The Premier Class Championship is back this weekend (September 16-18) with the Aragon MotoGP 2022; fifteenth round of the season calendar and third in Spain. The MotorLand Circuit in Alcañiz hosts the last round in Europe -ahead of final race in Valencia-, before heading to Asia to complete an intense and transcendent triple-header in Japan and Thailand.
With only six races left on the calendar, the battle for the title is closer and more exciting than ever. On top of this, this weekend’s appointment will mark the return of Marc Márquez (Honda).
Following his fourth consecutive victory (Holland, Great Britain & Austria) of the year in San Marino, ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Ducati) is now just 30 points behind leader Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha). His impressive state of form together with the layout of the Spanish track – with its Desmosedici-loving long straights – make him rival number one to beat this Sunday.
The pilot from Turin, winner in Aragon in 2021, will be escorted by the rest of the Borgo Panigale machines that dominate the grid. At this stage in the World Championship and following team orders, their riders will do everything in their power to finish the race ahead of Quartararo in order to rob him of some precious points.
The Michelin @MotoGP team starts the most intense period of the 2022 season with the #AragonGP, 1st of the triple-header races. Our #MICHELINPower range of tires will have to face new challenges in Aragon to offer a new existing racing weekend.#MichelinMotoGP pic.twitter.com/yektzLyY5N
— Michelin Motorsport (@Michelin_Sport) September 13, 2022
Aprilia: Accidental allies for Bagnaia?
‘Pecco’ could nonetheless count on the unwitting help of Aprilia at MotorLand. Relegated to third place in the standings with 33 points less than Quartararo, Aleix Espargaró needs to make a comeback. The Spaniard seems to have run out of steam since his crash and fracture at Silverstone and he desperately needs to reinvigorate his title bid. Nobody knows, however, how the little finger of his left hand is mending after he fractured it during the tests in Misano.
Meanwhile, his partner Maverick Viñales is improving his performance with every passing race. Proof of this are his three podium finishes in the last four Grand Prix. The Spaniard can rely on the versatility and efficiency of his RS-22, and is likely to be amongst the top three this weekend.
Quartararo vs. Everyone in a hostile track
The Aragon MotoGP 2022 will be a tough test for ‘El Diablo’. Added to the constant threat of the numerous Ducati and Aprilia fleets, he is racing in hostile territory for his M1. With its lack of top speed, the Iwata machine will struggle on the endless straights of MotorLand.
Faced with this reality, and considering he finished in eighth place last time around in 2021, Quartararo will attempt to minimize the damage once again. He seems, however, overwhelmed by Bagnaia’s push. In fact, he has only managed a single podium finish over the last four rounds. His last result, a poor fifth place at Misano. His leadership has now come into question.
Marc is back!
Marc Márquez returns to action at the Aragón MotoGP 2022, almost four months after his last race (Mugello, May 29). The eighth-time champion feels ready to compete again after successfully completing the recent Misano tests, where he was satisfied with the response of his right arm, operated on for the fourth time in June.
A fan of the counter-clockwise configuration of the MotorLand track, the Spaniard has won Aragon more times than anyone else in MotoGP (2013, 2016-2019). Its numerous left corners should, in theory, be Marquez’s best allies. After the injury in his right humerus, however, those kinds of changes in direction have become quite a challenge for him.
Aragon will therefore be the perfect scenario to really gauge his degree of fitness. Many local fans are hoping for a repeat of the 2021 duel with Bagnaia when the Spaniard finished in second place just behind the Italian. Fatigue and his lack of competitive activity should in theory prevent such a battle, but with Marc, nothing can be ruled out.
Images of Aragon MotoGP 2022: Repsol-Honda Team.