2018 Argentina Saturday Round Up: A Gambler's Wild Ride Rewarded

Motorcycle racing is many things, but above all, it is unpredictable. Just when you think a racing series has settled in to a pattern, either during a season or over the course of a race weekend, along comes some unexpected factor or other to throw a spanner into the works and turn it all on its head. Suddenly, the script has gone out of the window and the protagonists are all ad-libbing their way to a completely new and unimagined story.

This is why so many riders sport symbols of gambling on their leathers, helmets, or bikes. Look around the MotoGP grid, and you see dice, cards, and poker chips everywhere. With so many random elements which can affect the outcome, from mechanical misfortune to errors of judgment to choosing the wrong tires to the fickleness of the weather, there is always the hope that things can break your way. It's always worth rolling the dice, because from time to time, a gamble will pay off handsomely.

That is how we ended up with the polesitters in the three classes at Argentina all taking pole for the first time in their careers. And it wasn't just the riders on pole: in MotoGP, three of the top four riders in qualifying were on satellite bikes. In Moto2, two of the top three hadn't finished anywhere near the podium in the first race in Qatar. And the same in Moto3, the favorites qualified down the order, with fresh faces at the top of the timesheets.

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2018 Argentina Moto2 FP3: Gardner Slides Up the Order

Remy Gardner took advantage of the wet circuit to dominate the third Moto2 practice at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina. Gardner, seemingly at ease with the slippery conditions, led near the entire Saturday session. Lorenzo Baldassarri managed to close within a tenth to take second as intermittent rain fell on the 4.8 km track. 

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2018 Argentina Moto2 FP2: Marquez outpaces rivals, rain

Alex Marquez jumped to the top of the sheet early in the session, finishing both in front of the Moto2 pack and the off-and-on rain that effectively ended Friday's FP2 session early. Marquez's 1'44.802 was well off the FP1 top time (set by Mattia Pasini) and even farther from the best Moto2 practice times of 2017.

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2018 Argentina Moto2 FP1: Pasini Sets the Pace

Mattia Pasini, fourth-place finisher in the season's first race, grabbed the top spot Friday at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina. Pasini spent much of the 40-minute FP1 session in the middle of the top 10 before climbing to the top of the sheet toward the session's end under cloudy but dry conditions. 

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2018 Argentina Moto2 & Moto3 Preview Press Releases

Press releases previewing the Termas De Rio Hondo round from some of the Moto2 and Moto3 teams:

Oliveira and Binder eye repeat of Argentinian successes

The Red Bull KTM Ajo Moto2 riders aim to take their first podium finishes of the season this weekend, at a track where they have previous rostrum experience.

04/04/2018 - Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, Argentina

Back to top Travel Guide – Race 02, Argentina, The Wild, Wild West

From Qatar, the MotoGP circus heads west. A very long way west, out towards the western edge of the Argentine pampas, and Termas de Rio Hondo (a fun game for fans to play is to check every article written by MotoGP journalists and see how many times they have spelled Termas de Rio Hondo with an A on the end instead of an O). The Argentinian round of MotoGP is crucial to Dorna, giving it a foothold in South America, a key market for the manufacturers, and a region in love with motorsports.

Ideally, a Grand Prix in Argentina – or Brazil, or Chile, or Peru, or Colombia – would be held at a track near one of the great cities of the region. But the tracks build near Buenos Aires (or Rio de Janiero or Sao Paulo in Brazil) are all relics from a previous era, when rider safety was not the paramount concern it is today. So instead, MotoGP heads to the middle of nowhere, fortunately, to one of the fastest and finest tracks on the calendar. It is, by all accounts, a wild affair, though it is not a place I have visited myself. But from what I have been told, it is a memorable event to attend. Travel Guide Rating:

Atmosphere factor:  9 
Exoticness factor:  8 
Cost factor:  10 
Non-racing factor:   6 

Explanation of this table

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