Championship rivals prepare for battle – Nicky Hayden returns to action
Round 14 of this year’s MotoGP Championship gets underway on Friday this week ahead of the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragón on Sunday when Championship leader Marc Marquez will look to get back to his winning ways for the Repsol Honda team while race-winner form last time out, Valentino Rossi will look to consolidate his performance from two weeks ago and add to an impressive podium tally this year for the Movistar Yamaha team.
It will be nice to return home to race in front of our home fans in Aragón this weekend.
Had Marquez won last time out at Misano, he would have been able to seal the championship this weekend on home soil at Motorland Aragón but following Rossi’s heroics, the 21-year-old continues aiming for victories despite holding a near-unassailable lead of 74 points over teammate Dani Pedrosa and 75 over Rossi. However, Marquez is not resting on his laurels and wants more victories.
Marquez wants more victories
Speaking ahead of getting on track on Friday, the reigning MotoGP Champion said, “After a disappointing weekend in Italy, it will be nice to return home to race in front of our home fans in Aragón this weekend and also my fan club will be coming! This is my favourite track of the year and we’ve had good results here in the past three years so I hope to continue this way. It has technical first and final sections, and you need to be strong in cornering, but we will be working hard from Friday to be back on top on Sunday!”
Pedrosa searching for second victory of 2014
Pedrosa had some bad luck here last year with the Spaniard being taken out by his younger teammate after Marquez accidentally touched a rear sensor on Pedrosa’s bike during the race that led to the rider being ejected from his machine in a vicious highside. Despite last year’s bad luck though, Pedrosa also boasts a victory here in 2012 and two podium finishes.
He said, “Last year obviously wasn’t the best for me, but apart from that I've always done well in Aragón and I'm looking forward to racing in front of our home crowd again, the support is always great and gives you motivation! Obviously Marc has a huge lead in the Championship but there is only a single point between me and Valentino, so my priority is to win races and open that margin to take second in the standings.”
Can Rossi make it two on the bounce?
Rossi clawed back the defecit to just one point behind Pedrosa and is intent on securing the second position in this year’s championship. “We had a good race, we worked well all weekend and the result was spectacular. Now we must try to repeat what we did in Misano,” said Rossi who added, “The main objective is to continue like this, fighting for important positions every weekend. I am just a point behind Dani in the championship and I want to fight for this position. I also especially want to be strong everywhere. I arrived to victory at Misano step by step and we have to continue like this until the end. We are on the right way!"
Lorenzo hopeful private test will give him the edge on the rest
Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo is hopeful that the private test Yamaha organised at Motorland Aragón earlier in the year will give him the edge on his rivals. He said, “Motorland is a great track but it’s one of the few circuits on the calendar where I was never able to win. Over the last few years the layout seemed to be more suitable for our rivals, but I guess this season we can be closer especially because we tested there a couple of days after Montmeló so we already have some references.
I’m still pursuing my first victory of this season and Misano again wasn’t the place, but I’m not worried about it. Hopefully we can complete a good weekend at Aragon and let’s see what happens! You never know. Last year I won in Motegi, a Honda track, and it was a massive surprise. I don’t see why we can’t do the same thing this year at Aragon!” Lorenzo added.
Hayden itching to get back into action
Meanwhile, Nicky Hayden makes a long awaited return to action this weekend with the American rider ready to get back on his Drive M7 Aspar machine following a lengthy recovery period from surgery on his right wrist that forced him to miss the last four races.
“I am really happy to finally return to action this weekend,” said the former MotoGP Champion who continued, “Racing motorcycles is not only my job but my passion and it hasn't been easy for me to miss so many races. I just focused on getting back as quickly as possible but riding a MotoGP machine is not something you can test your fitness for until you try it. I managed to get on the podium the first year we raced at Motorland, I quite like the circuit and it has some fun corners,”