Results and summary of the Moto2 race in Argentina:
Results and summary of qualifying for the Moto2 class in Argentina:
After a pretty fast first session in Argentina, the intermediate class didn’t seem to be in much rush to light up the timesheets, with improvements coming halfway through the session and not many troubling the combined top 14. Fermín Aldeguer was as impressive as always, topping both practice sessions, despite a moment at turn 10 and failing to improve on his FP1 benchmark. Augusto Fernandez followed his compatriot closely, while Jake Dixon climbed to third in the session.
Next in line for the cleaning job in Argentina were the intermediate class riders and some did a better job than others. Fermín Aldeguer was amongst the former, the youngster picking up the lead of the session right at the chequered flag, demoting compatriot Augusto Fernandez to second, after the KTM man led for much of the morning session. Somkiat Chantra stayed at the business end after his victory in Indonesia and ended FP1 in third place, three tenths of a second off top spot.
It has been a busy day for everyone involved in MotoGP. A large section of the paddock was sat either behind a computer or staring at a mobile device frantically refreshing their flight tracker app of choice, watching the exploits of Aerostan aircraft EX-47001, as it finally made its way from Mombasa in Kenya to Lagos in Nigeria to Salvador in Brazil. As I write this, it has taken off from Salvador and is winging its way to Tucuman, where it is due to land some time after 9pm. At Salvador, the flight number changed from BSC4042 to BSC4043. A sign? I leave it up to the reader to decipher the letters BSC in the flight number.
At San Miguel de Tucuman, the plane will have to be unloaded and the customs formalities dealt with, before the contents of the plane are transported from the airport to the circuit at Termas de Rio Hondo, just under 100km away. They should at least arrive some time before midnight.
That will mean mechanics working through the night to get the bikes ready for Saturday. In preparation for this, the Gresini mechanics left the circuit early on Friday, presumably to get some sleep ahead of a long night.
Prepping the bikes
The plane carrying the missing cargo from MotoGP is about to land in South America, which has given Dorna the confidence to announce a new schedule for the Argentina GP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. More track time has been added, and the sessions reshuffled.
The Moto2 and Moto3 classes fill Saturday morning, with Moto3 kicking off at 8:15am for a 50 minute FP1 session. That is followed by 50 minutes of FP1 for Moto2, then both classes get 50 minutes for FP2.
At 12:35, MotoGP gets their FP1 session, a full hour. Qualifying for Moto3 and Moto2 follows, then another hour of FP2 for MotoGP. The day ends with Q1 and Q2 for MotoGP. Entry into Q2 will be decided by combined times in FP1 and FP2 for all three classes.
The action kicks off 10 minutes earlier on Sunday morning, with 20 minute warm up sessions for Moto3 and Moto2, followed by a 40 minute session for MotoGP. The race should then proceed as normal.
The new schedule appears below:
Despite being back to something resembling relative normality, MotoGP is off to a strange start in 2022. The season opener at Qatar saw the favorites fall short, and a surprise winner and championship leader. The second race, at Mandalika in Indonesia, nudged uncomfortably close to farce, the rain saving the MotoGP race from disaster. But like many wet races, the result was far from representative.
For round 3, MotoGP heads to Argentina, and the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. The track in Argentina is a lesson in contrasts. The layout is magnificent, a fast, sweeping track with challenging corners, a straight that emphasizes acceleration over outright horsepower, and plenty of spots to pass other riders. But the location – near a modest town, and some distance away from major population centers – means the track gets little use outside of the MotoGP weekend. That usually leaves the surface of the track a mess, covered in dust and dirt, making preparation difficult.
A broken down cargo freighter has thrown the schedule for the Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo into chaos. One of the aircraft carrying some of the freight from Indonesia to Argentina suffered problems, causing the freight to get stuck in Mombasa, Kenya, and delaying its arrival at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. With bikes from a number of teams missing - including the Gresini Ducati of MotoGP championship leader Enea Bastianini - it was decided to cancel practice for all three classes on Friday, and to begin the weekend on Saturday instead.
The problems are twofold. On the one hand, the bikes of several teams - including the Gresini and VR46 MotoGP squads, and the Marc VDS team in Moto2 - will only be delivered to the paddock very late on Thursday evening. The bikes were not cleaned after the race in Indonesia, and the MotoGP bikes, who rode in the rain, are in need of a very thorough clean. Mechanics from one team took 3 hours just to clean the bikes which had arrived from Mandalika.
The Red Bull Ring, home of the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, today announced that they have completed construction of a chicane between Turns 1 and 3, aimed at improving safety for motorcycle racing around the Austrian track. The change was deemed necessary after the horrific crash at the Austrian GP in 2020, when a collision between Johann Zarco and Franco Morbidelli through Turn 2 saw their bikes carry on through the gravel and cross the track after Turn 3, narrowly missing Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales as they exited Turn 3.
The solution devised by track designer Hermann Tilke, is to add a chicane, consisting of a sharp right and a sharp left about a third of the way along the straight between Turn 1 and Turn 3, just before the start of the fast kink which is Turn 2. The idea is to slow the bikes significantly on the approach to Turn 3, to prevent them from crossing the track in the event of a crash.