The second and final day of testing in Argentina got off to a damp start, with rain falling for much of the morning - the curse of MotoGP, it appears, as it had not previously rained in the area for several months, local sources reported. Not wishing to risk injury in the damp, the MotoGP and Moto2 riders present stayed off the bikes in the morning, mingling instead with the fans. The afternoon saw the sun return, and the riders take to the track once again, putting more laps on the bikes and providing valuable feedback for Yamaha and Honda, as well as for Bridgestone and Dunlop.
Times on the second day were slower than on Thursday, Alvaro Bautista topping the timesheets with a best time of 1'45.578, nearly a second and a half slower than the best time set by Stefan Bradl on Thursday. The rain had made the track a good deal slower, but with just six bikes on track - seven, if you include Randy Mamola, who was giving two-up rides aboard Ducati's X2 machine at the circuit - times were never going to be representative. Once the full MotoGP grid descends on the Termas de Rio Hondo, times are likely to drop by at least a second.
Despite the rain, and despite the fact there were only four MotoGP bikes and two Moto2 bikes on track, over 20,000 fans descended on the Argentinian circuit from several neighboring countries. Clearly, the decision to return to South America is long overdue.
Below are the press releases issued after the completion of the test:
Rain disrupts final day of MotoGP testing in Argentina
MotoGP Official Test Argentina 4th July 2013 20°c
The final day of MotoGP testing at the magnificent new Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina was disrupted by rain today, with Cal Crutchlow completing just over 30-laps on a drying track this afternoon.
After a positive first impression of the new 4.8km circuit yesterday, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Crutchlow was eagerly anticipating more time on track today to gather vital data for both Yamaha and Bridgestone.
Adverse weather conditions though prevented Crutchlow from venturing out on track until late this afternoon, with another massive crowd patiently waiting to get a glimpse of him riding the YZR-M1 machine that he has raced to three podium finishes in the previous four races.
When he did finally go out to complete 32-laps and post a best time of 1.45.852, the British rider got a rapturous reception from the packed grandstands and today’s rain hasn’t taken the shine off a truly memorable first visit to Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.
Exceptional hospitality and passionate support from Argentinian fans has only heightened the sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of next year’s race, with Dorna confirming the Autodromo de Rio Hondo will feature on the MotoGP calendar until at least 2016.
Crutchlow will now fly back to Europe in readiness for the Sachsenring’s German MotoGP round next weekend, which is immediately followed by a second trip of the campaign to North America for the Laguna Seca race ahead of a well deserved summer break.
Cal Crutchlow 1.45.852 – 32 laps:
“It was a big pity today that the rain came because people told us that there has been no rain here for more than 20 weeks! I’m really pleased the track dried out at the end and I was able to do some laps to thank the fans for being so patient and coming out to support us. This test has been one of the few times when there’s not been so much pressure, so I’ve been able to have a lot of fun with the other guys on track. Nowadays in MotoGP you have to be on the limit and giving it 100% for every lap of every test and race, so it was nice to be able to have a bit of fun on the bike. We collected some data for Yamaha and Bridgestone but I’m not sure how helpful it will be because conditions for the race will be completely different. The track was quite dirty but some sections are incredible. Some corners are really fast and there are a lot of overtaking opportunities, so I think it will make for great racing in all three classes. It has been a great trip and very important for Dorna and Yamaha to promote MotoGP in such a key market like Argentina and I am proud that Tech 3 and Monster were able to play such a big part in it. I’d like to thank everybody involved in our visit this week. I’ve loved every minute of my first visit to Argentina. It is great to experience another culture and the welcome and hospitality we have received has been overwhelming and my first visit to Argentina is one I will never forget. The support and passion for MotoGP has been amazing to see and now I can’t wait to be back next year for the race.”
BRADL ENJOYS FIRST RIO HONDO OUTING
Termas de Rio Hondo, 5 July: despite his busy agenda (five races in seven weeks, three testing sessions and his important home race in Sachsenring next weekend) LCR racer Stefan Bradl’s moved to Argentina last Tuesday for a first taste of the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit (situated 1.100km north-west of Buenos Aires) which will host MotoGP until 2016 from next year.
“This was my first time in Argentina and we had a great welcome from local people here. They seem very interested in MotoGP and it’s nice to take the MotoGP back for the first time since 1999. With Alvaro and Cal we had a tour in Termas discovering a new culture and the place is very nice. Before my departure I checked the circuit layout in the web and it looked really fast. So it is! I think it perfectly suits the MotoGP machine but the big question mark are the tyres because the early indications indicate that the surface here is set to be extremely abrasive for tyres. I was happy with my fastest lap on day one but our main target was to get vital data for next year race. Unfortunately on day two the weather was not that good so I made only nine laps in the afternoon. Now it’s time for me to relax for couple of days before my crowded and warm home race”.
RAIN AT RIO HONDO ON DAY TWO IN ARGENTINA
The second day of MotoGP tests at the Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina ruined the second planned day of testing for the few teams present on Friday. Alvaro Bautista was only able to complete a handful of laps on his RC213V machine as he gathered basic data ahead of next year's race, which has recently been confirmed as a definite addition to the calendar through until 2016. It was only towards the end of the afternoon when the track started to dry that the riders were able to go out and put on a brief show for the thousands of fans, many of whom were witnessing MotoGP in their home country for the first time. After a whistle-stop trip to South America, Bautista now returns to Europe for the next round of the current season, which takes place next weekend at the Sachsenring circuit in Germany.