effort by Rins and capitulation by Zarco who was running away with the title race just three races ago. Rins, still recovering from a broken collarbone, has closed the gap dramatically since Zarco won his fifth race of the season in Austria. The momentum and crowd will be with Rins on Sunday in what promises to be a fantastic 21 lap race. Don’t rule out Italian Lorenzo Baldassarri who won for the first time in Misano and the experienced Tom Luthi who moved into third place in the championship.
History could be made on Sunday in the Moto3™ class, with Brad Binder becoming the first South African World Champion since Jon Ekerold won the 350 cc title in 1980. The Red Bull Ajo KTM rider holds a massive 106 points advantage over Italian Enea Bastianini after his last lap win in Misano. If Binder finishes first or second in the 20 lap race he will be crowned World Champion. If he finishes third Bastianini must win to keep his title hopes alive.
BT Sport 2
Friday 23rd September 07.30am – 15.00pm (practice)
Saturday 24th September 08.00am – 15.15pm (practice & qualifying)
Sunday 25th September 07.30am – 15.00pm (warm-up and races)
ITV 4 Highlights
Monday 26th September 20.00pm –21.00pm
Sunday 25th September - TalkSPORT2 – races