Lorenzo up for Marquez battle in Aragon
MADRID - Agence France-Presse
AFP PhotoDefending world champion Jorge Lorenzo has Marc Marquez in his sights as he looks to eat into his compatriot's lead atop the championship standings at the Aragon MotoGP this weekend.
Marquez has had a sensational debut season in MotoGP as the 20-year-old has won five races on his way to amassing a 34-point lead over both Lorenzo and Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa.
However, Lorenzo has battled back from surgery on a broken collarbone, which forced him to miss the Dutch GP back in June, to win the last two races in Britain and San Marino.
And the Yamaha rider is hoping that improvements to his bike added to a return to full health will see him make it a hat-trick of wins in the third of the four calendar races in Spain.
"I'm really looking forward to going to Aragon because at that track we did a very good test before the Assen Grand Prix," he told the Yahama Factory Racing website.
"In those tests we were the fastest and now we have an even better bike. I'm looking forward to getting to know our new level at the circuit.
"I feel very good physically and also the last Misano test went very well for us, so I'm going to Aragon feeling positive." The Motorland circuit, however, is one of the few tracks where Lorenzo has never experienced victory with last season's second place his best finish in three tries since its inauguration in 2010.
Marquez, however, has tasted victory in Aragon as a Moto2 rider back in 2011 and is looking forward to a first MotoGP ride on a track he describes as amongst his favourites.
"It will be nice to return to race in Aragon in front of our home fans this weekend," he said.
"The circuit is one of my favourites. It has two very technical sectors to start and then at the end you need to go very hard on the corners." However, it was Pedrosa who emerged victorious in last season's visit to Motorland and he is still very much in the hunt for his first world championship title.
The 27-year-old also won in Malaysia, Japan and Valencia last year, three of the other four races that are still to come this season.
And he is hoping that an encouraging testing session after his third place at Misano a fortnight ago will result in a first win since May.
"We had a test session the Monday after Misano and we found some positive things that I hope will help us here in Motorland, especially coming out of the corners. We need to wait and see what happens." It hasn't been a vintage season for seven-time world champion Valentino Rossi as he has trailed the Spanish trio for the majority of the campaign, including four consecutive fourth placed finishes.
However, he is still eager to challenge the Hondas and Yamaha teammate Lorenzo.
"After doing a test, I am always very curious to go to the next race. The Misano test was very positive. We improved various aspects so I want to see if we are able to make a further step on race," he said.
"My goal is always to fight with Jorge, Dani and Marc. In recent tests done at Aragon, Jorge and I made good times with the M1. The bike worked well so we are eager to go on to this circuit.