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GP Week : Issue 191
Nobody could have predicted the outcome of the events at Aragon. The events themselves were familiar enough. Marc Marquez braking so late he nearly ran up the back of Pedrosa, then going on to win the race. But Pedrosa’s fate, ironically on his 28th birthday, was one in a million. Marquez did brush the back of Pedrosa’s bike, but so lightly it appeared to have no effect. Until he opened the throttle, a few metres down the track. With a whoop and a holler the Repsol Honda lit up its back tyre, slewed sideways, and pitched the rider headlong over the high side. Pedrosa had already passed Marquez and closed up on wannabe runaway Lorenzo, poised to attack. Victory was clearly possible. He needed it, to regain ground in the title battle. The rest was as often before, where the long straight helped Honda regain the upper hand. Marquez ran wide and lost two seconds, halved that within three 5.078-km laps of the interesting and scenic Motorland Aragon circuit, and by lap 14 of 23 was ahead. Lorenzo stayed close in a fine ride, but by the end his run of two wins was brought to an end by almost 1.4 seconds. Team-mate Rossi had qualified fourth and would have finished fourth but for Pedrosa’s absence. But he counted further progress – he was only five thousandths off the front row, and 10 seconds off the winner – halving the gap at Indianapolis, so he could claim encouraging progress. But he had to work for it. Stefan Bradl (LCR Honda) was his companion throughout, joined and finally passed by Alvaro Bautista’s similar FUN&GO bike. Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha) was close throughout, still less than a second at the end. Team-mate Smith was a distant seventh; the Marlboro Ducati pair had been in close company again until Nicky Hayden had a run through the gravel, leaving Dovizioso to a solitary eight, and himself scrabbling back to ninth, ahead of Andrea Iannone’s B-team Ducati. Espargaro was again top CRT bike. As things stand, Marquez is looking invincible on 278 points, with Lorenzo 39 adrift on 239, and no-score Pedrosa (219) a yawning 59, with four races to go. Moto2 went to surprise second-time winner Nico Terol’s Aspar Suter by a runaway from pole; but the focus was on the title rivals Pol Espargaro (Tuenti Kalex) and Scott Redding (Marc VDS Kalex). Redding fought hard from 13th on the grid and held second until after half distance. By the end both Pol and his team-mate Tito Rabat were ahead, the latter claiming second place. Redding’s lead shrank again, 215 points to Espargaro’s 195. Another Moto3 thriller was between the usual Spanish gang, but with points leader Luis Salom (Red Bull KTM) this time off the back and battling for fourth. Alex Rins (Estrella KTM) finally held off Maverick Vinales (Calvo KTM) after a race-long battle of inches. Third-placed Alex Marquez (Estrella KTM) was with them for much of the way, before fading for a safe rostrum finish. Salom’s fourth came narrowly, after a vigorous last-lap to-and-fro battle with Miguel Oliveira’s Mahindra; the loss of top points reduced his advantage over Rins, after the latter’s second win in a row, 259 points to 250, with Vinales still so close on 247. MOTOGP >>> nEWs BROKEN CABLE, BROKEN dREAMS AT THWARTEd SPANISH SHOWdOWN 14 GPWEEK.com // 14 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: