ARAGON. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) took win number five of the season on home turf at MotorLand Aragon, picking off his rivals on the way to the front to make some serious gains as key contenders Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) finished off the podium. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) sliced through to second, and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) made it a Spanish trio on the podium at home as he led from the front before eventually crossing the line in third - his second podium in red. The Movistar Yamaha duo was left to fight it out for fourth. Hard racing didn’t give away a recently broken leg for Rossi, but Viñales was able to push his way past and at least limit the damage in the standings.
Just behind Rossi over the line, the fight for sixth was won by Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) at the venue where he took his first premier class podium, as the Spaniard impressively held off Dovizioso in the latter stages – who in turn defended seventh from Alvaro Bautista (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) after struggling more in the latter stages of the race.
Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took ninth after a more difficult weekend including a trip through Q1, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the top ten for the Austrian factory – making steady progress for another impressive result. Impressive was also an adjective for the man behind him, wildcard and teammate Mika Kallio, who took P11 after going straight through to Q2 on Saturday.
With a brilliant race, Aleix Espargaró rode his Aprilia RS-GP to a sixth place finish in Aragón. It was a performance worthy of a protagonist. Aleix battled consistently just behind the leaders and, an even more important result, he finished six seconds and nine tenths behind Marquez, just behind Valentino Rossi and ahead of Dovizioso, so battling with World Title contenders. This is the best race performance yet for the fledgling RS-GP.
It is a result that dispels any doubts about the potential of the Italian team who, on a long-awaited trouble free weekend, was able to fully express their skills, highlighting in the race all the progress made by the youngest bike on the grid.
This nice result is the cherry on top of a weekend where Aleix was consistently in the top ten. It was clear from this morning that Aleix and his Aprilia were in grand form when the number 41 rider finished the warm up session in second place with only Marquez ahead of him. In the race, starting from the eighth spot on the grid, Espargaró lost a few positions at the start, dropping back to twelfth place. From there, a great comeback ride began in which he moved up to ninth place already on the first lap, then battling constantly in the group that was trying to chase down the race leaders. Overtaking Kallio, Bautista and finally Dovizioso, Aleix earned his final placement, in addition to the satisfaction of taking home the fifth best race time.
Aleix Espargaró: 6th
"I think everyone had fun today. It is not often that so many riders are so close all the way to the chequered flag in MotoGP. It was a hard race, but I liked it. At a certain point, I thought that I might be able to have a go at fourth place with Valentino and Maverick, but when there were only a few laps left, they picked up their pace and I had to settle. I any case, I am satisfied with the sixth place finish, but especially with the gap behind the winner. We are improving constantly and we demonstrate that basically every weekend. Unfortunately, we have been lacking consistent race results. In any case, we still have four rounds to go on tracks that I really like, so I want to finish this season well."