Marc Marquez returned to the top spot of the podium at a Spanish race for the first time since the 2014 finale in Valencia, taking a maiden victory at the Aragón GP. At just 23 years of age, Marquez brings his career tally to 54 wins, equalling Australian legend Mick Doohan. The only rider so far this year to win four races, Marc has extended his championship lead to 52 points over Valentino Rossi and 66 over Jorge Lorenzo, with four rounds to go.
The race was incredibly challenging and close. Starting from pole, Marc fought hard to overtake Maverick Viñales and Lorenzo, taking the lead on the second lap. Soon after, a risky moment on lap three could have changed the outcome of his race; Marc almost lost the front in turn 7 and nearly crashed out. He saved it but dropped back to fifth.
It took the Spaniard a few laps to calm down and begin his recovery; he overtook Andrea Dovizioso on lap five, Lorenzo on lap seven, Viñales on lap 10 and finally Rossi on lap 12. He pushed hard for a few laps to pull a gap and then managed the advantage until the chequered flag. Marc was joined on the podium by Honda Motor Director Shinji Aoyama, celebrating the fifth victory by a Honda rider in the last seven races and Honda extending its leading in the Constructor and Team standings.
Dani Pedrosa struggled the entire race with lack of both front and rear tyre grip. In particular, he suffered an unusual degradation of the front tyre, which Michelin will promptly investigate. It was a pity Dani was not able to exploit the great potential he had displayed in the practice sessions, but his determination to fight hard allowed him to gain the 10 points that come with sixth place and to maintain his fourth place in the Championship standings.
Marc Marquez: It was a miracle I didn’t crash
“I’m very happy to have taken the win at a home Grand Prix, and one of my favourite races. I was waiting for this GP, it was a ‘red point’ on the calendar for me, as I saw it as one where I wanted to attack and where I could win the race. It was an important victory, but nothing is finished yet. I said yesterday that something can always happen in a race, and it was a miracle that I didn’t crash today when I almost lost it in turn 7. That was when I decided to relax a little and go back to my mentality from practice of riding precisely and braking in the right places. All this made for a more entertaining race, with many overtaking moves at the start, and a second part in which I was able to open a gap to Valentino, which was important. He had gone several races gaining points on us, and we wanted to stop that trend, because otherwise it would boost his morale and perhaps create doubts for us. Now we leave Aragón with a larger advantage and more convinced ahead of the flyaways. I was very happy on the podium, but the most emotional moment for me today was when [brother] Alex scored his first Moto2 podium. That was really special for me.”
Dani Pedrosa: I didn’t have grip
“Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good result today, as we had a very difficult race. I didn’t have grip since the beginning of the race; I couldn’t exit the corners with good speed, and that turned out to be my biggest problem in the opening laps. I couldn’t open the throttle out of the corner and I lost ground on the front guys. I tried to manage in the best way possible, but a few laps later I started to have an issue with front tyre as well. I started feeling a vibration, and when I finished the race it was clear there was some problem there. I tried to fight with Crutchlow but I had to slow down my pace. It was a shame but now we must look forward.”
Kiko Giles @MotoGPKiko