Marquez Takes Title Lead with 34th MotoGP Win

Honda duo Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) scored a hugely important one-two at Aragon today, moving Marquez 16 points ahead of his main championship rival with four races remaining in the 2017 MotoGP World Championship.

Reigning World Champion Marquez was his usual genius self, performing some spectacular overtaking maneuvers around this challenging, undulating circuit. He finally took the lead at three-quarters distance and steadily built his advantage while Pedrosa recovered superbly from a difficult first part of the race to work his way through from sixth to second, less than a second behind his team-mate. This was the pair’s third one-two of the season, after May’s Spanish Grand Prix and last month’s Czech Grand Prix.

The duo’s performance didn’t only move Marquez clear in the riders championship, it also puts Honda 17 points ahead in the constructors championship and Repsol Honda 30 points ahead in the teams championship.

Marquez’s fifth victory of the season was also his 60th across all three classes and makes him Honda’s second most successful premier-class rider, with 34 wins against Mick Doohan’s 54 successes, achieved between 1990 and 1998.

Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosazoom
Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa

The 24-year-old Spaniard, who has won three of the past four MotoGP crowns, had to work particularly hard for this victory, battling some grip issues and coming through from fourth place at the end of the fifth lap to overtake title-rival Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati), who led the first 15 laps of the 23-lap race.

Marquez’s speed through Aragon’s final double-left was astonishing and he used this advantage to get the better of several riders, including Lorenzo on lap 16. However, he could not relax in the last few laps, as a revitalized Pedrosa also got the better of Lorenzo and looked like he might threaten the leader. At the finish the team-mates were 0.879 seconds apart.

Pedrosa, like Marquez, had chosen a medium-compound rear slick, but took some laps before he felt fully comfortable; then he got stuck behind Maverick Vinales (Yamaha) for several laps. Once clear of the second group the 31-year-old made startling forward progress to close on Rossi and Lorenzo and pass them both. This was the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion’s eighth podium of the year and the 152nd of his career, across all three categories.

Team-mates Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) and team-mate Tito Rabat (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V) both had good rides to take home World Championship points, Miller in 13th and Rabat in 15th. This was a milestone race for Miller – his 100th GP start – six years after he made his debut in the German Grand Prix, riding a Honda RS125.

Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda RC213V) had high hopes of a very strong result after qualifying fourth. The Briton was in the thick of the battle in the second group until he ran wide and later tumbled out of the race without injury.

Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) scored a brilliant victory in the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 race, winning a red-hot duel with Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) on the final lap. It was a particularly impressive and hard-fought success, considering that Morbidelli could have settled for a risk-free second-place finish to extend his World Championship advantage over fourth-place finisher Thomas Luthi (CarXpert Interwetten Kalex).

Morbidelli dominated the early stages, building a 1.5 second lead, until Pasini got up to full speed as his fuel load lightened and he gave chase. The Italians spent the second half of the race locked together, Pasini getting ahead on several occasions, only for Morbidelli to counter-attack. On the last lap Morbidelli made his final, decisive move at the downhill turn nine, holding his advantage to the finish to win by 0.145 seconds. He now leads Luthi in the championship by 21 points with four races to go.

Pole-position man Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) was with the leaders in the first laps but couldn’t quite go with Morbidelli as the pace increased. He fought a major battle with Luthi, Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) and Pasini, finally breaking clear to chase Pasini. During the final stages of the race he closed on the leaders but couldn’t quite catch them, taking the checkered flag four tenths of a second behind Pasini

Luthi slipped behind the dueling gang to take fourth place, just a fraction of a second ahead of the hard-charging Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM). Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) won a close three-way contest for sixth place, ahead of Simone Corsi (Speed Up Speed Up) and British GP winner Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex). The trio was separated by just three tenths of a second. Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) and Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) completed the top ten. Marquez withdrew from the race due to the injuries he suffers at Misano.

The brilliant Joan Mir (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) scored his eighth Moto3 victory of the year in nerve-jangling style in the first race of the day, pouncing on the final lap to beat Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) by 0.043 seconds, with Enea Bastianini (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) a further 0.008 seconds behind. Thus the 11th all-Honda podium of the year was covered by just 0.51 seconds.

‘Miracle Mir’, as he is known by his team, Di Giannantonio and Bastianini were closely followed over the line by Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3 Honda NSF250RW), Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Honda NSF250RW) and John McPhee (British Talent Team Honda NSF250RW), who finished half a second behind the winner and made it an all-Honda top six. And the top 13 were separated by less than two seconds.

The first race of the day was shortened from 20 laps to 13 laps, due to a late start caused by fog which delayed warm-up for all three classes.

As always Mir judged his attack to perfection, running with the lead group throughout, then fighting through to the front at the very end. Today’s win extends his championship advantage to 80 points. Second overall Romano Fenati (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers Honda NSF250RW), who won the last race at Misano, finished tenth today, 1.2 seconds off the win.

Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse Honda NSF250RW) also played his part in the thrilling battle, taking 13th place, at the back of the lead group. Adam Norrodin (SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) was 15th, and Ayumu Sasaki (SIC Racing Team Honda NSF250RW) finished 16th, just one place and three hundredths of a second outside World Championship points.

The MotoGP paddock leaves Europe for several weeks, heading east for next month’s Japanese, Australian and Malaysian GPs, before returning to Spain for November’s season finale at Valencia.

Dani Pedrosazoom
Dani Pedrosa
Franco Morbidellizoom
Franco Morbidelli

Honda MotoGP Rider Quotes

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st
“I’m very, very happy with this victory because it was a tough race. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable with the bike, and today I was struggling again except in the warm-up; I don’t really know why. Anyway, racing at one of my favorite tracks, close to my home and in front of my fans, gave me extra motivation. I pushed hard and in some corners I just clicked the off-button in my head, even if I crashed twice yesterday. I saw that Viñales and Dovi were struggling a bit and knew it was the moment to push, so I did. There were a few scary moments, once when I was trying to overtake Valentino; he was tighter in that corner than I was expecting, and to avoid a clash I released the brakes, only to realize that Lorenzo was right there! So I went off the track, and at that moment I cooled down a bit, even if I continued to try and close the gap. Once I passed Lorenzo, I had to keep going as I saw that Dani was coming very fast. Anyway, that’s the Marquez style! Of course it’s important to think of the championship, but the situation now requires that we give it everything. So we’ll try to continue with the same motivation and mentality race by race, giving our 100 percent.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 2nd
“Maybe if I could have overtaken Maverick a little bit earlier I would have had a better chance to fight for the win, but well, I’m still very happy with my race today! The goal was try and fight for the podium or the win, and we achieved that. So yes, I have some small regrets, but at the same time I couldn’t have done any better in the beginning as I was on the medium rear like Maverick and wasn’t able to pass him for a while. I also had to manage the tire wear in order to be fast at the end, which I was. I wasn’t sure why we suddenly had some gap to recover to the front, as the others had more or less the same pace. Anyway, when I finally passed him, the gap was there, so I started pushing hard, made some good passes and a good recovery, and had a very strong race. I put a lot of passion into it, and this is good for me and the team.”
Jack Miller, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS:13th
“While I am reasonably happy with the way things went today this wasn’t the race I expected even though I came home with some points. I used the hard tire and expected a little bit more from it but it didn’t work out that way. Overall a positive weekend and I’m feeling really comfortable with the bike, especially the front. We just missed some drive grip on the rear which was down to not making the hard compound work early enough.”
Tito Rabat, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS::15th
“I am always looking for a better result so 15th is not where I wanted to be but it was a positive day because I did a very good job in the race after starting a long way back. It is good for my confidence to grab some points in this race and now it’s time to focus on the next race in Japan.”
Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda:DNF
“I didn’t have a great feeling with the front brake lever and I couldn’t adjust it because of my finger injury. The brake got really hot into the last corner because I was slipstreaming Dani and Maverick. Then I made a mistake. The brake lever was too far away, so I had to grab the lever, locked the tire and ran off the track. I recovered not so bad and it was better for me riding alone. When I passed Jonas Folger I ended up having to go very tight and I lost the front – it was always a risk in right-handers with the harder front tire. It was a disappointing end to a weekend when we had been fairly competitive.”

Honda Moto2 Rider Quotes

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 1st
“Nothing changed with my approach today, I raced as I always do, giving the maximum and this is what came out. I tried to push at the beginning and open a gap but then Pasini was closing fast and I had a decision to make: stay calm and ride for the championship or fight. I kept fighting and went for the win so this victory gives me a lot of satisfaction.”
Mattia Pasini, Italtrans Racing Team: 2nd
“That was a really, really good race; I enjoyed it a lot. from the start I was riding quite calmly because riding with a full gas tank can be a bit difficult for me. Once I was able to take my rhythm I started to catch Frankie and then we started fighting. It was so beautiful fighting with him because we know each other so well. In the end he was better than me through the T4 section. Anyway, I’m happy to be on the podium again and I’m looking forward to the last four races.”
Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd
“We were fast in qualifying but I already knew that our package would not be the best during the beginning of the race. We knew that so we tried to work around it. Once we had less fuel weight I was able to up my pace and catch the leaders. The big thing is that I’m happy to be back on the podium after two difficult races: a no-score at Misano and eighth at Silverstone, so this result is very important for me and the team.”

Honda Moto3 Rider Quotes

Joan Mir, Leopard Racing: 1st
“It was another amazing race! The race was short but intense … shameless, because my tire was at the limit. I really did not expect a win here: I felt the affection of the fans who came here for me and thank everyone. I tried to handle it in the last lap, but I had to be careful to not push too much. The braking was the most important, not just for this race, but throughout the season. In Japan there will be the first match-point, but I do not want to make the calculations for the title, I will continue in this way even in the last races. To be honest, I’m quieter now: this was a key battle! I would have liked to be champion in Spain, but now I want it to come before Valencia!”
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Racing Moto3: 2nd
“I had a great race. I started from 14th position and I was able to make up so many places in so little time. I wanted the win and I did what I had to do: I was second at the last turn to try and win on the last straight: I think Mir did a bit of a dangerous move, because it takes nothing to get hurt at 250km/h. In any case it’s a great second place, it’s my second podium in a row and it’ll be important to keep the momentum going in the flyaway races.”
Enea Bastianini, Estrella Galicia 0,0: 3rd
“It was a nice race, right from the start, as we were fighting practically since the first lap with a very strong group. It was very important to stay in the top positions to avoid risks. On the last lap I started off third and our goal was to fight for the win, but I didn’t expect a finale to the race like we had today.”
Joan Mirzoom
Joan Mir
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2017
Round 14: Aragon Race
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
3 Jorge LORENZO (Ducati Team)
4 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
6 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
7 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Pull&Bear Aspar Team)
9 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
10 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
11 Mika KALLIO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
12 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
13 Jack MILLER (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
14 Scott REDDING (OCTO Pramac Racing)
15 Tito RABAT (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
2 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
3 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Thomas LUTHI (CarXpert Interwetten)
5 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
6 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
7 Simone CORSI (Speed Up Racing)
8 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
9 Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
10 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
11 Fabio QUARTARARO (Pons HP40)
12 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
13 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Forward Racing Team)
14 Xavi VIERGE (Tech 3 Racing)
15 Stefano MANZI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1 Joan MIR (Leopard Racing)
2 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
3 Enea BASTIANINI (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
4 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
5 Aron CANET (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
6 John MCPHEE (British Talent Team)
7 Marcos RAMIREZ (Platinum Bay Real Estate)
8 Dennis FOGGIA (Sky Junior Team VR46 Acade)
9 Philipp OETTL (Südmetall Schedl GP Racing)
10 Romano FENATI (Marinelli Rivacold Snipers)
11 Andrea MIGNO (SKY Racing Team VR46)
12 Juanfran GUEVARA (RBA BOE Racing Team)
13 Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
14 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
15 Adam NORRODIN (SIC Racing Team)
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