Michelin’s own Grand Prix at MotorLand Aragon witnessed a dominant weekend’s performance by reigning MotoGP™ champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) as he took the spoils during today’s Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon.
This weekend was the first European circuit to bear the French tyre company’s name, as Michelin changed its race sponsorship to the Spanish venue following three seasons as title sponsor at Phillip Island in Australia and it proved a busy weekend for Michelin as changeable weather around the 5,077m layout meant the whole range of MICHELIN Power Slick and MICHELIN Power Rain tyres were tested at some point over the three-days.
Friday saw almost perfect weather for racing and fast times were produced as the riders worked on set-up in anticipation of today’s race, but overnight rain changed plans and Saturday morning’s Free Practice was wet, giving the riders the opportunity to assess the treaded rubber, should the same conditions arise for race day. The track dried in time for Qualifying and Marquez took pole position, with Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in second and Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) third. Sunday Morning’s Warm-up again saw rain fall on the Spanish track and although it had dried in time for the race, it meant that the track was quite slippery and gave less grip to the riders than had been expected, meaning the MICHELIN Power Slick tyres had to work to the extremes to create as much adhesion as possible and give the racers the performance and confidence they demanded, as the surface temperature only reached 32°C, because of heavy cloud cover.
Marquez got the holeshot as the lights changed to signal the start of the 23-lap Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon and pushed hard from the start to make the break, his intent was signalled as he set the fastest lap of the race on only the second circulation. He led for the whole duration and crossed the line almost five-seconds ahead of his nearest rival, a result which gave him his 78th victory from his 200th Grand Prix start and strengthened his lead at the top of the riders’ championship. Following him home was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), despite stating from tenth on the grid, the Italian carved his way through the field with a battling display to take second, setting a new Best Maximum Speed record in the process as he clocked 346.1Km/h. Third went to Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), as his manoeuvre on the final lap saw him take the final podium place and the position of First Independent Rider. Viñales finished fourth, with Quartararo in fifth. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crossed the line in sixth, as Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) took the flag for seventh and his best result of the season so far. Eighth went to Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP), with Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) ninth and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) rounding out the top-ten.
A crowd of 59,112 gathered trackside to witness live the Gran Premio Michelin® de Aragon, with many millions watching on TV and Internet around the globe. Following today’s trio of races, the top-three in MotoGP, Moto2™ and Moto3™, plus the winning constructor in each category were presented with specially commissioned trophies. These 12 unique pieces were specifically 3D printed for this weekend’s races and reflected the iconic MotorLand Aragon circuit and Michelin tyre patterns in their design. Presented during the three podium ceremonies at Aragon, these trophies were designed and 3D printed in titanium by AddUp (co-owned by Michelin) and Poly-Shape, leaders of the metal 3D printing industry.
Michelin now begins a four-race fly-away tour which will take in Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia over five weekends, with the first of these scheduled for the Chang International Circuit at Buriram in Thailand on Sunday 6th October.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:
“During the whole weekend we did a great job. We were so convinced about our strategy and about what we needed to be fast at this racetrack and I think we worked in a very good way. We chose the best option today as it was cloudier and this made it a difficult decision, but in the end we did a great job and chose the best tyre for the race distance. I am happy because it was possible to be fast with two options of rear tyres today and this gave the chance to all the riders to be in a good way. It was the Michelin Grand Prix and my 200th GP, so I was very happy to win today. I will now just keep going and keep enjoying and this will be my target for the rest of the season.”
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“We came to our Grand Prix in a determined manner to set some new records and make this very much our own race and after Friday it looked like that would be the case. We saw some fast times and the track looked like it was in good condition, but then the rain intervened. This took away any of the rubber that had been laid down and made grip a bit more of a premium, not quite as bad as Misano last week, but enough to have a bearing on lap-times. The rain did give us more data for how the tyres perform in the wet and due to this it meant we were able to test every specification of tyre this weekend, so from that point of view it was a positive event. Unfortunately it rained again on Sunday morning and it was cooler and overcast at the start of the race, although the track was completely dry, but this gave the riders a big dilemma as to which rubber to choose and because of this we only saw four options in the race, with most of them favouring the front medium slick and then a split between the soft and hard rear. This weekend has been a very mixed affair with the conditions, but the tyres performed well and gave the control and performance where it was needed. We now head to Thailand and one of the most demanding tracks of the year to start the fly-away tour. We’re all looking forward to these races as it tests us and the tyres to the limit on four very different racetracks.
I would like to thank all the management and staff from Michelin that came to support us here at Aragon this weekend. It was very pleasing to see so many of them here and to be able to show them around the MotoGP operation and how we work at the racetrack. I hope they had an informative time and enjoyed the show.”
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