The Gran Premio A-Style de Aragón, Round 13 of the 2010 FIM MotoGP World Championship, marks the first ever visit to the Motorland Aragón circuit in Spain this weekend, where the home crowd will be preparing to witness another duel between Championship leader Jorge Lorenzo and his closest rival Dani Pedrosa. The arrival of the premier class of motorcycling at Aragón will make it the sixth different circuit in Spain to have been used for GP racing.
With six rounds of the season remaining what had seemed to be a straight run for Lorenzo to a first premier class title now appears to be a little more complicated thanks to the efforts of Pedrosa. The Fiat Yamaha star's consistency has been his strongest point however and Lorenzo remains the only MotoGP rider to have scored points in every round so far, having placed inside the top three in each race in 2010. A top-two result at Aragón would guarantee a Spanish title winner as only Pedrosa would then be capable of overhauling his rival's advantage, which stands at 63 points heading into the weekend.
Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa is in a rich vein of form and comes into this round off the back of his first consecutive premier class wins following victory ahead of Lorenzo at Misano. Both he and Lorenzo have already run on the Aragón circuit in private day tests over the summer, and are both equal on 12 MotoGP career victories to date.
The contest for third place in the overall standings is a close affair, with Andrea Dovizioso (Repsol Honda) on 139 points and Valentino Rossi (Fiat Yamaha) and Casey Stoner (Ducati Team) both on 130. Of the trio Rossi has the strongest record on Spanish soil having won 19 GPs across all classes in the country, but is also on his longest winless streak - seven races - since winning for the first time in the premier class at Donington in 2000. Dovizioso is aiming for a return to the podium having gone seven races without a top-three finish, whilst Stoner remains in search of a first win of the campaign in what promises to be a great scrap between the three as the season enters its final third.
Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider Ben Spies remains the highest placed satellite rider in sixth and is just ten points off Rossi and Stoner, with compatriot Nicky Hayden (Ducati Team) searching for his first podium of the season. Randy de Puniet's (LCR Honda) impressive recovery from injury continues, whilst Marco Melandri (San Carlo Honda Gresini) and Colin Edwards (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) complete the top ten as it currently stands. Edwards will be making his 100th MotoGP start on Yamaha machinery.
Loris Capirossi (Rizla Suzuki) is still recovering from surgery to the little finger on his right hand which he required after a first-lap crash at Misano, and will not ride.
Aragón will also see the return of a three-practice format with two sessions on Friday and a third and final one on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying, in a trial system which will be reviewed following the GP. The first free practice session for the MotoGP class gets underway at 10.05am on Friday morning.
With an advantage of 83 points at the top of the Moto2 standings and on a run of four consecutive victories Toni Elías' bid to become the first ever Moto2 World Champion is well on course.
Victory at Misano for Elías was his sixth of the season and his run of four in a row is the longest sequence of successive wins in the intermediate category since Marco Melandri achieved six back-to-back on his way to the 2002 250cc title.
Now second behind Elías in the standings after taking his first consecutive Moto2 podium finishes with second at Misano is Julián Simón. The Mapfre Aspar rider may be some distance off his fellow Spaniard, but leads a tight three-way battle for second position in the Championship.
Just four points behind him is Thomas Lüthi (Interwetten Moriwaki) who made a return to the rostrum last time out, his fifth podium of the campaign. He in turn holds only a five-point advantage over Andrea Iannone (Fimmco Speed Up) who will be desperate to make up for his DNF in San Marino. Fellow Italian Simone Corsi (JiR Moto2) completes the current top five but is some 22 points off Iannone.
Ready to race after being involved in the crash at Misano that tragically claimed the life of Shoya Tomizawa is 17 year-old Brit Scott Redding. The Marc VDS Racing Team rider completed a one-day test at Valencia on Monday which allowed him to check his physical condition and regain his confidence on the bike, having received stitches to a laceration on his lower back a week earlier.
There are also two wild card entries riding at Aragón, both with previous experience of the circuit thanks to their participation in the CEV Buckler (Spanish National Championship). Spaniard Roman Ramos will ride for the MIR Racing team, whilst Brit Kev Coghlan will compete on an FTR machine for the Monlau Joe Darcey outfit.
With the 125cc World Championship title race being dominated by Marc Márquez, Nico Terol and Pol Espargaró fans from the talented trio's home country of Spain will be relishing the opportunity to see the latest instalment of their fight for the 2010 crown on home soil this weekend.
Red Bull Ajo Motorsport rider Márquez arrives at Motorland Aragón with a nine-point advantage at the top of the standings, and victory at Misano was his sixth of the year. One more win this season will equal 2009 125cc World Champion Julián Simón's tally from last year.
The man within closest range of the 17 year-old is Bancaja Aspar rider Nico Terol, and the motivation of a first win on home soil will only add to his determination to continue pushing Márquez in what has already developed into a fine battle after the pair finished first and second at Misano. At 11 points further back Tuenti Racing's Espargaró is maintaining contact although his result of sixth in the previous round was his worst of the campaign to date. Victory at Aragón would add to the pressure on both Márquez and Terol and renew his push.
The Spanish supremacy is reflected in the fact that the last 21 races in the category have now been won by Spaniards, the longest sequence of successive 125cc wins by one nation in the 62-year history of GP racing.
British rider Bradley Smith is in fourth, although he is 49 points adrift of Espargaró as he holds onto fading hopes of challenging the top three. Sandro Cortese (Avant Mitsubishi Ajo), Esteve Rabat (Blusens-STX) and Efrén Vázquez (Tuenti Racing) are separated by ten points from fifth to seventh.
Five wild card riders will add to the 125cc field at Aragón with Eduard Lopez (Catalunya Racing Team) and Josep Rodrigues (Hune Racing) on Aprilia machinery and Juan Perello (SAG Castrol), Johnny Rosell (SAG Castrol) and German youngster Kevin Hanus (Thomas Sabo Team Hanusch) all on Hondas.