2016 Aragon MotoGP Race Result: Another Brick In The Championship Wall

In warm but cloudy and tyre-choice-doubtful conditions, expectations were high for the local boy, Marc Marquez looking to even the win/crash balance in Aragon. The mythical ninth consecutive winner never came but Marquez offered us an interesting mix of close scraps in the first part of the race and utter domination in the second part. His second win in Aragon and fifty-fourth overall saw him become the sixth most successful rider, an honour shared with Mick Doohan.

A rather inhospitable podium was shared with the feisty Yamaha duo, Jorge Lorenzo doing his best shark impersonation to bite his teammate out of second place.

A promising start saw Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales roughing up Marquez in the first turns, the Suzuki rider taking the lead by the end of lap one. Valentino Rossi had a decent start to be right behind the front row action but taking his time with the attack.

Marquez let his fellow Spaniard get his time in the sun, but took back the lead on lap two. Despite setting fastest laps, the Honda couldn’t shake him off and a massive save of a front end washout saw him drop down to fifth place, leaving Viñales to lead from Lorenzo, Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso. Behind them, only Aleix Espargaro, Dani Pedrosa and Cal Crutchlow kept up with the lead group.

After the scare, Marquez settled a little behind the Ducati, waiting for his hard tyres to find some heat, while Viñales built a bit of a gap from the fighting Yamahas. The straights made Marquez’s fight with Dovizioso pretty hard but he eventually grabbed fourth by lap six. Meanwhile, Rossi overtook Lorenzo to try and catch up with Viñales, the top four riders getting a one-second gap from the group led by Espargaro.

As Rossi caught up with Viñales, Marquez was hunting Lorenzo for third. The world championship leader made it stick on the reigning world champion on lap seven, having to recover a second on the two leaders once he dealt with the first Yamaha.

With fifteen laps to go, Rossi aggressively made his way past the Suzuki leader, Marquez closing down quickly and gapping Lorenzo. The Honda had an easy time when Viñales went wide a lap later, dropping into Lorenzo’s claws, the Yamaha taking his chance soon after.

The top three started setting red sectors, Marquez soon on his archenemy’s tail. Turn fifteen was his choice of battlefield all race long and so it was with Rossi as well, with ten laps to go. But overtaking Rossi and shaking him off was not the same thing, the Italian keeping close on the softer front tyre. On the hard tyre combination, the Honda tried to set the fierce rhythm of FP4 but Rossi wouldn’t give up the fight that quickly. It wasn’t to be though, the gap going over half a second with nine laps to go, Marquez pushing hard with a fastest lap and several personal bests, finding over a second on Rossi in just one lap.

Meanwhile, Lorenzo was having a handful of Viñales on his case but the Suzuki rider once again made a mistake and lost two seconds on the Yamaha. Lorenzo was quickly starting to catch up with Rossi, the shark attacking his teammate with five laps to go. Things looked settled but the grudge match wasn’t over for the podium positions, Rossi back in attack mode in the final two laps but a last-gasp attempt saw him run extremely wide and getting him off Lorenzo’s back.

Behind the podium positions, Viñales rode home in a comfortable but probably disappointing fourth, Cal Crutchlow winning the fight in the second group to finish fifth. Dani Pedrosa made his way past Aleix Espargaro on the last lap, the other Espargaro following them home in eighth position. A fantastic race was had by Aprilia as well, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl completing the top ten, ahead of a fast fading Andrea Dovizioso. In another last fun fact, luxury guest Nicky Hayden was greeted with a point on his brief MotoGP comeback.

Predictably, it proved to be an important race in the title battle, Marquez finally adding some more points to his tally against Rossi and stalling his charge, now back to 52 in front of the Italian. Lorenzo’s crucial overtake also got him closer to his teammate, now 14 points behind him.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 41'57.678
2 99 Jorge LORENZO Yamaha +2.740
3 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +5.983
4 25 Maverick VIÑALES Suzuki +8.238
5 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +13.221
6 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +17.072
7 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Suzuki +18.522
8 44 Pol ESPARGARO Yamaha +19.432
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Aprilia +23.071
10 6 Stefan BRADL Aprilia +27.898
11 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +32.448
12 51 Michele PIRRO Ducati +35.033
13 8 Hector BARBERA Ducati +36.224
14 50 Eugene LAVERTY Ducati +37.621
15 69 Nicky HAYDEN Honda +40.509
16 68 Yonny HERNANDEZ Ducati +43.906
17 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +56.740
18 76 Loris BAZ Ducati +59.681
19 45 Scott REDDING Ducati +1'34.126
    Not Classified    
  53 Tito RABAT Honda 7 Laps

 

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Round Number: 
14
2016
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Total votes: 99

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Comments

This will be very unpopular to say but I think that Yamaha has made serious mistake to let Jorge Lorenzo go to Ducati. Several years ago Lin Jarvis has made the right decision to let Valentino go to Ducati after his ultimatum. Yamaha failed to manage the situation after Jorge took the title last year and that proved to be enough for him. After this race it is clear that Jorge is back in the game and he will try to be infront of Valentino in the standings. I'll bet he will win at Motegi and he will be infront of Valentino in Phillip Island and Ricardo Tormo. Just imagine that.

Total votes: 152

This will be unpopular to say: I know it's popular for fans of all sports to talk in certainties, but you are playing a big game of 'whataboutery' and 'whatifery', which is fine but you say Yamaha have made a bad call?

Nobody knows how Lorenzo will do in remaining races, it might rain, that hasn't boded too well recently has it? Or something might not be quite quite right for him to produce his best.

Who would have predicted (the actually excellent situation) eight winners in eight races? To paraphrase Nicky Hayden, that's why we go racing, we don't know.

And then, since Rossi returned to Yam he's finished in WC 4th, 2nd 2nd (nearly won) and 2nd so far (now that we DO know), I'd say considering they have the most recognisable rider in the sport by a country mile who's image helps them sell products, and he's clearly still fast in his late thirties, meant they made a good call. Apparently he went back on a fraction of JL's fee too: Bargain.

'Yamaha failed to manage': Many top riders have big egos, that includes JL, ref David's article at the end of last season's shenanigans. It comes with the territory. Managing is just that, you manage. No doubt JL would want VR booted out or demoted; wasn't going to happen. Now they have a really talented young Vinales coming on board and have retained a sport icon until he retires, I'd say that is smart.

Total votes: 77

"No doubt JL would want VR booted out or demoted"

JL and VR were never on friendly terms and JL didn't block his return in 2013. I don't see the basis for your claim that JL would want VR booted out or demoted. Their relationship was bitter in the pre-2011 era too, when Rossi chose to put a wall between them. Both riders have said on multiple occasions that Yamaha treats them exactly the same and neither rider has expressed dissatisfaction towards this approach (well, except when Rossi threw his toys out and went to Ducati).

I believe it has more to do with hyegine factors and that he wants to be pampered inside the garage at least as much as Rossi. And the way how Lin Jarvis ran straight to Rossi after Valencia last year was a big blow to Lorenzo.

Total votes: 76

Neither rider asked for the wall to be put up.  The wall was put up because Rossi demanded to switch to Bridgestone tyres while Lorenzo stayed on Michelins.

Total votes: 72

I do not agree! In my opinion smart would be to go with Jorge Lorenzo and Maverick Viñales. They are the future, especialy Vinales.

Total votes: 70

Vinales is a future title contender.  JL has been in the top class for nearly 9 years now, he's not the future, he's the current, and in a few years he'll be the old veteran.

Keeping Rossi is smart because he's a drawcard.  Even if he never won another race he'd still be worth his paycheck in publicity.

Total votes: 68

It seems that at least 75 readers share your opinion.....while waiting for David's full recovery and report I decided to respond to this post with a sort of "general" thought on how, even on this site, reactions comments and votes are driven more by sympathy (or lack of) rather than actual cold reasoning.
Your opinion is based on loose assumptions and wild guesses at best and still gets 75 approvals....I'm puzzled.
Let's look at some facts: Yamaha did NOT "let go Lorenzo" : they gave him the best offer put on a table ever and he did not accept it (confirmed by Jarvis and never denied by JL)
If Yamaha had "failed to manage the situation" post Valencia and thus " this proved to be enough for JL" then why did he spend the whole winter and
Qatar press conferences to put pressure on Yamaha in order to secure a deal and renew the contract?
Finally : given this year's performances so far what on earth indicates that JL is above VR? Let's forget their names for a second and let's just look at their performances....I would put my money on 46 not 99. They are pretty close yes but one is way more consistent than the other and almost as fast in any given situation. And let's not forget the blown engine in Mugello.... which brings even further proof to my argument.
Finally, the bigger picture: on the long term Yamaha made a smart bet. They keep their "living legend" until retirement (no one knows how soon or far in time) and they pair him with one of the brightest youngest promises of motogp thus securing the future. I don't think they will regret any of it. The above are all facts. And now a small thought, just an opinion: Lorenzo had two full years to own that yamaha garage and build a strong interaction, an harmonious environment..... He failed. You can definitely disagree on this last statement as it's just an opinion. But I would be curious to read some serious counterargument on the rest of my post.

Total votes: 81

It was expected that the Dukes would be at least on top 10, but where did the Aprilias found the pace to beat them? Is it that the tyres last longer in this track with those RS-GPs having weaker engines than the Dukes? In any case, good result for the Noale team.

Total votes: 88

In keeping with Zara's puntastic titles, like a game of Jenga, Valentino's chances have taken a further wobble and on the verge of collapsing for the season.

Marquez was simply on another level this weekend. You felt he was frustrated with recent races and was desperate to get back to winning ways. He very much has one hand on the title now. A masterful performance. Jorge will be pleased the shark was able to reign in on the hapless fish and get one over his old rival.

It's a shame Vinales made a mistake towards the end, he could've figured in that battle for the podium, but I guess the old problem of fading rear grip put paid to that. The bike looks very good though. I really fancy a Suzuki win at Phillip Island.

Great effort by the Aprilla boys to have both bikes inside the top 10 and beat the Ducatis, on dry pace with no attrition. It's taken a good while to see them making progress, but it looks like the project is finally coming together. Shame really both riders were given the flick after all the work they've put in. Bradl is always fast on Saturday, then Bautista is the man for Sundays.

Ducati look so lost without Iannone, Dovi can't seem to lead the charge without him there.

Total votes: 90

how bad the front tire of Dani Pedrosa was? It was like the man was riding on a TT race! And his left boot... how could he manage not to hurt himself?

Total votes: 85

Ha, I didn't even noticed that because of the race! Julian Ryder said there was literally no yellow fan flags, just a few.

Total votes: 68

What a save it was. Marc that is, the guru of salvage. The win was written all over his bike as early as Friday afternoon. After that recovery it was pretty uneventfull. George pulled back a couple on Rossi and so on. 

A big chapter is Aprilia vs Ducati. I said some time back that Suzuki would battle to eclipse Ducati upon their return to GP. They are making it look easy and now the Noale factory are right up Ducati's tailpipe on a circuit where the desmo power should reign supreme going into the final turn.

Tardozzi said they slotted in the soft rear on Dovi's bike and clearly it was a gamble that did not pan out.

Thing is, in my opinion, they should abandon everything with aero development and look back at the GP 14.2 from hereon into 2017. The 14.2 in the hands of Barbera and Laverty has been the most consistent package in their camp. The factory bike is way faster but is way less nimble and adaptable per race and condition. The smart thing to do for them would be to 'junk' the aero kit   development and focus on performance sans the strakes heading into season's close as they won't be available next year anyway.

Total votes: 91

Aprilia MotoGP Bike Porn
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JOwKyThAw2M
(Complete assembly of bike w everything on display and discussed)

The Aprilia has successfully achieved mid pack status. This is wonderful. The Suzuki and Ducati can lead races and still have some room for more development with this bike. They share opposite representation via their riders - Vinales gives us an optimistic view of the bike, while neither Andrea showcases the Ducati's potential. We have reason for hope w both Aprilia and KTM as well.

Mid way through Aragon I was full of appreciation that 8 bikes made up the front group. I remember much less interesting times years ago. The 990 bikes slid around and tried to rip the arms off of riders, but this is a brilliant era now.

Honda has gotten somewhere w the electronics. This short and wild bike is getting tamed. Marquez looked MUCH more settled in while churning out blazingly fast lap times. Yes, he lost the front once early on. But he didn't look to be battling a brutal beast today. Cal and Dani help show where the bike has gotten, it is coming together.

Yamaha have done well to not struggle with a polarized Lorenzo - Rossi garage. They have secured Maverick Vinales. He looks outstanding on the bike. He doesn't have a narrow Goldilocks range of conditions/tires/set up that Lorenzo does. We have three greats on three manufacturer's bikes as this era unfolds. And it us the Ducati - Lorenzo combination that brings the least confidence. The Ducati is not a consistent bike, hot and cold at various tracks. Hard on tires. Jorge fortunately is easy on tires. But the Yamaha is a much more consistent bike round to round.

Vinales and Marquez are the future.

If you have t seen it, do go watch the 19 min video examining the Aprilia being assembled and discussed - unprecedented openness from them giving us this look! I am reminded of seeing a friend's father's Playboy magazine for the first time...WOW! You can see EVERYTHING?!
;)

Total votes: 86