Sam Lowes returns to the scene of one of his greatest triumphs seeking redemption after a nightmare Gresini Aprilia debut MotoGP™ season. The Lincolnshire rider won the Moto2™ race last year at the magnificent 3.155 miles Aragon circuit and returns to Spain for the Movistar Grand Prix of Aragon on Sunday looking for a change of MotoGP fortune before returning to Moto2 next season.
It’s also a big 23 lap race for Oxfordshire’s Bradley Smith who arrives after his best result of the season at the previous round at a wet Misano in Italy. Smith was tenth, one place in front of his team-mate Pol Espargaro, in KTM’s first MotoGP™ season. Test rider Mika Kallio returns after finishing well ahead of Smith on his previous appearance in Austria and Smith hopes his Misano performance will prevent that happening again.
Isle of Man – based Midlander Cal Crutchlow crashed in the Misano rain but typically remounted to finish 13th on the LCR Honda. Crutchlow brought Ducati rare success in Aragon when he was third three years ago. He’s currently eighth in the Championship three points behind Danilo Petrucci and two in front of double Aragon winner Jorge Lorenzo.
Gloucestershire’s Scott Redding had a morale boosting Misano ride into seventh place on the Octo Pramac Ducati. Five years ago Redding was third in the Aragon Moto2™ race and wants to finish his Pramac Ducati season on a high before joining Aprilia next year.
Two other fallers in the Misano rain were Scotsman John McPhee and Tarran Mackenzie. Oban-based McPhee fell from the British Talent team Honda in the Moto3™ race. He’s seventh in the Championship on equal points with Marco Ramirez and just two behind Andrea Migno.
British Supersport Champion Mackenzie crashed in the early stages of the Moto2™ race after a big crash in practice. He’s still chasing his first World Championship points and where better than Aragon before the fly away races in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.
BRITISH GRAND PRIX DATE AT SILVERSTONE OR DONINGTON
The 2018 British Grand Prix date has been confirmed for August 26 but the venue has still to be decided. The venue will be either Silverstone, which has staged the race for the last eight years or Donington Park which hosted the race between 1987 – 2009.
The championship has been increased to 19 rounds with the Chang circuit hosting the first grand prix in Thailand on October 7.
FIM Grand Prix World Championship 2018 Provisional Calendar
Date Grand Prix Venue
18 March Qatar* Losail International Circuit
08 April República Argentina Termas de Río Hondo
22 April Americas Circuit of the Americas
06 May Spain Circuito de Jerez
20 May France Le Mans
03 June Italy Autodromo del Mugello
17 June Catalunya Barcelona – Catalunya
01 July Netherlands TT Circuit Assen
15 July Germany Sachsenring
05 August Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno
12 August Austria Red Bull Ring – Spielberg
26 August Great Britain** TBA
09 September San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
23 September Aragón MotorLand Aragón
07 October Thailand Chang International Circuit
21 October Japan Twin Ring Motegi
28 October Australia Phillip Island
04 November Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
18 November Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo
* Evening Race
** Circuit to be announced
DID YOU KNOW
This is the eighth successive year that the Aragon circuit has hosted a grand prix event and below are some facts and stats related to this event:
• Aragon first hosted a grand prix event in 2010, when it became the sixth different circuit that has been used for grand prix racing in Spain. The other circuits that have been used in Spain are: Jerez, Catalunya, Jarama, Montjuich and Valencia.
• Casey Stoner won the first MotoGP race at Aragon in 2010 on a Ducati, the only victory for the Italian manufacturer at this circuit.
• Honda are the most successful manufacturer at the Aragon circuit with four MotoGP victories, with three different riders: Casey Stoner in 2011, Dani Pedrosa in 2012 and Marc Marquez in both 2013 and 2016.
• Jorge Lorenzo has given Yamaha two MotoGP victories at the Aragon circuit, in 2014 and 2015.
• Spanish riders have had great success across all three GP classes at the Aragon circuit, winning fifteen of the twenty-one GP races that have taken place. The only non-Spanish riders who have had a grand prix win at the circuit are: Casey Stoner (MotoGP in 2010 & 2011), Andrea Iannone (Moto2 race in 2010), Romano Fenati (Moto3 in 2014), Miguel Oliveira (Moto3 in 2015) and Sam Lowes (Moto2) last year.
• Casey Stoner’s two victories are the only occasions that a non-Spanish rider has stood on either of the top two steps in the MotoGP class at the Aragon circuit.
• Marc Marquez has been on pole on all four occasions he has raced in the MotoGP class at the Aragon circuit.
• In addition to Casey Stoner’s win in 2010, the only podium finishes for Ducati riders at Aragon are; third for Nicky Hayden in 2010 and third for Cal Crutchlow in 2014.
• The best result at Aragon for Suzuki is the fourth place finish achieved last year by Maverick Viñales.
• Aragon is one of just five circuits on the current grand prix schedule that run in an anti-clockwise direction, along with Austin, Sachsenring, Phillip Island and Valencia.
• Aragon is one of just three circuits on the current grand prix schedule where Valentino Rossi has not had a MotoGP victory, along with Austin and the Red Bull Ring.
• The three riders standing on the MotoGP podium in Aragon last year (Marquez, Lorenzo, Rossi) had a record accumulated total of 232 grand prix wins across all classes.
ALL POINTS TO ARAGON SHOWDOWN
Something has to give at Aragon Sunday when Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez arrive at the Spanish circuit on equal points with just five rounds of this amazing 18 round MotoGP™ World Championship remaining. They have both amassed 199 points and scored four victories apiece as they arrive at the superb 3.155 miles Aragon circuit for yet another showdown before the vital three flyway races that will have such a bearing on the outcome of the championship.
Marquez, fresh from his last lap victory in Misano has won two MotoGP™ races on the Repsol Honda at Aragon including last year. He will receive good support from team-mate Dani Pedrosa who was a winner on home soil five years ago. Casey Stoner brought Ducati victory eight years ago at the first Aragon grand prix but since then they have only taken two podium finishes, but history has made no difference to Dovizioso’s barnstorming performances this year. The Italian is in the form of his life and will receive good support from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo a double Aragon winner with Yamaha and Danilo Petrucci who was so close to victory at Misano on the Octo Pramac Ducati.
The MotoGP™ Championship is not just a two horse race with Maverick Vinales hanging in there just 16 points behind the two leaders. The Movistar Yamaha rider was fourth last year on the Ecstar Suzuki and has a new team-mate for the 23 lap race on Sunday. Fresh from his first World Superbike podium for Yamaha at the weekend Dutchman Michael van der Mark makes his MotoGP debut replacing the injured Valentino Rossi at a circuit he knows well.
Two riders looking for a change of fortune are previous Moto2™ winners in Aragon. Andrea Iannone and Sam Lowes are experiencing nightmare MotoGP seasons but have Moto2 wins in Aragon, while KTM test rider Mika Kallio returns to put the pressure on Pol Espargaro and especially Bradley Smith.
The Moto2™ World Championship has been blown wide open following the crash of championship leader Franco Morbidelli in Misano. His nearest rival Tom Luthi finished second and closed to within nine points of the Italian who he joins at Estrella Galicia Marc VDS Honda in MotoGP™ next year. Morbidelli was third last year behind team-mate Alex Marquez, who returns after missing Misano and winner Lowes, with Luthi in fourth place. Miquel Oliveira returns on the KTM to the circuit where he won the Moto3 race a couple of years ago.
Another former Aragon Moto3™ winner Romano Fenati arrives full of confidence after his wet Moto3 win in Misano. Despite his second win of the season the Italian still trails Joan Mir in the championship by a massive 61 points after the Spaniard was second in the Misano rain that brought about so many crashes. Third placed Aron Canet chases his fourth win of the season.
BT SPORT 2
Friday 22 September: 8.00 – 15.00
Saturday 23 September: 8.00 – 15.15
Sunday 24 September: 7.30 – 15.00
Highlights Monday 25 September 19.00
talkSport2 will also have live commentary of the race on Sunday.