Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Aragon:
Marquez smashes lap record with Pedrosa completing Repsol Honda 1-2 in Aragón qualifying
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa will occupy the front two spots for tomorrow’s Aragón GP, for the third time this season and the first time since Germany.
Marc took a provisional pole on his first exit of Q2 with a time of 1’47.572, 0.232s faster than his pole record in 2013 (1’47.804). Then Dani, on his second exit, put in a blistering lap ￼of ￼1’47.549, 0.023 faster than Marc sending him to the top of the timing sheets. Marc responded and clinched his 20th Pole Position in the MotoGP class, setting a new fastest lap time around the 5,078km Aragón circuit with a time of 1’47.187, 0.617s faster than 2013.
The 23 lap race will start at 14h00 local time.
1st - 1'47.187
“Qualifying went very well, continuing the form that we have had so far this weekend! We have focused a lot of our work on our race pace, looking less at setting a one-off lap time and more at finding a strong pace. Things are looking good for the race, although Dani also has a very good pace, so we’ll have to see tomorrow!”
2nd - 1'47.549
“Today we had a good qualifying session. In other races we have had difficulties because we haven't started from the front, but today we managed to set a good lap. I think that the practice sessions also went well for us, and tomorrow in the race we will be as competitive as possible. Marc is setting some very good times, so we will try to fight for the win against him! It will be important to get a good start, although the race is long and the pace will play a big part, so we will have keep our concentration on every corner."
Movistar Yamaha Score Second and Third Row for Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon
Motorland Aragón (Spain), 27th September 2014
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo faced a second day of challenging riding today in qualifying for tomorrow’s Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón, taking sixth and seventh respectively on the grid.
Having fought hard yesterday and today to find a good pace, Rossi found himself this afternoon having to compete in the first qualifying session. A slow start on a soft front and hard rear tyre initially put the nine-time world champion into seventh position on his first hot lap. A slow lap followed in the hunt for clear track and then he put the pressure on, shooting to the top of the time sheet with a 1’49.172 second lap. A quick stop followed for the softer rear tyre option then he was back out with just over three minutes remaining and made a big jump, securing top and a place in qualifying two with a 1’48.692.
With just a few minutes rest it was go time again as the second qualifying heat got underway. His first flying lap was a 1’48.614, improving on his time from the first session. The Doctor was unable to beat that until after a tyre change for a second medium rear: he was back in the last minutes and scored an impressive 1’48.226 to knock his teammate out of provisional fourth place. A flurry of hot laps by rivals in the last seconds then dropped him two places to sixth on the grid where he will start tomorrow’s race.
Determined to make the best of a tough weekend, Lorenzo was straight out of the box as qualifying two began, attacking the circuit at full speed. His first flying lap was a 1’48.332, the first recorded lap of the session until his rivals completed their first, dropping him to third provisionally. His second effort was unable to better the time, taking a 1’48.604 to hold his third position. With just over seven minutes remaining he returned for fresh tyres before re-joining the track for a final push. The local hero put the hammer down and delivered a 1’48.246 to take provisional second on the grid until the final attack of the other front runners dropped him first to fourth, then three further places to seventh on the grid at the final flag.
46 Valentino Rossi
6th / 1'48.226 / 8 laps
“A difficult practice yesterday and also today as we are suffering from a lack of grip. It’s difficult to ride the bike at the limit as after some laps it starts to slide a lot. We worked very hard with the team to try and improve some different settings. It looks like this afternoon we found some things so I will start from the second row, which is not so bad, it's quite good. Now we have to try to find some small improvement for the warm up and for the race so we can try to do the maximum tomorrow afternoon. The big question mark is the front tyre, we can use medium or hard. They are very similar so we have to see what the track temperature will be.”
99 Jorge Lorenzo
7th / 1'48.246 / 8 laps
“It's unbelievable how in just two weeks everything can change just for the track. It’s true that this year we have even more difficulties to be competitive here. I’m very disappointed because today we got two wrong tyres for the rear. They were not good. One was defective in the morning and the second tyre in qualifying was also not good. I expected to improve four or five tenths but I couldn’t, improving by just one tenth. When you have more difficulties sometimes you get even more problems as happened today. I think our pace is not that bad compared to our grid position so if we can make a good start and be patient we can fight. The first two corners will be difficult, then little by little we can make some positions and fight for the podium."
“Following a tough day of practice yesterday we worked hard last night to find solutions for the challenges facing us on this circuit. We’ve tried several different options and although we are closer than yesterday we are still looking for the key to make that significant step forward. Both Jorge and Vale have as usual given 100% to qualify in the best position possible. Unfortunately Jorge’s second qualifying tyre didn't work as it should which left us unable to capitalise on his full potential. For sure we will continue to work this evening to find something we can offer them for warm up tomorrow morning so we will see. It will be a long race tomorrow and both are real fighters. We are also expecting possible rain tomorrow which will change everything for everyone.”
GP of Aragón: a good qualifying run by Crutchlow, who will start from row 2 with fifth-quickest time. Dovizioso crashes on his quick lap and qualifies ninth
Cal Crutchlow finally managed to put in a good qualifying run as he powered to a row 2 grid position for the GP of Aragón, which will take place tomorrow at the MotorLand circuit near Alcañiz.
After finishing both of today’s free practice sessions in ninth place, the British rider was able to advance directly into Q2, and on his second run he set a time of 1’47.897 to earn him fifth place and row 2 on the grid.
There was some disappointment however for Andrea Dovizioso, who had ended the final free practice session in second place behind Marquez and who had been expecting to run well in qualifying.
The Italian was quickest at the first split on his fast lap, but then crashed out a few corners later and had to settle for ninth, with a time of 1’48.542 that he set on his first run. Dovizioso will start tomorrow’s race from row 3.
Also worthy of mention is the excellent qualifying run by Andrea Iannone on the Pramac Racing Team’s GP14.2 machine. The young Italian, who will be team-mate to Dovizioso in the Ducati Team next year, set third-quickest time in 1’47.685 and will start from the front row.
Cal Crutchlow (Ducati Team #35) – 5th (1’47.897)
“Obviously I’m more pleased with today’s result than over the other weekends. We managed to qualify on the second row, which is the best result since Assen for me. Hopefully we can get away with the other guys tomorrow and have a better race. I think we deserve it, because it was a fantastic job by the team today in the qualifying session for me to be so fast, but we still have to work a lot on the race pace and the set-up. It’s going to be a tough race tomorrow, because the tyres drop a lot, but I’ll try my best to get a strong top 10 finish.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 9th (1’48.542)
“It was a real pity, because in FP4 we had good pace, and I think I can say now that we are a lot closer to the top guys also for race pace. I was sure I could do a good qualifying session but I lost the front at turn 8 in a rather strange crash. I don’t think I did anything wrong: it was my mistake but I don’t think I exaggerated that much, maybe we’re a bit too close to the limit at the front. We’ve got to work to improve this tomorrow because otherwise in the race I won’t be able to push that hard. Today however we did a good job and we’ve got good race pace.”
Iannone changes bike but not the results; Hernandez almost in Q2
Exciting qualifications for the Pramac Racing Team once again Andrea Iannone will start the race in the front row, this time riding the new GP 14.2. Yonny Hernandez instead qualifies thirteenth after Q1.
Andrea Iannone confirms himself once again the showman of qualifying, gaining for the second time in a row the first row. Tomorrow Andrea will start from third position thanks to the fantastic lap time of 1.47.685. The result is exciting because it was obtained with authority, alone, without the help of a slip stream. In Aragon it is also vital to start from the front due to the short distance between the starting line and the first turn Andrea is thrilled with his performance and continuity that he is having in Q2. The hope is high to replicate the good results of Misano and also to do better if the GP 14.2 proves to be competitive in the race as well.
In qualifications Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing), missed for a hair access to Q2 taken away by Barbera right under the checkered flag. Despite the good lap time obtained (1.49.051) Yonny settled to start from thirteenth position. The Colombian rider anyway today showed all his grit and tenacity, tacking on the Q1 after he crashed during FP4. Yonny clearly is not very happy with his result, but it is certain that in the race can fight for better positions.
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"What can I say! I'm happy It’s another front row, I put down a great lap time and this time alone. We knew that using the soft tire we had the potential to do a good qualification. Too bad for the FP4 because at the beginning of the session we decided to try a different setting but it did not give me the same feeling as the previous one, I could have been a little faster. I'm happy with the race pace, I think tomorrow we can point for a good result. "
Yonny Hernandez (EnergyT.I. Pramac Racing)
"I'm happy I was able to compete again for Q2 and I almost made it! I'm sorry didn’t get in but I managed to make my lap time alone and this is important. Tomorrow if I make a good start I can point to re-enter the top ten. It will not be easy because this is a very fast track and the official bikes accelerate more than mine on the straight gaining a few tenths compared to me. I'm sorry for the crash, but I have a good feeling and I point to do well. "
FRUSTRATING QUALIFYING LEAVES TEAM GO&FUN HONDA GRESINI WITH A LOT TO DO
Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista and Scott Redding have a big mountain to climb during tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Aragon after a difficult qualifying session this afternoon, which saw them relegated in fifteenth and sixteenth position, respectively.
Slowed by the same rear grip issues which are afflicting him from several races, Bautista was not able to go beyond the fifth position in Qualifying 1 with a lap time of 1’49”274 and therefore was not able to access the battle for the top twelve positions, the Q2 session.
His teammate, Scott Redding, will line up on the grid behind him with the sixteenth fastest time, 1’49”703: although improving his pace compared to yesterday, the British rookie again struggled with front-end issues and was beaten in Qualifying 1 by Hiroshi Aoyama’s Open Class Honda RCV1000R.
ALVARO BAUTISTA (15th - 1'49"274)
“I miss rear grip, like the other races, and even with a new tyre I cannot use all the potential of the bike, therefore I’m struggling a lot. I could not enter the Q2 today, so tomorrow I will start from the back of the grid, but apart from that it’s frustrating riding in this condition because it’s like taking risks everywhere, just to go one second slower compared to our rivals. This is not a good feeling, for sure! Tomorrow anyway I will give my best, trying to take my rhythm and finish the race: it’s all I can do, because at the moment, with this feeling, it’s impossible to go fast”.
SCOTT REDDING (16th - 1'49"703)
“It was a difficult day: the set-up solution we tried during FP4 to try and make the bike better for me was not really good, so we went back to the old setting for the Qualifying. We still need to work tomorrow because the situation actually has not improved compared to yesterday. It’s going to be a long race and even though it will be difficult, we will give our best to try to be the top Production Racer Honda”.
“We are still struggling a lot and unfortunately we cannot find a way out for this situation, which is affecting us already for five or six races. Tomorrow we expect another difficult race: we hope that at least Alvaro can give the best from his side, thus getting the maximum possible result. Redding is also struggling, but I believe that our target to be back as top Production Racer Honda may be within our reach tomorrow”.
Espargaro first open at Aragon
The NGM Forward Racing Team and Aleix Espargaro confirmed today their competitiveness bringing the Forward Yamaha once again on top of the Open category. The Spaniard did a great job to improve the set up of his machine with race tyres and is quiet confident with his pace. Despite he couldn’t use all the potential out of the soft tyre due to some traffic on track during his fast lap, Aleix set a lap time of 1’48.586 and tomorrow he will take the start of the Aragon GP from the first spot of the 4th row (10th).
Alex De Angelis’ qualifying session was partly compromised by two crashes, fortunately without consequences during the FP4. With a lap time of 1’50.263, De Angelis finished in 19th position and tomorrow he will give the maximum to get the best possible result, managing the race and also the pain, as he is not completely recovered from the scaphoid fracture.
“I like this track a lot and I expected to be more in front here. It’s a pity that we couldn’t use all the potential of the soft tyre as my fast lap was spoiled by Hector Barbera, who was in front of me. He entered the pit lane without signalling it and I almost crashed. Anyway, I’m confident with my pace as we made a step forward in terms of set up with the race tyres. Considered that I’m starting from the 4th row, the race will be more complicated and it will be crucial to make a good start and recover some positions from the first laps”.
Alex De Angelis
“This morning I crashed twice and I lost a bit of confidence and this affected also the qualifying session. Moreover I was slowed down by Di Meglio during my fast lap. Anyway, I have the pace to fight with the other open bikes and this is my target. Regarding the pain, today I could manage it, but I didn’t do too many laps in a row. The race will be long (23 laps) so I hope to be able to manage it in the best possible way”.
BRADL 8th QUICKEST RELIES ON HIS RACE PACE TO GET A GOOD RESULT
Aragón, 27 September: despite some small mistakes in the qualifying show-down today, the LCR racer Stefan Bradl confirms his good shape at Aragón circuit ahead tomorrow’s 23-lap race. Bradl will start from the third row between Lorenzo and Dovizioso (8th overall- 1’48.368) and his good race pace makes him confident to end the Spanish round with a positive result which allows him to rise in the general standing.
Stefan: “First of all we improved a lot our bike compared to yesterday. We made a big step in handling and the general setting so this is the good point for this morning FP3 and this afternoon FP4. We have shown a constant and good pace so I am looking forward to the race because we found a good solution for tomorrow. Unfortunately in the QP2 I made few mistakes and could not set a perfect flying lap. Our potential is higher but we missed a few tenths to qualify in the second row due to my errors. Anyway P8 is not a drama because we still have a good pace to catch the guys in front and I am sure we can achieve 2 or 3 positions in the race”.
High flying Espargaro snatches 4th in Aragon Qualifying
Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider Pol Espargaro produced a fantastic qualifying performance to seal 4th place on the grid for tomorrow’s round 14 at Aragon. The young Spaniard started the day brilliantly by finishing FP3 in 3rd position with a best lap of 1’48.377 which was only a quarter of a second from the leading rider. Espargaro then claimed 7th during the FP4 session after undertaking some final adjustments to his Yamaha YZR-M1 under the bright Spanish sun to prepare for Sunday’s race. The reigning Moto2 world champion’s hot form continued as the fifteen minute shootout commenced and ended superbly as he blasted over the finish line with a strong result of 1’47.865 which will see him begin the 23 lap race at the head of the second row. The 23 year old rookie’s efforts today give him the perfect platform to fight for the title of the leading satellite bike at the 5078 meter circuit tomorrow in front of his home crowd.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 garage, Bradley Smith will start from the fourth row in 11th after unfortunately falling whilst campaigning for a strong qualifying position. The British rider began his day well by setting the 6th quickest time in FP3 with a 1’48.615 which was less than three tenths from his team mate in 3rd and already 0.239 faster than his qualifying time from last year. This convincing performance enabled him to pass straight into Q2 and highlighted his rate of improvement plus his ambition for the qualifying. As the session began, the British star ran his first few laps to gather momentum, before pitting and changing to the second tyre. However, whilst beginning his charge Smith lucklessly fell, yet his earlier lap of 1’48.810 confirmed 11th. However, he remains fully determined for the race where he intends to undertake a flying start and score a positive result at the MotorLand Aragon circuit aboard the Yamaha YZR-M1.
Position : 4th Time : 1'47.865 Laps : 8
"From the very first practice this weekend I had a good feeling on the bike and to score a 4th position in qualifying is definitely something we have to be happy about. I didn't make things easy for myself as I was very nervous during my first run, probably because I knew that I should have been faster than some of the other riders, so I pushed too much and didn't feel too comfortable with the rear tyre. During the pit stop we made a small modification and I calmed myself down, so when I found myself behind Pedrosa on the out lap I was sure we could do a good job. To start on second row is really positive but we still need to continue working as the conditions tomorrow will change a lot. For sure the temperature and grip level will be different so we have to be prepared to fight with the factory bikes. In any case I will give it my all to please the crowd here in Spain."
Position : 11th Time : 1'48.810 Laps : 5
"After a truly positive and productive day it is of course disappointing to finish the qualifying in this manner. At the end of my out lap in preparation for my second run, I was looking for someone to follow like Valentino, Pol and Bradl who were all behind me and I thought getting a tow would have helped me to squeeze an extra tenth or so. Unluckily I did not consider that there were a lot of right handed corners at that point of the circuit and after changing to a left corner, the tyre was slightly cold and I had a big highside. However the day was still positive regardless of the end result as we worked on the setting and electronics in order to preserve the tyre as tomorrow it will be a tricky race and tyre life seems to be the main issue here. It’s a disadvantage to start that far back but I believe in terms of the lap times, it will be close and there’s a long way to the finish flag. I know how vital a good start is, especially with the short run to the first corner and even though I will have to pick my way through the field, I am still confident for the fight."
Frustrating Aragón qualifying for Redding
Aragón, Spain – 27 September 2014: Scott Redding will start tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Aragón from 16th position on the grid, after struggling once again with front-end issues today.
The 21-year-old Briton and his crew made changes to the set-up of his Honda RCV1000R ahead of today’s final free practice session, but the changes didn’t bring the improvements expected, forcing a switch back to the previous set up for qualifying.
Redding is expecting a tough 23 laps tomorrow afternoon, but he heads into the race with the same aim as always; to finish as the top Open Class Honda rider.
Scott Redding // 16th // 1’49.703
“Today was difficult. The set up solution we tried during FP4 to try and make the bike better for me didn’t really work, so we went back to the old setting for qualifying. We still need to work tomorrow because the situation hasn’t really improved compared to yesterday. It’s going to be a long race but, even though it will be difficult, I will give my best to try once again to finish as the top Open Class Honda rider.”
Nicky Hayden will start from sixth row on his return
DRIVE M7 Aspar rider will start from 18th position, while his teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, will start from 14th
The MotoGP riders were flying at the Motorland Aragón circuit, with Marc Márquez setting a new pole record of 1’47.187 to smash his own record from last year (1.47.804). Two further riders Pedrosa and Iannone, also beat the previous record. Lorenzo and Iannone were the first to hold top spot in Q2, until Marquez improved to lead by six tenths. The Catalan pushed hard, showing again that Motorland is one of his favorite circuits. But the performance of the other top riders gave him more work to do, and Pedrosa, with just two minutes to go, set another record. Marquez responded again pulling another three tenths out of the bag. His best time of 1’47.187 is a new Motorland record and the Honda riders are looking strong at the front of the grid.
Just seeing him back on track riding, and improving in every session, is already extremely positive. Nicky Hayden has been able to ride for two days without discomfort, improving his pace in each session to set his fastest time (1’49.835) of the weekend so far in Q1. The last free practice was marked by improved feelings, but not in Q1, where the DRIVE M7 Aspar rider noticed that his bike slid more than normal. Nevertheless he kept improving and qualified 18th. Motivated with his return, he expects a positive race. Also hoping to finish the weekend well is teammate Hiroshi Aoyama. Yesterday he started with a lack of feeling, but today he found the key to be more comfortable on his bike. So much so that he came close to qualifying for Q2. The Japanese DRIVE M7 Aspar rider was ultimately classified in 14th position.
Nicky Hayden 18th 1’49.835: "In the third practice session I didn’t have a good feeling and we lost a lot of time running with used tyres. However we have improved a lot and I felt more comfortable with the track temperature. We made a couple of very productive steps. But in the qualifying I couldn’t push the way I wanted. I don’t know why but the bike slid more than in the previous sessions and my feeling changed. This afternoon we will look at all our information to understand the causes, because we lost a lot of time on two specific corners, which, although less quick, the bike was sliding a lot on. We knew this wouldn’t be a simple weekend but we're still working here and that's what really matters. Tomorrow we will continue trying to push for a good race."
Hiroshi Aoyama 14th 1’49.209: "In the qualifying session we did a great job, thanks to which we got our fastest time of the weekend and nearly qualified for Q2. But the Ducati riders improved a lot in the last sector, so we missed out. Nevertheless we are happy because we have made a lot of progress from yesterday to today. Now the configuration of the bike ride helps me to ride comfortably, so I hope we can keep these feelings for tomorrow. Overall we are pretty clear, only the race tyres leave us with some doubts. The positive thing is that we could go out and race with any of the two compounds we have in mind. We’ll wait until tomorrow to make a decision."
Abraham disappointed after QP
Czech MotoGP rider will start from the 17th position to the Grand Prix of Aragon. After promising free practices the qualifying practice brought a disappointment to the team. Karel Abraham did only one fast lap in the beginning of the session and couldn´t overcome his free practice best because of heavy crash at the end of the QP.
“I´m quite disappointed, especially after the job we did in the morning. In fact I had made better lap time in the free practice than in qualifying. I got into a group of riders at the beginning of the QP1 and couldn´t ride as I wanted. The bad luck came at the end of the session. I was trying to stay close to Valentino, but I lost the front in turn 3. I´m ok, but the bike stay stood rolling straight and hit the wall in 180 km/h. So it´s really heavy damaged. We don´t know the reason of the crash yet, because we can´t connect the bike and download data. However I´m far to give up this weekend. We have made very good job in free practices and we can do it also in the race.”
Marquez annihilates Aragon lap record to score eleventh pole of the season
Round 14: Aragon MotoGP™ - Qualifying Practice
MotorLand Aragon, Saturday 27 September 2014
Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard. Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Asymmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 15-17°C; Track 18-22°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 22-23°C; Track 36-38°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez smashed the MotorLand Aragon Circuit Best Lap record by over half a second for his eleventh pole position of 2014, and helped to secure a Repsol Honda lockout of the front two grid slots at the Aragon Grand Prix.
Marquez set an extraordinary lap time of 1’47.187 on his final run in Qualifying Practice 2 to claim pole position ahead of teammate Dani Pedrosa, whose best time of 1’47.549 was 0.362 seconds adrift of the 2014 World Champion. Pramac Racing’s Andrea Iannone fully exploited the extra grip on offer from the soft compound rear slick to set the third-quickest qualifying lap time of 1’47.685 and claimed the final front row position for tomorrow’s race.
It was another cool morning at Aragon, yet prolonged sunny weather helped raise track temperatures to a peak of 38°C during QP2; the same peak figure as yesterday. In a similar situation to yesterday, all three asymmetric rear slick options; the soft, medium and hard compounds were evaluated today. The hard compound rear slick was preferred by most of the Factory Honda riders; the medium rear was the tyre of choice for the Ducati and Yamaha riders, while the soft rear was best suited to the majority of Open-class entrants. For the front tyre, both the soft and medium compound slicks showed good potential during race simulations and qualifying, with the hard compound front slick remaining unused thus far this weekend. At this stage, race tyre choice is still open as the teams and riders will wait to see what the weather brings tomorrow, with cooler temperatures and even rain a possibility.
Sunday’s morning Warm Up session is scheduled for 0940 local time tomorrow morning (GMT +2), giving the riders one last chance to decide on their race tyre combination ahead of the twenty-three lap Aragon Grand Prix at 1400.
Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorcycle Tyre Development Department
“Today’s weather conditions were almost a carbon copy of yesterday, so the riders were able to continue evaluating different slick tyre combinations and define their preferred race tyre combination. All three rear slick options we have at Aragon are likely to be utilised tomorrow. The Factory Honda’s are working well with the hard compound rear slick, Ducati and Yamaha prefer the medium compound rear, while some of the Open-class riders look set to use the soft compound rear slick tomorrow. For the front tyre, only the soft and medium front slicks will be used for the race. This year’s Aragon tyre allocation is working extremely well as the balance between warm-up performance, grip and durability is allowing the riders to reach the limits of their bike securely, with the end result being that