We never thought we’d see the day — Marc Marquez won a last-lap battle!
After losing four final-lap battles in the first 12 races — two of them went down to the last corner — the seven-time world champion stitched up Fabio Quartararo with two corners to go and crossed the finish line 0.0903 seconds ahead of a very ecstatic rookie.
The Frenchman came so close to winning his first ever MotoGP race, and in the process, moved up to seventh in the standings and took over leading Independent Rider status from Jack Miller.
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Marquez increased his championship lead over Andrea Dovizioso to a staggering 93 points. With six rounds and 150 points yet to play for — yes, it’s a very comfortable lead — never say never!
Aragon this weekend is the last race on European soil until the season finale at Valencia in November. After a week off, we take a trip to Thailand for the second time, before another week break ahead of a hop, skip and a jump to Japan, Phillip Island and Malaysia.
Weather can do absolutely anything at all four locations, but before it all, there’s rain forecast at Aragon overnight Friday until Saturday early afternoon which could certainly shake things up, especially with grip levels for qualifying Saturday afternoon.
Ducati had a weekend to forget at home in Misano — Dovizioso could only manage sixth from sixth on the grid, Miller went from 16th to ninth, with Petrucci 17th to 10th.
Casey Stoner took Ducati’s only win at Aragon back in 2010, the first time the premier class raced there. The Aussie champ backed that up in 2011 for Repsol Honda before Dani Pedrosa in 2012, Marquez in his rookie year, before Jorge Lorenzo and Yamaha linked up for wins in 2014 and 2015.
Marquez has laid down the law for the last three years at Aragon. He holds the outright lap record, Lorenzo the race lap record and Andrea Iannone the top speed record of 345.8km/h on Ducati’s rocket ship along the 968-metre straight, all records set in 2015.
Quartararo is now armed with a very good sniff of what he has to do to beat Marquez in a head-to-head battle to win his first ever premier class race! It is only a matter of time.
Dovizioso finished 0.648 seconds behind last year’s Aragon winner Marquez after a race-long battle, which saw Iannone lead briefly on the Suzuki.
As for news, the big headline is Johann Zarco being moved on by KTM, which has enlisted original test rider Mika Kallio for the remaining six races this season. Test riders racing is by far the best testing you can do.
There have been rumours of Alvaro Bautista stalling on signing his Honda WSBK contract if there is any chance of him getting back into the MotoGP paddock.
Alex Rins’ only podiums in the last six years at Aragon were when he won the Moto3 race in 2013 before he finished second to Tito Rabat in 2015’s Moto2 race.
Suzukis were third (Iannone) and fourth (Rins) at Aragon last year, with Rins looking to win on home soil and take third in the championship back from Petrucci.
Maverick Vinales’ second-place finish to Rins in the 2013 Moto3 race is his only podium at Aragon, although he went on to win the title ahead of Rins that year.
Valentino Rossi’s best is third in 2013, 2015 and 2016. Aragon is one of four circuits on the current MotoGP calendar that the nine-time world champion has not had a win — Austin, Red Bull Ring and Buriram are the others.
Jorge Lorenzo is aiming to close gap to the winners as pain is still an issue. He was 56 seconds adrift at Silverstone on his return and 47 at Misano, and he is aiming to get that gap down to 30 this weekend at Aragon, which is quite realistic given his physical condition.
In his second season with Ducati last year, Lorenzo had already won Mugello, Catalunya and at the Red Bull Ring, meanwhile knowing that Ducati were not going to renew his contract.
He started from pole position last year at Aragon, and as Marquez went up the inside into the first turn, Lorenzo tried to hang on the outside and high-sided as soon as he cracked the throttle, injuring his foot and blaming Marquez for the accident.
Since then he has been carrying injuries from various crashes last year on the Ducati and so far this year on the Repsol Honda, after fracturing vertebra at Assen, missing that race then Sachsenring, Brno and Austria before returning at Silverstone to finish 14th and again 14th at Misano last week.
This weekend marks a year of pain and misery for five-time world champ Lorenzo, but I certainly think the sooner he gets back to his best, the better the racing will be with yet another rider battling for wins.
Miller started from 10th on the grid last year at Aragon and came home ninth. Generally having a better year on the current model Desmosedici, the Aussie should be well inside the top 10 all weekend.
Our Moto2 hope Remy Gardner needs a bit of luck — most importantly, stay on it mate.