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MotoGP Aragon #2: Double delights for home-hero Masia, McPhee sixth

Jaume Masia was triumphant once again at the Motorland Aragon circuit this morning, claiming a second consecutive victory at his home race ahead of the Japanese KTM duo of Ayumu Sasaki and Kaito Toba. John McPhee put in a determined late-race battle as he challenged for podium contention before crossing the line in sixth at the flag.

The 12th race-day of 2020 began with the usual Moto3 madness as Raul Fernandez launched from the front row and into a three-rider-scrap for the lead. Proving fastest in morning warm-up, Tony Arbolino challenged from second to take the hole-shot before Fernandez powered through into turn three to regain control, Albert Arenas following through to claim second from Celestino Vietti as the Snipers rider fell back to fourth. The end of the first lap saw Arenas briefly take control but the KTM was not giving up as he returned to the front once again.

One lap complete and McPhee was making strong advances in the mid-pack, rising to 10th, from 17th, as he battled with Tatsuki Suzuki and next year’s teammate Darryn Binder for positions, Ai Ogura joining the fight a few corners later.


Back at the front and Sasaki and Gabriel Rodrigo made moves for the lead, demoting Vietti as they attempted to find a way through Fernandez, the Gresini rider finally making it stick down the start/finish straight as the fourth lap began. With positions constantly swapping throughout the field, it was Vietti’s turn to challenge, dropping Rodrigo to fourth, then sixth, as Arenas and Binder came through to podium contention, Sasaki and Kaito Toba rounding out the current top-five as the early leaders sat back in seventh and eighth.

The home straight witnessed more change as Arenas now took control with 14 laps to go, McPhee entering the top-10 with less than a second separating him from the Aspar leader as championship-challenger Ogura dropped back to 18th. Lap eight began with Toba taking advantage of the KTM’s strong pace, sliding through to second before taking his turn at the front, Arenas showing the Japanese rider why he is the current title leader as he returned the favour on the next revolution.

A massive moment for McPhee saw the Scot’s hard work, moving through to seventh, undone in a heartbeat as he dropped back down to 12th, the Petronas man lucky not to highside and regrouping quickly as he got back into the fight at the halfway stage.

An unsuccessful challenge on the leader saw Toba demoted to sixth as Binder took advantage for second ahead of Sasaki and last-weekend’s winner Jaume Masia, with the Leopard rider taking third moments later as his late-race confidence picked up.

Lap 13 began with McPhee returning to the top-eight, ahead of pole-man Fernandez, as Masia claimed second, the pair both advancing a further position on the final straight as the lap concluded. Masia continuing to fight Arenas for the lead with five laps to go as McPhee now pushed through to fourth.

Four laps to go and Arenas was back in charge, this time with Binder battling Masia for second, McPhee biding his time behind the squabbling pair with Toba on his tail. The Scot took his opportunity to advance in the final sector, securing third as the final three laps began but a determined attack from Toba briefly relegating McPhee to fifth. He was having none of it, however, sweeping back through as he returned to third, his focus fixed firmly on the leaders as the penultimate lap got underway.

With Masia back out front, Arenas challenged yet again, the move successful and allowing McPhee through alongside but the battle was far from over. Masia returned to the lead as the final lap began with Arenas fighting back almost immediately, McPhee dropping to sixth as Suzuki and Hector Garcia crashed out at turn 9.

A final corner battle saw Masia victorious in Spain once again as Sasaki and Toba stole the podium from a frustrated Arenas, Vietti and McPhee hard on their wheels as they completed the top-six. A strong end to the race saw Deniz Öncü take seventh from a P18 start, ahead of Binder, Ogura and Arbolino with Alonso Lopez, Fernandez, Filip Salac, Rodrigo and Jeremy Alcoba claiming the final points scoring positions.

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