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It’s time to get Round 14 of the 2018 MotoGP™ World Championship underway and in the Gran Premio Movistar de Aragon pre-event Press Conference, Championship leader and home hero Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was joined by second in the standings and Misano winner Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro.
GP Movistar de Aragon: Pre-race Press Conference
Another Marquez vs Ducati fight looks to be firmly on the horizon and the six-time World Champion was first to speak, alluding to a great weekend at Misano and what he hopes to be a successful home GP this weekend: “It was a great weekend for us in Misano, 20 points and then we had a good test on Monday,” explained Marquez. “Today we’ve started in a good way with a corner in my name at one of my favourite circuits. We will see, it will be a good feeling the first time going through there but now it’s time to concentrate on the race weekend. But now it’s time to focus, home GP and I love the circuit but we’ll see where our level is.”
The Spaniard continued, stating that – of course - a win is always the aim before track action begins, but with a 67 point advantage at this stage of the season, a podium is the main target: “We’re having a great season so far but we need to continue like this and not be nervous or crash, stay calm and try to keep the same style. I’d like to win on Sunday like every Sunday but if it’s not possible we need to finish on the podium. The main target is to finish on the podium.”
And who does the number 93 see as his main threat? The Bologna bullets of Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) have taken six wins this season, including the last three – but which of the two is Marquez warier about? “Now I would say Andrea because he’s closer in the Championship,” admitted the Honda rider. “On the speed side, both are very fast. Dovi was faster in Misano than Jorge but Jorge was very fast in the last part of the race. I would say Dovi but they are very equal and both are very fast because they want to be the best rider in the team and this competition between them makes them faster.”
Who is Marquez most worried about, Dovi or Lorenzo?
So what about Dovi’s expectations on a track that hasn’t been a particularly happy hunting ground for him in the past? “I’m very confident.” Three ominous words from the Italian, who spoke about his speed at Silverstone and Misano, as well as the test Ducati had at Aragon a few weeks ago: “Especially from the test in Misano, I think we showed good speed, and at Silverstone we had a good chance (of winning). The test here was very good. But the weather wasn’t the same for everyone and Honda weren’t here. But the feeling was very different to last year. We’re in a different situation this year and from the first exit, the speed was much better than last year. I think we’ll have a similar speed to the last few races but consumption will decide the result.”
‘DesmoDovi’ was then asked about his aims for the rest of the season and if beating teammate Lorenzo was top of the list: “It’s always important to beat your teammate and being second in the Championship is important but we’re fighting Jorge and Valentino so it will be very difficult. But we haven’t given up in the season, In the middle we didn’t feel so good, we worked on the details we found something and now we’re in a good situation.”
MotorLand Aragon: Riders answer YOUR questions
Teammate Lorenzo led last season’s Aragon GP for the vast majority before losing out to the Hondas of Marquez and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team). The Spaniard knows the Japanese manufacturer is strong around MotorLand, but he also knows he has a more competitive machine underneath him this time around:
“Honda are strong here. Marquez likes the left corner tracks, and this is one of them but it’s also true that last year the bike wasn’t as competitive as this year. I didn’t have the experience. I led three-quarters of the race. That’s a good sign for sure, now we are little bit stronger.
“We probably have more chances to fight for the win,” said the five-time World Champion, “but it’s also true that Marquez and Honda improved the engine and now they lose a bit less in acceleration and top speed, so the forces are quite equal between the three of us: Marquez, me and Dovi.”
Does Pol Espargaro want Dani Pedrosa at KTM?
Only time will tell as to who will emerge victorious, with Friday giving us the first indication as to who will be faster: Marquez or the Ducatis. Of course, it isn’t necessarily just a three-way fight with Yamaha also having a positive test at MotorLand a few weeks ago – but can they keep tabs on the trio who have been so dominant since the summer break?
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