The Aragon Grand Prix, the 14th stage of the MotoGP Championship, takes place on the modern track of Motorland Aragon. It’s an atypical stage (especially for a European Grand Prix), and maybe because of this it’s all too often left out when it comes to planning a trip to follow our MotoGP heroes.
At RTR Sport Marketing we think this shouldn’t be the case, and having been regular visitors to the Aragon MotoGP we’ve become something of experts in the do’s and don’ts of planning a trip to this venue.
Here are some thoughts based on RTR Sports Marketing’s personal experience on the roads, hotels, climate and territory of the Grand Prix of Aragon…
How to get to the Aragon Grand Prix
The Aragon Grand Prix is held at the Motorland Aragòn circuit, a few kilometers from Alcaniz, in the centre of a triangle formed by the cities of Zaragoza, Barcelona and Valencia in the north-east of Spain.
The nearest airport is Zaragoza – unfortunately there are few flights and few airlines operating from here, with only a few connections with the rest of Spain and some international flights to London and Northern Europe. It’s much easier to fly to Barcelona instead, which of course has flights from all over the world almost every day.
From Barcelona, however, the trip via road is slightly longer – it takes two and a half hours to get to Motorland Aragòn, rather than the hour and a half that it takes from Zaragoza.
Driving to Motorland Aragòn
If it is true that half the fun is the journey (and we believe it is), the roads leading to Motorland Aragòn are the perfect fulfillment of the prophecy.
As is often the case in Spain, the main roads and most important infrastructures are well-maintained, and a real pleasure to drive through. The road that leads from Zaragoza (N-232 / N-420) to the Motorland Aragòn circuit, and then winds between Alcaniz, Valdeltormo, Calaceite and Gandesa, is an understated masterpiece of bends and ups and downs.
Successful traffic management during the days of the Aragon Grand Prix is down to the Guardia Civil, which, as is the case with every Spanish race, reorganises the entire flow of cars in the area, changing directions of travel and number of carriageways to allow entry and rapid exit in and from the circuit.
The Motorland Aragòn Circuit
The Motorland Aragòn circuit is a new concept, inaugurated in 2009 and born from the collaboration between Hermann Tilke and the Foster & Partners studio.
More than a circuit, it is a real motor city, with three main areas: the one dedicated to racing, the one dedicated to industry (Technopark), and the one dedicated to fun, which includes a museum and installations.
The circuit on which the Aragon MotoGP races is one of the many tracks that wind through the Motorland – the sports represented include karting, supermoto, motocross and motoring. The stands are large and well-positioned and the track view generally very good, although obviously lacking the charm of circuits like Mugello or Phillip Island. The great wall of stones at Aragon is famous, heavily photographed at every race, and is probably the best place to position yourself when watching the action unfold.
A note on the possibility of finding food at the Aragon MotoGP circuit: unfortunately, there are not many venues selling food for Grand Prix spectators – very little in fact, especially when compared to the piadinerie, cafes and bars that are available at the Misano and Mugello circuits. It’s therefore advisable to bring something from outside, maybe buying a sandwich or fruit during the journey.
Hotel and accommodation at the Aragon MotoGP
Accommodation is certainly one of the most important aspects to consider when visiting the Aragon Grand Prix – because of its location, the circuit can offer up a few select nearby hotels for MotoGP fans.
Aragon is a vast region, which is sparsely populated. The few hotels in Alcaniz are fully booked months in advance, with visitors also spreading 40 or 50 kilometres into the wider region – into area such as Hijar, Calaceite, Calanda, Alloza, Monrojo and Quinto. So, advice is to book very early – if you don’t want to run the risk of being a hundred kilometres from the circuit or in one of the campsites that are installed around the track.
The climate in Aragon
The end of the summer and into September is the most challenging climate period for Aragon. Luckily though, the very high temperatures, which usually fall between 30 and 38 degrees, are made bearable by very low humidity. Rainfall is rare.
The food in Aragon
Aragonese cuisine doesn’t differ too much from the traditional Spanish, which mixes fish, meat and vegetables. The flavors are Mediterranean, with bocadillos available at all hours of the day, and tapas and fresh beers served until late evening.