MotoGP 2022
Round 15

Honda Riders Hit By Horrible Luck At Aragon

es MotorLand Aragón

Honda’s four MotoGP riders could hardly have had worse luck than they had at MotorLand Aragon today, with three of them in trouble on the very first lap of the race.

Honda Riders Hit By Horrible Luck At Aragon

Of course the big story of the weekend was the return of Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V), racing again for the first time since May’s Italian Grand Prix, following further surgery to the arm he broke two years ago.

Marquez had a spectacular two days of practice and qualifying, complicated by a fall during FP3, which compromised his grid position. He started magnificently, rocketing through from 13th to sixth at the first corner. Then as he exited Turn Three he had a small rear-end slide, so he eased of the throttle for a second to control the slide. As he did this, reigning World Champion Fabio Quartararo hit the back of Marquez’s RC213V and crashed.

The impact damaged the six-time MotoGP World Champion’s machine, which didn’t become apparent until a few moments later. Between Turns Seven and Eight it was obvious he was in difficulty and the 29-year-old Spaniard and Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) came together as he slowed unavoidably, causing the Japanese to fall. Nakagami’s tumble also caused problems for Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) and others, who had to take avoiding action. Marquez retired in the Repsol Honda garage at the end of the first lap.

These freak, unlucky incidents were obviously a huge disappointment, both for Marquez, who had looked so strong in his comeback, and for Nakagami, who was very fast during and Friday and Saturday, the 30-year-old from Chiba making it directly through to the Q2 qualifying for the ninth time this year, after three difficult races at Silverstone, Red Bull Ring and Misano.

The exit of the older Marquez brother and Nakagami left just two Hondas circulating: Espargaro in 15th and Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) in 12th.

Marquez battled inside the top ten for much of the 23 laps, riding the ninth fastest lap of the race, but the 26-year-old Spaniard slipped back two places in the final stages to take the chequered flag in 12th place, just failing to repeat his top-ten finish at Misano.

Espargaro ended the race in 15th, to score the final World Champion point. The 31-year-old Spaniard will use what he learned in today’s race to try and improve his performance at Motegi next weekend.

Today’s racing at Aragon was the start of an intense conclusion to the 2022 MotoGP World Championship, with six races over eight weekends. The paddock is already on its way to Japan for next weekend’s race at Twin Ring Motegi, where practice gets underway later than usual, on Friday afternoon, due to the logistical issues of getting freight from Aragon to Motegi.

The action then moves to Thailand the following weekend, then back-to-back races in Australia and Malaysia. The season-ending Valencia GP takes place in Spain on 6 November.

Alex Márquez
Alex Márquez 73
The race was not bad; I gave 100% from the beginning. I want to say thanks to my team as they did a really good job of repairing my bike after I made a mistake during the warm-up and had a really big crash. It was not easy as, one hour before the race, I was still deciding whether I was able to race or not. From the beginning I was trying to improve our position and have fun in front of our fans. It wasn’t a bad race, but we are not where we want to be, so we must keep going as a team.

Pol Espargaro
Pol Espargaro 44
Repsol Honda Team
It was a really tough race today and we didn’t have the speed we needed to do something more today. I haven’t felt comfortable on the bike all weekend and we had a lot of distance to try and recover today. The first lap was very complicated, there was carbon-fibre everywhere and I had to stand up to avoid Taka. Tonight I go home and then tomorrow we get on the plane to Japan, so we will switch our mind to Japan mode. I’m looking forward to looking seeing all the Japanese fans again.

Marc Márquez
Marc Márquez 93
Repsol Honda Team
I got a really good start to the race and found myself fighting for the top five, instincts took over when the lights went out. But then in Turn Three I lost the rear a little bit, so I closed the gas and the problem was then that Fabio [Quartararo] was super close to me. This is normal, it’s racing to be close in the first laps and to try a move in the change of direction, we were just unlucky to have this contact with Fabio. Then everything started, in Turn Five I felt something strange, and I didn’t really know what was going on fully. In Turn Seven Nakagami overtook me and went wide but when I went to engage the rear device, I felt like the rear was locking. Then everything happened at once as the bike was moving to the left with this locking and I found myself touching with Taka. After this I retired. I went to apologise to Taka and his team because his race was ended by the situation we had. My apologies to him and Fabio.

Takaaki Nakagami
Takaaki Nakagami 30
Unfortunately, I had an unlucky Sunday. I had a good start but then had an accident on lap one. I had contact with Marc and had a nasty crash, so I’m really disappointed. I’m now going to Barcelona to check the wound on the fourth and fifth fingers on my right hand. I will keep everyone updated and really appreciate all the support from my fans. I will try my best to recover and hopefully we can race at my home GP in Japan.

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