With racing action returning to Spain and the top two contenders being Spanish natives, MotoGP Aragon certainly became a highly competitive forum not only for the championship race, but also for bragging rights at stake in front of the home-country fans. For Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa, added pressure came in the form of also being caught in a late season battle for the overall championship points lead. However, as the checkered flag waved, neither of the Spanish shoe-ins would emerge victorious.
Coming from pole position for the first time this season, Ducati-mounted Casey Stoner, rode quickly and consistently as he maintained control of the lead from start to finish, earning his first victory this season. The win also neatly advanced him into third place in the overall points standing. Giving chase, Dani Pedrosa struggled from the outset to find good grip, eventually making his way just behind Stoner. Unable to match his pace, Pedrosa would have to settle for second, which is exactly where things got interesting.
Click on the jump to see who was able to knock Lorenzo off the podium for the first time this year, in the process adding fuel to Pedrosa and Repsol Honda's comeback fire.
[Source: MotoGP.com | Image: Mirco Lazzari/Getty]
Despite riding a consistent race, Jorge Lorenzo did not expect to yield two positions to Pedrosa at Aragon. In a thrilling final lap battle, American Nicky Hayden forced his Ducati into the final podium position – his first time in the winners circle this year. Spain proved favorable to the Ducati team, but more importantly, it further tightened the Lorenzo and Pedrosa points margin to just 56.
Rounding out the top five behind Lorenzo, Ben Spies piloted his Tech 3 Yamaha to the finish line within sight of the leaders. Following Spies, the pace really fell off, led surprisingly by The Doctor himself, as Rossi struggled all weekend to match speed with consistency.
The MotoGP train is headed to Japan next for next round at Motegi, and both Yamaha and Honda will surely be pulling out all the stops. For Pedrosa and Honda, the 56-point gap is a daunting undertaking, but it's not impossible with five rounds left. If you didn't have a good enough reason to tune-in before, you can thank the Spaniards for spicing up the close of this season.
|1||25||27||Casey STONER||AUS||Ducati Team||Ducati||165.8||42'16.530|
|2||20||26||Dani PEDROSA||SPA||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||165.4||+5.148|
|3||16||69||Nicky HAYDEN||USA||Ducati Team||Ducati||165.1||+9.496|
|4||13||99||Jorge LORENZO||SPA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||165.1||+9.580|
|5||11||11||Ben SPIES||USA||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||Yamaha||164.9||+13.771|
|6||10||46||Valentino ROSSI||ITA||Fiat Yamaha Team||Yamaha||164.0||+27.330|
|7||9||58||Marco SIMONCELLI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||163.9||+28.511|
|8||8||19||Alvaro BAUTISTA||SPA||Rizla Suzuki MotoGP||Suzuki||163.5||+35.254|
|9||7||33||Marco MELANDRI||ITA||San Carlo Honda Gresini||Honda||163.5||+35.393|
|10||6||41||Aleix ESPARGARO||SPA||Pramac Racing Team||Ducati||163.5||+35.467|