Fresh from the action at Misano, MotoGP continues with a back-to-back concluding at Aragon before heading east for the flyaway races as the season finale gets ever closer.

With #93 gaining a 93-point advantage in the MotoGP standings thanks to his victory at the San Marino round last weekend, Marquez’s grip on the world title will get even tighter if form and previous performances play out at Aragon.

Marquez, a four-time winner at Aragon in the premier class, has only been beaten at the track by Jorge Lorenzo during his Yamaha days (2014 and 2015) and had the honour of Turn 10 being named after him last year – fully confirming his home advantage at the track situated just south of the Pyrenees Mountains.

With plenty of long left-hand corners suiting Marquez’s dirt track style it’s no surprise the Repsol Honda rider has dominated at Aragon and is looking to secure a fourth consecutive victory at the track to keep his current unbeaten record going this weekend.

While the circuit has also been kind to Yamaha since its introduction on the MotoGP calendar in 2010, both Honda and Ducati will be favoured this weekend on the track’s two long straights which split the circuit into two distinct halves – from fast and flat-out to twisty and technical.

If Marquez can extend his championship lead to above 100 points by the time he leaves Aragon on Sunday evening, he’ll know he will only need to match his nearest rivals’ results to wrap up the title in Thailand next time out.

Andrea Dovizioso has a pair of MotoGP podiums to his name at Aragon, most recently his second place to Marquez 12 months ago, and will see the Spanish circuit as a venue where Ducati could profit if it can avoid the traction and grip issues it suffered with at Misano.

But having bled further points to his title rival, Dovizioso’s main focus will be returning to the front-running pace having suffered for the last two rounds after being taken out accidentally by Fabio Quartararo at Silverstone while Ducati’s pace disappeared at Misano.

Fast Fabio to the fore again?

While Aragon has never been a happy hunting ground for Quartararo on the world stage, ninth place in last year’s Moto2 race marking his best result, the form the MotoGP rookie is in means he cannot be ruled out from challenging again this weekend.

Having seen Marquez get the better of him in a final-lap duel at Misano, the French rider still called it “the best day of my life” and leaves no doubt he would have learnt a great deal battling the reigning world champion for victory for the first time.

Yamaha has made great gains on its weaknesses over the past 12 months, notably in acceleration and traction using this year’s Michelin tyres, and Aragon will provide a true test of its progress as Valentino Rossi could only finish in eighth place and over 15 seconds behind the winner at the chequered flag last year as the leading Yamaha rider.

With limited expectations on Yamaha, the race is likely to show how much progress the Iwata factory has made and also how much more work is required with its 2020 preparations.

Kallio’s orange chance

Ever since Red Bull KTM and Johann Zarco confirmed their separation at the end of 2019, the French rider’s days were always numbered with the Austrian manufacturer accelerating its 2020 plans.

After two races with bittersweet emotions after the announced split, KTM has called time on Zarco’s season and replaced him with test rider Mika Kallio for the remainder of the 2020 campaign – apparently after Dani Pedrosa turned down the opportunity to step in for the rest of the season.

While the Finnish rider has been in action at tests for KTM, he last raced at the 2018 Catalan round 15 months ago, with his wildcard entries cutback after suffering knee ligament damage in a crash during practice at last year’s German round on his previous wildcard for KTM.

Kallio last contested more than a one-off race during his final season in Moto2 back in 2015, but will now face six consecutive MotoGP races including the gruelling Japan-Australia-Malaysia triple-header.

But with KTM assessing its rider options to go alongside Pol Espargaro at the factory team for 2020, with Tech3 eager to retain Miguel Oliveira next year, it gives Kallio the perfect opportunity to demonstrate his credentials to keep hold of the race seat beyond Valencia.

The timing of the decision could also work in Kallio’s favour given the recent upturn in results for KTM, with Espargaro taking seventh place in Misano following the brand’s best-ever qualifying result with second place.

Aragon is MotoGP’s present, but will it be its future?

Attention to the expanding MotoGP race calendar has grown over the last few weeks, leading to Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta announcing the maximum number of races per season will increase to 22 from 2022.

With the likes of the new Finland round joining next year and an Indonesian race arriving in 2021, Ezpeleta has made it clear having four races in Spain every year is unlikely to be something the sport will justify as sustainable.

If all four current Spanish rounds – Jerez, Catalunya, Aragon and Valencia – wish to remain on the MotoGP calendar it could force a shared hosting deal along with the expected arrival of Portimao on to the race calendar by 2022.

Whether Aragon or the other Spanish circuits would be keen on that situation remains to be seen but having been purpose built for motorsport and on the MotoGP calendar for less than a decade, could its days already be numbered?

 

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