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MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013

Round 14: Aragon Qualifying

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  • Race Results
  • Qualifying
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Aragon
 Aragon
September 28, 2013

Hondas Bracket the Front Row at Motorland Aragon

Honda riders qualified first and third for tomorrow’s Aragon GP, bracketing the front row of the grid. Championship leader Marc Marquez was on pole position, and his Repsol Honda RC213V team-mate Dani Pedrosa a close third fastest. In between them was defending World Champion Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha).

Marc+ MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team), Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)zoom
Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

There were two Hondas also on the second row, at a track where Honda’s V4 MotoGP prototype has a strong record, having won for the past two years. LCR Honda RC213V rider Stefan Bradl was less than two tenths ahead of Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini RC213V rider Alvaro Bautista, in fifth and sixth positions. Second Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi was fourth.

Marquez’s seventh pole of his first MotoGP season was yet another landmark in the rookie in a million’s sensational maiden season in the premier class. The Spanish rising star claimed it with a stunning lap time – not only 1.2 seconds inside the lap record, set in race conditions, but better than 0.65 seconds faster than the best ever lap at the challenging and scenic Motorland Aragon circuit. Both of those times were set last year by Repsol Honda RC213V rider Casey Stoner.

Marquez (20) has so far won five races, taking his first victory in only the second round. He followed up with four in a row mid-season, setting yet another “youngest-ever” record in a year of many such achievements. During that spell he regained his early championship lead, which now stands at a significant 34 points, ahead of Lorenzo and Pedrosa, who are equal on points.

Although he now need finish only second at the remaining five rounds, the former 125cc and reigning Moto2 champion has pledged to continue fighting for victories in his quest to become the youngest-ever premier-class World Champion.

Team-mate Pedrosa is battling to regain ground lost after missing one race and struggling through the following rounds when he broke his collarbone in practice at round eight in Germany. Until then he had been leading on points.

Pedrosa chose natural healing rather than the surgery espoused by rival Lorenzo, with a similar injury. Now back to full strength, he is determined and focused, and hoping to repeat his victory at the Aragon circuit last year.

Both Repsol Honda riders are fresh from post-race tests after the race at Misano a fortnight ago, where Pedrosa concentrated on improving the settings of his machine to tackle issues with rear grip that has been troubling him. The Spanish star celebrates his 28th birthday on race day tomorrow, and hopes to do so with his own third win of the season, after a run of four podium finishes at the previous races.

Stefan Bradl’s second-row start reflects a return to strong form that peaked with a first pole position and second place at the US GP, before the summer break. The German rider showed his pace on the first day of practice, running second fastest, and was confident for the race after his own tests at Misano helped him find better machine settings.

Bautista has shown improving form throughout the season, as he and his team get to grips with his exclusive use of Showa suspension and Nissin brakes … the Spaniard is race-developing the Japanese components, made by companies with close associations with Honda. Working alone means no reference points or data, but the Italy-based team has made strong progress during the season, and his results and race performances have steadily improved.

His team-mate Bryan Staring (GO&FUN Honda Gresini FTR Honda) qualified 21st on his Honda CBR1000RR-powered CRT bike. The Australian is in his first grand prix season, learning new tracks while also getting to grips with a new type of machine.

Former 125cc champion Nico Terol (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) claimed a career first Moto2 pole, only his second time on the front row of the grid this year. The first time was at round two in Austin, Texas, where he went on to claim his first race win in the class. Since then, however, he has been only once on the podium in the volatile class.

All Moto2 riders use identical race-tuned Honda CBR600 engines, supplied by the organizers. This ensures not only close but also reliable racing, with riders striving to make the difference on a variety of prototype chassis.

Two-time race winner Esteve Rabat (Tuenti HP 40 Pons Kalex) and his team-mate Pol Espargaro complete the front row of the grid, but the major focus of the race is the championship battle between Spanish star Espargaro and English championship leader Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team Kalex).

Redding still has a points lead of 23, but Espargaro has been closing the gap over the latter half of the season. Redding, fresh from arm surgery, qualified a disappointing 13th at Aragon, on the fifth row of the grid, putting him in the thick of heavy race traffic. The difference on time is not so great, however – the top 13 all qualified within one second of pole time.

Japanese racer Takaaki Nakagami (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), who has finished second in the last four races, heads the second row. Alongside him, single race winner Jordi Torres (Aspar Team Moto2 Suter) was narrowly ahead of Simone Corsi (NGM Mobile Racing Speed Up).

Julian Simon (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex), Alex de Angelis (NGM Mobile Forward Racing Speed Up), reigning Moto3 champion Sandro Cortese (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Johann Zarco (Came Iodaracing Project Suter) complete the top ten.

In the Moto3 class, up against rival factories, two Honda riders were in close contention with each other. In the end Ongetta-Rivacold FTR Honda rider Alexis Masbou took the fourth-row starting position from San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda rider Romano Fenati in the closing stages.

The experienced 26-year-old Frenchman was happy to be top Honda, but anticipated a tough race at a track where a long straight does not favour his machine’s superior cornering ability. Fenati (17) had been higher in free practice, in a generally strong weekend for the young Italian, in his second year in the class.

Less than half-a-second slower, Niccolo Antonelli (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda) was 15th out of the 35 qualifiers.

Second San Carlo Team Italia FTR Honda rider Francesco Bagnaia was 17th, Jack Miller (top Honda in the points standings) a disappointed 20th on the Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda, one place ahead of France’s Alan Techer (CIP Moto3 TSR Honda).

Isaac Vinales (Bimbo Ongetta-Centro-Seta FTR Honda) was 23rd, Alessandro Tonucci (La Fonte Tascaracing FTR Honda) 24th, and John Mcphee (Caretta Technology-RTG FTR Honda 27th; with Lorenzo Baldassarri (GO&FUN Gresini Moto3 FTR Honda), wild card Bryan Schouten (Dutch Racing Team FTR Honda), Hyuga Watanabe (La Fonte Tascaracing FTR Honda), Matteo Ferrari (Ongetta-Centro Seta FTR Honda) and Juanfran Guevara (CIP Moto3 TSR Honda) filling the grid.

The 5.078-km Motorland Aragon circuit, the central part of a major motorsport and technology centre, is fast and scenic, running up and down a dry and stony hillside and including a long straight just a few meters short of a kilometer. The weather was dry for the two practice days, although overnight rain made a cool and damp start to Saturday. There is a small chance of rain tomorrow, bringing the possibility of a flag-to-flag race in which riders pit to change bikes to match changing conditions.

Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)zoom
Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)zoom
Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO & FUN Honda Gresini)
Honda MotoGP rider quotess
Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda: pole position – 1m 47.804s
“It was a very closely fought qualifying session. We were able to get maximum performance from the tyres, which was the key to this pole position. Small details decided things this afternoon. I am happy, because we were able to achieve our aim of a front row start and to have the pole is a bonus. Tomorrow it will be important to get a good start and keep calm in the early laps, with the intention of taking the race to Jorge and Dani.”
Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda: 3rd – 1m 47.957s
“Even though the position on the grid maybe doesn't reflect it, we had a good qualifying session. We did a good job today and a lap time that I’m pleased with. For tomorrow the key will be to have a good start as the first corner is very close. I want to have a strong first few laps and maintain a good pace for the whole race. The tyre wear will be crucial so it’s also important to manage them for the race distance.”
Stefan Bradl, LCR Honda MotoGP: 5th – 1m 48.128s
“Obviously I wanted to catch the fourth place, but at the end Rossi was a bit faster. But I am pretty satisfied anyway. We had a good start to the weekend and we continued with a good base set-up and consistent pace. This makes us quite optimistic for the race tomorrow, although we have a big question mark about the tyres: actually we have a good pace in the first laps but the tyres drop down quickly. The key element will be to save the tyres as much as possible until the end of the race. At this stage I am happy because the rider and the team are working well together, and I like this combination.”
Alvaro Bautista, Team GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 6th – 1m 48.302s
“We didn’t go out this morning because the track conditions after the rain were such that we couldn’t get any useful feedback from either the wet or dry tyres so it meant we had to do all our work in the afternoon. Final free practice didn’t go well so we went out in qualifying with the setting from yesterday and set a good time. The pace from the other guys was very fast though and we have had to settle for sixth place and a second row start tomorrow. I am still happy with the lap time and my feeling on the bike. It was important to qualify well here because the first turn is very tight and even though it won't be easy I think we can be fighting for fourth or fifth place.”
Bryan Staring, GO&FUN Honda Gresini: 21st – 1m 52.102s
“I am pretty happy because in comparison to yesterday I have a better feeling with the bike and I am sure we can improve even more for the race. The goal is to make up as many positions as we can and close in on the points.”
Moto2 rider quotes
Nico Terol, Aspar Team Moto2: pole position, 1m 53.812s
“I am really happy about my first pole position in Moto2. This whole weekend my pace has been very consistent, and I made a big effort to be on the front row … so pole is perfect for me. Moto2 is very close and many riders are very fast – but here at this track my pace is good. I won here in 125, and my feeling for the track is always very good.”
Tito Rabat, Tuenti HP 40: 2nd, 1m 53.985s
“I will be going for another win tomorrow. We have a very consistent pace and a good rhythm, and our tyres are not going down too much. I have a little trouble in the last sector, and I’ll be checking with my mechanics to see if we can do something about this. For tomorrow – just make a good start and enjoy the race.”
Pol Espargaro, Tuenti HP 40: 3rd, 1m 54.294s
“Third today is like a pole for me … yesterday I was quite slow, and was 11th, a second from the fastest. But we worked hard over the night to improve the bike for my style, and then today we could improve little by little. So now we have a better chance, but the first laps will be very hard … I am not the best with a full tank of fuel, and we also need to save the tyres for the end.”
Honda Moto3 Rider quotes
Alexis Masbou, Ongetta-Rivacold: 12th, 2m 00.498s
“I’m feeling quite good on the bike, and good to be top Honda, but the position is not what I expected. This is a difficult track for us because the layout favours top speed more than handling. I tried a different rear suspension link today, but it didn’t feel too good, so tomorrow I may return to the old one. I’m sure I can improve acceleration a bit if I can find better rear grip, and race for some good points.”
Romano Fenati, San Carlo Team Italia: 13th, 2m 00.818s
“All weekend I have been going well. I enjoy this track, so it is a little disappointing not to be top Honda. I hoped for better in qualifying, but I never could get a good clear lap because there seemed to be so much traffic … but the race is tomorrow, and we will see what happens.”
Niccolo Antonelli, Team GO&FUN Gresini: 15th, 2m 00.858s
“We could have done better today but I am quite satisfied. Unfortunately Aragon is not a good track for our bike and I needed a good tow in order to do the lap time, but I didn’t get one. Things can change in the race though and if we get a good start then a top ten finish is not unthinkable.”
MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2013
Round 14: Aragon
MotoGP Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha Factory Racing)
3Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)
4Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha Factory Racing)
5Stefan BRADL (LCR Honda MotoGP)
6Alvaro BAUTISTA (GO&FUN Honda Gresini)
7Cal CRUTCHLOW (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
8Bradley SMITH (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
9Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
10Aleix ESPARGARO (Power Electronics Aspar)
11Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati Team)
12Andrea IANNONE (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
13Yonny HERNANDEZ (Ignite Pramac Racing)
14Hiroshi AOYAMA (Avintia Blusens)
15Danilo PETRUCCI (Came IodaRacing Project)
Moto2 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Nicolas TEROL (Aspar Team Moto2)
2Esteve RABAT (Tuenti HP 40)
3Pol ESPARGARO (Tuenti HP 40)
4Takaaki NAKAGAMI (Italtrans Racing Team)
5Jordi TORRES (Aspar Team Moto2)
6Simone CORSI (NGM Mobile Racing)
7Julian SIMON (Italtrans Racing Team)
8Alex DE ANGELIS (NGM Mobile Forward Racing)
9Sandro CORTESE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
10Johann ZARCO (Came Iodaracing Project)
11Thomas LUTHI (Interwetten Paddock Moto2 Racing)
12Mattia PASINI (NGM Mobile Racing)
13Scott REDDING (Marc VDS Racing Team)
14Xavier SIMEON (Maptaq SAG Zelos Team)
15Mika KALLIO (Marc VDS Racing Team)
Moto3 Class
Rank Rider (Team)
1Alex RINS (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
2Maverick VIÑALES (Team Calvo)
3Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)
4Philipp OETTL (Tec Interwetten Moto3 Racing)
5Efren VAZQUEZ (Mahindra Racing)
6Jonas FOLGER (Mapfre Aspar Team Moto3)
7Miguel OLIVEIRA (Mahindra Racing)
8Luis SALOM (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
9Arthur SISSIS (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
10Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox RW Racing GP)
11Zulfahmi KHAIRUDDIN (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
12Alexis MASBOU (Ongetta-Rivacold)
13Romano FENATI (San Carlo Team Italia)
14Brad BINDER (Ambrogio Racing)
15Niccolò ANTONELLI (GO & FUN Gresini Moto3)

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