The MotoGP paddock heads to 'Motorland' Aragon this weekend for its last European stop before the triple-leg overseas tour later this month. The Spanish track is a new addition to the calendar and both championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and reigning World Champion Valentino Rossi are looking forward to getting to the grips with what is known as a spectacular racing circuit.
This will be 23-year-old Lorenzo's third race on home soil this season and, with wins already chalked up at Jerez and Barcelona, the championship leader is eager to get another chance to thrill the Spanish fans. He continues in the imperious form he has shown all season, having won or stood on the podium at every round and with his podium last time out in Misano his 30th since he began in MotoGP in 2008. Lorenzo spent a day testing a Yamaha road bike at Aragon last month in order to familiarise himself with the track and is excited about the challenge of racing there.
Rossi took a trip out to Aragon last week, like Lorenzo taking a day to learn the nuances of the track aboard a Yamaha R1, and reporting back positively. The nine-time World Champion is gradually building back to full strength and was delighted with his podium in Misano last time out, feeling that both his bike and he are nearly back to their best after his injury-hit season. He currently lies fourth in the championship but third is a possible target and would be a superb result considering his troubles this year. Aragon was drafted in as a replacement for the doomed Hungarian MotoGP round and will remain as a 'reserve' circuit for the MotoGP championship for the next five years. The track lies near the town of Alcaniz in northern Spain, a few hours drive from Barcelona. It was designed by Hermann Tillke and is well known to be an impressive track with spectacular elevation changes and fast, flowing corners. In order to give the riders adequate time to get to know the new track there will be four 45-minute practice sessions over Friday and Saturday instead of the usual three one hour-long ones.
Jorge Lorenzo - "A fun place"
"It's our third race in Spain but the first time at Aragon and I'm excited. I went to test there last month and it's an amazing track. The first corner reminds me of Turkey and there's a lot of up and down, it's a fun place. I would like to do a great race and dedicate it to Tomizawa. I hope lots of people but especially my fan club are coming because I think it will be a good weekend. My aim is to get on the podium again and to push as hard as I can. We're ready to start working."
Valentino Rossi - "Complicated and fun"
"Last week I rode an R1 at the track and I really like it. It's quite complicated but it's a lot of fun and it's fast, so I think it will be a real test. I think the best bit is the entry to turn 16 and I am looking forward to riding my M1 there. Misano was a very sad weekend for our sport but now we're looking forward to a new race and we are hoping for a good weekend for everyone in memory of Tomizawa. I am feeling stronger and fitter every day so I will be aiming for the podium again this time."