Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Aragon:
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class in Aragon:
The final no-strings-attached outing for the premier class offered similar temperatures to expected race conditions, the tarmac truly sunbathing to 41 degrees. With the benefit of fresh hard rubber, Jorge Lorenzo took the reins of the session by over two tenths of a second from Andrea Iannone and never let it go. Lorenzo also fancied the soft front and put it to good use with impressive pace in the 1:48s. To his credit, Iannone’s Suzuki was the only one to split the four Ducatis in the top five and his albeit limited race run did not look half bad either.
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto3 class in Aragon:
Unlike their colleagues before them, the intermediate class were instantly faster than their Friday times and Marcel Schrotter was the first to make his mark while in race trim. The German was top of the charts until the final couple of minutes of the session, when Alex Marquez targeted some home glory and went one hundredth of a second faster.
Although the sun was only just starting to warm up track surface, all different tyre combinations brushed against the tarmac for early race simulations. The soft rear was a favourite amongst the main contenders, while Cal Crutchlow and the factory Yamahas fancied the hard rear early on. The somewhat cooler conditions caught out a couple of riders, Crutchlow dusting himself off at turn two and Pol Espargaro a bit more battered and bruised from a highside at turn 15.
Reticent Moto3 machines got out from their covers in a rather chilly morning at Motorland Aragon but eventually warmed up enough to rival the best times of the weekend. John McPhee got out on the right side of the bed as well, the CIP rider taking charge of proceedings in the final third of the session and defended that lead until Marco Bezzecchi fired in the first 1:57 of the weekend. All the orange sectors on the timing screens could not match that late benchmark and the Italian kept the lead to the flag by three tenths of a second.
What is the value of a MotoGP test? About a morning, if Aragon is anything to go by. At the end of FP1, before any real rubber had built up on the track, four Ducatis topped the timesheets. When I asked Davide Tardozzi whether he was happy with the Ducatis looking so strong so early, he replied that this was just the benefit of testing. Watch and see what Marc Márquez does in the afternoon, Tardozzi said.
Sure enough, by FP2, Márquez had caught up and then passed the Ducatis. The Repsol Honda rider ended the day on top of the timesheets, a tenth ahead of the factory Ducati of Jorge Lorenzo, and half a second quicker than Andrea Dovizioso. Cal Crutchlow was just behind Dovizioso on the LCR Honda, while Andrea Iannone was a fraction over a half a second behind Márquez. The advantage was already gone.
For Yamaha, there wasn't any advantage at all. The Movistar Yamaha team had come to the track and found some gains, Maverick Viñales in particular taking confidence from the test, which he carried into the Misano weekend. That lasted all the way until Sunday, when the grip disappeared in the heat, and the Yamahas slid down the order. Friday at Aragon was more of the same: competitive in the morning, when there was some grip, but nowhere in the afternoon, when the grip went. Rossi and Viñales made it through to Q2 by the skin of their teeth, though with no illusions of a podium, or more. Yamaha are in deep trouble, with no end to their misery in sight, but more on that later.
With no cloud to hide under, sizzling tarmac welcomed the intermediate class for the final action of the day. Pecco Bagnaia welcomed the challenge and promptly put his name at the top of timesheets but a couple tenths slower than the best time of FP1. The only real threat to his lead came in the final ten minutes, when some new rubber encouraged his rivals to attack. Alex Marquez came closest but the Spaniard could not grab this particular headline at his home race and had to make do with second, barely half a tenth off Bagnaia.
It was a hot affair in Aragon and one man familiar with sunbathing weather was Andrea Iannone, the Suzuki man taking charge of the session soon after its start and holding station until the final shootout. With conditions requesting hard tyres throughout the session, some softs made an appearance with five minutes left on the clock and even the reigning world champion played along this time. Marc Marquez might have sat out Friday shootouts of late but he was anything but rusty, picking up top spot and keeping it to the checkered flag.
Under the hot Spanish sun, it was an Italian stealing the show at the checkered flag, Enea Bastianini showing good speed to top the session by two tenths of a second. Several opponents tried to depose him but the Leopard rider bounced right back to keep top position. Gabriel Rodrigo was an early leader of FP2 but ended the day second best, with Nicolo Bulega sneaking back into the top three on his final flying lap.
In an unprecedented move, the FIM has overruled the FIM Panel of Stewards' decision at Misano to ban Romano Fenati for two races. After meeting with Fenati and his representative at FIM headquarters in Switzerland, the FIM decided to withdraw his racing license for the remainder of the 2018 season.
Fenati will now have to reapply for a racing license according to the FIM procedures if he wishes to race in 2019. Whether he will or not is unknown: after he lost his 2018 ride with the Snipers team, and the 2019 ride with the MV Agusta Forward team, Fenati announced he would retire from racing altogether. He has already had his license issued by the Italian federation FMI suspended pending further notice.
The FIM press release appears below:
FIM withdraws Romano Fenati’s licence after discussions in Mies, Switzerland
The intermediate class was basking in bright sunshine by the time they took their turn on the dusty tarmac. Pecco Bagnaia was on rails straight away, setting camp at the top of the timesheets and awaiting challengers. The first one came in the shape of Fabio Quartararo, the Frenchman tentatively back in the limelight after a few low key performances. While Quartararo got within two tenths of a second of the championship leader, Marcel Schrotter went on to pick up the pace and with it the lead with eight minutes left of the countdown.
While the crowds were enjoying a late summer holiday in a hot Aragon, the premier class were hot on the pace as soon as they were unleashed from pitlane. And none more so than local boy Marc Marquez, who aimed to make his mark in the corner recently named after him. The Spaniard picked up the lead of the session straight away and ran a consistent pace on medium tyres while his rivals were still finding their feet.
The last European outing before the final showdown started off under lovely sunshine and the fastest men of the lightweight class came to the fore straight away. Despite having to give up on any championship aspirations last time out, Enea Bastianini was right back on the pace to lead the early part of the session but Jakub Kornfeil took charge of proceedings in the final five minutes. The Czech rider was on course to seal the deal with an even faster lap when he ran wide and hit the tyre wall at an uncomfortable angle.