Five things to take away from MotoGP Aragon 2021
In Round 13 of the 2021 MotoGP championship, Francesco Bagnaia takes his first victory in MotoGP after winning a knife fight with Marc Marquez towards the end of the race. Aragon is considered as Marquez’s backyard as the Spaniard has won six times on this track and has turn 10 of the circuit named after him. This race was also a boost for Marquez after he suffered multiple crashes during the practice sessions. Meanwhile, Fabio Quartararo had a race to forget as the only agenda during the race was to keep himself from falling down the order. The leading title hunter started from P3 but only managed to finish P8 after 22 laps of racing. In the end, Bagnaia’s win marked the end of a dry spell in Ducati’s history of victories on this track as the last Aragon win for the Italian team came in 2010 with Casey Stoner.
Here are five things we can take away from MotoGP Aragon.
1. Bagnaia v Marquez
Pecco’s first win at MotoGP was clearly not the easiest as he had to duel it out with Marquez on the track from the get-go. The duo had managed to draw a lead from the rest of the pack on the opening stages of the race. But due to the tyre choice of a Hard front and Soft rear, both riders had to carefully manage their tyres so it could see them till the end of the race. With three laps remaining, Marquez, who was trailing Bagnaia by tenths for the whole race, started to make moves on the Ducati rider. Attempts after attempts were made by the Honda rider, but couldn’t complete the overtaking move on Pecco. Marquez tried seven overtake attempts in the last three laps and yet came second to Pecco on the finish line. This surely made Bagnaia’s first victory a lot sweeter.
2. Quartararo’s mysterious drop
Fabio Quartararo was expected to be in contention for the win at Aragon, but something did not go his way. The Frenchman’s rear tyre could not reach optimum conditions during the race, as a result of which, he started tumbling down the order. Quartararo said that he could not extract the stopping power, grip or performance from the rear tyre to the levels of his practice sessions. But even though Quartararo was falling down the order as the race progressed, he said that he enjoyed every bit of the challenge of trying to defend his position during the race. Quartararo finished P8 in the race but still maintains a 53 points lead in the championship table over Bagnaia.
3. Zarco’s race to forget
Johann Zarco looked optimistic for the race after starting from P10, but as the race progressed, Zarco had a free fall through the grid. While all the other riders on the paddock opted for the Hard front tyre, Zarco was the one who used a Medium front tyre. When asked about the decision, he explained his lack of feedback from the Hard tyre made him opt for the Mediums. But, he explains that tyre choice was really not the main issue for the lack of performance, he thinks something was ‘blocking’ his performance. Zarco called himself ‘the loser of the day’ after he finished P17 at Aragon.
4. An unhappy Mir
Reigning world champion Joan Mir was ‘not really satisfied’ with his third-place finish at Aragon. The Suzuki rider started from seventh on the grid and had cut his distance to Pecco to four seconds towards the end of the race. Mir explained that even though he had competitive pace, the limitations of the Suzuki Ecstar motorcycle made it difficult to overtake rivals. He also added that the bike was limited by the lack of acceleration and he is currently battling on a Suzuki which hasn’t developed much across 2021. This left a bitter aftertaste in Mir’s podium, though he expects to race toe to toe with his rivals and have a chance at victory.
5. Maverick Vinales with Aprilia
Maverick Vinales found a new home in the 2021 season at Aprilia after things turned sour with Yamaha. The stunt Maverick pulled in Austria, where he was deliberately trying to destroy the bike, left Yamaha no choice but to separate from the Spanish rider. Aprilia meanwhile, with the success they are achieving in the hands of Aleix Espargaró, made them a plausible choice for Vinales. With Aragon marking the first race for the duo, Vinales came to the conclusion that he needs to reset his mind and his driving style as it is quite different from the Yamaha. He also said that he needs more kilometres on the Aprilia to truly extract competitive times from it.
With the Aragon GP behind us, not much has changed in the race for the championship title. Fabio Quartararo comfortably leads the pack with 214 points, followed by Francesco Bagnaia with 161 points and Joan Mir with 157 points. Marc Marquez makes it inside the top 10 after his P2 finish. He may not be in contention for the championship, but he will be in contention for winning in the last four races of the 2021 season. In the constructors championship, Ducati leads the title race with 250 points while Yamaha trails with 242 points. A tough fight between KTM and Suzuki has boiled up for the third position as Suzuki has 174 points on the table and KTM trails with 171 points. Round 14 of the 2021 MotoGP season will be held at the Misano in Italy on September 19. Stay tuned for updates!