A disappointing day for Fiat Yamaha at Aragon
Jorge Lorenzo The inaugural Aragon Grand Prix was a disappointing affair for the Fiat Yamaha Team today, with Jorge Lorenzo losing out in a last lap battle and finishing off the podium for the first time this season and Valentino
Rossi coming home in sixth. It brought to an end an impressive run of 47 consecutive podiums for Yamaha, with the Factory having had at least one of its riders on the podium at every race since Valencia 2007 until today.
Championship leader Lorenzo got a good start from second on the grid but it was soon clear that he lacked the pace to stay with eventual winner Casey Stoner as the Australian quickly began to open out a gap, while the Yamaha man came under pressure from compatriot Dani Pedrosa behind. On lap three Pedrosa passed the Mallorcan and, hampered by a lack of grip, Lorenzo was unable to run with him and spent most of the remainder of the race in third, just ahead of Nicky Hayden. He did everything he could to hold onto the final podium spot but a determined Hayden mounted a strong last-lap challenge and Lorenzo, not wanting to put his championship lead in jeopardy with too many risky moves, was powerless to keep the American from passing him on the final part of the track and missed out at the line by less than a tenth of a second.
Rossi's problems were evident all weekend, as his shoulder issues meant he unable to run the best set-up for this track. He had hoped he might be able to improve a little under race conditions but it was not to be, dropping to ninth at one point before clawing back to his starting position of seventh by passing Hector Barbera and then fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli. A last-lap crash from Andrea Dovizioso elevated him to sixth but it was a disheartening weekend for the nine-time World Champion and his crew.
Despite today's result Lorenzo's championship lead still stands at a healthy 56 points from Dani Pedrosa, with five rounds remaining. Rossi is still in fourth, one point ahead of Dovizioso and 15 behind Stoner. The next round comes in two weeks in Japan, the first of three consecutive race weekends in the Far East and Australia.
Jorge Lorenzo - Position: 4Time: +9.580
"My start was very good, but during the race I struggled a lot with Nicky always behind me, very close! We can't be happy with the result and I am disappointed to finish my podium run, but the most important thing is that we did finish and we still took points for our championship. We have five more races to go and, although this is a complicated moment for us and we have some things to address, I am confident that we can improve again. Now we go to Motegi and I am looking forward to a good result at the home of Yamaha."
Valentino Rossi - Position: 6Time: +27.330
"This was a very difficult race for us; we had a lot of problems all weekend and I was very slow today. I had to try to arrive to the end but I couldn't do better than sixth. All the Yamahas have suffered here but my shoulder problems made it even worse for me and this, combined with the problems with our package at this track, made it extra hard. We're very sad this afternoon and we hope for better in Japan."
Wilco Zeelenberg - Team Manager
"Over the last couple of races we have struggled a bit to keep up with some of our rivals, so we were quite worried about this race and today wasn't great for us. We're at a point in the championship when we can't afford to take risks but there are other riders who have nothing to lose, and this was the story today. Jorge didn't have enough grip and in those last few laps he didn't have the confidence in the front to push hard and get away from Nicky, who clearly had a good feeling here. Finishing off the podium for the first time we're obviously disappointed, especially because he had to push to even finish fourth! It's definitely time to make a change so we will think hard about Motegi, which is luckily a track which Jorge likes and where the Yamaha goes well."
Jeremy Burgess - Crew Chief
"We ran into troubles from the start here and unfortunately we couldn't find a way to put a competitive package together. Valentino's shoulder is causing him problems too and this, together with the set-up issues, meant we couldn't finish any higher up the order today. We're disappointed but we have some ideas and we hope for a better weekend in Japan."