Yamaha Factory Racing rider Jorge Lorenzo made the weekend’s hard work count today, taking his first-ever Aragon Grand Prix podium with third place. Having dropped from fourth on the grid in the early laps, the reigning World Champion gradually picked up the pace, running well under his qualifying time to gradually reel in the front runners. By lap 10 he had caught teammate Ben Spies and Marco Simoncelli, passing them both to take third, which he held to the line. The results mean the gap to Championship leader Stoner has now increased again to 44 with four races remaining of the season.
Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Spies had probably his best start of the season so far, shooting off the line to outride both Stoner and Dani Pedrosa for the lead into turn one. Having then dropped to third the Texan was maintaining a gap to fourth, scoring the third fastest lap of the race on lap four with a 1’49.593. A dramatic drop off in grip on the sixth lap then affected his pace. He was passed by team mate Lorenzo and then Simoncelli, dropping to fifth place. The result sees Spies retain fifth in the Championship standings, now 24 points behind Pedrosa in fourth as they head to Motegi next week.
Jorge Lorenzo, 2nd, +14.209:
“We struggled a lot from the beginning of the race, losing positions and having to recover step by step. We couldn’t get more than a podium; that is the best result we could get today! I didn’t have confidence in the rear and it is impossible to catch Dani on this track. It’s a pity, but at least I got the podium I couldn’t get last year. We are still fighting for the Championship and that’s the most important thing, we are going to Japan with hope still alive.”
Ben Spies, 5th, +27.739:
“I knew the start wasn’t going to last long the way Casey and Dani were riding but I felt pretty good in the beginning. Even when we got to the fourth or fifth lap I thought our advantage to fourth place was growing. I felt really comfortable and thought we had a podium fight in us. Then the sixth or seventh lap the tyre just made a huge drop and just kept going down. Usually they make one drop then stay consistent. I had no confidence in the rear and no grip. I’m frustrated as before that we were riding well and the bike was working great.”
Wilco Zeelenberg, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Manager:
“For Jorge P3 was maximum damage control so we are happy with the result today. This morning we discussed that this was the maximum possible. Finally in the race he was going half a second faster than in qualifying which is pretty good so he must be happy to be on the podium. I’m sorry for Ben, tyre drop off means you can’t do anything; luckily we didn’t have that problem. We had a lack of grip in the beginning and couldn’t do 49s but were very consistent on low 50s which is the only reason we were able to finish in third place. The team worked really hard all weekend to deliver the best possible set up for Jorge, so a big thank you to them.”
Massimo Meregalli, Yamaha Factory Racing Team Director:
“The drop in temperature this afternoon probably compromised the work we’ve done up to this morning in set up. Ben really couldn’t do more because the rear tire was really bad after just a few laps. Jorge achieved the best result possible, I think he did good job and thinking about the final championship standings, third place is still a good result. For sure it doesn’t make it so easy but we’ll keep going to the end.”