Credit: MichelinMarquez Takes Championship Lead Myanna Wedes October 19, 2017 From The Editor's Desk © Michelin Marc Marquez is the leader in the title chase for 2017 with a superb victory in Aragon after defeating Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso and Dani Pedrosa. The race was nothing short of exciting and incredible with Rossi taking part in the race only 23 days after breaking his leg and pushing the limits of recovery and timing to the limit. The Doctor was determined and did everything he could to fight for quality Championship points considering about a week ago, he was looking like sitting on the couch with his two dogs and ginger cat. Witnessing Rossi ride like he did considering his fitness levels was exhilarating and a true testament as to his character in the MotoGP world of motorcycle racing. Valentino Rossi: “I‘m quite proud, because a week ago I didn‘t know if I would be able to race. Achieving a start from the first row yesterday was already great, I was very happy. I knew I had to suffer in the second half of the race. I had some pain and we also suffered from the degradation of the tyre. The work continues after this race. The calendar works out well for me, I have two full weeks to train and improve my leg‘s condition.” Like any other athlete, the ability to get back on the horse and ride is key in this industry and with some challenging circuits on the way, it is bound to be a great battle towards the final showdown for the golden throne. © Michelin No matter what anyone says, Marquez was a master class. He was riding with no fear and even risked it all to get in to first place. The ability for Marquez to make errors and still win is outstanding considering the pressure that is associated with the sport of MotoGP. No matter what race you attend, it is packed with energy and passion from both the riders, teams and fans. Marc Marquez: “I’m very very happy with this victory because it was a tough race. Yesterday I wasn’t feeling totally comfortable with the bike, and today I was struggling again except in the warm-up; I don’t really know why. Anyway, racing at one of my favourite tracks, close to my home and in front of my fans, gave me extra motivation. I pushed hard and in some corners I just clicked the off-button in my head, even if I crashed twice yesterday. I saw that Viñales and Dovi were struggling a bit and knew it was the moment to push, so I did. There were a few scary moments, once when I was trying to overtake Valentino; he was tighter in that corner than I was expecting, and to avoid a clash I released the brakes, only to realize that Lorenzo was right there! So I went off the track, and at that moment I cooled down a bit, even if I continued to try and close the gap.” What we love about the Spanish Ant is that he is willing to risk it for the biscuit. He never ceases to ease off even when he should. During the Aragon Grand Prix he went faster after almost falling off his bike and once again showcased how powerful he is on board a Honda machine. © Ducati Corse Press In contrast, Jorge Lorenzo almost won his first ever MotoGP race with Ducati. It was so close! He has to be super proud of his achievements with the Italian factory considering the fact that he has not even spent one year with the team. Jorge Lorenzo: “It was a very tough race but we were able to manage it well, and in the end we scored an important podium finish. This third place has a much better flavour than the one at Jerez because we finished very close to the winner and we fought right until the very end. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to keep the same pace in the last seven laps, but to be competitive in the race we had no other choice but use the soft rear tyre even though we knew that in the last few laps the performance was going to drop. In any case it’s important to see that we’re continuing to make progress and that I’m getting better every race and so I’m sure my first win will come soon.” Lorenzo has always been strong at the final races of the year and with the Ducati fans looking forward to Phillip Island and Malaysia, there is every chance the victory could come. Unfortunately, Andrea Dovizioso struggled and lost a considerable amount of points to Marquez. He believes that if they had more track time, the result may have been different. Andrea Dovizioso: Pity about my seventh place but, given the conditions, it was the best I could do today. There are still a lot of points at stake in the next four races and so we’ll try and make the best of the next opportunities.” As we know though, the Championship is long and many factors can shake up the results. No rider is bullet proof from injury and no rider can predict the exact weather patterns due on a particular race day. So like rolling a cup of dice, anything can arise! © Repsol Honda MotoGP Team In terms of the rest of the grid, Pedrosa did a good job to recover and is a specialist at managing his tyre wear in hot conditions. He is close to the title and knows that 2017 is his chance to make it happen. The same kind of philosophy exists though in terms of a contract and that is for Bradley Smith who is really riding for his career. It will be Smith or Kallio at KTM next year and the writing is kind of on the wall for Smith with Kallio outshining and outracing him. Step by step KTM is becoming more competitive although to sack a rider who believed in the project from the start is incredibly tough and emotionally challenging. What would you do if you were the head decision maker? No doubt, the tyres are shaping a superb World Championship as so many dynamic varieties are utilised by the teams. Some weekends a rider excels and at other times they are scratching their heads looking for answers. Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme: “Today has been yet another justification of what we are trying to do at Michelin within MotoGP. It has always been our intention to give a full choice to all riders, no matter what bike or riding style they have. So, to see all the compounds used today and to have a soft, medium and hard rear – along with medium and hard fronts – on the podium just re-iterates the philosophy we are pushing for to produce competition tyres within a control situation.” With Motegi up next, the stress increases and the mind-set becomes one of risk and reward. Do you race to win at all costs or do you settle for points to get ahead just enough to secure the title? We will have to wait and see!