MotoGP press release
Aragón set for key round of 2011 MotoGP campaign
Round 14 of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship takes place this weekend as the Gran Premio de Aragón brings the premier class back to Spain, prior to an intense final run of the campaign.
The MotoGP World Championship returns to Spain this weekend as the Gran Premio de Aragón hosts Round 14 of the 2011 campaign, the penultimate European race of the season before what is certain to be a title-deciding flyaway series in Japan, Australia and Malaysia. The impressive MotorLand Aragón circuit, which was only introduced to the calendar last season and was voted IRTA ‘Best Grand Prix’ of 2010 at its first attempt, will welcome the premier class once more in what will be another important development in the race for this year’s Championship title.
Casey Stoner (Repsol Honda) remains 35 points clear at the top of the standings after finishing third in Misano, where Jorge Lorenzo took his third victory of the season. Catching Stoner remains a tough challenge for Lorenzo but the defending World Champion’s determination remains steely with five rounds of the campaign remaining, and this weekend will provide an intriguing latest chapter as Stoner won on the Ducati at Aragón last year whilst Lorenzo placed fourth on the M1.
Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) remains in third position in the standings, with almost 40 points either side of him to Lorenzo in second and team-mate Dani Pedrosa in fourth. The Italian has finished fifth in the previous two races and will be eager to return to contention for podium positions, with Pedrosa keen to continue his recent form of four rostrum finishes in the past five races – the latest in Misano was his 95th GP podium.
Just two points separate Ben Spies (Yamaha Factory Racing) and Valentino Rossi (Ducati Team) in fifth and sixth respectively, the American with his sights set on adding to the three podiums he has so far amassed in his first season on the factory team. Rossi comes into Round 14 off the back of a seventh-placed finish in his home race at Misano, a race followed up by a private Ducati test in which he checked out the latest developments on next year’s Desmosedici at Mugello.
Rossi’s team-mate Nicky Hayden’s last two races have ended in disappointing style for the American and he will hope to replicate last year’s Aragón podium result, and Marco Simoncelli (San Carlo Honda Gresini) will expect to be fighting at the front once more. Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) is in line to start his 150th premier class Grand Prix, which will make him only the eighth rider in history to do so.
Hiroshi Aoyama (San Carlo Gresini Honda), Héctor Barberá (Mapfre Aspar) and Álvaro Bautista (Rizla Suzuki) all continue to make progress in their second seasons in the premier class, rookies Karel Abraham (Cardion ab Motoracing) and Cal Crutchlow (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) will visit the track for the first time on MotoGP machinery, and Toni Elías (LCR Honda), Randy de Puniet (Pramac Racing) and Loris Capirossi (Pramac Racing) will each target improvements.
This weekend will also be a special one for De Puniet who is scheduled to make his 100th MotoGP start, making him the first French rider to do so.