Aragon GP: Honda race report

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) scored a hard-ridden second place in today's inaugural Aragon Grand Prix to take another bite out of Jorge Lorenzo's World Championship points advantage. With five races remaining, Pedrosa sits 56 points behind...

Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V) scored a hard-ridden second place in today's inaugural Aragon Grand Prix to take another bite out of Jorge Lorenzo's World Championship points advantage. With five races remaining, Pedrosa sits 56 points behind his fellow Spaniard who finished fourth today.

The race was won by Casey Stoner (Ducati), his first win of the season. Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V) fought with all his might to snatch fifth place from Ben Spies (Yamaha), only to fall on the last lap. Honda's second finisher was Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) who came home in seventh place, just behind reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi (Yamaha).

Pedrosa got a great start from the front row of the grid, but got sideways in the first corner, which lost him crucial time. Fourth at the end of the first lap, he quickly used his RC212V's impressive straight-line performance to fight his way past third-place finisher Nicky Hayden (Ducati) and Lorenzo to move into second place on lap three. By then Stoner was already 1.5 seconds ahead, but nearing half-distance, Pedrosa upped his game and closed to within eight tenths of the lead. However, Stoner responded to the pressure, the gap growing and shrinking over the next few laps as the pair battled for the advantage. Finally, Pedrosa realised he would have to risk too much to mount a serious attack and eased off to ensure second place and 20 points. Following his wins at Indianapolis and Misano, this is the third race in a row that Pedrosa outscored Lorenzo.

Dovizioso enjoyed his duel with Spies, the pair swapping places several times on the penultimate lap. On the final lap Dovizioso attempted to get the better of his American rival in the turn 12/13 esses but was highsided from his RCV.

Simoncelli didn't get the start he had been hoping for and yet he was able to run a very similar pace to Spies and Dovizioso during the early stages of the race. Then a couple of mistakes dropped him into the hands of Rossi. At one stage the rookie wanted to mount a counter attack, but once again he made a minor error that forced him to accept seventh place. Simoncelli was nevertheless happy with his weekend because he learned plenty.

Team-mate Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V) was less satisfied, struggling all weekend to get the best out of his RC212V. In the race he had some front-end push issues in the early laps. Later he worked himself into a good rhythm but was unable to get past the riders ahead of him eventually finishing the race in ninth.

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V) was in the thick of a busy contest for ninth contest for ninth place when he suffered a highside fall at turn seven on lap 16. Until then the Frenchman had been enjoying the ride -- this is the first weekend since he broke a leg in July's German GP that he has felt really comfortable on a bike -- although he was having some issues with front grip.

Three months after his Silverstone tumble which left him with a broken vertebra, Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V) finished 13th at Aragon today. The Japanese is still working to regain full fitness, but he was disappointed with his ride which saw him stuck behind Mika Kallio (Ducati) for much of the race.

Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) scored another runaway win in the Honda-powered Moto2 series, breaking away from the pack just like he did at Mugello and Assen. At one point the Italian was more than ten seconds ahead of the contest for second place, easing his pace during the final laps to cross the finish line 6.2 seconds ahead of Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter), who just edged out Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up) for the runner-up spot. This was Simon's third consecutive second-place finish.

Iannone rode his victory lap holding aloft a special flag to commemorate Shoya Tomizawa, the Moto2 ace who died following an accident at Misano two weeks ago. Other riders in all three classes here bore mementos of the popular Japanese rider on their bikes, leathers or helmets. A minute's silence was held for Tomizawa following this morning's warm-up sessions.

Iannone led from pole position, getting into turn one first and then steadily increasing his advantage, usually by a few tenths a lap, but by bigger margins later in the race, which suggests that his team has fixed the tyre-wear issues which had troubled him at some other races.

Simon spent much of the race in second place, only briefly losing the position to Simone Corsi (JIR Moto2, Motobi) and then successfully defending his position from Talmacsi during the final laps.

World Championship leader Toni Elias (Gresini Racing Moto2, Moriwaki) made a heroic charge through the pack from his third-row start, a legacy of a tumble during qualifying. The Spaniard, who had won the previous four races, ended the first lap in 14th and fought his way through to fourth, just eight tenths behind Talmacsi. Corsi finished fifth, well clear of Jules Cluzel (Forward Racing, Suter) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag-CIP, Suter). Front-row starter Scott Redding (Marc VDS Racing Team, Suter) was eighth.

Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team) rode a great 125 race, coming through from 19th on the grid to claim three World Championship points for 13th place. The German teenager got as high as tenth place at one point of the race, but was nevertheless happy with 13th and his first points since Brno. the race was won by Pol Espargaro (Derbi) who beat Nicolas Terol (Aprilia) at the final corner.

The MotoGP circus once again leaves Europe after this race, heading east for three races on consecutive weekends in Japan (October 3), Malaysia (October 10) and Australia (October 17). The season finishes back on the Continent with the Portuguese GP (October 31) and the Valencia GP (on November 7).


Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda RC212V): 2nd "I'm pretty happy with second place today even though of course I wanted to win in front of the Spanish fans. In the first corner I had a slide which lost me a couple of places and then over the next few laps I had to make up some positions before getting behind Casey. By this point he was quite a way in front and our pace was similar at this stage so I tried really hard to catch him and managed to close the gap. But then I started to have some rear-wheel slides and it wasn't possible for me stay with him so I thought: 'Ok, this is my place today.' Our bike here was struggling more with tyre wear than some of the others, but anyway, second place is not bad and the championship is still alive, even though it will be very difficult to catch Lorenzo. I'd like to say thanks to my team who are working really hard, and I want to maintain this momentum because recently we have been fast at every race. I'm looking forward to Honda's home event at Motegi."

Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 7th "At the start I was hoping for a better result because I felt good but I have to be satisfied with seventh place. I was running with Spies and Dovizioso over the first seven laps but when I lost touch with them I made a couple of mistakes. Once Valentino came past I started to ride well again and even tried to attack him but made another mistake. After that there wasn't much else I could do. Overall it has been a positive weekend and we have taken a step forward compared to other races."

Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini RC212V): 9th "It has been a bad weekend for us and the race didn't go any better. Unfortunately over the first few laps the bike was unpredictable and the front kept pushing. Even when I put together a pace that was faster than the guys in front of me there was no way I could pass them. I haven't made a pass on the brakes since the start of the season -- I can only overtake in direction changes and that shows something is wrong because I have always been a late braker but right now I'm not. I am really disappointed because things are not improving and we need a little help from Honda because I can't do anything on my own."

Hiroshi Aoyama (Interwetten Honda MotoGP RC212V): 13th "As you may understand I am not really happy about my 13th position. My rhythm was good when I was riding alone. At the beginning I lost a lot of time and I could have been faster if I could have overtaken Kallio earlier. I tried it in each corner, but couldn't. When I finally passed him, because he made a mistake, it was too late to better the result and I am very angry about that."

Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda RC212V): DNF "Of course I'm really disappointed things ended in this way because my pace in the middle of the race was very good and the battle with Spies was exciting. The crash happened between turns 12 and 13. Spies went in too deep and I tried to overtake him on the inside. That meant I was carrying a little bit more speed through the change of direction and as I flicked from left to right I highsided. I'm really disappointed because we have lost third position in the championship, which is still our target even though scoring zero points today makes this more difficult. Early in the race I made some mistakes and lost contact with the front group, but actually our pace in the middle of the race was very fast. During the battle with Spies we overtook each other three or four times in the last laps and it was fun, but the crash spoiled the day. However, we'll come back fighting at Motegi because we've proved we have the pace to be strong."

Randy de Puniet (LCR Honda RC212V): DNF "There was a good group of us, so it was quite a hectic race for me. I didn't feel too confident in the front end of the bike and then I started to lose the front a few times. I was trying to ride around that when the bike flicked me off. We still aren't sure why that happened."


Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up): race winner "It's been a great day, but in no way was it easy or simple to me. After my injury in practice at Indianapolis I suffered a lot in the race at Indy and again at Misano, so it was great to feel strong again this weekend. I stayed on top in every practice and today's win repays the team for all the hard work the team has done in fixing problems. Congratulations also to my team-mate Gabor, I hope that we can keep this run of results going."

Julian Simon (Mapfre Aspar Team, Suter): 2nd "It's very special to make the podium in Spain, especially at a new Spanish circuit. I'm very happy because it's been a good weekend. I have been up the front all three days, just like I was at Indy and Misano, so I have been very regular at the last three races. This makes me very motivated for Japan, Malaysia and Australia. Of course, now I want to win a Moto2 race after being second at the last three. Today I got a good start and tried to go with Iannone, but his rhythm was too fast. I would like to dedicate this podium to Tomizawa."

Gabor Talmacsi (Fimmco Speed Up, Speed Up): 3rd "We have been trying very hard all season, but to begin with I didn't have the same feeling with the bike that Andrea has. But we never gave up and we always kept trying, so this first Moto2 podium is a big reward for that. During this second part of the season me and the team understand each other better, so the bike is coming better and I hope we can continue like this during the last few races."


Marcel Schrotter (Interwetten Honda 125 Team): 13th "The race went well. I had a good start and was able to stay with the group from the beginning. I could catch up some positions, stay in the slipstream and I managed to get even closer to the group. After the really bad two practice days I am really happy with this result. I think I could have finished even further in front, if my starting position would have been better."

-source: honda racing

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About this article
Series MotoGP
Drivers Nicky Hayden , Ben Spies , Randy de Puniet , Marco Melandri , Gabor Talmacsi , Andrea Dovizioso , Marco Simoncelli , Toni Elias , Casey Stoner , Julian Simon , Mika Kallio , Hiroshi Aoyama , Scott Redding , Shoya Tomizawa , Jules Cluzel , Dani Pedrosa , Pol Espargaro , Andrea Iannone , Simone Corsi , Marcel Schrötter , Dominique Aegerter , Nicolas Terol
Teams Forward Racing , CIP , Marc VDS Racing