Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales return to Spain for round 14 of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, held this Sunday, at the MotorLand Aragón.
The Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón holds special significance for the team as it’s not just a home race for Viñales but also for the team’s title sponsor, Movistar, who are the title sponsor of the Aragon GP as well.
Following his home Grand Prix, Rossi is in third place in the championship, 3 points from second place and 70 points from the top of the standings. He has his heart set on a place on the podium this weekend, especially since he so narrowly missed out on one last year, when he made his incredible comeback from injury just 24 days after leg surgery, securing fifth place.
Though the Aragón circuit wasn’t added to the MotoGP calendar until 2010, the Doctor already stood on the podium there three times before. He secured three third places in total in 2013, 2015, and 2016.
This weekend Viñales will be fighting again to move up from fifth place in the championship rankings. He currently sits 6 points behind the rider in fourth place in the overall results and has a 97-point margin to first place.
The local hero has stood on the podium in Aragon three times before. He secured a third place in 2011 in the 125cc class, a Moto3 second place finish in 2013, and a Moto2 victory in 2014. However, he is still missing the MotoGP rostrum to complete the set. Having just missed out on the premier class podium in the last two years, securing fourth position, he is eager to make it happen this time round.
The MotorLand Aragón circuit is situated near the town of Alcañiz in Northern Spain and is only a few hours’ drive from Barcelona. The circuit was given the IRTA Best Grand Prix of the Year award in its debut year, reflecting the riders’ and the fans’ appreciation of the venue. The fast and challenging 5.1km long track has ten left and seven right corners, and a 968m longest straight. It draws thousands of fans, especially as it’s the last European race before the triple-header overseas, making it a round motorsport enthusiasts don’t want to miss.
Championship: 3rd – Points: 151
“Another intense GP is waiting for us. The Aragon circuit is not one of our favourites, but we will do everything we can and as always we’ll try to do our best. Recently we did a test there, and we will use all the data available to improve our performance during the weekend. We want to fight for the podium, and it will be important to work well from day one, because we want to be on the podium again.”
Championship: 5th – Points: 124
“I’m very happy to head to Aragon. For me all the Spanish rounds are very special, because of the atmosphere and the fans that are always there supporting the Spanish rider. It’s like my second home Grand Prix and we know that we can deliver a good performance there with the M1. It’s also one of my favourite tracks because of its lay-out, so in Aragon we can be very fast. It’s very important to stay focused and keep improving from Grand Prix to Grand Prix to achieve the best set-up possible for our bike. Last year in Aragon we stayed at the podium’s doors, because we had some problems with the tyres and it was a difficult race for us. This year I want to fight to get on the rostrum. I’m optimistic after being here for a test some weeks ago, so I think that we can do a good job.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Team Director
“This will be a special weekend for the team, because we share the sponsor title with the GP round and naturally we want to do well here. It’s Maverick’s home GP and he really likes this circuit, so everyone will be 100% committed to the task ahead. Last year we had a good race, despite the tyres playing a big part in the outcome. Nevertheless, I’m certain nobody has forgotten Vale’s heroic comeback, 24 days after leg surgery. This year we come to the Aragon GP with a completely fit team. We aim to use the data we gained last year to the fullest, as well as the test results gathered here a few weeks ago. The whole team will be working hard and remain as determined as ever to score top results.”