Despite starting from 3rd position on the front row, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez got a perfect start for the Aragon MotoGP race and led into the first corner. However, Marquez came in a little hot into Turn 1 and forced pole sitter Ducati Corse’s Jorge Lorenzo slightly wide. The factory Ducati rider tried to carry speed but his effort got himself high-sided out of the race, and dislocating his big toe in his right foot in the process.
With Lorenzo out, the Spaniard’s Andrea Dovizioso took the lead and the race settled into a slow pace, with tyre degradation a key factor in the race. With the slow pace, Dovizioso and Marquez found the factory Suzuki duo of Alex Rins and Andrea Iannone firmly in the mix. LCR Honda’s British rider, Cal Crutchlow endured another race he would like to forget – by crashing his Honda out of Turn 1 on the 5th lap of the Aragon race, and losing his lead the Independent Team Rider’s Championship standing to Pramac Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci
With 5 laps to go, the leading duo managed to put a couple of seconds into Iannone who had moved past his team-mate. With a small gap, Marquez went under Dovizioso into turn 12, only for the Ducati man to fight straight back in front of the Marquez fans at the bus stop and bring Iannone back into the fight.
After a calmer couple of laps and the gap re-established, Marquez attacked again and this time got the pass done before the ‘Marc Marquez corner’ and put a few tenths into the Ducati going into the final lap. Despite the best efforts of Dovizioso, Marquez held his advantage and a small mistake in turn 12 gave Marquez the cushion he needed to win from Dovizioso by 0.648 seconds. With the win, Marquez put another five points into his World Championship lead to build it to 72 points over the Italian.
Iannone held off his team-mate for his third podium of 2018, and Suzuki’s 5th – which means they lose their concessions for 2019. Rins was a comfortable 4th finishing three seconds ahead of the lonely Dani Pedrosa. Aleix Espargaro was a remarkable sixth on his factory Aprilia after a tough few weeks for the Spaniard. Valentino Rossi’s awful weekend ended with him the meat in a Pramac Ducati sandwich with Petrucci and Jack Miller 7th and 9th respectively. The second factory Yamaha of Maverick Vinales rounded out the Top Ten.
Franco Morbidelli was top rookie in 11th just ahead of Taka Nakagami on his LCR Honda. Bradley Smith was 13nth on his KTM with Johann Zarco and Karel Abraham rounding out the point scorers.
Marquez: “Today, you know, I take a risk, I take a gamble, I put the soft rear tyre, because during the weekend every time I put the hard, I felt okay but I didn’t feel good. And then sometimes I put the hard to be safe, but today I say ‘okay, I take a risk. I was riding really good, really smooth in the beginning, I was able to follow Andrea in a good way, and then yeah, we were fighting in the end, a great fight, really top movement in the limit, I was one time in the green, was completely in the limit, but okay, I enjoyed a lot.”
Dovizioso: “Really happy, really happy. In Aragon always we came here and we struggle a lot, and in the past we saw the podium from very far. Now we were fighting for the victory, unfortunately we couldn’t get it, but… Marc is very strong here, the real surprise is we are fighting with Marc, so I’m so happy about the work we did during this season, to come here in this moment of this championship very strong.
“In our bad track we are fighting for the victory, this is good for this championship and also for the future.”
Iannone: “For sure in case Jorge don’t make a mistake, don’t crash, for sure it [the podium] was a little bit more difficult, because also he had a very good pace – but Jorge start with the soft tyre on the rear and I think it’s really critical condition. I didn’t push for the first part of the race, from the beginning to half of the race I didn’t push at my maximum, and I think this is a really good strategy. At the end I have some tenths more than Alex, I follow Dovi and Marc.
“At the end we take this podium, it’s really good for me, for us, we work really well during this weekend – thanks Suzuki and all the people who work with me.”