Press releases from the teams and Michelin on an incident-packed race at Termas de Rio Hondo. Michelin press release at the very bottom:
Fantastic win for Marquez, Pedrosa on the podium
Marc Marquez scored an awesome victory in Argentina today, cool-headedly managing a tricky situation.
Before the start, it was established that a dry race would be run 20 laps “flag to flag,” with a compulsory stop to change motorcycles at the end of lap 9, 10 or 11.
Both Marc and teammate Dani Pedrosa started well, but while Marc slotted into third place on his first lap, Dani was pushed wide by another rider in turn 1 and became stuck in the second group, unable to maintain contact with the front.
Marc took the lead on lap 2 by moving past Rossi and Dovizioso, and he was engaged in a thrilling battle with Rossi for first position until the bike change. On lap 10, he entered the pit a fraction ahead the Italian and re-joined the track in the lead. On his second bike, Marc put in a sequence of fast laps that nobody was able to match, and in five laps he opened up a gap that allowed him to comfortably cross the line with a 7.6-second advantage.
Although Dani’s pace wasn’t as fast as he would have liked, he remained cool and focused, and with Viñales, Dovizioso and Iannone all crashing, he was able to secure the third step of the podium and take over third position in the championship.
Heading to Austin for round 3, Marc now leads the championship by 8 points over Rossi and 14 over Pedrosa.
“I’m really happy with this win because we’ve worked very, very hard during the pre-season, in Qatar and here. Honda is working very well and I feel the support; we’re going in the same direction, and that’s the most important thing. It’s a special win, not only because it’s the first one of the year but also because with the team, we managed the situation very well, and after what happened in Australia on a similar occasion [in 2013], it was important for us to do well. I knew that the first part of the race would be tough because it was still damp in some places, and with the first bike I hadn’t felt as good as with the other one even during practice. I knew that the second part of the race was the key. I pushed 100% in the first five laps after the bike change, I opened a gap and after that I just kept the distance.”
“I had a good start but someone, I didn't know who, came straight through the first turn, and I had to pick up my bike and go wide in order to avoid him. If I had kept my line, for sure I would’ve crashed, so I went way out and then found myself in the middle of the group. It was very difficult because the lines they were doing were quite crazy, and of course I lost a lot of ground there. Anyway, my pace wasn’t good, and that’s disappointing, but I tried to keep my line for the entire race. Finally, this was maybe the luckiest day of my career because many riders crashed in front of me and I was able to take third. Last year I wasn’t even here, so it’s positive to be on the podium this time. Anyway, we have to look ahead and keep working hard to improve the bike to be faster.”
Rossi Scores Superb Second Place At Tense Termas de Río Hondo Race
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi had to give all he had to take a solid second place in a drama-filled Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo had a promising start to the second race of the season, but was unable to finish the shortened “flag-to-flag” sprint after he got caught out by the tricky conditions.
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 3rd April 2016
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi took home his first podium of the season today in a difficult race. Teammate Jorge Lorenzo got off the line well, but his “flag-to-flag” sprint ended after five laps.
The third day at the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit was filled with drama before the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina race even got underway. The scheduled ‘extra’ 30-minute morning warm-up session was cancelled when rain tormented the South American circuit. The change in conditions compared to the first two days meant the tyre allocation was amended to best suit the race situation.
While the ‘standard’ warm-up took place under wet conditions in the morning, the shortened race got underway on a mostly dry track with treacherous wet patches. A compulsory stop to change machines at the end of lap 9, 10 or 11, allowed the riders to use either the medium or the hard rear slick tyres that they had used on the Friday and the Saturday, as long as they were used with the minimum tyre pressure advised by Michelin for this race.
Despite threatening clouds, the Doctor flew from second place on the starting grid and took fourth going into the first corner. It took him little time to overtake Marc Marquez and teammate Lorenzo to chase down leader Andrea Dovizioso. The scrap between the three front runners had the fans on the edge of their seats for several laps until Dovizioso lost touch, turning the fight at the front into the duel all racing fans had hoped for; a head-to-head battle between Rossi and Marquez.
The pair swapped positions multiple times until it was time to swap bikes. They came in simultaneously at the end of lap 10 with nothing between them as they entered pit lane. Rossi jumped to his second bike without any problems and was eager to continue the fight for first, but more drama was on its way.
When the Italian rider re-entered the track he was held up by Tito Rabat, who had yet to do his compulsory stop. Rossi had his work cut out for him as the slight disruption created an over four-second gap and he struggled to get used to his second bike. With five laps to go he was joined by Maverick Viñales, Andrea Iannone and Dovizioso, but the Doctor wasn’t going to give up his second place that easily. Making his Yamaha YZR-M1 as wide as he could, he held off Viñales, who was unable to keep up and crashed in turn one with three laps to go. Still being chased by Dovizioso and Iannone, Rossi defended his podium position tooth and nail. However, he was unable to fend off the attacks and was lying in fourth place when his rivals collided in the final corner of the last lap, allowing him to cross the line in second place, +7.679s from the front.
Teammate Lorenzo had a lightning fast start from third position as the lights went out and grabbed the holeshot, but fell back to seventh place as he took time to get heat into his tyres. With sixteen laps to go he decided it was time to put the hammer down, but his attempt to claw his way back to the front of the field ended with a crash in turn one a lap later when he was caught out by the tricky conditions and was unable to continue the race.
Rossi’s 20-point score increases his points total to 33 in the championship standings and enabled him to climb up to second place. Despite not taking home any points, Lorenzo still holds fourth position after two rounds with 25 points.
It has been a very tense day as the race format was changed this morning following a meeting with Michelin and Race Direction. The team did a great job prepping both Vale and Jorge for these challenging race conditions. Due to the rain yesterday the track conditions were unpredictable, and the compulsory pit stop, like we saw before in the 2014 race at Phillip Island, made the strategy a gamble. Vale was very strong for the first part of the race. Unfortunately his pace on the second bike didn’t quite match that level, because he didn’t get the same feeling from it. Under such challenging conditions his experience made the difference; he rode a solid race from the beginning and he never gave up, till the very last corner. The second place is fully deserved. It was a pity that Jorge wasn’t feeling very confident at the start of the race and got caught out by the tricky conditions when he hit a wet patch in turn one. Luckily he walked away unhurt and I’m sure he'll be back on form again at the upcoming race at Circuit Of The Americas next week.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider
I was very happy to do the second part of the race because I was able to have a good battle with Marquez during the first part when I was strong and we started to overtake, but with the second bike I had big problems with the rear tyre, I didn’t have any feeling and couldn’t stop under braking. The conditions were very difficult after the rain last night and we were back where we were on Friday when we were struggling quite a lot with our bike, so these 20 points are very important and I’m very happy for me, Yamaha and all the team because it’s the first podium of the season, it’s a good result. I was pushing and very close to the limit. Iannone overtook me a bit too aggressively and in that braking point his action was too strong and it was impossible to overtake so I went wide and he passed me. I said to myself: “Now what happens?” I tried to counterattack, but I didn’t have enough grip or speed to make a move, so I stayed behind him and when I saw that Iannone tried to improve his position and go under Dovizioso, he unfortunately couldn’t stop and took out also Dovi, so I was very lucky to arrive in second place.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Rider
It was a weekend to forget. We had problems during the practice sessions and finally we got a first row in qualifying and a good start, but with these conditions and wet patches in some corners I wasn’t comfortable. I think it was my fault. As a rider I didn’t feel comfortable enough to stay in the first group and I saw them risking so much. I made a mistake in the first corner, which was more complicated, it was the corner with more wet patches and I went in a little bit too wide on this particular lap and just lost the front and couldn’t continue. This is racing; sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You have to accept it and think positive, just forget this race and think about the future.
BRADL AND BAUTISTA RIDE BOTH THE APRILIA RS-GP MACHINES TO FINISH IN THE POINTS IN THE ARGENTINA GP
WITH A SEVENTH PLACE FINISH STEFAN TAKES THE BEST PLACEMENT YET FOR THE RS-GP. TENTH PLACE FOR ALVARO
ALBESIANO: "A WEEKEND FULL OF ENCOURAGING SIGNS"
At the end of an extremely tight race full of unknowns - from the weather to the tyres, the Aprilia RS-GP machines take home their best placement yet and, even more importantly, they continue improving, confirming excellent reliability for such a young project.
On a day marked by extreme conditions that took several bikes out of the race, the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini interpreted the race to perfection. In the first part of the race, before the pit stop, Alvaro Bautista's pace increased lap by lap, allowing him to make up positions until arriving eleventh. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding with another rider on the first corner, in the lap when he was due to re-enter pit lane, caused him to crash and forced him to ride a comeback race. The compulsory stop was also not particularly fortunate for Bautista, who slipped in front of the garage on the damp cement. Back on the track, the number 19 bike set up a shrewd second half of the race on a treacherous track, finishing tenth.
Stefan Bradl rode an incredible race. After a less than perfect start, the German rider then demonstrated great focus. After determining the difficult track conditions, Stefan maintained a constant pace until the bike change, timed perfectly, managing to overtake a couple of riders at the same time. Once back on the track, Bradl decided to maintain his position without taking any pointless risks, in any case (and thanks to a few DNFs) achieving an excellent seventh place finish which is the best result yet for the Aprilia RS-GP.
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"This was a weekend full of encouraging signs for us. In terms of performance, the first part of Alvaro's race was decidedly positive. Then the crash on the track and the incident during the bike change obviously compromised his race a bit. Stefan's placement is the result of excellent race management. In conditions like the ones we had today it's easy to make mistakes. Besides the result, the thing that comforts me is the improvement we've demonstrated this weekend. We are under no illusions, but we know that we can improve even more".
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"The result is a pleasant surprise, but we were consistently fast. Stefan had a great result and without the two accidents Alvaro would have been able to improve his position. Today we gathered a lot of data and identified many areas where we can improve. It's a shame about what happened to Alvaro during the bike change. In any case, we'll need to discuss it with the organisation. Being in too big a hurry is detrimental to safety".
“This was a very long and difficult day, with the schedule changed several times throughout the morning and then the decision to make the compulsory pit stop. In the first part of the race I really felt good. I got off the line well and I was battling for tenth place. Just in the lap when I was supposed to make the pit stop, on the first turn I almost made contact with another rider and I couldn't avoid crashing. The bike was still running so I restarted straight away. Then in pit lane I was braking and went from the asphalt to the damp cement and there was nothing I could do to keep from hitting the mechanic that was waiting to take my bike. I checked to see how he was quickly and then got back in the saddle. At that point I set my sights on finishing the race and the track was really treacherous. It's a shame because before the crash I was battling with Laverty, so I could have made a play for fourth place. Let's just say that, all things considered, it was another positive result for me and for Aprilia”.
“This is a fantastic result for Aprilia, for the team and for me. The first race with the 2016 RS-GP wasn't particularly lucky but today we redeemed ourselves. In these difficult circumstances we did an excellent job. Even the strategy of stopping straight away to change bikes proved to be the right way to go. We gained a few positions during the pit stop and I was able to be fast straight away with the second bike. In any case, it wasn't easy to stay on the track. There were damp spots everywhere. I risked going down a couple of times so I decided to slow my pace in order not to crash. Also, the rear tyre on my second bike wasn't giving me the same feeling, so I couldn't push any harder. My compliments to Aprilia and the guys on my team. It was truly an incredible race”.
GP of Argentina: Dovizioso and Iannone crash out from second and third place two corners from the chequered flag at Termas de Río Hondo
The Ducati Team riders threw away a certain double podium finish in the GP of Argentina, held today at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit. Dovizioso and Iannone were in second and third place on the final lap, but an attack by the rider from Vasto on his team-mate two corners before the finishing line caused both of them to crash out. Dovizioso was able to push his bike across the line and was classified in thirteenth position.
The race was held in dry conditions, with a particular flag-to-flag format that included a mandatory bike change between laps 9 and 11.
Dovizioso, who powered away well at the lights, led for the opening two laps, and then stayed in the leading positions until coming into the pits to change his bike on lap 10. On returning to the track, the man from Forlì was then involved in a terrific scrap with Rossi, Viñales and Iannone and he was able to move into second place on the 19th and penultimate lap, before the incident that deprived him of a well-deserved runner-up slot.
Iannone, after not a particularly brilliant start, managed to move up to fourth place and was fighting in the group together with Dovizioso and Viñales. After returning to the pit-lane to change bikes on lap 9, he then continued his recovery and reached third place by lap 18. On the final lap Iannone made a passing move on his team-mate, but the bike slid away from beneath him, accidently causing Dovizioso to go down.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 13th
“I am very disappointed because we did a great race despite it being a complicated weekend for everyone. In qualifying we went well, in the race I was running up front and in my opinion the strategy was a good one. I even changed bikes at the right moment, staying out a lap extra and making up a few seconds. In the last few laps we were in a bit of difficulty, but we managed to catch Valentino, and I tried to close all the doors during the final lap. In the penultimate corner however what everyone could see happened and I missed out on a certain second place. Looking at things positively, we were also quick here in Argentina and, if I had managed to finish the race, now we would be second in the championship just one point behind Marquez.”
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – DNF
“Even though I didn’t manage to get a good start, I was doing a good race: for sure I could have been quicker in the early stages, but when I changed bikes I started again at a better pace than the riders ahead of me, and I managed to pass Rossi two or three times, until Andrea passed us again on the last lap. When I arrived at the penultimate corner, I lost the front and brought down Dovizioso in the crash. Unfortunately that’s the way it went and I am really sorry for my team, for Andrea and for everyone in Ducati because for sure a podium today with both Ducati Team riders would have been an exceptional result.”
VIÑALES ON PODIUM-PACE IN ARGENTINA MotoGP™
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 3.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Maverick Viñales proved himself as one of the main protagonists of the 2016 MotoGP™ Championship season today at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.
The young Spaniard rode a brilliant and spirited race, fighting consistently early in fourth and then in third position until three laps from the end, when the only mistake he made turned into a crash that prevented him from a potential podium position.
But his improvements throughout the beginning of the season have been solid and positive; today, fighting with the top riders is a further gain in terms of experience and also a reflection of the quality of the Team SUZUKI ECSTAR MotoGP™ project.
The race today was characterised by a flag-to-flag procedure, declared dry at the start with riders obligated to change their bikes between laps 9 and 11, for safety reasons. This procedure was conducted positively by Viñales, who didn’t lose any positions and got back on the track for the second leg with renewed motivation to keep with the leading group.
Team-mate Aleix Espargaró also showed a similar strong and spirited ride aboard his GSX-RR after falling early on, but he remounting to fight back through the pack to an eventual 11th position. Espargaró went a little wide in a corner and hit a damp spot, which caused a slide and his machine reported some damages, which made his riding tougher. At the bike-changeover he exited the pit positively, but could not find back the needed feeling and also because of some pain in his arm following the crash. His experience came through, however, and he rode the second part of the race with the objective of getting to the chequered flag and gaining points in the championship.
Today’s procedure was different than usual: Following overnight rain at Termas de Rio Hondo, Race Direction changed the plans. The additional free practice session that was expected for 9:00am was cancelled as the track was wet and therefore it would have been impossible to pursue its purpose to allow the teams and riders to try the newly-introduced tyres. Riders took to the track for the usual warm-up session, and, as the track was wet, it was extended to 30 minutes instead of the normal 20. This gave the riders time to test the rain tyres and some more time for team technicians to try and find a good set-up.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager:
“This weekend has been very difficult as the track’s conditions were very hard and changed many times. Furthermore, today the weather mixed-up things, finally forcing us to adapt to several decisions of the race commission. Finally the 10+10 laps was a strange situation but we got positive results; Aleix unfortunately crashed in first part of the race but he didn’t give up and finally ended the race getting into the points. It’s a good proof of his strength. Despite the crash, Maverick could fight within the leaders until three laps from the end and his performance was really at the top. We were unlucky but we could see the podium, this is the evidence that we can fight for the podium; and hopefully next time we will get the podium and also the victory.”
“I’m both very sad and very happy. Of course I’m sad with the final result, but I must be very, very proud of what we did. For the whole race I could fight at the top and also I felt I had the pace to overtake for the second place. After the bad warm-up, the race was going very well and it’s a pity I couldn’t finalise it. Unfortunately I hit a wet spot, going just a very little wider than the ideal line, and I paid the biggest price. It’s hard to accept the crash when you feel so good and feel you can really get onto the podium, but at the same time this is the proof that we have made a huge progress and we are now ready to fight for the top. My objective continues to be the realistic –top-six - but this weekend is the proof we can expect some highlights and for sure I will take any chances that will happen to me. We’re getting more and more experience, this will pay back in the short term and I’m confident that Austin will already be a good chance to fight again at the top.”
“It’s a real pity about the crash, I managed to make a very good start and my confidence was good, but unfortunately I went a little wider in a corner and hit a wet spot, therefore sliding away. Unfortunately in the crash my machine reported some damages, which made it very hard for me to get to the bike-change. In the strangeness of this race, the flag-to-flag procedure gave me the chance to get a fully-functioning machine and I could get back into the fight. Unfortunately, my feeling with the front tyre of bike number two was not as good as with my first bike, and I also started to feel pain from the crash, therefore I settled to a pace that allowed me to get to the finish and into the points. It’s a pity for the result but it’s good for the progresses we’ve made; since Qatar we found a renewed competitiveness and now we can look positively to the future. Austin will be in only one week and I hope after here we will make another step forward just like we did after Qatar.”
Eugene Laverty completes his best MotoGP performance with fourth place
Sunday, 03 April 2016 21:40
Irishman finishes as top independent rider in Argentina after team-mate Yonny Hernández crashes
The usual uncertainty and anticipation ahead of a MotoGP race was exacerbated in Argentina by the presence of rain this morning and problems with tyres, which made for a shortened race that would feature an obligatory bike change between the ninth and eleventh laps. The recent dominance of Marc Márquez on Argentinean soil was threatened only by Valentino Rossi, and even then only for the first half of the race, when the switch of machinery proved to be the Spaniard's chance to escape. From that point on the Italian was left to fight for the podium with Viñales, Iannone and Dovizioso until a crash from the Spaniard and then a collision between the two Italian team-mates in the final corner left Rossi clear to take second ahead of a distant Pedrosa in third.
Close behind in fourth place came Aspar Team rider Eugene Laverty, who produced by far his best performance as a MotoGP rider in the second race of his second season. An incident between Héctor Barberá and Pol Espargaró on the final lap gave the Irishman the opportunity to snatch a welcome fourth place as he crossed the line not only as the top independent rider but also the top Ducati. Laverty started the race from seventeenth on the grid but gradually made his way up to thirteenth before taking the first opportunity to switch bikes. After that he continued his charge at one of his favourite circuits, clinching a deserved fourth place at the flag. His Colombian team-mate Yonny Hernández came from the back of the grid to lap twelfth until his progress was curtailed by a crash.
4th Eugene Laverty: “That last lap was something a bit special! I think I started it in eighth position and finished it in fourth, it was an incredible race, a race of two parts because we obviously had to come in to change bikes. The track was a little better on the second exit but I realised that I had to make up all my time in corner entry because I had no rear grip compared to the other riders, so I pushed the front tyre and was able to keep a good rhythm. After the preseason we had, I can't ask for more than thirteen points in the second race of the season. Last year I managed nine points over the whole championship so to get thirteen in one race is great recompense for myself and for the team, who kept faith in me and let me work my way back in testing. We were off the pace after so many big knocks and it took me a while to regain my confidence but I feel we are back where we should be now and I want to thank the whole team for their efforts.”
Yonny Hernández (DNF): “I got a good start but crashed on the third lap, it was the same crash as Lorenzo in turn one. Seeing what happened in the race we could have finished high up. We will continue working hard and from now on turn our attention to Austin. Hopefully luck will be on our side there.”
Top 10 for Rabat in dramatic Argentina battle
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Tito Rabat scored his first MotoGP World Championship top 10 at the conclusion of a dramatic two-part race at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina this afternoon.
The race was cut from 25 to 20 laps and turned into a flag-to-flag encounter, with riders given a three-lap window between laps nine and 11 to complete a mandatory pit stop to switch machinery in response to tyre endurance concerns.
Rabat brilliantly kept his composure in an incident-packed race to finish in ninth place after just failing to overcome Bradley Smith in a close battle on the final lap. The Spaniard spent much of the second half of the race dicing with Smith and Cal Crutchlow, and he is looking forward to putting the experience gained into good use at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin next weekend.
Australian Jack Miller produced a scintillating surge from 15th on the grid in the early stages to thrill a crowd of just over 50,000 fans with his all-action and aggressive riding style.
Miller swept by reigning World Champion Jorge Lorenzo into sixth place on lap three, but while pushing hard to make a break from the Spaniard he crashed unhurt a lap later at turn three. Miller’s disappointing result aside, the 21-year-old demonstrated in South America that he is capable of mixing it with the elite top group in MotoGP.
Tito Rabat: 9th
“It has been a very complicated weekend with the changing weather and track conditions and I think it was very positive outcome for us. In every session we improved the bike and I have gained experience of riding a MotoGP bike in the wet for the first time and the two-part race also gave me the opportunity to understand the flag-to-flag scenario. It was good in the race to make a lap behind Marquez to see how he is riding and where he is strong. In the last laps I really learned a lot when I was with Crutchlow and Smith and it gave me a great chance to understand where I can improve. It is more gaining more experience with my riding technique, so hopefully I can build on this first top 10 in Austin next weekend. Finally I want to say a big thanks to my team. They are giving me great support and we are making progress, which is the most important thing."
Jack Miller: DNF
“I felt really good in the race and the track was in decent condition despite all the earlier rain. I felt comfortable and was pushing hard to try and make a break from Lorenzo when I lost the front in turn three. It didn’t quite work out this time and it is disappointing but there are plenty of positives to take from this weekend. We move on and try to show our potential in Austin.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“On one side we are happy to see Tito inside the top 10 for the first time in his MotoGP career but it was real pity that Jack crashed out while he was looking really strong inside the top six. It was great to see him fighting with Lorenzo and he was trying to make a gap and push and sometimes a crash can happen when you are pushing so hard. Overall Jack has shown big potential this weekend and he definitely has the pace to establish himself in the top 10. Tito did a great job as well because we saw how tricky the conditions were and it was his first experience of a flag-to-flag situation. He coped well and his first top 10 will give him a lot of confidence for the future.”
A technical problem stops Scott's awesome race. Pirro ends up 12° following a bad mistake
At Termas de Rio Hondo, in Argentina, Scott Redding has been protagonist of a superlative race until, five laps from the end, he had to surrender to a technical problem that forced him to stop.
Michele Pirro finished 12th gaining four points in the world rankings but also with disappointment of having made a decisive mistake back on track following flag to flag on lap 10.
This is the story of the second round of 2016 MotoGp season for Octo Yakhnich Pramac team which tomorrow will leave to Austin, in the United States, where the next weekend will be held the third GP of the calendar at the Circuit of the Americas.
The race of Termas de Rio Hondo was marked by many crashes but also by the spectacular return of Scott Redding who after having lost some position to avoid being involved in the clash between Crutchlow and Espargaro, found himself in 17th position. From that moment Scott began lapping with great consistency, recording very interesting lap-times, in line with the leading group.
Before the flag to flag on lap 10, Redding was able to make up ten places and get in wake of Pedrosa thanks to a series of fast laps around 1'41.4. After passing the official Honda on lap 12, Scott seemed able to handle what would be a great result, especially in light of the successive crashes of Vinales, Iannone and Dovizioso. But a technical problem has betrayed him.
Michele Pirro’s race was good from the start and sow Ducati test rider overtaking Laverty (fourth under the checkered flag) on lap 7. But after the flag to flag made almost simultaneously with his teammate, at Turn 2 Pirro made a mistake going off the track. He managed to get back on track but the gap to the front riders was too great to conquer some positions more.
DNF - Scott Redding
It was a good race even though at the beginning I made a mistake that drove me away from the leading group. Then things went well, even the flag to flag was quick. I was going well, I felt I could take Pedrosa and I did it. Then I lost power a few laps from the end. A shame. Maybe if I haven’t committed that mistake at the beginning I could stay with the guys in front but I must say that the feeling was really ok. In Qatar we struggled a lot, here things went well, especially in terms of power. I admit that I also had some problems in qualifying in Argentina and this is an aspect I want to improve in Usa.
12th - Michele Pirro
I am very sorry for the mistake I made after the flag to flag. I apologize to the team because the bike was going really well. I arrived at turn 2 and I was wrong, maybe due to the cold tires, or the brakes. I went straight, the bike slipped. I managed to get back on track but lost so much time. I picked up the pace and I was going on Pedrosa times but I was too far away. I was going well and there were the conditions to do well but in the end only the result counts.
Resolute Espargaro speeds to 6th in Argentina GP
MONSTER YAMAHA TECH3·MONDAY, 4 APRIL 2016
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Pol Espargaro rode a competitive race in front of approximately 51,000 fans today in Argentina to clinch a strong result in round 2 of the 2016 World Championship. The Grand Prix, which was shortened to 20 laps in order to ensure the safety of all riders, included a mandatory bike change at the midpoint and it turned out to be an eventful race for Espargaro. The 25 year old Spaniard leapt into action from 10th and closed the first lap in his grid position but quickly set into his pace and started his campaign. By lap six he moved up one place before pitting at half distance. Once he re-joined the track, he carried on his climb up through the field and fought with Hector Barbera as the race progressed. Espargaro moved clear, yet on the final lap, after a hard battle he ran off the track and ended the fight in 6th.
On the other side of the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team pit box, Bradley Smith persevered in the challenging Grand Prix and met the chequered flag two places behind his teammate. The Briton started from the fourth row, yet he was unlucky to run wide on the opening lap, to avoid contact with another rider, which caused him to drop to the back of the field. Nevertheless, he mounted his recovery charge and by lap eight he had overtaken six riders, before pitting half way through the event. Once back on the track, he maintained his rhythm and claimed 11thwith a quarter of distance left to run. Smith continued his climb before powering across the line in 8th. This result marks his 26th consistent point scoring result, plus puts him in 6th in the longest successive point finishers in the premier-class.
Pol Espargaro - Position: 6th - Championship: 6th - Points: 19
"The race today has been very difficult and in all honesty, I'm quite disappointed. Fighting with Barbera and Laverty is definitely not where we want to be, but at the moment we are unable to stay close to the Ducati riders. We are slower on the straight and we can't brake late enough into the corners because of the front tyre. In addition, in the last lap Barbera broke incredibly late in turn 5 so to avoid a contact with him I had to run off track and as a result Laverty passed both of us. This is a real pity, because even if our race wasn’t great, we could still have scored an important result and finish as first independent bike. Yet, like this we leave Argentina with just a sixth position. Therefore we have to work a lot in the following days in order to be more competitive in Austin next weekend. However, the result isn't too bad for the championship, so we have to take today's finish as a damage limitation."
Bradley Smith - Position: 8th - Championship: 9th - Points: 16
"It was a very challenging race, but to score points is satisfying and the 8th position gives me more determination to finish in a better place next time. Today was tricky with the flag to flag and also with the conditions after the rain made things difficult this morning. Plus, there was a lot of dirt on the track and still some wet patches, so it goes without saying that it was tricky. When the Grand Prix started, I was a bit unlucky in the first corner and then again in turn three where I lost numerous positions because I wasn’t able to put myself in the right place. As a team, we made a big mistake because we chose a setting which we had never tried before and it really didn’t work. It was the same on both bikes and I really struggled to get any kind of feeling. I just kept telling myself that I only needed to get to the chequered flag, regardless of the position. Fortunately for us that meant 8th place which is the same as in Qatar, so we can’t be too disappointed. Still, there is a bittersweet taste in my mouth as the first satellite bike finished in fourth position and I’m sure that we could have done much better especially in these conditions. Yet, we finished and now we can go to Texas with a lot of useful information from what was a challenging weekend here and I’m sure there we will be able to put the Yamaha back to where it needs to be.”
Hervé Poncharal - Team manager:
“Regarding the Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team, we have to be happy because we had to cope with a lot of difficult matters such as the weather, the dirty track and with this being the first time for the tyre manufacturers at this track. Even though we may have gained a few positions due to other riders failing to finish, we have to be proud of what Pol and Bradley did. Their results give us third position in the team championship which is fantastic. They tried hard from the word go and managed to bring some solid points home. It was a bit of a pity for Pol because he was holding fourth until the final lap, and there Barbera was a bit aggressive with him and they both ran wide which cost us two positions. The team did a great job as bike one and two were close to each other in terms of performance and finally, the guys managed to reach the chequered flag with two top finishes which is a good achievement in such tricky race conditions. So now we can leave here with a positive frame of mind. Next we head to Austin where we will be aiming for another double top eight finish and hopefully we can claim the first independent team position back which is what we should have got here.”
MISFORTUNE STRIKES CRUTCHLOW AFTER STUNNING RECOVERY IN ARGENTINA
Cal Crutchlow was unfortunate to crash out of eighth place in the Grand Prix of Argentina, after having already made a miraculous recovery from an earlier tumble when he hit a damp patch on the Termas de Rio Hondo track.
The LCR Honda Team had seen their British rider make up several positions following a tricky bunch start to the race, which had been shortened to 20 laps due to a decision taken by Michelin that a mandatory pit-stop was to be made mid-race to ensure rider safety.
Having picked up from his turn one slide, Crutchlow went on to set a pace similar to the leaders in the second half of the race, and made it as high as eighth heading onto the last lap. However, as he touched a white line at turn three his chance of recovering a solid points-scoring finish were dashed.
Cal and the LCR Honda Team will hope for better luck as they move straight to Austin in Texas for the Grand Prix of the Americas, where practice begins on Friday.
#35 Cal Crutchlow - DNF
“Obviously I’m very disappointed for the team today. I tried my best, and after a bad start I made up some places. Then into turn one I got blinded by Lorenzo, hit a wet area and went to the floor. I remounted and got up to a good pace and made up some ground to the riders in front before the bike change.”
“After the mandatory pit-stop I pushed all the way to the finish despite some problems with the front tyre. I felt I rode well and managed to get back with the kind of pace that could have potentially been a podium today. However, I hit a white line on the last lap after passing Bradley Smith for eighth, and went down again.”
“It is disappointing of course, but we can take some positives from the race in that we are able to be competitive and we just need to learn to manage the situation.”
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “Unfortunately in our sport we have bad Sundays like today. We were really unlucky and we have to look ahead. Cal is a fast rider and if we look at the timesheets, after his first crash he was lapping faster than Dani (Pedrosa) who finished third today.”
“This means that we are competitive enough to stay with the top group. I honestly think that we have the potential to regularly finish in the top five, six or even better, so we will keep working hard to support Cal.”
Fantastic fifth place for Barbera in Argentina, bad luck for Baz
The Avintia Racing rider, Hector Barbera, finished in fifth position in a dramatic flag to flag race with a mandatory safety stop to change bikes after the tyre problems experienced by Scott Redding on Saturday free practice. Barbera did a great start from the eighth place of the grid and was in the leading group from the beginning of the race, and after changing bikes in the ninth lap, he was fighting until the last lap with Pol Espargaro. In the final lap they overtook each other many times, and after some riders crashes, Barbera won the battle to his fellow countryman to see the chequered flag in fifth place. A great result after a difficult weekend with flu and fever attacks.
Barbera’s happiness contrasted with the disappointment of Loris Baz. After a great start from the fifth row, the Avintia Racing French rider was ahead of his teammate when they stopped to change bikes, but a rear tyre problem that produced some vibration and a lack of grip, forced him to stop. Big shame for Baz who had the pace to fight with Barbera for the top five.
The MotoGP World Championship heads now to the United States for the third round of the year at the Circuit of the Americas, in Austin, Texas, the next weekend.
“I’m very happy because overall, this was a really strange weekend, but finally the hard work gave us a price. This morning I felt really good on the wet during the warm up, but then the race was held in the worst conditions for me, with the asphalt half wet, half dry. Under these conditions I always feel tense and when I was on the grid I knew the race was going to be hard. Jarno, my crew chief asked me to try, because it had no sense to be on the back, I did it and it worked. I immediately realized that I was fast and I was gaining confidence lap by lap. In the first half of the race I was battling with my teammate Loris, and then with Pol. On the last lap we overtook each other several times and we went long in one corner. Laverty came into the battle and he took the fourth place in the last corner. But overall, and after a difficult weekend, this fifth place is a great result.”
“I’m disappointed and very frustrated, because were doing a good race today and fighting to be the best private bike inside the top 10 in the first part of the race. Before changing bikes I was seventh, but then nothing was working. I almost crashed in every corner during the first two laps and I don’t really know what happened. But it had no sense to continue like this, so I went back to the garage. It is the second time in my life that I retire in a race, but I could not ride the bike in this conditions. When I watch the race I get more angry, because today we had the chance to finish fourth. The only positive is that we race in Texas next weekend.”
MARQUEZ TAKES HIS FIRST MICHELIN VICTORY AFTER A DRAMATIC RACE-DAY IN ARGENTINA
2016 02 GP Argentina 01157
Michelin’s MotoGP™ debut at the demanding Termas de Rio Hondo circuit was marked with an impressive win by Honda’s Marc Marquez after an eventful day at the Argentinian track.
Following yesterday’s incident with Scott Redding’s rear tyre and the subsequent decision to withdraw both rear tyres from this weekend’s proceedings, heavy overnight rain meant the riders couldn’t test the extra tyre so a further decision between Michelin, Dorna and IRTA was taken to make the race a two stage event on safety grounds. The riders were allowed to use the tyres that they had tested all weekend, but a mandatory rule was made that they had to pit after nine, ten or eleven laps and change to another bike with the same spec tyres. The distance was also reduced to 20-laps to accommodate the extra safety measures.
The race started under heavy cloud, but the track had dried out sufficiently to allow for some competitive and exciting racing. Pole-setter Marquez got a good start, before Jorge Lorenzo hit the front on his Yamaha. He was then passed on the first-lap by Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, a position he held until lap-three when Marquez took over at the front. As the first part of the race progressed Marquez and the Yamaha-mounted Valentino Rossi got involved in an interesting battle that saw the pair regularly change places. At the end of lap-10 Marquez and Rossi came into the pits to change their bikes, with the Spaniard taking the upper-hand with a quick change, enabling him to get out in front of Rossi and create a gap.
As the race continued Marquez stretched his lead, while Rossi got involved in a four rider battle with Dovizioso and his Ducati team-mate Andrea Iannone, along with Suzuki’s Maverick Viñales. With all four vying for positions it looked to be going right to the last lap, before Viñales crashed out on a damp-patch on lap-18, leaving three Italians to battle for the remaining podium places. This looked like being the case, right up until the final corner when Iannone tried a last-minute manoeuvre on his team-mate and the pair crashed, leaving Rossi to come home in second, with Honda’s Dani Pedrosa profiting from the crash to take third. Eugene Laverty on a satellite Ducati took fourth and the honour of First Independent Team Rider, with another Ducati, this time belonging to Hector Barbera in fifth. Pol Espargaro on a Yamaha was sixth, Stefan Bradl seventh on an Aprilia and Bradley Smith riding a Yamaha in eighth. Tito Rabat on a Honda took ninth, whilst the second Aprilia, ridden this time by Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top-ten. The result leaves Marquez at the top of the World Championship Classification, with Rossi in second and Pedrosa third.
Michelin now heads immediately to North America where round three of the MotoGP World Championship will take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on Sunday 10th April.
Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda:
“This weekend was a special one for the tyres and I completely understand what happened. For every manufacturer it is difficult to understand every new circuit, especially one with a difficult surface. We had some troubles with the tyres, plus the rain this morning, so it made everything more difficult. I think Michelin did a big effort and they chose the right decision to make two races in one, because safety is a big point. I believe in Michelin because they are working really hard and making a big effort, and I totally understand what they are doing and that they are working hard to give us the best quality.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“I would first like to thank Dorna, IRTA and all the teams for the understanding and assistance in what has been a very challenging couple of days for us. The decision we took with Race Control with the introduction last night of the extra tyre was the right one for rider safety and the change to the schedule to accommodate another practice session was also the best solution. Unfortunately the weather intervened and we had to make further alternative plans. As always the rider’s safety is our paramount concern and we wanted to do everything in our power to make sure that this afternoon’s race went ahead without any incidents. As it happened we were treated to a very exciting race.”
Piero Taramasso – Manager of the Two-Wheel Motorsport Group:
“This has been a very difficult weekend for us, but it is all part of the learning process. We have to take all the information and the positives from what was eventually a good race and move forward. We now head to Austin, which is again another completely new track, but we are ready for the task ahead and we will be doing all we can to ensure a safe and competitive race for all.”