MotoGP Race Preview: Grand Prix Of Aragon
A preview of the Grand Prix of Aragon MotoGP World Championship event Sept. 30:
Race: Grand Prix of Aragon
Date: Sunday, Sept. 30
Round: Fourteenth of 18 races in 2012
Circuit: MotorLand Aragon, Teruel, Spain
Distance: 23 laps on 17-turn, 3.155-mile circuit
2011 Winner: Casey Stoner, Honda
2012 Points Leader: Jorge Lorenzo, Yamaha
U.S. Riders: Nicky Hayden, ninth, 93 points; Ben Spies, 10th, 77; Colin Edwards, 17th, 22.
TV: MotoGP: 8 a.m. (ET) Sunday, Sept. 30, SPEED. Moto2: 5 p.m. (ET), Sunday, Sept. 30, SPEED. Moto3: Noon (ET) Tuesday, Oct. 2, SPEED.
Jorge Lorenzo cruised to an easy victory Sunday, Sept. 16 in the Grand Prix of San Marino, leading every lap and never turning back.
If he did look behind, Lorenzo would have seen drama everywhere that shook up the MotoGP World Championship and helped to ease the pain of a rising star gone far too soon.
Lorenzo’s lead in the World Championship grew from 13 to 38 points after his closest title rival, Dani Pedrosa, was crashed out of the race on Lap 1 by Pramac Ducati rider Hector Barbera.
Jorge Lorenzo: Lorenzo’s path to a second MotoGP World Championship became much easier Sept. 16 after the Grand Prix of San Marino, in which he earned his sixth victory of the season on a Yamaha. Lorenzo’s lead over rival Dani Pedrosa grew to more than a race – 38 points – after Pedrosa was crashed out of the race on the first lap. Metronomic consistency continues to be a recipe for success for Lorenzo, who has finished first or second in 12 of 13 starts this season.
Alvaro Bautista: Spaniard Bautista earned his first career MotoGP podium finish and may have saved his ride on the San Carlo Gresini Honda for 2013 after finishing third in the Grand Prix of San Marino on Sept. 16. Many riders were rumored to be in line for the Honda satellite ride, including Scott Redding, Jonathan Rea, Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone. But Bautista stood on the podium at just the right time, influencing team owner Fausto Gresini to say last week he wants to re-sign Bautista for next season.
Dani Pedrosa: Bad luck finally arrived during this season of consistent excellence for Pedrosa when Hector Barbera crashed him out of the Grand Prix of San Marino on Sept. 16. It was only the second time this season Pedrosa has finished off the podium on his Repsol Honda. But points leader Jorge Lorenzo has finished first or second 12 times this season, so Pedrosa is going to need either misfortune for Lorenzo or an epic win streak to catch his Spanish rival and win his first MotoGP World Championship.
Hector Barbera: Barbera is the latest MotoGP paddock pariah after he clumsily crashed out Dani Pedrosa at the Grand Prix of San Marino on Sept. 16, putting a major dent in Pedrosa’s World Championship hopes. Spaniard Barbera also lost his seat on the Pramac Ducati next season when Ducati announced earlier this month that Ben Spies and Andrea Iannone will ride for a “junior” team run by Pramac in 2013. Barbera will stay in MotoGP next year on a production-based Claiming Rule Teams machine fielded by Avintia.
NEWS and NUMBERS
Northern Irishman Jonathan Rea will replace the injured Casey Stoner at Repsol Honda again at this event. Rea finished eighth in his MotoGP debut Sept. 16 in the Grand Prix of San Marino. Stoner is expected back for the next race, the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 14 at Motegi … This is one of four MotoGP races this season in Spain, more than any other country. The other races are at Jerez, Barcelona and Valencia … Jorge Lorenzo climbed past legendary World Champions John Surtees, Geoff Duke and American Kenny Roberts with his 23rd career MotoGP victory Sept. 16 at the Grand Prix of San Marino. Lorenzo will tie American World Champion Wayne Rainey for seventh on the all-time premier-class victory list with his next win … Dani Pedrosa will exceed his career-best MotoGP season point total, 249 in 2008, by finishing first or second at this event … Valentino Rossi earned his second podium finish of the season Sept. 16 in the Grand Prix of San Marino, 16 years and 43 days after his first Grand Prix podium in 125cc in 1996. That’s the third-longest span between first and latest podium in World Championship history.