MotoGP World Championship – Aragon Grand Prix

Morbidelli consolidates his leadership

With a fine eleventh place in Aragon, Franco Morbidelli consolidated his status as leader in the “Rookie of the Year” rankings. The good performances by Alex Marquez and Joan Mir in Moto2 moved them together into the top six.

The Races

Despite a penalty imposed during the practice test sessions that forced him to start from the back of the grid, Franco Morbidelli performed creditably on the Motorland circuit of Aragon. Fourteenth by the fifth lap and waiting in ambush behind Bradley Smith and Takaaki Nakagami, the Italian soon attacked to take eleventh place. A position he kept until the finish. His teammate, Thomas Lüthi, for many laps believed he was going to score his first points of the season. Unfortunately, the degradation of his rear tyre at the end of the race did not allow him to do better than seventeenth. In Moto2, Alex Marquez fought it out with Brad Binder before loosing pace in the last kilometres. “I attacked too early in the race: on this circuit, when you use the slipstream of your opponents, you can save your tyres,” said the former Moto3 world champion. “That was the problem. I am still happy I gave everything during I had the race even if I missed the podium at the finish.” Fourth under the checkered flag, Marquez finished two places ahead of his teammate, Joan Mir, who paid his modest fifteenth place on the starting grid in the race.

The Championship

Now with thirty-one points in his pocket, on the eve of the tour of the four overseas races of October Franco Morbidelli is 16th in the MotoGP championship and heads the “Rookie of the Year” ranking. In Moto2, Alex Marquez has dropped back to fifth place in the Championship, just ahead of Joan Mir. Two tiny points separate the two riders of Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS.

The Background

A MotoGP team today means around twenty people. Among them are the “tyremen”, responsible, as their name suggests, for tyre management. At Marc VDS, their names are Nacho Lorenzana and Martin Zabala. To begin with, their tasks include the regular maintenance of the rims that must not cover more than 2000 km in the races. Checking, cleaning, tightening brake discs and pressure sensors … Every day, both of drive their rack to the Michelin tent where the tyres that their team has chosen for the day are mounted. Two hours before the motorcycles take the track, the “tyreman” starts to warm the wheels under electric blankets. Slick tyres are heated to ninety degrees, rain tyres to forty-five degrees. Then, throughout the day, the tyre pressure is controlled by the sensors placed on the rims. A pressure that must constantly be fine-tuned according to the temperature of the track, but also the weather conditions, the wind, the air temperature, and so on.