MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo Will Start From Pole, Valentino Rossi Will Start From 18th At Motorland Aragon (Updated)

MotoGP: Jorge Lorenzo Will Start From Pole, Valentino Rossi Will Start From 18th At Motorland Aragon (Updated)

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Gran Premio Movistar De Aragon

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Motorland Aragon

Alcaniz, Spain

September 22, 2018

Qualifying Results (all on Michelin tires):

From Qualifying Session Two:

1. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), 1:46.881

2. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), 1:46.895

3. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 1:46.960

4. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), 1:47.146

5. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), 1:47.169

6. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), 1:47.224

7. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), 1:47.351

8. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), 1:47.678

9. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), 1:47.737

10. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), 1:47.792

11. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), 1:47.810

12. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), 1:48.284

From Qualifying Session One:

13. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Honda), 1:48.009

14. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), 1:48.052

15. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), 1:48.181

16. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), 1:48.216

17. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), 1:48.398

18. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), 1:48.627

19. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (Yamaha), 1:48.975

20. Thomas Luthi, Switzerland (Honda), 1:48.988

21. Scott Redding, UK (Aprilia), 1:49.303

22. Xavier Simeon, Belgium (Ducati), 1:49.699

23. Jordi Torres, Spain (Ducati), 1:50.336

24. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), no lap time recorded

More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Zarco and Syahrin squeeze out the last tenths in Aragón Qualifying

Monster Yamaha Tech3’s Johann Zarco delivered a strong performance during Qualifying for the Aragón Grand Prix this weekend. The French star got the best out of himself and his Yamaha YZR-M1 today and missed out on Q2 by just 0.106 seconds, following a huge improvement after a tough opening day at the Spanish circuit. He will attack the 14th round of the season from the fifth row of the grid.

Hafizh Syahrin showed an equally resolute uphill Saturday. The MotoGP rookie from Malaysia lowered his FP1 time from Friday by incredible 1.719 seconds and finished Qualifying one in ninth position. Therefore, the Monster Yamaha Tech3 rider has to tackle the Aragón round at 14.00 local time tomorrow from the seventh row, after he concluded Saturday directly behind Yamaha colleague Valentino Rossi.

Johann Zarco

Position: 14th – Time: 1’48.052 – Laps: 7

“It’s not easy to say if I’m happy or unhappy. Obviously, the position is not what we want, but we couldn’t do better. We are improving ourselves, I tried to get better every time, however we feel that we could not do more. Since Misano we have a quite difficult time and I could almost be in Q2, but I missed it for just a tenth of a second. Let’s wait and see tomorrow. We start from far, although I still hope we can fight from the beginning and make up positions and then we will see if the others might struggle with the grip. Maybe I have a chance to do a top 10.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 19th – Time: 1’48.975 – Laps: 6

“I felt really good with the work that we’ve done with the team, because yesterday we were struggling a lot to find a bike to turn, when we used a lot of banking. This morning, I was improving step by step and in FP4 I was doing very well. In the first run of the Qualifying I felt really good with the bike after we changed something, but in the second run I was thinking too much to find a good reference and, in the end, I made a mistake with less than five minutes to finish. I had the feeling we could improve, so I’m very sorry for my guys. We try to have a good race pace tomorrow morning in the Warm Up in order to have a decent race.”

More, from a press release issued by Angel Nieto Team:

BAUTISTA AND COMAPA ÁNGEL NIETO TEAM SECURE BEST GRID OF THE SEASON

Spanish rider to start from eighth, one place better than previous best in Germany when he took fifth in the race

Ducati repeated their feat from free practice with five riders in the top ten at Motorland in qualifying, but this time taking top spot too. Jorge Lorenzo repeated his pole from Misano by just 0.014 seconds from his teammate Andrea Dovizioso, with Marc Márquez completing a front row that seem much stronger than the rest of the field here. Fourth placed Cal Crutchlow was two tenths adrift despite a late crash, ahead of Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa on row two.

Álvaro Bautista and the Comapa Ángel Nieto Team enjoyed their best qualifying session of the season with eighth place, one better than they achieved in the German GP. The Spanish rider worked with his crew to find an optimum set-up that allowed him to lap eight tenths off pole and gives him hope of running with the front group tomorrow. Karel Abraham also starts from his best grid position of the year in seventeenth and is plotting a challenge for points tomorrow after setting similar lap times in both sessions as he finds the limit with his Ducati.

8th Álvaro Bautista 1:47.678: “We have to be happy with this result because we have done a good job and I improved in the areas we wanted to improve. We have ridden with race rubber and when we put fresh tyres in I was able to make the most of them and set a good lap, which gave us our best grid of the year. Hopefully now I can have a good race in front of the Spanish fans and a finish close to the top five would be a good result.”

17th Karel Abraham 1:48.398: “I feel we are getting closer and closer to the limit and the lap times this afternoon were very close to what we achieved this morning. We are giving the maximum and I am happy because we are close to the fight for the points and I am looking forward to getting involved in it tomorrow.”

More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ WILL START FROM THE FIFTH ROW IN THE GP OF ARAGÓN

SEVENTH ROW FOR SCOTT REDDING

Aleix Espargaró will start tomorrow from the fifth row in the GP of Aragón, the fourteenth round of the MotoGP Championship. Scott Redding will be on the seventh row.

Espargaró missed his goal of going through to the second qualifying session, finishing Q1 fifth with a time of 1’48.181, just over two tenths behind the second place time, which would have sent him through to Q2. In any case, this respectable performance earns him a spot on the fifth row which is a small step forward on the grid compared to recent races.

Scott Redding was a bit farther back, limited by the lack of grip and finishing qualifying in twenty-first place (with a time of 1’49.303) and he will start from the seventh row tomorrow.

ALEIX ESPARGARO’

“In qualifying, we missed going through to Q2 by just a few tenths with only one lap available on the second run. With a bit of luck, we could have gained a few positions on the grid. I am still struggling when I release the brakes. I need to brake hard and then open the throttle back up to generate load transfers that let me turn the bike, so there are still some difficulties but on this track I am able to be faster and I think that in the race we’ll be able to battle in the top 12, which is certainly not our goal, but right now it’s a realistic target.”

SCOTT REDDING

“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to solve all of our problems today. Especially in qualifying, I really struggled with rear grip and that is a situation that doesn’t change much between the various available tyre compounds. Given the characteristics of the circuit, struggling in braking and acceleration means losing a lot of time. I don’t expect any revolutions from now to the race, tomorrow it will be hard.”

More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

Reale Avintia Racing riders ready for the Grand Prix of Aragón

MotoGP GP of Aragón – MotorLand Aragón

The riders of Team Reale Avintia Racing, Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres, were not very happy with their qualifying results for the Grand Prix of Aragón on Sunday.

The Belgian rider, who is contesting his second race on the bike of injured Tito Rabat, couldn’t improve his lap time as he had expected, due to dense traffic on the track during his last time attack in Q1. He will now start from the 22nd position of the grid. Upbeat about his race rhythm, Simeon believes he will be fast enough to ride and battle within another group of riders.

Teammate and rookie Jordi Torres also had a difficult second day of practice. After a crash in FP3 during the morning session, the rider from Rubí lost some of his confidence in the front end and in the front fork set-up of his bike. But the rider from Rubí made the best out of the day and improved his Friday time significantly. There is no hidden agenda for the race, simply to put up a fight.

Warm-Up will start at 9.40 on Sunday and both Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres are determined to put up a fight and get as many issues sorted as possible before the race starts at 14.00 h local time!”

Xavier Simeon | 1’49.699 | P22

“Honestly, I am disappointed because when we mounted the last rear tyre in qualifying, I ran into a lot of traffic and couldn’t get the result we were expecting. I am angry, because I expected a much bigger improvement with the new rear tyre and I felt really comfortable on the bike, so it’s a real shame. Now it will be even more important to get a good start, so I can get the maximum out of the race. It will be long, tough and very hot, but I am confident to be able to maintain my rhythm which should allow me to gain positions and fight for a good result.”

Jordi Torres | 1’50.336 | P23

“It was a difficult day. In a nutshell, we were in delay for the whole day and it was my fault. This morning in FP3, I made a mistake downshifting and I came off the bike. It was a stupid crash, but big enough to throw out our plans for the whole day. We had best intentions to apply a bit more pressure, but this delay made us more careful instead. In FP4, we rode many laps in order to improve my feelings with the bike and to change my seating position. In Q1, I pushed harder and tried to lean over more than all the others, and I can say that I never ever in my life went with more lean angle. Riding like that, the bike behaved differently and we made a lot of progress. It’s a pity that we didn’t make this move in the morning. But nevertheless, I am highly motivated and we’ll now see what we can achieve in the race.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Racing:

SECOND ROW FOR CRUTCHLOW IN ARAGON

LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow will start the Grand Prix of Aragon from the second row of the grid after another impressive showing during qualifying on Saturday. The Briton eventually had to settle for fourth place in Q2, but demonstrated impressive pace throughout the day and will now be looking to challenge for a second successive podium following his third place finish at Misano last time out.

Crutchlow laid down a marker in Saturday morning’s FP3 as he produced the quickest lap of the session, despite an early low-side fall at turn two. He then spent much of Q2 in a front row position, but was eventually edged out by a late charge from the factory Ducati riders and was unable to respond after an unfortunate crash when going well on his final flying lap.

Cal Crutchlow – 4th

(1’47.146 – lap 3 of 6)

“Obviously I’m a bit disappointed with that qualifying because I made a mistake in the braking (on my last lap). I took my eye off the prize because it looked like Maverick (Vinales), or somebody on a blue bike, went out, so I leaned fast with the brake full on and went down. But I’m ok and the team have been working very hard again this weekend”.

“To be so competitive after not testing here against the Ducatis is good. They have a stronger pace than us, there’s no doubt about it and they have a stronger pace than Marc (Marquez), but let’s see what we can do about it in the race tomorrow. I’m pleased with the way things have been going, we’ve been up there in nearly every session and I look forward to it.”

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

NAKAGAMI THROUGH TO Q2 IN ARAGON

LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami produced a superb performance to make it through to Q2 at the Grand Prix of Aragon on Saturday. The Japanese rookie improved dramatically during the course of the day and secured a spot in Q2 for just the third time in his debut season, before settling for 12th position and a spot on the fourth row of the grid for Sunday’s race.

With the MotorLand Aragon circuit again bathed in fine weather, Nakagami made big strides between FP3 (where he placed 17th) and FP4 as he finished the second session in 11th spot on the timesheets. He took that pace into Q1 and progressed in dramatic style as he edged out Franco Morbidelli on his final flying lap to secure second position behind Maverick Vinales.

Takaaki Nakagami – 12th

(1’48.284 – lap 3 of 7)

“I was happy with qualifying. There was quite a big improvement from FP3 to FP4 for the race pace using two hard tyres and the feeling is also quite positive with the soft tyres. I knew that we needed to make an extra push in Q1 and on my last lap I really tried my best and knew I was close to Franco (Morbidelli). Luckily my last lap was my best time and I’m really happy to go into Q2”.

“Q2 was a bit difficult because I didn’t know where I could stay, I tried to follow Cal (Crutchlow) but he stopped and then I tried to follow Marc (Marquez) but everybody then stopped again so it was hard to understand the situation. But this is MotoGP and I’m trying to learn from every race and improve my position. It’s going to be a long, tough race tomorrow, but I think it will be a good race for the team.”

More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

FIFTH PLACE GRID SPOT FOR IANNONE, NINTH FOR RINS

Andrea Iannone: 5th – 1:47.169 (+ 0.288)

Alex Rins: 9th – 1:47.737 (+ 0.856)

• Excellent pace shown by Iannone.

•Alex Rins consistent and ready.

•Team SUZUKI ECSTAR looking forward to race day.

Following a positive opening day at Motorland Aragon, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s riders took to the track on Saturday with high hopes for the day’s qualifying session. Both riders had provisionally made solid performances in free practice sessions, but with everyone upping the pace in FP3 this morning they needed to maintain strong lap times to stay within the Top 10 – something they managed well.

With Q2 passage guaranteed, FP4 was used by the riders to reconfirm settings and prepare for the qualifying session. Andrea Iannone once again demonstrated his strong pace by finishing the session in 2nd place.

Very small margins between the riders led to a fast and furious Q2, but Iannone and Rins responded accordingly. The Italian snatched a second row spot with 5th place, while the local favourite, Rins, secured a third row start with 9th.

Davide Brivio – Team Manager

“Andrea’s starting position is not bad and we’re on the second row. We’ve seen some good pace from him throughout today, so let’s see! Alex has worked very well during the weekend, checking and trying many settings and then managing to get a third row. It’s a little bit difficult starting from there, but I hope we can get a nice launch like in Misano and try to stay with the top group. I think we have the potential to have a good race, and both riders are in good shape, so we will try.”

Andrea Iannone

“It’s been a positive day, although I think I had the possibility to get a front row grid position. On the last lap I lost a bit of time when Marquez rejoined the track in front of me after he made a mistake. But in any case, these things can happen and it’s normal. We’ve worked well this weekend, the bike had a good base and then we improved practice by practice. We need to find a bit more traction with the rear but anyway, I will try my best tomorrow.”

Alex Rins

“I’m feeling good. It was an interesting day as we tried many things and many different tyres. We felt like we had a good setup from FP3 onwards, so this was nice. It’s difficult to decide on the tyres, it will depend on the weather tomorrow. I will give my maximum and try to get a good start, I think we have the rhythm and the pace to be with the second group, so we’ll try to fight there.”

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Front row start for Marc Marquez in Aragon, Dani Pedrosa on second row

The front-row riders for tomorrow’s Aragon Grand Prix were within just 0.079 seconds of each other, with Marc Marquez among them in third place. Further demonstrating how tight things were in today’s qualifying session, Dani Pedrosa completed the second row, just 0.343 seconds off poleman Jorge Lorenzo.

Marc was actually on top at the end of his first run and just lost the chance to defend his leadership when he went a bit wide in turn 12 during his final qualifying lap. However, the Championship leader has shown a consistently fast race pace during the weekend and tomorrow will again try to fight at the front in his home race.

Marc Marquez 93

3RD 1’46.960

“Today I was able to fight for the pole, and actually the lap times are very close. Here, the slipstream counts a lot and at a certain point everyone was waiting for one; given that I was on top after the first run, I also waited before pushing for the final try. On my last lap I was coming very fast behind Dovi, but I made a couple of mistakes, one in particular in turn 12. I missed the line a little bit and lost my chances there. Anyway, a front-row start was our goal and we were able to achieve that. It seems it’s again me and the Ducatis, like it has been at the recent races, so tomorrow we’ll see how it goes. In FP4 I had a crash because I braked a bit too late, but until then our pace was competitive on a used tyre, which is good. That was also a good warning because I found the limit in that corner. It will be a long race, but we’re there; I also felt at ease on my bike in the other sessions, so tomorrow, if possible, we’ll fight until the end.”

Dani Pedrosa 26

6TH 1’47.224

“Lap times were very tight at the front, and the smallest mistake could have you losing two or three positions. Here in Aragon it’s important to be at least on the second row because the first corner is very close to the start and makes things a little tricky. We’ll need to start well and find a good line between the first two corners. We don’t know yet how the pace will be tomorrow, but overall our race rhythm has been better than usual so we’ll try to adjust some more little things and then see how it goes.”

More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

Gran Premio de Aragon – Qualifying

#AragonGP Q. Petrux and Jack will start respectively from 3rd and 4th row at Motorland

The qualifying for the Grand Prix de Aragon finishes with the third row for Danilo Petrucci and the fourth for Jack Miller. It was a good Saturday for Alma Pramac Racing especially in FP3 where Jack won the direct qualification to Q2 thanks to an amazing time attack (second place – 20 thousandths of a second from the P1). In qualifying for pole position Petrux can not make the perfect lap and must settle for 7th place while Jack has some more problems and takes the checkered flag for a second burning the possibility of the second time attack.

P7 – Danilo Petrucci

“I am disappointed about this qualifying. The feeling was very good but I wasn’t able to get the most out of my time attack. I am still confident for tomorrow’s race even though we are suffering a bit from the consumption of the rear tyre on this circuit”.

P10 – Jack Miller

“We did a great FP3 and I was expecting a little more from the qualifying session. The team did a great job on the setup but in the time attack, I couldn’t make the perfect lap. The race pace is still positive and the goal for tomorrow is to stay in the Top 10”.

More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

MOVISTAR YAMAHA QUALIFY ON 4TH AND 6TH ROW IN ARAGON

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales came out swinging in Q1, setting the best time of the session on his very first flying lap. He then went on to Q2 and took 11th place on the grid for the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón. Valentino Rossi had the same goal as his teammate in Q1, to promote to Q2, but he was unable to do so and will be starting tomorrow‘s race from 18th position.

Alcañiz (Spain), 22nd September 2018

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales showed his spirit in Q1 when he set the best time of the session on his very first flying lap. He improved his time further in Q2 to ultimately take 11th place on the grid. Teammate Valentino Rossi was unable to put his mark on the 15-minute Q1 shoot-out and will start tomorrow‘s race from the sixth row on the grid.

Viñales was the last rider to head out on track in the first qualifying session, eager to find some clear space, and he used it to the fullest. He clocked a 1‘47.823s on his opening flying lap, the first time he dropped under the 1‘48s mark this weekend, to take over at the top of the rankings.

Unable to improve on his next try, he went into the pits for a quick stop with more than six minutes of the session remaining. When he got back he was still 0.186s clear of his closest rival. He was pushing without bettering his time but remained in P1 regardless, ending the session with a 0.123s advantage over the rider in second place.

The local hero showed a similar strategy at the start of Q2. He again left it late to exit pit lane but immediately put his head down. He moved up to third place with a 1‘47.810s but was pushed back to tenth when all riders completed their second hot lap.

With eight minutes to go, the Spaniard returned to the pits. He had two more attempts, but he didn‘t improve his time and ended the session in 11th place, 0.929s from pole.

Rossi also took part in Q1 and put up a fight. His first lap briefly earned him second position, but he was soon pushed down to fourth. He had to abort his second hot lap and returned to the pits holding fifth place.

With four minutes on the clock, the Italian resumed his time attack. He was looking for a good space out on track to put in a fast time, but he couldn‘t find the feeling he was looking for. His fastest lap of 1‘48.627s, which he set on his first flying lap, was 0.804s off his teammate’s time. It put him in 8th position in the Q1 results and in 18th place on the grid for tomorrow‘s race.

After today’s qualifying, Viñales was penalised three grid positions by Race Direction for obstructing Bradley Smith whilst the Brit was on a hot lap in Q1. As a result, the Spaniard will be starting the race from 14th place. As Franco Morbidelli was also penalised, Rossi will move up one place on tomorrow’s starting grid to 17th postion.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

It was another tough day. We faced more or less the same problems as yesterday, apart from during FP4 when Maverick found an improvement, somewhat in terms of speed but mainly the pace. We are going to prepare something for both riders, keeping that as our direction to try to get some additional rear grip without disturbing the other areas. We will be putting it to the test in tomorrow’s Warm Up. When things don’t go well, issues start to build up. Maverick had a sensor failure in Q2, so he couldn’t fully exploit the last couple of laps, and now he’s also been penalised three grid positions, so he’s basically pushed back one row. Valentino had a crash this morning, which compromised his day, and he got into an even more difficult position when he ran out of time in the Q1 session before putting in a hot lap.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

Today’s qualifying results don’t fully show our potential, I feel I could have done a little bit better, because I had some problems with the electronics in Q2. We need to keep working, we still have some time. We need to try to keep the motivation high and let’s see if we can do a bit better tomorrow. Rules are rules, and I think I was on the line in Bradley’s hot lap, so this is the way it is.

VALENTINO ROSSI

It was a difficult day already from this morning. Sometimes when you have a problem and you try to do better, you make it worse. Unfortunately I also crashed in FP3, but especially the afternoon was difficult. We didn’t have enough pace, I was quite slow. After that, in Q1, we had some confusion and lost too much time. It was difficult to set a hot lap but also to be on the pace. It looks like everything we can do inside the box won’t change our situation much, more or less our problem stays the same. Tomorrow we’ll try something else and we’ll see.

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Ducati Team riders lock out the top 2 positions in Aragon GP qualifying: poleman Jorge Lorenzo and second-placed Andrea Dovizioso to start from the front row of the grid tomorrow at MotorLand

The factory Ducati Team riders powered to the top two positions on the grid in this afternoon’s qualifying session for the Aragon Grand Prix. At the end of an exciting 15-minute run, Jorge Lorenzo grabbed the pole in the final seconds with a time of 1’46.881, just a fraction ahead of his team-mate Andrea Dovizioso.

Today’s result was the sixth successive front row for the Ducati Team since the Sachsenring, the third successive pole position for Jorge Lorenzo, and also the second 1-2 in qualifying for the factory Ducati riders in 2018 after Silverstone.

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 1st (1’46.881)

“I waited a long time to get my first pole position with Ducati, and now I’ve scored three in a row so I’m very happy about that. It was a very strange qualifying session, with all the riders hanging around, and as I was the last to go out, I was worried about all the traffic I would find on the track. I knew that I only had one chance to do an ‘explosive’ lap, so I pushed as hard as possible and in the end, despite a few small errors, I grabbed the pole from Andrea, who has always been very quick today. It’s another Ducati 1-2 in qualifying and I’m so happy for all the team. Tomorrow the race is sure to be a totally different story, because it will be very hot and also tough physically. We will have to work out what the best strategy is going to be but I think that we have a great pace and we can fight for the win.”

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (1’46.895)

“The qualifying session went well, because the important thing was to get onto the front row, which we did. With the times so close together, it would have been so easy to find yourself on the second row in an instant! The problem is that in the second exit we found ourselves all bunched together and in these conditions it’s very difficult to find room. I managed to find a gap and I was quite quick, but I had to overtake Bautista and I lost a bit of time. In spite of this, I did a really good lap time and so I’m very happy, also because the bike is working really well and for the race we’ve got a great pace. Tomorrow I think I can fight for the win, but the tyre wear will make all the difference so we’ll have to be good at managing the situation and do the right strategy in the race.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Double trouble: Ducati fend off Marquez for a 1-2 at MotorLand

Lorenzo leads Dovizioso leads Marquez in a somewhat familiar tale as Saturday sets us up for another stunner

Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) will start the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon from P1 after sealing his third consecutive pole position, snatching the honours from teammate Andrea Dovizioso by just 0.014 seconds. It’s Lorenzo’s best qualifying run since 2012 – the last time he took three poles in a row – and only the second time Marquez has missed out on pole at MotorLand in the premier class. The reigning Champion was hot on the heels of the Borgo Panigale duo, however, and he completes the front row a mere 0.065 off the top to set us up for another Sunday classic.

It was third place Marquez who came out the blocks quickest though, immediately clocking a 1:46.974 – the quickest lap of the weekend – on his first flying run, with Lorenzo 0.110 behind and Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) on the provisional front row at that stage. But tactics soon came out to play on the final run, with Dovizioso marked by Marquez as the top two in the Championship played cat and mouse. That led to both backing out of flying laps – and sending everything down to the wire.

On that final dash it was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) leading a freight train of eight riders as Marquez clung onto the tailpipes of Dovi. The two were setting the timing screens alight but heading into Turn 12 the Honda rider slightly out-braked himself – losing a potential pole lap. Meanwhile, despite having to manoeuvre past Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) at the same corner, ‘DesmoDovi’ went fastest by 0.065 to grab provisional pole. Teammate Lorenzo had other ideas, however, heading out slightly later than the rest of the field. The ‘Spartan’ put the hammer down and snatched pole by 0.014 – his fourth of the season and his fourth successive front row in Aragon.

That bumped Dovi to P2 and Marquez to P3, with Crutchlow then unable to make good on a threat to take a front row after a crash at Turn 12 on his final flying lap ended his chances. Fifth on the grid went to Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), his best starting position since the Catalan GP, with Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) securing his best qualifying position since Jerez in sixth.

Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) will launch from P7, with Bautista eighth, Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) P9 and Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) P10. Q1 graduate and leading Yamaha rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) had to settle for the 11th fastest lap, with Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) going 12th after also coming through Q1.

Q1 made some other headlines, however. Viñales recieved a three-place penalty for an incident with Bradley Smith, with Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) penalised for the same but the Italian’s sanction a loss of six positions. The biggest of them all though was a tough session for Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as the nine-time World Champion failed to make the cut, set to start 17th after Morbidelli’s penalty has been applied. Waiting for a tow to try and move through didn’t work for the ‘Doctor’ in the tight window of opportunity.

He’ll be gunning hard to make some serious progress on Sunday as Lorenzo, Dovizioso and Marquez continue their titanic battle for the win. Who will master MotorLand? Find out at 14:00 local time (GMT +2).

MotoGP™ Qualifying Results

1 – Jorge Lorenzo (SPA) DUCATI 1’46.881

2 – Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +0.014

3 – Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA +0.079

First Independent Team Rider:

4 – Cal Crutchlow (GBR) HONDA +0.287

Binder plays a blinder for pole

South African springs from 10th to 1st on his final lap to steal pole from Schrötter

Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) left it late at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon to secure South Africa’s first intermediate class pole position since 1984 – and his first – but he did just that thanks to a 1:53.149 to displace Friday’s fastest Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP). The German missed out on the honour of a maiden pole by just 0.074, but he’s well-placed to push for that maiden win. Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) took third for his maiden front row in Moto2™.

Despite a crash early in the session, Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) set an identical time to Navarro to line up P4 on the grid, with Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) just 0.018 behind the Spaniard in fifth, bringing an end to a run of three straight pole positions for the Italian. Compatriot Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) lines up sixth after threatening the front row throughout, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) seventh. The Frenchman and Binder are the only non-Kalex riders inside the top 12.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) earns his best grid slot since the Sachsenring in eighth, with fellow Italians Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) and Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) rounding out the top ten. It was a difficult afternoon for title contender Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, after the Portuguese rider could only manage P18 in qualifying. Can he fight back and challenge for a podium on Sunday?

Bagnaia vs Oliveira rolls into MotorLand on Sunday, but it’s the latter’s teammate who will launch from pole. Under two-tenths splitting the top six in qualifying sets us up for another closely fought Moto2™ race, and you can watch all the action live from 12:20 local time (GMT +2).

Moto2™ Qualifying Results

1 – Brad Binder (RSA) KTM 1’53.149

2 – Marcel Schrötter (GER) KALEX +0.074

3 – Jorge Navarro (SPA) KALEX +0.108

Martin makes history in Moto3™

Championship leader takes the record for most lightweight class pole positions after a stunning lap puts him half a second clear

Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) added to his record as the master of Moto3™ qualifying at the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon, setting a stunning 1:57.066 to smash the pole position lap record by seven tenths and take his ninth pole of the year. The Championship leader also made a little more history as he broke the lightweight class pole position record of 18 poles, previously held by his Team Manager Fausto Gresini. Martin’s compatriot Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) was his closest challenger, 0.537 back in second but taking his first front row, with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) showing more good speed at MotorLand to take third.

Marinelli Snipers Team rider Tony Arbolino grabbed fourth to seal his best grid slot since taking pole in Argentina, with Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) continuing his good form this weekend to start from the middle of the second row. Championship protagonist Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP), meanwhile, led the session before the final flurry of times came in and the Italian slipped down the order slightly, but only to the outside of the second row in sixth.

Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) set the seventh quickest time, but the Italian has a 12-place grid penalty for irresponsible riding in FP3. This means Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) will start from seventh after heading the timesheets by over three tenths early on, with Aron Canet (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) joining him on the third row in eighth and ninth, respectively.

Next up was Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing), with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) a thousandth slower and Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) only a further two thousandths in arrears. Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) and Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team) completed the fastest fifteen, also split by just two thousandths of a second.

After another close and competitive qualifying session for the lightweight class, we’re set up for a classic on Sunday. Tune in from 11:00 (GMT +2)!

Moto3™ Qualifying Results

1 – Jorge Martin (SPA) HONDA 1’57.066

2 – Jaume Masia (SPA) KTM +0.537

3 – Enea Bastianini (ITA) HONDA +0.593

More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:

5TH ROW FOR SMITH IN ARAGON, MOTO2 POLE FOR BINDER BUT ESPARGARO MISSES OUT AGAIN

Bradley Smith continued vital development work with the Red Bull KTM RC16 around the fast and technical curves of the MotorLand Aragon circuit and classified 16th today while closing on Q2 pace. Teammate Pol Espargaro suffered some bad luck in FP3 when a crash led to a reinjured collarbone and means the Spaniard misses another home round of the 2018 series. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Brad Binder took his first pole postion on the KTM Moto2 bike.

MotoGP

Hot conditions greeted the second day of work and set-up focus for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team at MotorLand Aragon for the fourteenth round of nineteen in 2018 MotoGP and the last European stop before the long overseas stint to Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia.

After some positive speed and signs on Friday – with both Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro getting on the pace with the KTM RC16 and pondering which tyre would be suitable for Sunday’s 23 lap race – Saturday began on a sour note with Espargaro hitting the ground at Turn 15 and suffering a recurrence of the broken left collarbone that caused him to sit out the (eventually aborted) British Grand Prix.

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “Pol has had an operation of a fracture of his left collarbone in the evening, that has been fixed with a titanium plate. He will remain the next 24 hours at the Hospital Universitario Quirón Dexeus (Barcelona), and he will begin with the functional recovery process in his left shoulder in the next 48 hours. The whole team will back him up in this tough period of his career and will do everything to come back even stronger together.”

Smith was rapid in Free Practice 3 and was less than a tenth of a second from the top eleven of the chrono. The Brit was left to represent the team in the afternoon and had a promising lap attack ruined in Q1 by slower riders on the final Turn 16. Smith, who was just 1.4 seconds from Pole Sitter Jorge Lorenzo, will start the race tomorrow from the fifth row in 15th position after both Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli were penaliesed for going slow on Smith’s fastest lap with plus three and six psotions on the grid for the race tomorrow.

Smith: “I felt good on soft tyres this morning and was close to making it straight through to Q2 and then during Q1 on the last lap I was coming up to Q2 pace again and riders sitting in the last corner held me up. Anyway I cannot do much about it. It would have been nice to go straight through. I struggled a little bit in FP4 and missed a bit of outright pace. We’ll work a bit more in warm-up but tyres are still a question mark. It could be between the 40s-50s tomorrow for track temperature. We know that when the tyre starts spinning then there is a lot of overheating and a massive drop in performance. It’s gonna be key to look after the tyre.”

Sebastian Risse (Technical Director MotoGP): “It took a while for us to bring this new set-up to the circuit but as we work the problems we face then our job become clearer and this is a positive. Depending on the conditions and the tyres available here at Aragon the results can go quite up and down. On the one hand it was quite obvious which ones worked best but then also clear we wouldn’t have enough. Sometimes you have to compromise, and that worked well with the track temperatures in FP3 but we struggled a bit more in FP4. We know why and we can do better. We are disappointed with the situation in Qualifying and we see that riders cruising and looking around can create dangerous situations in other classes. It happened to an extent in MotoGP today. I guess this is part of racing and led to that result today. We know our pace and we could have been into Q2. Overall this is one of our better qualifications of the season and we’re quite happy with the package, but we are also very unhappy and sad about the situation with Pol: it was great to have him back and getting stronger but now he is out again. We’re struggling, and it means decisions for 2019 (work) are a little bit upside down; we’ll have to make the best out of it in the next weeks.”

Moto2 & Moto3

Former Moto3 World Champion Brad Binder scorched to his first ever Moto2 Pole Position today with the Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM Moto2 machine. On a weekend where the 2019 engine concept for the category was officially handed over to the championship, Binder shone ahead of Marcel Schrotter to gather his first ‘Tissot Watch Award’.

Binder: “We’ve had very good pace throughout the weekend but I didn’t think I could get into the fight for pole, so it’s an unexpected result. On the last lap, I was thinking that the work for the race was already done, so I decided to put in a crazy last lap. Over the course of the weekend we’ve confirmed the good feelings we had in the Valencia test, where we found small changes in the set-up of the bike that make the difference. Moto2 is a very close category and those details are important. I didn’t expect to be able to, but I’ve done it and I’ve set my first pole in the Moto2 class. At this Grand Prix we are stronger than we have been all season. Also, in the race I always step up, so tomorrow I will go out to give it my best, keeping my concentration, and see how far we are able to go.”

In Moto3 Bester Capital Dubai’s Jaume Masia is 2nd on the grid with his KTM RC250 GP while Dennis Foggia and Marco Bezzecchi are also in the top six.

Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup

Deniz Öncü won his second race of the year and has one hand firmly on second place in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup after a thrilling penultimate race of the 2018 season. Motorland Aragón proved the perfect venue for the 15-year-old Turk to display his talent and racecraft as he flashed across the line just ahead of local hero Xavi Artigas. It was another fabulous KTM RC250 RB contest with a whole string of different leaders including 15-year-old Spaniard Carlos Tatay who would eventually finish third. No one could get clean away until the last three laps. One of the few stars not in that lead battle was Cup winner Can Öncü who languished in tenth, where he qualified.

D. Öncü: “I am incredibly happy with the win. It was a very hard race, it was hot and I was thirsty. I was fighting at the front all the way but it was impossible to break away. I decided to play it cool until five or six laps to go and then pushed. Artigas was in front by a second or two and I went after him. We got away from the other riders and I passed him. Then I just concentrated on really making a perfect last lap so he couldn’t get me. It was a great race, the bike was fantastic and such a close battle, you can see the marks on my leathers.”

Races: September 23, 2018 – Moto3 11:00 | Moto2 12:20 | MotoGP 14:00 CET | Red Bull Rookies Cup 15:30

Results Qualifying MotoGP MotorLand Aragon 2018

1. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, 1:46.881 min

2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +0.014 sec

3. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, +0.079

4. Cal Crutchlow (GBR), Honda, +0.265

5. Andrea Iannone (ITA), Suzuki, +0.288

KTM

16. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +1.335 (P15 on the grid due to grid penalties)

DNS Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM (crash FP3, broken collarbone)

Results Qualifying Moto2 MotorLand Aragon 2018

1. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, 1:53.149 min

2. Marcel Schroetter (GER), Kalex, +0.074 sec

3. Jorge Navarro (ESP), Kalex, +0.108

4. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, +0.108

5. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +0.126

KTM

18. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +0.862

Results Qualifying Moto3 MotorLand Aragon 2018

1. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 1:57.066 min

2. Jaume Masia (ESP), KTM, +0.537 sec

3. Enea Bastianini (ESP), Honda, +0.593

4. Tony Arbolino (ITA), Honda, +0.708

5. Dennis Foggia (ITA), KTM, +0.725

KTM

6. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, +0.789

8. Gabriel Rodrigo (ESP), KTM, +0.871

26. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +1.986

Results Race 1 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup MotorLand Aragon 2018

All riders on KTM RC250 RB bikes

1. Deniz Öncü (TUR), 30:45.838 min (15 laps)

2. Xavier Artigas (ESP), +0.548 sec

3. Carlos Tatay (ESP), +4.736

4. Steward Garcia (COL), +5.108

5. Adrian Carrasco (ESP), +5.271

Standings Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup 2018 after 11 of 12 races

1. Can Öncü (TUR), 227

2. D. Öncü, 167

3. Artigas, 155

4. Filip Salac (CZE), 142

5. Tatay, 128

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