2017 Aragon MotoGP Race Result: A Disputed Tiebreaker

Between a hot Aragon, little setup time, the chaser in the title battle on the front row and threateningly fast men lining up behind him, it was hard to pick what would be the biggest talking point throughout the race. And the 900th Grand Prix of the world championship did not disappoint. World champion Marc Marquez not only provided the hairy moments of the race but ultimately maintained Honda’s dominance at the Spanish track by taking the Japanese factory’s fifth MotoGP victory and his 99th career podium.

Teammate Dani Pedrosa competed a dream day for Honda, with a fought out second place, while Jorge Lorenzo was the only front row starter to keep on the podium. The Ducati man led much of the race to keep his podium run going, Lorenzo never off the cava on Sundays in Aragon since 2011.

Predictably, Lorenzo pulled his favourite move and immediately shot into the lead as the lights went off, trying to extend a bit of a gap on the soft rear tyre, with most of his rivals on mediums or hards. 

Running third after the start, Valentino Rossi got past his teammate halfway through the first lap and chased Lorenzo, who was eight tenths ahead. 

Starting seventh, Andrea Dovizioso made it past Marquez at the start, the Spaniard cautious on the first few laps. Maverick Viñales went wide ahead of them soon after and dropped behind his championship rivals, just ahead of Pedrosa, who had gotten past Cal Crutchlow. 

While chasing his former teammate, Rossi was the fastest man on track on the hard rear and medium front, all the while his teammate on the same combination had already lost over a second to Dovizioso and Marquez by the end of lap two.

On lap three, Lorenzo and Rossi were only split by two tenths of a second, Dovizioso and Marquez another four tenths down. The world championship leaders took opposite approaches on tyres, the Ducati choosing Medium-Soft while the Honda went for Hard-Hard and bided his time in warming up the harder option. Nearly two seconds down the road by lap six, Viñales finally picked up the pace that held up the two Hondas behind him.

Marquez got past Dovizioso at the end of lap six and immediately bridged the small gap to the leaders, the four-man group over a second and a half ahead of the pursuers led by Viñales. Two laps later, Marquez lost patience and went for a daring move on both Rossi and Lorenzo. The momentum ran him wide and back to the end of the group. Marquez found the inside of Dovizioso through turn sixteen soon after and status quo returned. While Dovizioso was sniffing around his main title rival, Lorenzo was managing the situation perfectly, never letting Rossi within striking distance.

At the halfway point, Rossi had lost half a second to Lorenzo and got hunted down by Marquez, the Honda picking up the pursuit of the lead Ducati. Meanwhile, Pedrosa pounced on Viñales after several personal best laps and finally brought the gap to the leaders to under a second.

With ten laps to go, Marquez still had four tenths of a second to make up on Lorenzo, doing so while on the ragged edge as usual, while Rossi dropped over a second behind the two. Dovizioso was only half a second back but had to contend with the immediate threat of a rampaging Pedrosa. The Italian’s soft rear looked in trouble as the light Spaniard got proper heat into his mediums. Pedrosa made his move with nine laps to go and also got past Rossi only one lap later.

The final eight laps saw Marquez finally on Lorenzo’s tail, the Spaniard not biding his time this weekend and leading after a brave move in turn 12. The Ducati fought back through sheer speed on the straights but the world champion would not let that pass, putting over half a second into Lorenzo on the next lap. Another second down the road, Pedrosa had broken away from Rossi, the Italian dealing with Dovizioso and Viñales within a tenth behind him.

With six laps to go, the half second gap at the front kept steady but Pedrosa was getting closer and closer to Lorenzo. Meanwhile, Viñales finally got a taste at overtaking and got past Dovizioso for fifth, looking menacing to his convalescent teammate. The Yamaha duo teased each other for a bit but the battle concluded with four laps remaining, Viñales finally getting ahead. The live championship standings changed further as Aleix Espargaro made it past Dovizioso with two laps to go.

In the final laps, Pedrosa was the fastest man on track and after catching up with Lorenzo, he left himself with fewer than three laps to reach his teammate. The Honda veteran brought the gap down to eight tenths of a second but the race was a couple of laps too short for a Honda battle royale. Lorenzo came home in a secure third, with Viñales the best of the rest in fourth. Despite fading slightly towards the end of the race, Rossi scored a remarkable fifth place, ahead of Aleix Epargaro, who equalled Aprilia’s best result.

Dovizioso might rue his tyre choice in seventh place, the Italian holding off Alvaro Bautista in the closing stages of the race. Johann Zarco finished ninth, five seconds down the road, with Pol Espargaro completing the top ten, crossing the line 14 seconds after Marquez, the closest the KTM has been to the winner this season.

Dovizioso paid for his bad afternoon at the office and the tie at the top of the world championship standings was broken, Marquez heading to Japan with a 16-point advantage. Viñales lost a little bit more ground, 28 points down, while Pedrosa got ahead of Rossi and into fourth place, 54 points behind his teammate.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 42'06.816
2 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +0.879
3 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati +2.028
4 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +5.256
5 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +5.882
6 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +6.962
7 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +7.455
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +7.910
9 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +13.002
10 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +14.075
11 36 Mika KALLIO KTM +17.192
12 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +20.632
13 43 Jack MILLER Honda +23.886
14 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +25.523
15 53 Tito RABAT Honda +26.082
16 94 Jonas FOLGER Yamaha +30.302
17 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +31.874
18 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +31.948
19 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +36.296
20 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +37.842
21 76 Loris BAZ Ducati +47.599
22 22 Sam LOWES Aprilia +47.647
    Not Classified    
  35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda 7 Laps
  17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati 13 Laps

 

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Round Number: 
14
2017
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Total votes: 45

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Comments

It must be a record to have 7 of the top 10 from one country on a track in the same country with the organisation running that championship from that country too?

Interestingly Lorenzo did unusually well for this season really well as did Pedrosa and Aprilia's Spanish rider got their best ever result. 

A full 40% of the top ten's in each class featured Spanish riders. 

Not to take anything from Marquez who rode a ballsy race on his home track. 

Total votes: 47

Have invested, promoted and nurtured their talent and they are putting the other countries/organisations to shame.

They thoroughly deserve this period of dominance, there is very valid reason for so many being at the front.

If you don't admire what they have done and achieved as a country within the motorcycle disciplines, perhaps you could take action to help your own country out? Sitting and doing nothing is exactly why so many have fallen behind.

Total votes: 71

... not a judgement.  I'm not sure it requires admiration either.  It's simply a result of the sport being a lot more popular than in most other contries (Italy perhaps being similar).  This feedback gives them dominance.  Although the organisations here in oz could be a lot more united it'd only make a small difference with maybe a more consistant showing in weekly roundup motosport shows on the little watched non commercial channels.

On the race.  Lorenzo race narrative is unerringly similar now with his race lead from the get go getting longer and longer.  Not sure he's improving enough to maintain it for the full race distance before years end but some tracks will help him.  Love to see him do it.

Unfortunately, I didn't think Dovi was unable to really fight for the championship race in race out.  He needs Marquez to have another dnf I feel.  Love to see him do it but don't want to wish a dnf on Marquez who honestly deserves the championship as he's riden so far.

Total votes: 46

Perhaps it was an observation, but I read it as a snipe towards the representation in the championships and it's something which I've seen criticised numerous times... and it frustrates me seeing these ill perceived comments.

If I misconsrued the intention, then I do apologise.

I am certainly jealous there aren't more top quality riders from the UK, but I can't help but tip my hat to the Spanish for what they have achieved, teams pick the best riders and Spain, due to their system, are producing the most.

Total votes: 13

'The Ducati [Lorenzo] fought back through sheer top speed on the straights,' says Zara Daniela. I'm sorry Zara, but this is simply not true. While the old cliché says that the Ducati's always just pass on sheer top speed on the straights, the fact of the matter is that Lorenzo is now riding with the new winglets, which give him a better feeling but compromise on top speed.

In fact, as anyone can easily check on the official MotoGP website, where a sheet with top speeds has been published, Marquez had a slightly better top speed than Lorenzo this time, 336.5 vs 336.0 km/h. So I guess if Lorenzo passed Marquez it was not just by sheer top speed on the straights.

Best maximum speed was had by Bautista with 343.4 km/h, followed by Barbera and Espargaro with 340.8 and 340.5 respectivily.

 

Total votes: 12

Congrats to all the racers, to MM for always riding on the absolute limit, to Pedrosa for showing why Honda doesn't want him riding for another brand, to Jorge for rewarding Ducati for choosing him, to Rossi for daring to ride at all and for pushing so hard for his legions of admirers. 

This is the most exciting sport to watch, hard to imagine what it's like to actually compete on that level.

Total votes: 17

Certainly the severe lack of set up seems to have kept Dovi and his team from threading the setup needle. Interesting that Dovi mentions, the bike didn't feel right from lap one in this race and the last as an excuse. Marquez says, the bike didn't feel right from lap one, and presses on to win.

Total votes: 16

No one else could press on to win the way Márquez did on a poor handling bike, because no one else has the innate talent of the new GOAT.

We have already seen what happens when Márquez has the best bike - he wins every race (first half of the 2014 season).

Total votes: 12