Johann Zarco put on a late burst of speed to take the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class at Aragon. The Frenchman was the fastest of a group of riders who found some extra pace at the end of the session, ending FP3 ahead of NGM Forward's Alex De Angelis, noted wet-weather specialist Anthony West, Blusens Avintia's Julian Simon, and Gresini rider Gino Rea. Rea and Simon had led for most of the session, with Rea in particular proving his speed in the wet, the chatter from the Showa suspension not a problem in the conditions.
Dani Pedrosa has topped a damp final session of practice for the MotoGP class at the Motorland Aragon circuit. The Repsol Honda man picked up the pace halfway through the session to end what had been up until that point almost total dominance of the Yamahas, with the two Factory Yamaha bikes and the two Tech 3 Yamaha satellite machines occupying the top four spots, with only a brief interruption from Stefan Bradl.
Zulfahmi Khairuddin led a brace of Ajo KTMs during the final session of Moto3 free practice on Saturday morning, just edging out his teammate Danny Kent by a few hundredths of a second. Alex Rins bagged 3rd spot on the Suter Honda, ahead of the other Ajo KTM of Sandro Cortese, while Jonas Folger grabbed 5th spot.
Dark clouds hang over the MotoGP paddock at Aragon, and it's not just the ones from which the rain fell for most of the day. There is a sense of malaise, a black funk which pervades the paddock here, a lack of the usual sparkle and cheer which raises the mood at the racetrack. Maybe it's because all three championships are more or less sewn up; maybe it's because the excitement of silly season is mostly over; maybe it's the location: Motorland Aragon sits in of the most beautiful regions of Spain, if arid desolation is what you seek. Or maybe it's just me.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after a wet first day of practice at Aragon:
Confident start for Dovizioso and Crutchlow at rain-hit Aragon
Heavy rain and tricky track conditions meant the start of the Gran Premio Iveco de Aragon was a challenging experience for Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow today.
Dovizioso and Crutchlow were fifth and seventh fastest on the timesheets after wet weather conditions once again played a pivotal role in proceedings.
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the first day of practice at Aragon:
Oliveira fastest in the wet
Portuguese rider clocks fastest time of first day of practice at Aragon, with Álex Rins eighth, Maverick Viñales tenth and Álex Márquez eleventh.
Repsol rider Miguel Oliveira took the best time in a wet day at Aragon. The persistent rainfall greatly affected the first two practice sessions for the latest GP, in which the Portuguese rider was quickest in both. Rins, Viñales and Márquez placed eighth, tenth and eleventh, respectively.
The Blusens Avintia team have announced that they have extended their contract with Maverick Vinales for the next two seasons. The deal will see the 17-year-old remain in Moto3 for the 2013 season, before moving up to Moto2 in 2014, complete with his entire crew.
Ben Spies has topped a fully wet second session of free practice at Aragon, the Factory Yamaha man having been fast throughout in the rain. Dani Pedrosa built his pace as the session progressed, ending the day in 2nd spot, less than a tenth behind Spies. Jorge Lorenzo took 3rd, but was over half a second slower than his Factory Yamaha teammate, while Nicky Hayden bagged a respectable 4th fastest time in the wet. Hayden was the last man to finish within a second of Spies, 5th place man Andrea Dovizioso coming in nearly 1.2 seconds behind Spies.
Miguel Oliviera was once again the fastest man in the Moto3 class, topping the second session of free practice conducted in fully wet conditions. Oliveira ended the session nearly two tenths ahead of Danny Kent, the Englishman heading a trio of Ajo KTMs, with Zulfahmi Khairuddin in 3rd and Sandro Cortese in 4th. Dutchman Jasper Iwema posted his best practice result of the year, nabbing 5th in the wet on the FGR Honda, just ahead of Luis Salom, Niklas Ajo and Jonas Folger.
Andrea Iannone ended a very late first session of practice for the Moto2 class at Aragon, the series having lost an hour in cleaning up the oil spill during the morning's Moto3 FP1 session. The practice was the first meaningful session of the day, with the rain falling at the beginning of the session making the track fully wet and allowing the teams to run wet tires. Iannone took full advantage of marginally improving conditions at the end of the session to post a flying lap, with Gino Rea showing his good form in the wet as well by taking 2nd.
Nicky Hayden has topped a meaningless first session of practice for the MotoGP class at Aragon, only a few riders going out on a track that was neither fully dry nor fully wet. Hayden led his factory Ducati teammate Valentino Rossi, the Ducatis being the only prototypes going out on track. A dry line was appearing on the track, but the elevation changes around the circuit mean that there is still lots of water in many of the corners.
Miguel Oliveira topped the first session of free practice for the Moto3 class at the Motorland Aragon circuit, sitting atop the timesheets when the session was red-flagged due to a severe oil spill with less than ten minutes left. Danny Webb's Mahindra exploded, dumping oil on the track and causing the session to be terminated, after a number of riders fell on the oil, leaving no one injured, fortunately.
With the MotoGP paddock assembled at the Motorland Aragon circuit, the press got their first chance to gauge rider reaction to the proposal of a spec ECU which Dorna is looking to introduce into MotoGP, most probably from 2014. The reaction was guardedly positive among the MotoGP regulars, though all five riders questioned in the pre-event press conference raised concerns over safety. Only Jonathan Rea, standing in for Casey Stoner in the Repsol Honda team for probably the last time, dissented, believing that MotoGP should be a pure prototype series.
Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and single tire supplier ahead of this weekend's MotoGP round at Aragon:
MotoGP Returns to Spain for the Grand Prix of Aragon