Márquez fights back for Aragón victory

Márquez fights back for Aragón victory

24 September 2017 – Marc Márquez extended his championship lead with his fifth victory of the season at the Aragón Grand Prix as he headed team-mate Dani Pedrosa for a Repsol Honda 1-2, with Ducati's Jorge Lorenzo third.

Márquez held only fourth during the opening laps but picked off his rivals one-by-one to move into the lead, building a 16-point advantage over Andrea Dovizioso, who trailed home seventh.

Pedrosa made late progress to surge into second, for Honda's third 1-2 of the campaign, while Lorenzo put in his best performance since switching to Ducati to claim a fine third.

Yamaha, which had both riders on the front row of the grid, took fourth and fifth, with Maverick Viñales never in contention for overall honours, while the injured Valentino Rossi fought at the front before slipping back.

Márquez, on a Hard/Hard tyre approach, held fifth spot early on, as Lorenzo (Medium/Softs) shot into the lead, while Rossi quickly dispatched the struggling Viñales, both Yamahas going Medium/Hard.

Dovizioso and Márquez also overhauled Viñales, and the leading quartet broke clear, with the erstwhile pole-sitter slipping a couple of seconds adrift.

Márquez snuck past Dovizioso through the final corner and set off in pursuit of Rossi, but overcooked a move into Turn 12, almost swiping Lorenzo in the process, and ran wide, slipping back to fourth.

Márquez, though, regrouped and found a way back past Dovizioso, before executing a fine pass on Rossi through the long final turn.

Lorenzo held a seven-tenths advantage up front but that was whittled down by Márquez, who saved a lurid moment through Turn 13 as he pursued the Ducati rider.

Márquez duly completed a move into Turn 12 to take the lead, and preserved a slender advantage for the remaining eight laps.

Lorenzo, in turn, came under pressure from the other Repsol Honda of Pedrosa, who held sixth spot for much of the race.

As Márquez set about hunting down Lorenzo, Pedrosa also made his move, picking off Viñales and the ailing Dovizioso, before cruising past Rossi down the long back straight.

Pedrosa caught up with Lorenzo and mirrored Márquez's move with a pass into Turn 12, but was unable to bridge the 1.1s gap to his team-mate up front.

Lorenzo was nonetheless able to take only his second podium of the campaign on his most accomplished ride in Ducati colours, having led 15 of the 23 laps.

Viñales eventually overhauled Rossi to emerge as the lead Yamaha rider, the pair almost making contact through Turn 13, to keep his diminishing title hopes alive.

Rossi ran strongly in the early laps but ultimately suffered a drop off in pace, riding just three weeks after sustaining leg fractures in a training accident.

Rossi was still able to classify fifth, while Aprilia's Aleix Espargaró put in a fine performance to equal his best 2017 result in sixth.

Dovizioso struggled during the closing stages, running the Soft rear tyre, and trailed home a low-key seventh, having narrowly fended off the advances of Aspar's Álvaro Bautista.

Tech 3's Johann Zarco and KTM's Pol Espargaró rounded out the top 10, the latter overhauling wildcard team-mate Mika Kallio, as the manufacturer demonstrated its recent progress.

Andrea Iannone recorded 12th for Suzuki, while Jack Miller (Marc VDS), Scott Redding (Pramac) and Tito Rabat (Marc VDS) completed the points-paying positions.

Jonas Folger finished outside of the points for the first time in his MotoGP career in 16th place, ahead of Álex Rins, Héctor Barberá and Bradley Smith, who was unable to match his KTM team-mates.

Danilo Petrucci, who finished second at the previous event at Misano, struggled to a lowly 20th, with Loris Baz beating Sam Lowes to 21st spot by just a tenth of a second.

Cal Crutchlow and Karel Abraham were the only riders who failed to reach the chequered flag after the pair suffered separate crashes.

Championship standings:

1. Marc Márquez - 224 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso - 208 points
3. Maverick Viñales - 196 points

The next round of the season will take place in Japan from October 13 to 15

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