Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Márquez. It seemed like we had gone back in time to a year ago when the two exchanged blows, overtaking one another in the battle for the Championship Title. Except that, for the Aragón round in 2017, the two were neck in neck for the Championship, whereas today the six-time world champion could have rested on his laurels with an advantage of 60+ points over the Italian.
This bounty did not matter much to Marc Márquez, because in front of his home fans, he did not stop to draw the sums, taking to the track ready to rumble. In the early part of the race, he studied the Italian up close and then he went on the attack, igniting a heated head-to-head with the Ducati rider in which Iannone’s Suzuki also had a say. It seemed like the head-to-head last year at the Red Bull Ring or Motegi, but this time the race was not decided on the final turn, but rather two laps from the end, when the Spaniard changed pace with his rival unable to do anything to stop him.
Beating his chest as he rode under the chequered flag sent a clear message that Aragón is still the land of number 93, for the third year in a row. Dovizioso could do nothing more than settle for second, but the Motorland curse has finally been broken. Indeed, because if, until last year, the Spanish track was the Italian’s albatross, it now holds no more secrets for the ‘Red’ from Borgo Panigale. On the Aragón race day, Andrea’s joy is in stark contrast to the disappointment on the face of Jorge Lorenzo, crashing out on the first turn. The number 99 rider started well from pole position, but on the first corner he fell victim to a high side that resulted in a fracture to his right big toe, so much that it forced him to throw in the towel.
On a Sunday where Spanish colours brought home the bounty, there are also two Italians on the podium in the premier class. In fact, besides Dovi, Andrea Iannone’s third place stands out as he leaves behind the difficulties encountered in recent months with his Suzuki. The Italian rider’s performance was encouraging, finally putting a smile back on his face as he finished ahead of his teammate, Alex Rins.
So, in Aragón Suzuki rose from the ashes, whereas Yamaha continues to flounder without any clear signs of recovering. Once again, the job of minimising damage fell to Valentino Rossi. In a race where he started from behind, number 46 managed to claw his way up to eighth place behind Danilo Petrucci, also aided by the misfortune of Lorenzo, Bautista and Crutchlow. The team LCR Brit crashed out in the early stages, passing the baton to Dani Pedrosa who finished ahead of the Aprilia ridden by Aleix Espargaró, with his best performance of the season.