Press release previews from the MotoGP teams ahead of this weekend's round at Motorland Aragon:
Bautista ready for Aragon assault
Publish Date: Monday, September 12, 2011
Álvaro Bautista is back in his homeland of Spain for the next round of the 2011 MotoGP Championship, this time at the Aragon circuit in the north-eastern part of the country.
The Rizla Suzuki squad are in a confident mood following very promising results in both practice sessions and races at recent events. Bautista had a tough battle at Aragon last year before finally securing an eighth place finish in the circuit's inaugural Grand Prix. He is determined to improve on that and believes that the strong performances and the information from last season will enable him to push for a high placed finish at the Spanish circuit. Bautista is also looking forward to competing in-front of a home crowd again and is sure the added incentive of that will help to spur him on.
The Motorland Aragon circuit is situated near Alcaniz, approximately 120kms from Zaragoza. It is an ultra-modern facility which has its roots firmly established in a solid history of street racing in the nearest town of Alcaniz - which hosted events between 1963 and 2003. The track was built in 2009 and was used as a MotoGP venue for the first time last year after being announced as a replacement for the Balatonring on the 2010 MotoGP calendar. Aragon was already in place as a reserve event, but the Spanish circuit has its own place on the calendar now following an agreement with Dorna to make it a permanent venue until at least 2016. The circuit is 5,077m long and has 17 turns, it was roundly praised by riders and team alike after its first Grand Prix in 2010 and was rewarded with the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year award, the first time a circuit had received the prize in its debut year.
Rizla Suzuki takes to the track on Friday morning for a free practice session, followed by a further practice in the afternoon and another on Saturday morning. Bautista will be looking to secure a good grid position in Saturday afternoon's qualifying for the weekend's main event. The 23-lap race will get underway at 14.00hrs local time (12.00hrs GMT) on Sunday 18th September.
"This was a really good event last year and I am looking forward to going back. It's a fun track, a fantastic facility and a circuit that I think we can go really well at. I am feeling very confident that we can run well right from the start and get a good qualifying position. It's great to race at home again, I do it four times a year, but each one seems special to me. I want to put on a good show for all the Spanish fans and think that we have the package and data to be able to do that."
MotoGP Returns to Motorland Aragon
The MotoGP Championship returns to the ‘Motorland' circuit in Aragon this weekend for round 14 of the 2011 season. This will be only the second visit to the Spanish circuit, the third ‘home' race of the year for Reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo. The Mallorcan arrives in Aragon with renewed confidence and motivation in the battle for the title after taking a perfect victory last week in Misano. The race win reduces his points gap from leader Casey Stoner to 35 points with five races remaining. The 2010 Aragon race saw Lorenzo start from second on the front row having narrowly missed pole and finish just off the podium in fourth after a battle with Nicky Hayden.
Aragon provides one of the few circuits which put Lorenzo's team mate Ben Spies on a relatively equal footing to the GP grid, all sharing the same level of track experience there. Spies delivered an exciting performance in last year's race, battling and ultimately bettering Andrea Dovizioso with a last lap thriller to take fifth. The Texan prepares for the final five races in fifth position in the Championship, 15 points behind Dani Pedrosa in fourth.
Aragon was first scheduled as a replacement for the Hungarian MotoGP round last year. The track is situated near the town of Alcaniz in northern Spain, a few hours drive from Barcelona. Designed by Hermann Tillke, the circuit is impressive and challenging with spectacular elevation changes and fast, flowing corners.
"I am very happy to be riding at home again and for a second time in Aragon. I'm looking forward to seeing all the fans there, and especially my Fan Club who are coming. Last year I couldn't get the podium which was a big shame. I wanted it because I was competing in Spain and the season had been perfect and also because I was wearing Shoya's helmet in his memory. I had a good race two weeks ago in Misano and now I am very confident we can obtain another podium, we believe we can again reduce our gap to Casey."
"It's great to come to a track on the calendar where I have the same level of experience as the rest of the field. Last year was one of my most enjoyable races, it was great fun fighting with Dovi to keep fifth and we weren't so far from the battle for third until I made a small mistake. I've had a chance to relax at my home in Como after the Indianapolis and Misano back to back races so I'm feeling good and looking forward to seeing what we can do."
"Jorge is in a winning mood, we saw that in Misano. All our efforts are focused on another victory which is what we need to close the gap. We didn't have a very good weekend at Aragon last year but in the meantime many things have changed so I believe we are able to change our feeling for the track. Jorge is well rested and physically fit so we are in the best place to challenge for another win."
"We left Misano last week in a great mood after a fantastic result. We still have five races to go and 35 points to make up so we are going to Aragon ready to fight. Ben is recovering well from his trapped nerve issue and is getting closer to full fitness again. Apart from one corner the Aragon circuit layout should be good for us and suit the YZR-M1, so our expectations are quite high for this weekend."
SIMONCELLI LOOKS TO BACK UP MISANO PERFORMANCE AT ARAGON
Marco Simoncelli will look to take the momentum of a stunning last lap at Misano into the Aragon Grand Prix this weekend and use it as a platform to a positive finish to his second season in MotoGP. The Italian's aim over the final five races of the season is to pick up the kind of results that escaped him in the early stages of the campaign. The courageous and combative temperament that may have cost him on occasion has now helped to form a strong working relationship with his team and created the necessary confidence to take on the challenge. This is the second visit to Aragon for MotoGP and the circuit, which was designed by fame German architect Herman Tilke in collaboration with Formula 1 star Pedro de la Rosa, was to the liking of Simoncelli last year. He finished in seventh place but was less than a second behind Valentino Rossi in sixth as he gradually improved his pace around the varied mixture of corners. Hiroshi Aoyama made a less convincing debut at the Spanish circuit but he is doubly determined to make up for that this weekend having rediscovered his form and fitness at Misano.
Marco Simoncelli "The last lap at Misano was a wonderful moment for me – I had great fun battling with Dovizioso and Spies, passing each other two or three times, and to have won that particular fight was great for me and my fans. Now we have to keep this momentum going and make sure we have more to shout about before the end of the season. We are improving and I have been more consistent in recent races but even though the race was exciting at Misano we really need to be fighting for the podium positions. Aragon didn't go badly for me last year and I like the track so hopefully I can have a good race. We need to find a bit more pace in practice so that we can be challenging for better grid positions, like we were at the start of the season. It goes without saying that my feeling with the team is brilliant and that is just further motivation to fight for good results."
Hiroshi Aoyama "I could maybe have finished with a better result at Misano but I am pleased that I have my confidence back with the bike as well as my own physical fitness. I feel in good shape to improve my results throughout the final stages of the season, starting at Aragon. Even though I didn't go so well there last year I feel I can improve on my result at Misano. Living in Barcelona I consider this to be another 'home' race for me and I want to make a good job of it. We are in good shape to do well and with the help of the team I think I can do it. We are improving and on our way back to being as competitive as we were at the start of the season."
Fausto Gresini "After such an exciting and successful final lap from Marco at Misano there is a buzz about the team and everybody is looking forward to the last few races of the season. "Sic" demonstrated his huge potential at his home race and I feel sure that he will improve further before the end of the season and pick up the results that escaped him in the opening few races of the year. His feeling with the bike gets better and better and his relationship with the team is driving everybody on to bigger things. Marco has the ability to give us all plenty to celebrate over the final few races of the year. Hiroshi Aoyama has come through a difficult period after his crash at Assen and has his confidence back, as well as his fitness. I predict a strong finish to the year for him, in the same way he started it."
Bridgestone MotoGP Preview - Round 14: Aragon
Tuesday 13 September 2011
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium, Ex Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium
In 2010, the Motorland Aragon circuit in the north-east of Spain was an entirely new challenge for Bridgestone as it held its first premier class motorcycle Grand Prix. This year however, Bridgestone, the teams and the riders all have the benefit of last year's data to call upon.
The circuit's surface is relatively smooth slippery so softer rear tyre compound options have been selected: the soft and medium rear symmetric slicks. Front slick options are more unusual however as the available compounds are medium and extra hard, the same as were offered in Qatar. This is because the location of the circuit can mean that sand can be blown onto the tarmac overnight leading to a higher rate of abrasion particularly of the front tyre as it tends to push more into corners on the slippery sand, just like in Qatar, and the extra hard compound has far greater wear and graining resistance. There are also a number of fast downhill braking zones which demand good front-end stability, and some riders may favour the extra hard compound for the benefit it offers in this area. Additionally this year as per the new regulations, a third option of soft compound front slicks will be provided for cold conditions.
Motorland Aragon has a balanced nature in terms of the demands placed on the right and the left shoulders of the tyres, so for this reason asymmetric rear slicks have not been selected, making the GP one of only four this season where the popular asymmetric rears won't be used.
Looking closely at last year's data and rider comments, it has not been necessary to revise tyre compound options for the Aragon GP this year. Based on the circuit analysis and scientific approach to tyre selection last year, Bridgestone are confident that the choices made then are still the best suited to the circuit now. The only difference is the addition of the third soft compound front slick tyre for the cooler conditions, and this could feature more heavily in the morning sessions this weekend than it has done in the past three GPs.
Current championship leader Casey Stoner won the inaugural Aragon GP for Ducati ahead of Dani Pedrosa and Nicky Hayden whilst Jorge Lorenzo was fourth. After Lorenzo's victory in Misano last time out closed the gap in the overall standings, the championship race will intensify as MotoGP embarks upon the last five rounds of the season.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
"Of course last year Aragon was a totally new circuit to MotoGP but I was very impressed with it and certainly there was a lot of good feedback from everybody in the paddock. I am pleased that we are going back this year as it is an exciting and quite dramatic circuit, and with the benefit of last year's experience not only is our job easier as we do not need to conduct more scientific analysis of the circuit and its tarmac, but we can also be very confident of our tyre compound choices. As the championship fight gathers pace entering the last period of the season, I hope that we will see more good battles not just for the entertainment of the fans but us inside the paddock too!"
Hirohide Hamashima – Assistant to Director, Motorsport Tyre Development Division
"Run for the first time in 2010, we now have the benefit of last year's data to draw upon for this season which has allowed us to verify that last year's compound choices were well suited and don't need revising. The Aragon track surface is relatively smooth and slippery, similar to Misano, so we need good grip which suggests softer compounds, but there are also some long corners and some downhill braking points which require greater stability and thus harder compounds. Last year, although we chose tyre compounds based on exhaustive and accurate scientific study of the circuit, including taking latex moulds to take back to Japan for closer inspection, it was still a totally new challenge for us but I am pleased that we can look back and say that we did a good job.
"The location of the circuit is at quite a high elevation meaning the weather conditions are cooler so warm-up performance is important. This is the first race since the change in regulations at the Czech Republic GP in which we might see more riders using the third soft spec front tyre particularly in the morning sessions."
The Repsol Honda Team arrives fresh and determined at Motorland Aragon
This weekend Alcañiz plays host for the second year to the MotoGP World Championship in the Grand Prix of Aragon.
After a one week break following two very demanding races in Indianapolis and Misano, the Repsol Honda riders are ready to enjoy one of the most impressive facilities on the MotoGP calendar. In 2010, Motorland was rewarded with the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year Award - the first time a circuit has received the prize in its debut year.
Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Casey Stoner head into the decisive stage of the Championship very determined and Aragon is a place to shine. Casey, who is currently leading the Championship, won there last season and will look to repeat his outstanding performances to further increase his gap over Jorge Lorenzo.
Dani Pedrosa, who missed his home race in Catalunya due to injury, wants to enjoy this third race of the year in Spain together with his fans and will also be chasing victory after his second place in 2010. With five races to go the Spaniard currently lies in fourth position, thirty five points behind team mate Andrea Dovizioso who will be looking to return on the podium after two fifth places in the last two races.
The records set in 2010 by Casey Stoner and Dani Pedrosa will be the reference in Motorland. Casey set the pole position with a lap time of 1'48.942 and Dani stablished the fastest lap in the race with 1'49.521.
CASEY STONER – World Championship Position: 1st with 259 points
"I've managed to rest since the hard race in Misano, where I was totally worn out. The hectic schedule we follow had drained me completely and I had no energy, nothing left to give, so I've enjoyed relaxing this past week and getting back to some training. The Aragon track is ok, it's not one of my favourite circuits, I feel it could be a little faster. We ran well there last year, mainly due to the fact we took a big step in the set up on the bike. This year we arrive there with a totally different bike so we have a lot of things to learn in FP1, getting the gearbox set up right and a few other things in general. It will be interesting to go there on the Honda, Dani was competitive there last year and I think we can work well there also, and expect a good result. We'll get there and see what we can do".
ANDREA DOVIZIOSO – World Championship Position: 3rd with 185 points
"We arrive in Aragon third in the Championship looking to close the gap to Lorenzo in second, but also needing to defend from Dani in fourth. I like Motorland Aragon, the circuit is very nice and it's fun to ride. The key characteristic is the downhill braking areas and it has some similarities to the Istanbul circuit with interesting corners and changes of direction. It's not so fast but all in all I like to race there. Last year it was a new track so I think that with one year of experience we can be even more competitive. Last year I crashed on the very last lap while I was fighting with Ben Spies for 5th position, this year we arrive confident that we can have a strong race".
DANI PEDROSA – World Championship Position: 4th with 150 points
"I have very good memories of the Grand Prix of Aragon, last year we started well and we had a good race. I'm satisfied with our performance in the past few weeks and I feel better every day. This week I've been able to rest and recover some energy and now I'm really looking forward to this race. People from all around Spain attend the Aragon GP and the atmosphere there is incredible. The circuit is spectacular and very technical, it combines fast and slow corners, some of them complicated and blind where you need to find points of reference outside the track. We need to set up the bike very well for this track and make the most of all the practice sessions. The data we have from last year can help us on this and it will be important to start in a good direction but we cannot relax. I'm excited to see the Spanish fans again after missing the Catalunya race and I hope the home support wi ll give me an extra boost so that we can enjoy this race together".
Magnificent Motorland Aragon awaits Edwards and Crutchlow
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team makes its third visit of the season to Spain this weekend for the 14th round of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship at the magnificent Motorland Aragon circuit.
Sunday's race will provide another milestone in the distinguished career of Colin Edwards, who is poised to make his 150th MotoGP start. The 37-year-old has been one of the most consistent performers in the Championship since he arrived in the paddock back in 2003 and this season has been no exception, the popular American chasing an 11th consecutive point-scoring finish of the season this weekend.
Edwards currently sits ninth in the overall standings on 87-points and he is hoping for a strong result this weekend to bounce back quickly from a difficult race at Misano. Edwards was battling for a place inside the top seven before he was struck by a severe arm pump problem. Edwards has been able to rest and recover for more than a week at his Texas home and he's confident the issue won't be a problem at the Motorland AragonBritish rider Cal Crutchlow heads into the weekend with his confidence boosted by a hard fought 10th place in Misano. Crutchlow has worked tremendously hard in the last races to find a more confident front-end set-up with his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 machine and he is looking forward to continuing that progress this weekend.
The Motorland Aragon track throws up another new challenge for Crutchlow, who has never raced on the technical 3.155 miles layout before. The 2009 World Supersport champion though has demonstrated his ability to quickly learn new tracks in his rookie campaign and he's targeting another top 1 0 assault in Sunday's 23-lap race.
The Motorland Aragon first appeared on the MotoGP schedule last season as a replacement for the Balatonring in Hungary. The circuit was universally praised by riders and its state-of-the-art facilities helped it secure the coveted IRTA Grand Prix of the Year accolade. The circuit is now a permanent fixture on the calendar and is the last race before the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team embarks on flyaway trips to Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
Colin Edwards, 9th - 87 points:
"I can't believe I'm going to be making my 150th MotoGP appearance this weekend. It feels like only yesterday since I moved from World Superbikes but I've had an awesome time in MotoGP and long may it continue. Although it is a landmark race in my MotoGP career I'll just try and treat it like every other race and do the b est possible job I can for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team. The Aragon track has a really cool layout and I can't wait to get back there, even though my result wasn't the best last season. And I'm definitely keen to bounce back from Misano, which didn't end how I expected at all. I had a great weekend up until the race but the arm pump was the worst I've ever had. I've had a few days to rest and relax at home so I'm sure I'm going to be 100 per cent this weekend."
Cal Crutchlow, 15th - 45 points:
"I'm raring to start this weekend having spent a few days with the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team in France. It has been great spending some quality time with the crew while also training hard after a couple of really physically demanding races in Indianapolis and Misano. We've managed to pick up a couple of respectable results recently to restore my con fidence, but as a rider you always want more, so the goal this weekend will be to qualify and finish the race inside the top 10. Aragon is another track I've only ever seen on TV and I can't wait to ride it. It looks like a lot of fun with some undulation and some fast, sweeping corners. I think it might suit my style because it doesn't look like a circuit with a lot of strong braking points. It is never easy trying to learn a new track, but the confidence gained in the last couple of the races means we can start the weekend in a positive frame of mind."
Pictures are available at: http://www.f lickr.com/photos/12117702@N05/
An ultra-modern facility, MotorLand Aragón had its roots firmly established thanks to a solid history of street racing in Alcañiz, which hosted events between 1963 and 2003. Safety advice warning against the continuation of this led to the proposal and construction of a sporting complex dedicated to motorsport.
With support from local institutions, renowned German architect Hermann Tilke was commissioned to design the facility. The circuit, which is 5.077km long and has 17 turns, was roundly praised by riders after its first Grand Prix in 2010, and it was rewarded with the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year award, the first time a circuit had received the prize in its debut year.
Circui t Info:
Length: 5.078 m. / 3,155 miles
Left corners: 10
Right corners: 7
Longest straight: 968 m. / 0,601 miles
Fastest Lap: 2010 - Casey STONER (AUS), Ducati - 1'48.942
Circuit Record: 2010 - Dani PEDROSA (SPA), Honda - 1'49.521
Best Pole: 2010 - Casey STONER (AUS), Ducati - 1'48.942
Top Speed: 2010 - Dani PEDROSA (SPA), Honda - 329.5 km/h
HÉCTOR BARBERÁ HOPING TO SHINE AT THIRD HOME RACE OF THE YEAR
MAPFRE Aspar rider aiming to continue good spell of form throughout final stages of season
At 5.078km in length and with a main straight of almost a kilometre, as well as a mixture of almost every kind of corner imaginable, the Motorland circuit in Aragon will provide a stern test for the MotoGP teams and riders this weekend. From the coast of Italy the series moves to the desert land of Spain for the fourteenth round of the season and the fourth of five on the Iberian Peninsular. Just 35 points separate the top two riders in the championship with a maximum of 125 still up for grabs, with Jorge Lorenzo's most recent victory at Misano last time out closing the gap to Casey Stoner, although the Australian remains the strong favourite.
MAPFRE Aspar rider Héctor Barberá scored his best result of the season so far with sixth place at Jerez and he also put in a strong showing with eleventh at Catalunya. Little wonder that he is looking forward to his third home race of the season, especially as he looks to continue an excellent run of recent form. Ever since the Italian Grand Prix back in June Héctor has stepped up his workrate and his pace, and thanks to a good base setting the results have been impressive. Ninth place at Misano has given him the confidence and motivation to be fighting for another top result in front of his home fans at Motorland.
Héctor Barberá: "I had a good weekend in practice at Motorland last year and a good race too. I am confident that we can achieve a top result this weekend. We are in incredible form at the moment ,the team are helping me a lot and I am enjoying every session on the bike. We have found a good base set-up and we are getting the most out of the bike at the moment. This is also another home race for us and after qualifying as the best Ducati and finishing the race as the second one I am highly motivated. I love the track - it is very complete and it suits my riding style perfectly. The set-up we have should work well here at Motorland and the objective is to continue in the same way we've been working recently because if we do that the results will come. I would love to be the top Ducati again."
CAPIROSSI DISCOVERS ARAGON. DE PUNIET WANTS THE RESULTS
The world championship returns to Spain for the 14th MotoGP round of 2011 with the Aragon Grand Prix, which is the penultimate European round on the calendar. The MotorLand Aragon circuit, added to the series just last year, was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, renowned guru of motorsports circuits all over the world. Last year Pramac Racing finished the race in tenth and fourteenth place, respectively, with riders Espargaro and Kallio. This visit to the track will be the first (and last) for Loris Capirossi, who missed last year due to injury.
Fabiano Sterlacchini - Fabiano Sterlacchini - Technical Director Pramac Racing
"It will be interesting to see how Loris will adapt to this track. There are so many turns and four straight to try to unleash the power of the bike. Randy has the qualities to get a good result."
Loris Capirossi - Pilota Pramac Racing Team
"At 38 years old, and a few races away from my retirement, it's funny to think of myself as a newcomer. It will be my first time at Aragon, as I missed last year's race. It will be interesting to get to know another track, but of course I'll be starting off with a disadvantage compared to the other riders. I'll give it my all, like always. I want to finish out my career with a smile."
Randy De Puniet - Pramac Racing Team rider
"I'm still a little disappointed for the misstep at Misano. After the nice race at Indy, I thought I could do it again in Italy, but something didn't go right. We must do a good job and try to immediately find the right setup for the bike at Aragon. I like the track, which is very complex and technical. I want to get a nice result."
DUCATI TEAM TO FOCUS WORK ON DESMOSEDICI AT ARAGON
This Sunday's Aragon Grand Prix marks the MotoGP calendar's fourteenth round and the Grand Prix series' second visit to the new motorsports facility in central Spain. In 2010, the Ducati Team perfectly understood the circuit, and both of its riders finished on the podium.
For Nicky Hayden, it was one of his best results aboard the Desmosedici, as he used a beautiful last-lap pass on Jorge Lorenzo to achieve his third-place finish. The American hopes to continue improving his feeling with the GP11.1 so that he can be consistently fast from the free practice sessions on.
Valentino Rossi finished sixth at Aragon last year, but he approaches the Aragon weekend with determination and focus for the work that he's carrying out with the Ducati technicians and his team.
VALENTINO ROSSI, Ducati Team
"Last year at Aragon was the best race of the year for Ducati, so we approach this round with our expectations a little higher than usual. In addition, after the difficult practice sessions at Misano, we found a good setup in the end and I had a better feeling with the bike and managed to ride it better in the race, especially in the early laps. Now we'll try to combine the two things—the track that seems to work well with the Desmosedici and the good setup work—in order to find the same feeling on Sunday."
NICKY HAYDEN, Ducati Team
"It's nice to go back to Aragon, which I like. We haven't been there a lot, so it's still new and fun. Last year, it was clearly our best weekend of the season, and in theory, it should suit me and our bike a little bit this time as well. The track was brand-new then, and it was grippy and completely smooth, so we'll see how well it's held up. It has a lot of ups and downs, and quite a few corners with open exits, which should be good for us. I'm 100% okay from my crash at Misano, so no excuses there. Hopefully we can catch a little break and have a good weekend at Aragon."
VITTORIANO GUARESCHI, Team Manager
"We have some great memories of Aragon from last year, so we're happy to return. Every season has its own story though, and we're obviously currently working not only for this weekend but also beyond. Our riders and team are completely focused on the goal, and they're giving us a collaborative working group that I think is extremely important. At Aragon, we expect to continue gathering data and information on the Desmosedici and to speed up the setup work during the practice sessions."