Marc Marquez moved a step closer towards winning the MotoGP world championship in his rookie season with a hard fought victory at Aragon. The 20 year old saw off the challenge of Jorge Lorenzo and the Yamaha rider looks to be the only man standing between him and an historic title success after Dani Pedrosa crashed out, an incident which was triggered by contact with Marquez.
As has been the pattern in recent races, Lorenzo knew he had to make an early break in order to extend his winning streak and the world champion was electrifying on the opening lap, pulling out a one second lead over Marquez, Pedrosa and Valentino Rossi. The dominance of Misano wouldn’t be replicated in Aragon though as the Repsol Hondas closed in with Pedrosa looking visibly the quicker of the two. On lap five, Dani powered past his teammate to take second and looked to be lining himself up for a pass on Lorenzo before it all went wrong a lap later.
Marquez shadowed his teammate during the sixth lap before outbraking himself into turn twelve, clipping the rear of Pedrosa’s RC213V and skating wide onto the tarmac run-off. When he returned to the track itself, Marc had to take evasive action with Dani on his hands and knees sliding across the road. He hadn’t been knocked directly off the motorcycle but the minimal contact had dislodged his traction control cable, making the highside that followed on the exit of the corner unavoidable.
The drama between the Honda riders provided Lorenzo with a near-two-second lead over Marquez but that would only prove to be temporary respite as the youngster gave chase. The pair were nose-to-tail again by half distance and instead of waiting for the 1km back straight to make his move, Marc dived past at turn twelve, ending Lorenzo’s victory hopes at the same place he inadvertently ended Pedrosa’s. Jorge couldn’t mount a comeback and had to settle for second, falling 39 points behind Marquez with four races remaining, leaving his grip on the world crown increasingly precarious.
Valentino Rossi broke his streak of fourth place finishes with a well-earned podium after fending off the satellite Hondas of Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl who were busy trading places on the last lap, as well as Cal Crutchlow’s Tech 3 Yamaha who trailed them in sixth. Bradley Smith produced a much improved display after his Misano problems to finish seventh, comfortably beating the top Ducati of Andrea Dovizioso while Nicky Hayden and Andrea Iannone completed the top ten ahead of leading CRT finisher Aleix Espargaro and Pramac debutant Yonny Hernandez.