2019 Aragon MotoGP Race Result: A Stroll Through The Park

Even the clouds turned up to watch Marc Marquez’s 200th Grand Prix start, raising some eyebrows despite no rain being forecast, lowering track temperature and changing a few tyre choices. But none of it mattered in the end, the world champion sightseeing around Motorland Aragon more comfortably than in practice and fishing out a predictable runaway victory on home soil. The home advantage was five seconds over the rest of the podium men, which looked like Yamaha on paper but turned red after 23 laps under the (occasional) Spanish sun. Andrea Dovizioso turned a lowly 10th place on the grid into a 99th career podium after a much more exciting afternoon than Marquez’s, while Jack Miller inflicted further pain onto Yamaha to snatch the final trophy on offer on the last lap.

Marquez wrote the script of his victory when he made a dream start off the line and we barely got a sighting of him since. Right behind the Honda missile, Miller’s holeshot button turned Vinales into Ducati’s first victim in turn one, before hunting Fabio Quartararo by sector three. Miller started lap two as Marquez’s lead pursuer but the world champion was over a second ahead already. A bit further back, Franco Morbidelli did not see the end of lap one, crashing out at turn 12 as a result of a late and overly optimistic lunge from Alex Rins. The Spaniard kept on board but dropped to 19th position, after making good progress into the top 10 early on, and awaited his inevitable long lap penalty.

By lap five, Marquez was over two seconds ahead of Miller, while Vinales was pushing hard to get past Quartararo in the early battle for third. Once the factory man got the best of his satellite colleague, Vinales almost immediately caught up with Miller, which was a more difficult proposition top-speed-wise. Over a second back on the duo, Valentino Rossi and Dovizioso faced the rare challenge of struggling to get past Aleix Espargaro, who was running an excellent race in the early laps. Dovizioso was victorious at the end of lap five through outright speed on the back straight and had a second to find on the podium battle ahead.

Marquez stated lap eight nearly five seconds in the lead, this time with Vinales as the lead chaser once the Yamaha bravely got past the Ducati of Miller at the final turn. Miller quickly lost half a second on the Spaniard and was coming under attack from Dovizioso, who had disposed of Quartararo in Ducati’s favourite spot, the back straight. The Frenchman seemed to run out of steam and was falling back into Aleix Espargaro and Cal Crutchlow’s reach, while Rossi was in a lonely eight position almost three seconds back. There was quite a bit of entertainment seven seconds behind the Italian, where Danilo Petrucci and Rins were fighting directly for third in the championship but also getting poked by Andrea Iannone and Miguel Oliveira occasionally.

At the halfway point of the race, the waiting game started, Marquez keeping Vinales a safe five seconds behind, with Miller awaiting Dovizioso’s attack another second down the road. The Italian had some difficulty finding a way past a nearly identical machine but found a gap in turn one, with nine laps remaining. It took a couple of laps for Dovizioso to close on Vinales so the Italian left himself with only three laps to find a way past. That proved enough, yet another rocket launch into turn 16 placing him ahead and into second position with two laps left. Even more worrying for Vinales was the other Ducati of Miller tagging along for the ride and waiting for his turn to attack. His battle spot of choice was turn one, at the start of the final lap, a painful blow to the Yamaha that led the fruitless pursuit of Marquez for most of the race. Vinales was glued to the back of Miller for the final lap but had nothing to bring to the fight against the Ducati and had to make do with fourth.

Quartararo came home into a lonely fifth place, with Crutchlow sixth. Credit to Aleix Espargaro, Crutchlow only managed to get past him with seven laps left and the Aprilia man kept close to the LCR machine to the end of the race. Rossi, Rins and Nakagami rounded out the top ten positions.

Dovizioso’s impressive comeback limited the damage in the championship standings but Marquez still extended a gap as comfortable as today’s win, 98 points on the Italian heading into the flyaways.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'57.221
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +4.836
3 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +5.430
4 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +5.811
5 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +8.924
6 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +10.390
7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +10.441
8 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +23.623
9 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +27.998
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +31.242
11 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +32.624
12 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +33.043
13 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +33.063
14 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +33.363
15 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +36.358
16 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +41.295
17 82 Mika KALLIO KTM +42.983
18 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +43.880
19 38 Bradley SMITH Aprilia +44.279
20 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +46.087
21 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +47.308
    Not Finished 1st Lap    
  21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha 0 Lap
Round Number: 
14
2019
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Total votes: 17

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Comments

A few days ago I said KTM would be very exposed if anything happened to Pol, nobody it expected it to happen that quickly. A rather stinging reminder that Pol Espargaro is very fast, but the KTM RC16 not so much.

Could we be about to go truly off the deep end and find Zarco back on a KTM? It might take the cake for strangest thing to ever happen in Moto GP.

Total votes: 5

Rick650, relative to the other manufacturers' situations, I would say Honda is more napping than struggling, and that the primary difference is having Marc. They have been coming up with a difficult bike to ride for most of the Michelin era, and needn't answer to what most riders want. If Cal could have done a 2018 chassis parts bin special a-la the Zarco Tech3 bike he would be a happier and faster chap this year.

Yamaha woke up a year ago from a long nap. Thankfully. Looking perky. The Suzuki garage woke up a few years ago, albeit hitting the snooze button around the boardroom table re sponsorship and organizational deficits. (And the livery department has been sound asleep dreaming of the 1980's in my opinion).

Ducati, who have done so much and in such innovative ways, have been getting their bike and whole organization to revolve around developing a bike that does more of what Dovi wants. It responds to setup. It turns in!

KTM and Dani are wide awake. More coming in Orange. Honda? Marquez is a warm glass of sweet milk from Mum.

Total votes: 24

Methinks it may have been Teddy Rooseveldt who said that. No one is surprised that Marc ran away with the race. Surely the only way he could not have won was to trip himself up and he made damn sure he did not. He could have won by 15 seconds but elected to play the smart game. Great ride. Back to the main event, the podium battle. I recall Dovi post qualifying saying he was good for race pace and in with a good shot at a podium after qualifying 10th due to a mistake. I generally take his opinion very seriously. Why? He never did bother telling half truths. I had pencilled him in for a podium last night. It all hinged on the first corner and that did not pan out too well for him. However, he rode an amazing, clinical and focused race with the soft rear. Iron fist in a velvet glove, if you will. Jack Miller was absolutely brilliant as was Aleix Espargaro. Miller was another case in point of riding very smart with the tool at his disposal and for me looked a potential podium candidate throughout the weekend. Bagnaia and Petrux...ouch. From a Ducati perspective, battling with Karel and Tito on 2 year old bikes 30+ seconds back? Gigi has issues with Dovi? Maybe because he (Dovi) calls it spot on re the bike week in and week out. For 2021 and Ducati, I would love to see Jack Miller and Brad Binder as team mates at Ducati Factory. Dovi is running out of time, Bagnaia is going nowhere, Petrux is going backwards. Youngsters are everywhere. Rossi may as well retire year end and gift his seat to Quattararo, given this result.

Total votes: 4

I am not sure if Honda are napping or struggling in their attempt to make the bike useable for a wider range of riders.

They have a solid test rider in Bradl, are playing with various iterations of carbon reinforced frames, different aero etc plus I bet lots lots of things that are not easily seen.

They introduced a more powerful engine with a seemingly reasonable power curve, signed an amazingly highly qualified second rider with a different style and who could provide different inputs, kept proven and known Crutchlow in the same satellite team with current year machinery as another source of feedback. Nakagami gives the contrast of last year's bike.
Everything should have been good, not just for Marquez but for the others with Ducati level power added to a championship winning bike, yet only Marquez can perform on the 2020 bike!

In a a classic of unintended consequences the repackaging for the new engine lost that vital front end feel, the one aspect of a race bike that is hardest to ride around and also the hardest to rediscover.
Lorenzo has been injured and it is an understatement to say slow to adapt to the Honda.

Marquez meanwhile just rides the bike differently from previous years and works out how to win on it.

 

Total votes: 13

It wasn't the increased power that caused the lack of front end feel per se. Both Honda and Ducati looked at the other last winter and tried to take their bike in the direction that the other was strong in. Ducati sacrificed some of their traction and braking in an (insufficient) attempt to get mid corner speed. Honda sacrificed front end feel and braking in order to get more traction. 

Total votes: 2