AOYAMA BEST OPEN CLASS RIDER FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON, ROUNDING OUT TOP TEN
Japanese rider wins out after attractive duel with Nicky Hayden, placing tenth to his teammate’s eleventh
The MotoGP Grand Prix of Argentina was a highly entertaining race, with the most exciting moments coming right at the start, during the opening four laps. Jorge Lorenzo surprised many onlookers by taking charge of the race and gaining an advantage of a second on the first trio of laps, whilst Valentino Rossi, Stefan Bradl, Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso all looked to find their best spot in the pack with constant overtaking. Several riders crashed on the initial laps to further mix things up. The natural order of things resumed by the midway point, as the weekend’s fastest man, Marc Márquez, hunted down Lorenzo down seven laps in and followed him until Lap 16. He then passed his rival and set two hot laps to open a gap. Márquez won the race by 1.8 seconds from Dani Pedrosa, who also got past Lorenzo. It was an all-Spanish podium at Termas de Río Hondo.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar riders also contributed to the excitement of the GP of Argentina, waging a fierce battle almost to the chequered flag. The reward at stake was the honour of being the top Open class rider for the first time in 2014, and the two teammates were not going to back down. In spite of having troubles finding his pace at the start, Nicky Hayden was the first rider to approach the top ten spots, moving up from fourteenth position to pass Redding, Abraham and Hernandez. His teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, was sixteenth after the first lap and also was forced to fight back. With four laps to go, the battle between the DRIVE M7 Aspar riders, Abraham and Hernandez intensified. It looked as if Hayden would be taking tenth spot after establishing a small advantage, but Aoyama reeled him back in and passed on the penultimate corner. It was the Japanese rider’s first Open class top spot of the campaign so far.
10th Hiroshi Aoyama: "The race was tough. At this new circuit we had many doubts about the durability of the tyres, but I'm very happy to have concluded the race as the best Open class rider. In the last third of the race my tyres were almost on the limit, but I guess this was similar for everyone. I had fun, coming from behind at the end of the race I had some good battles with Hernandez and Nicky and we swapped places several times on the closing laps. I'm glad I was able to place ahead of them and take tenth position. Earlier this year everything was new to me, but I've grown since I joined the DRIVE M7 Aspar team and I think that the result today is the reward for all our hard work. I'm excited, I hope to continue like this next weekend when we go to Europe. I want to thank the team and the sponsors for all of their efforts to make results like today’s possible."
11th Nicky Hayden: "I really enjoyed riding today. In the race I would have liked to have taken a better result and beaten my teammate after an interesting fight. At the start of the race I did not had a good feeling with the front end. The track conditions had been improving throughout the weekend and so we worked to find rear grip. However, with the improving condition of the asphalt, having so much rear grip made the bike push onto the front end. I guess I am not the only one that this happened to, either. At first I struggled to pick up the pace and move up the field, because I couldn’t brake well. As the laps went by I started to feel more comfortable and I managed to overtake people. On the last lap Hiro closed the gap and he was better on the back straight section. I went a little wide and he got past me. It would have been great to finish as the top Open rider, but Hiro deserved it. I will have to be more attentive next time. Nevertheless I am satisfied and I think we did a very good job this weekend; things have gone well."