Jorge Lorenzo took his first win of 2014 and Yamaha’s second successive victory of the year in Aragon as MotoGP rivals Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa both crashed in a rain-afflicted race.
The morning warm up gave a taste of the conditions to come with proceedings set back an hour for Moto3 and Moto2 as fog hung over the track, but the circuit was largely dry by the time the main event got underway at 14:00 local time; in line with original forecasts.
Andrea Iannone provided a stiff challenge to Marquez and the fast-starting Lorenzo early doors, but crashed out of the race spectacularly when he ran wide on lap three and was catapulted off his Pramac bike and into the grass. This elevated Pedrosa to 3rd place, but the main contest looked set to be all about Marquez and Lorenzo as the two men began to build a slight lead over the second Repsol Honda man. Pedrosa’s lack of relative pace allowed Valentino Rossi to close in after passing Pol Espargaro for 4th, but the Misano winner also became a victim of the treacherously damp kerbing when he too crashed out on lap five. Initially looking to have sustained some injury, relief abounded when it became clear Rossi was suffering from just minor cuts and bruises after being taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.
Lorenzo stunned Marquez by seizing the lead with twelve laps gone, but the reigning world champion soon fought back and put himself at the front of the pack as rain spots began to fall from the leaden sky. With the white flag thrown by the race stewards, it was all clear for the riders to pit and take to their wet-weather setup bikes as the race entered its final third. Remarkably however, Marquez and Lorenzo seemed content to continue as Pedrosa made his presence felt by getting tangled up in the battle for the lead.
Aleix Espargaro was left to become the first pitter of the day and opened the floodgates with eight laps remaining, elevating himself up the order from a lowly 8th place and into contention for a podium. The leaders resolutely refused to pit however and struggled increasingly as the rain intensified; a mistake they would come to rue as at the exact moment Lorenzo pitted from 3rd with five laps to go, Pedrosa locked up and crashed at turn one. he was able to pick up and struggle back to the pits but his hopes of victory were gone, with Lorenzo emerging from the pits ahead of the charging Espargaro. Both men were instantly around four seconds a lap faster than Marquez but the Honda rider stuck at his task, only admitting defeat when he too crashed with three laps to go at turn two. Like Pedrosa he made a recovery ride to the pits, but his chance of a win was gone.
Lorenzo was left to romp home to his first win of the year, while Espargaro only just held off the attentions of a flying Cal Crutchlow to take 2nd. Crutchlow’s first podium of his Ducati career was in stark contrast to team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, who had yet to pit when he crashed with five laps to go.
Stefan Bradl and Brad Smith were 4th and 5th, while Alvaro Bautista was followed by Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden who scored double points for Aspar. Redding, Petrucci and De Angeis filled the next three spots, with Marquez and Pedrosa managing minor points in 13th and 14th. 15th place went to Yonny Hernandez on a disappointing day for Pramac.
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