Dani Pedrosa provided an outstanding response to the nightmare of Misano with a dominant victory at Aragon, easily beating title rival Jorge Lorenzo. The Repsol Honda rider took seven laps to overhaul the Yamaha and once he’d done so, was untouchable on his way to 25 valuable points.
There was no repeat of the start-line shenanigans that hurt Pedrosa two weeks ago as the race got underway at the first time of asking. Lorenzo was the quickest off the line and led Pedrosa into turn one but Cal Crutchlow lost ground from the front row yet again, dropping to fourth behind Ben Spies.
Ducati needed a fast start with both riders starting on the third row but what they got was a complete disaster. First, Valentino Rossi disappeared down the escape road at turn 16 after outbraking himself behind Jonathan Rea, narrowly missing the Honda and dropping to the back of the field. Worse was to come a lap later as Nicky Hayden went off at the same corner. The American lost control of his Ducati further around the turn though and careered through the gravel towards the tyre barrier. Unable to stop in time, Hayden’s bike collided with the wall head on and catapulted him over the wall in a sickening incident, the only saving grace being that he avoided injury.
In no time at all, the front two had opened up a gap over the rest of the field with Ben Spies defending third from the two Tech 3 Yamahas. Stefan Bradl was also putting pressure on the American but an uncharacteristic mistake at turn three ended his race on lap five.
It became clear immediately that Lorenzo was unable to pull away from Pedrosa with the Honda swarming all over the back of him and on lap seven, Dani dived up the inside into turn one. Jorge had little by way of response and when he came dangerously close to crashing at the same place a lap later, the race was already looking lost. Pedrosa duly romped away at over half a second per lap before eventually settling for a six-second margin of victory.
Spies kept the Tech 3 duo at bay until lap 15 when Dovizioso scythed past at turn two with Crutchlow doing likewise three laps later, setting the stage for another head-to-head between the teammates. Crutchlow seemed to have a pace advantage but Dovizioso’s prowess on the brakes proved enough to keep Cal back, earning the Italian his sixth podium of 2012 by 0.137s with Spies a lonely fifth in the end.
Alvaro Bautista rode well to finish sixth after a disappointing qualifying while Jonathan Rea took seventh in what is likely to be his final Grand Prix outing of the year. Valentino Rossi carved his way through the pack to salvage eighth ahead of Karel Abraham with Aleix Espargaro taking CRT honours in tenth.