Aragon Preview: Marquez heads home for his 200th Grand Prix

by Joshua Close
Aragon MotoGP Preview - Marquez Home Race

After securing a hard-fought victory at Misano last weekend, Marc Marquez heads home for round 14 of the 2019 MotoGP Championship – Aragon.

The championship leader heads to the picturesque region of Spain with a comfortable 93-point advantage. This comes after a last lap victory over Fabio Quartararo at Misano. The celebrations after the race showed just how much the win meant to Marquez, following two last lap defeats in the previous two rounds.

It’s hard to see anybody beating Marquez this weekend. After all, he has four premier class victories at Aragon and has won the last three races there. In fact, Aragon is a circuit that favours the Honda. They have six victories in total, with three different riders. Alongside Marquez’s wins, Casey Stoner won in 2011, followed by Dani Pedrosa in 2012.

To make things worse for his rivals, Marquez also has another reason to celebrate this weekend. Sunday’s race will be, barring an injury, Marquez’s 200th Grand Prix. So, who can step up and attempt to spoil his day?

Quartararo’s Revenge

He may not have won, but Quartararo’s performance last weekend was one to remember. The rookie withstood pressure from Marquez for the majority of the race. He even managed to put a move back on the reigning champion on the final lap.

The Petronas Yamaha rider will have learnt a lot from the race at Misano. It’s the closest he’s come to a premier class victory, and he raced against the very best. If it wasn’t already, his confidence will by sky high.

Expect the Frenchman to be challenging once again this weekend. His record at Aragon in the lower classes isn’t great, however he did win the CEV Moto3 race in 2014.

Of course, as we’ve come to appreciate the talent of Quartararo, we now know not to read too much into his performances in the lower classes.

Yamaha Improvements

Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are beginning to see some improvements on their Monster Yamaha machines. Viñales has finished on the podium in the last two races, and also secured pole at Misano last weekend. Meanwhile, Rossi has finished fourth in three consecutive races.

The only potential issue for the pair this weekend is the overall speed of the Yamaha. Aragon features a long back straight, and the Yamaha is not seen as a fast bike. Both riders will need to hope for a good slipstream in the race, and perhaps qualifying.

Viñales won the 2014 Moto2 race at Aragon, whilst his best premier class result at the circuit is fourth. He was the highest-placed Yamaha rider in 2017.

Meanwhile, Rossi ended last year’s race in eighth after equaling his worst qualifying result in dry weather conditions in the premier class (18th). He has, however, finished on the podium on three occasions.

Can Rins Bounce Back at Aragon?

After the high of his victory at Silverstone, came the low of crashing out of the race at Misano. As a result, Alex Rins fell down the order in the championship standings.

He’ll be hoping to fight back this weekend and put a good show at Aragon. Like Marquez, the circuit is also Rin’s true home Grand Prix. The podium will be a minimum target, but a third win of the season can never be ruled out for the Suzuki man.

The 23-year-old had a great ride at last year’s race. Despite starting down in ninth, Rins was able to finish fourth after battling with his team-mate at the time, Andrea Iannone.

Ducati Power

The new surface at Misano led to a miserable weekend for Ducati. Andrea Dovizioso finished a lonely sixth, falling even further behind Marquez in the standings. Meanwhile, Jack Miller could only manage ninth, with Danilo Petrucci just behind in 10th.

All three riders will be hoping to at least challenge the front-runners this weekend. Traditionally, Aragon isn’t necessarily a strong circuit for the Italian manufacturer.

However, they’ll have some hope after Dovizioso’s valiant effort last year. He pushed Marquez all the way before eventually having to settle for second. Petrucci can only improve following a disastrous race on the Pramac bike last year. He qualified 16th and finished the race 20th after having rear tyre problems.

The long back straight should certainly help the Ducati riders throughout the weekend.

Aragon Schedule

The weekend’s action begins on Friday (20 September 2019) with Free Practice 1 at 08:55. This will be followed by Free Practice 2 at 13:10.

Saturday’s (21 September 2019) action begins at 08:55 with Free Practice 3, with Free Practice 4 at 12:30. Qualifying 1 begins at 13:10, with Qualifying 2 at 13:35.

Sunday’s warm-up (22 September 2019) will begin at 08:30. The race begins at 13:00.

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