Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Michelin after the race in Termas De Rio Hondo:
MOVISTAR YAMAHA TRIUMPHS IN TERMAS RÍO HONDO
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi stormed to their second consecutive double podium of the season in round two of the MotoGP World Championship at the Termas Río Hondo Circuit.
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 9th April 2017
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team gave an astounding performance in today‘s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, securing an immaculate 1-2 finish. Maverick Viñales was in a league of his own in the 25-lap sprint, as he flew from sixth on the grid to first place. Valentino Rossi was a man with a plan for his 350th Grand Prix start and was in hot pursuit, to ultimately secure a brilliant second place.
Viñales stormed off the line from the second row and soon muscled his way to third place, putting pressure on Cal Crutchlow in second. He attacked in turn 7 on lap 3 and soon after took over the lead as Marc Marquez crashed out of the race.
Now at the front, with a clear track as far as the eye could see, the Spaniard put his head down and pulled away from the field. He was completely in his element and rode a faultless race, steadily increasing the gap to the pursuing riders. The 22-year-old crossed the line with a healthy 2.915s lead, securing his second consecutive victory on the Yamaha with ease.
This amazing achievement not only makes Viñales the first Yamaha rider since Wayne Rainey in 1990 to win the first two races of the season, but it also brings Yamaha‘s Grand Prix win tally up to 499 victories in total.
Rossi had a brilliant start from seventh, entering the first corner side by side with Viñales to exit it in sixth place. He soon flew past Dani Pedrosa and Karel Abraham with the intention to stick to the rear wheel of his teammate. With Marquez out of the race on lap 4, the Italian moved up to third and felt the lure of a second place.
With sixteen laps to go he dipped under the 1‘40s mark and closed right up to Crutchlow. As the riders behind them got involved in a scrap and were unable to match the pace of the three riders at the front, the Doctor had a comfortable margin of close to 5 seconds, allowing him to focus on the battle to come. The nine-time World Champion sized up the Brit carefully, choosing the best place and time to make a move.
With seven laps remaining, Rossi made a pass in turn 5 and made it stick. He followed it up with a couple of low 1‘40s laps to inch away from Crutchlow, making it a perfect Yamaha 1-2, the first since the Grand Prix of Le Mans in 2016, when he took the chequered flag 2.915s behind his teammate.
Today‘s dream results see Viñales hold the lead in the championship standings with 50 points, closely followed by Rossi in second position with 36 points. Yamaha remains in the lead in the Constructors‘ Championship with a maximum of 50 points, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team lead the way in the Team Championship with 86 points, 59 points ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech3 in second place.
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action in two weeks' time at the Circuit Of The Americas in Austin, Texas, in the United States.
I love Argentina more and more…! Today the team can be really proud of the show they put on. Maverick delivered again! He gave an incredible performance, from the start all the way to the end and was in complete control of the race. Looking at the timesheet, you understand that he managed the race in a perfect way, never giving his rivals the chance to close the gap. Valentino really brought things around this afternoon. He had another strong ride, from further back on the grid, and showed he can always ride over the difficulties on race day. It hasn‘t been an easy weekend for him, but he always worked hard to find solutions and his efforts speak for themselves when you see today‘s results. We have capitalised on our major competitors' misfortunes with this amazing 1-2 podium. It was another demonstration of power by Maverick; a great end to Valentino‘s 350th Grand Prix start and this 1-2 finish also brings Yamaha its 499th victory. We are already looking forward to the next round in Austin!
41'45.060 / 25 LAPS
We did a great job. We made the tyre decision already this morning. I feel really great! The tyre‘s grip level was really good the entire time. I feel pretty strong and Michelin is doing a great job, I feel really happy and confident. It‘s like we are in a dream. I have to say thanks to the team, they are doing a great job, so let‘s continue like that!
+2.915 / 25 LAPS
My mechanic, Brent, said to me on the grid “It‘s the 350th, try to make it a good race”. I‘m happy, because I was competitive today from the first to the last lap. I felt better physically and I trained hard so I felt good on the bike and I could push throughout the whole race. I feel that my concentration is good and also the battle with Cal was good also, because I was able to beat him. Unfortunately, Maverick was a bit faster, but this result is really important for me and the whole team, a Yamaha 1-2 is great! I don‘t think the results would have been different if I‘d passed Cal earlier in the race. Looking at the lap times, Maverick was a bit stronger and that‘s just the way it is today. This track is always tricky, also in the past we saw a lot of problems. Bumps and slipperiness and it also rained yesterday, so you have to pay attention and you also have to be lucky. For us this is good, because we took some important points for the championship and I also felt really good with the bike today.
Historic day for KTM in MotoGP: Espargaro & Smith score first points with RC16, plus Oliveira on the podium in Moto2
RACE 2nd Rd. MotoGP 2017 – Termas de Río Hondo (ARG)
Red Bull KTM MotoGP Factory Racing Team on Sunday celebrated earning their first-ever premier-class points at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina in only their second appearance of their debut season. Pol Espargaro (ESP) finished in 14th place on the KTM RC16 and teammate Bradley Smith (GBR) 15th both of which was an improvement on the opening round in Qatar. Red Bull KTM Ajo, which are also debuting in Moto2 this season also celebrated a first ever podium in the class when Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira took a thrilling second place. Philipp Oettl (GER) was the fastest KTM rider in Moto3, finishing in fourth place.
The new KTM factory team was able to take a number of positives away from the weekend in Argentina. Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith started at 18th and 19th on the grid and they both completed the 25-lap race safely. They also improved on their results in the opening round in Qatar on a circuit that was new for the team and the KTM RC16 MotoGP bike. Both the factory riders and the team manager agreed that while there is still a long way to go in the long development journey, steps had been taken in the right direction.
Espargaro: “What is the most important for the guys and the whole team is that this is the first time in history that KTM has taken points in MotoGP. We must be happy. But on the other side, I think we had the opportunity to do a little more. We are missing some speed in the straight to overtake the two guys I was fighting with, (Hector) Barbera and Tito (Rabat). It was a shame because I felt faster and we were faster today. We could have been in front of them at the end of the race, but it was impossible to do it. We still have some weak points, but on the other side, I congratulate the guys, they are doing a good job. We are making steps, for sure we are still far away but we are starting to see the light.”
Smith: “Today was a great day for us as a team because we scored our first points with both riders. We made a good step forward from Qatar because there we weren’t able to fight with the group ahead of us. Here we could both stay with Barbera and Tito for most of the race, so we improved by another 3-4 seconds. I was really pleased with my race. All weekend I was struggling to do one minute 41 (lap times) but then in the race they were all mid to low 41s so I was happy with that. Of course we need to continue to improve but right now we have to be happy with what we are doing race-by-race. The next one in Austin (USA) is going to be tough for us. We have no data or information, there are 22 corners and it’s quite a technical layout so it’s going to be difficult.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “Everybody should take all these positive things from what has happened here, and I think the company especially should be motivated because we clearly see that there is a future. If we do the correct things, we will have more interesting races where we can fight with the other manufacturers and riders. This is what was super positive about today because for the first time Pol was directly fighting with other riders. He could see the strong and the weak points of the bike even better and the lap times were acceptable. This was a brand new track for us, and we have to be realistic. A lot of tracks we go to now will be new for us. We can only take the positives with us and try to learn, and to improve. Then next year when we come back to these places we will have already reached another level in our package.”
Marquez crashes out of the lead in Argentina, Pedrosa from fourth
The Repsol Honda Team suffered a double DNF today in the Argentine GP, which saw seven different riders crash of the race. Pole-sitter Marc Marquez fell in turn 2 on the fourth lap while leading by two seconds over fellow Honda rider Cal Crutchlow, who finished in a positive third position. At the time of his crash, Marquez was pushing hard to try and pull a gap on the chasing group.
Dani Pedrosa overtook Johan Zarco and Danilo Petrucci for fourth place and was increasing his pace (recording the second-fastest lap of the race on lap 13, in 1’39.740”), when he too went down in turn 2, on lap 14.
Fortunately, both riders escaped unharmed and are looking forward to the next round in Austin (Texas, USA) in two weeks’ time.
“I was feeling really good on the bike. I was able to ride strong, as we made a great improvement to the setup in the warm-up, which made me feel pretty comfortable on my bike. The crash was unexpected; I must have made a small mistake, and it cost me a lot. Luckily I’m okay, but these kinds of mistakes disappoint me, as everything was going well. Anyway, we must put this behind us and think of the next race in Austin.”
“I got a decent start, but then I lost time in the first part of the race duelling with Petrucci and Zarco. I started pushing hard after I passed him because I was feeling good on the bike and wanted to try and close the gap on the others to fight for the podium, but unfortunately I crashed in the second corner. There are a lot of bumps in that turn, and they create a tricky situation, as the grip is kind of ‘on-off.’ When you’re pushing really hard, the limit becomes quite narrow. Of course it’s a shame about the crash, but on another hand I’m happy I felt good enough to try and chase down the front group. We’ll keep this motivation for the next race in Austin”.
A CRASH RUINS ALEIX ESPARGARÓ'S CHANCES AT A GREAT PLACEMENT
APRILIA CONFIRMS NEW COMPETITIVENESS IN ARGENTINA ONCE AGAIN
Aleix Espargaró rode a great race that confirmed both his feeling on the RS-GP and the new level of competitiveness Aprilia has reached. However, in the race he was unable to reap the fruits of the excellent work done during the weekend. In what looked like a repeat of the Qatar race, with Aleix Espargaró catching up to his rivals in the second part of the race, a sliding crash in the 15th lap took the Spanish rider and his RS-GP out of the running.
The Aprilia Racing Team Gresini rider, who started from the eighth spot on the grid that he had earned yesterday, started well, staying in the group. Settling into eleventh place during the first lap, he set his pace, staying with the riders battling for the positions from fourth through seventh. On turn 5, he found his way past Petrucci and Dovizioso who had gone a bit wide while duelling. When he lost the front end, he went into a slide, colliding with a blameless Dovizioso. The good performance seen during practice and in the race remains, with the RS-GP once again competitive, especially over race distance and capable of battling for important positions in any condition.
The race ended early for Sam Lowes too, forced to retire due to a gear selection problem.
"In the opening laps I was a bit slower than the other riders, but then things began to work right. Just as I was starting to increase my pace and when I had gotten close to the group, I saw Dovi off the line and I moved in. Unfortunately, I had to brake hard and I lost the front. I am really sorry for the team and for Andrea, who was unwillingly involved in my crash. It's a pity because in the second part of the race we could have done well. Now we will head to Austin to confirm our progress."
"At the start I lost a few meters, but I was catching up. I managed to lap with a good pace and I was about to reach the zone where they were battling for points. I had a problem with gear selection and I had to go into pit lane, but this was a good weekend for me. In Qatar I had not had the chance to work a lot on the 2017 bike before the race, in any case finding a good setup base. Here we changed a few details and in the race I felt at ease. Our bike is very competitive at the end of the race, so I know that I would have been able to make up a few positions."
ROMANO ALBESIANO - APRILIA RACING MANAGER
"This weekend substantially confirmed the level of our bike, with Aleix doing an outstanding job in practice. In the race things were going just like in Qatar. I don't think it is an exaggeration to consider a fifth place finish as a result within our reach. Unfortunately, the crash stopped the comeback. We need to work to give Aleix a more incisive bike in the initial laps where it is important to be able to get out of the pack. Our setup will continue to be race distance oriented. Unfortunately, we were unable to reap the fruits of our labours today, but we had some important confirmation in terms of our competitiveness anyway."
FAUSTO GRESINI - TEAM MANAGER
"A bitter-sweet race. We know that we did a great job and that we have a rider in Aleix who is capable of battling with the best. We suffered a bit in the opening laps, but we were catching up. It's a pity about the crash where I think Aleix lost his braking reference, thrown off by Petrucci and Dovizioso running a bit wide. I am sorry that the crash involved Dovi. It was an unfortunate coincidence. We still have a very good technical base. Aprilia Racing and the team are doing a great job. We need to keep going in this direction."
Unfortunate Argentina GP for the Ducati Team as both Lorenzo and Dovizioso crash out and retire at Termas de Río Hondo
Both Ducati Team riders were forced to retire from the Argentina Grand Prix, the second round of the MotoGP World Championship, which was held today at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit.
Jorge Lorenzo, who was lining up on row 6 of the grid, powered away well as the lights changed but he crashed at the first turn after making contact with Iannone and had to retire.
Andrea Dovizioso, who also got away well from the fifth row, crossed the line at the end of lap 1 in ninth place and was then involved in a battling group made up of Bautista, Petrucci, Pedrosa and Zarco until lap 15. The Italian, who at the time was lying in seventh place, was hit by the bike of Aleix Espargarò, who crashed at turn 5 and was also forced to retire.
The next round will be held in two weeks at Austin (Texas) from 21-23 April.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – DNF
“This was a strange race because, even though I actually had very little grip and I was not particularly competitive, I managed to recover well in the early stages and gain some positions. When I got involved in the fight with Danilo, who always brakes on the limit, I tried to find the right moment to pass him, but unfortunately at turn 5 I was hit by Aleix Espargarò’s bike and crashed out. Here in Argentina I don’t have any luck at all, seeing as today I was taken out yet again, and I’m bitterly disappointed because being able to bring home a probably fifth place, in such a difficult weekend, would have been very important.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – DNF
“I had made a great start and managed to pass four or five riders, but coming into the first corner it was all rather chaotic, with a lot of riders trying to overtake each other under braking. I was on the inside and suddenly I found myself coming up on Iannone: unfortunately I touched his rear wheel and crashed out. It was a real pity that I never even managed to get through the first corner of the race, because today I had a good feeling with my bike, but now we have to look ahead and continue to work in a positive way like we are doing already.”
TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR OUT OF THE POINTS IN ARGENTINA
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 9
Andrea Iannone: 16
Alex Rins: NC
The GP of Argentina turned out to be a very tricky one for Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, with both Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins out of the points after the 25 laps of the race. The Italian ended his race in 16th place, while the Spaniard had to give up after 14 laps due to the pain.
The whole race had been a tough one for Iannone: stuck in the pack right after the start, he lost some positions after another rider crashed into him from behind; he managed not to crash his own bike, but lost precious positions. Then he was penalised with a “ride through” for a jump start he did at the beginning. This put him in the difficult position to catch up from the very bottom of the pack and ruined his race. His pace was very positive, close to the top riders, but not enough to close the gap. He finished in 16th place.
Rins ran into trouble and had pain in his right ankle. Jumping from the last place in the grid, he was able to advance his position, moving up to 15th place at the end of first lap and transition into 14th after lap 6, but then unfortunately he incurred in a crash in lap 7 after an overtake. He was able to rejoin the race from the bottom, but this required major exertion on his injured ankle, and he opted to withdraw.
Ken Kawauchi – Technical Manager
“This has been a very difficult weekend for us and the race was a real shame. This morning in the warmup Andrea showed a pretty fast pace, this gave us great hope for a positive result and to finish the first race of the season. Finally after the ride through, his pace was really good. Without the penalty he could probably have reached the top 6, and this is one thing we can consider positive. Alex was very strong riding the whole weekend with his injury, and his riding was also very good in race. He recovered many positions before he had the crash that caused greater pain, and we can’t blame him for the withdrawal. The important thing is that the injury didn't get worse because of the crash and the efforts he made. I feel frustrated with this race. We had some positives moments, but for sure we have to do better in the next GP.”
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“Leaving Argentina without any points is very hard to accept. Alex’ weekend started uphill because of his injury and ended badly because of the slide out of the race. He made great efforts to ride, learn, collect data, and finally try to be competitive in race. We respect this, and I hope he’ll get better results in the next races. With Andrea, we had the problem that he´d been hit by another rider on corner 1, and the jump start that caused the ride through penalization, this really compromised the whole race. We simply have to forget this day and look forward, however, because from this bad we can come away with some positives: we have focused on some areas that can be improved to deliver a better package. Most importantly, I still believe that we can aim for some good points while improving. Probably Austin is not one of the circuits that best suit our machines, but we have to work hard from the very beginning and then get good and ready for the comeback to Europe where we will find more friendly tracks. I think we will be able to get a fresh, new start of this season, forgetting what happened so far and increasing our opportunities.”
“I got a ride through penalization and my feeling is that it was too harsh. In my opinion I didn’t gain any advantage because I just moved a bit but then immediately stopped. On the contrary, I also got hit by another rider at corner 1, causing me to lose many positions. Because of this, my opinion is that the Race Direction could have given another evaluation of the situation, and maybe not dictate such a penalising ride through. Of course this, together with the contact at corner 1, in which I lost many positions, affected my whole race. It’s a shame because my pace after the penalty was good, maybe not enough for the podium, but for sure I could have fought for the top 6. It’s not been a good start of the season for me. We have to change our pace and get a new start. We deserve better results.”
“The truth is that it has been a tough weekend. We knew it would be hard due to the injury, and in fact it hurt me for the whole three days, but we wanted to start the race and in the end, we achieved it. Despite jumping from the very back, I’m pretty happy with myself because I managed to stay cool and make an excellent start. During the race I felt pretty comfortable with the ankle, it didn’t hurt too much, but I felt bad with the braking. After some laps in 15th place, I tried to overtake in the only possible corner - the entrance of corner 13, and managed to get into 14th place, but then I lost control of the front end and crashed. It was not a bad crash but I hit my foot and the pain increased, thus not allowing me to finish the race. Now it’s time to look ahead and go to Austin. I like that circuit very much and I hope to recover a lot with some rest and physiotherapy during these days, in order to arrive in Texas in considerably better condition.
SUPERB CRUTCHLOW CLAIMS PODIUM PLACE IN ARGENTINA
PRESS RELEASE: 09 April 2017 | Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit
LCR Honda rider Cal Crutchlow completed an excellent weekend in South America as he took third place in Sunday’s Argentina Grand Prix. Starting from the front row of the grid, the Briton was always fighting at the head of the field and went on to claim his first podium of the new MotoGP World Championship season as he comfortably finished as the best-placed Honda rider.
A decent start saw Crutchlow settle in second behind early pacesetter Marc Marquez. But the charging Spaniard would crash out on lap four leaving the LCR Honda man to dispute the podium places with the factory Yamahas of Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi. Viñales proved too strong as he pulled clear to make it two wins from two in the premier class, while Rossi eventually prevailed in the battle for second.
But Crutchlow declared himself delighted with his efforts, especially after revealing he was forced to manage his speed for much of the race after seeing a warning light on the dashboard of his RC213V in the early stages.
Cal Crutchlow – 3rd
"It was nice to take a podium place for the LCR Honda team after what happened in Qatar, I’m very happy to take a third place to be honest. I had to manage the race right from the very start as I had a warning light on the dash, but I didn’t panic and when Maverick (Viñales) came past I just decided to follow and see if I could control the situation – which I did".
“Once Vale (Valentino Rossi) came on to me I decided to try and push again, but the light came back on so I had to slow down and try to manage the rest of the race as best I could. Vale came past me as he seemed to have a bit more grip than me, but we know the Honda bike is quite difficult to ride at the moment".
“I think we did a good job to manage things and bring the bike home in a podium position. Qatar was a disaster for me and the team as I felt strong there and believed I could get a good result, but to get a podium in the first two races is good. I’m really pleased for the team.”
Bautista and Abraham complete sensational weekend in Argentina
Sunday, 09 April 2017 21:37
Pull&Bear Aspar riders shine at the second round of the season with Álvaro Bautista taking fourth and Karel Abraham inside the top ten
The MotoGP race in Argentina was attritional in the early stages, with Jorge Lorenzo, Marc Márquez, Dani Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and Aleix Espargaró all crashing out of the fight for the front positions. Maverick Viñales stayed clear of trouble to establish a comfortable lead at the front, leaving Cal Crutchlow and Valentino Rossi to fight for a second place that eventually went the way of the Italian. Behind them Pull&Bear Aspar rider Álvaro Bautista made a late push for the podium but after losing time in a skirmish with Pedrosa, Zarco and Petrucci, the Spaniard had to settle for his preseason prediction of a top five finish with a highly creditable fourth.
It was a repeat of the Pull&Bear Aspar Team's result here last season and capped off a weekend that included a best ever grid position with Karel Abraham (second) and a best ever race finish thanks to Álvaro Bautista (fourth). The Spaniard was only left to rue the valuable seconds he lost at the start of the race, when the lead group escaped, otherwise he could clearly have been fighting with them in the closing laps. Abraham started well from the front row but struggled a little over the opening laps, eventually hanging on for a top ten finish after an intense head-to-head battle with Miller and Baz.
4th Álvaro Bautista: “That was a nice race, a little like at the end of last season when I was starting from the back but making my way through. I lost a little time at the start because everybody was really going at it and I got in a tough group, with a particularly aggressive rider in there, and it was difficult to pass. Once their pace dropped off I was able to overtake them and lap as fast at the guys at the front. I was catching them at the end but I had lost too much ground in the early laps. I feel that I am a rider capable of this kind of result, these are realistic positions for me, and I think we have to continue in this way. I want to thank Pull&Bear Aspar and Ducati for these results and for all their support.”
10th Karel Abraham:“I think it has been a very good weekend for us. I am very happy with the six points, which is incredible, and with our qualifying performance yesterday. It wasn't an easy day after the crash this morning, which meant we had to start with the other bike. I was a little nervous about that, also because I was on the front row. This is beyond my expectations. I knew we weren't going to fight for the podium but this is still a great result. The bike worked really well here so we can leave Argentina feeling very happy and ready for the next one in Austin”.
Rapid Zarco storms to 5th in Argentina – Resolute Folger finishes fight in 6th
The Monster Yamaha Tech3 team riders completed a highly successful round 2 battle today after the rookies produced two notable performances aboard their Yamaha YZR-M1 MotoGP bikes. Johann Zarco leapt forward from 14th on the grid and quickly set a formidable pace as he climbed through the competitive field. The double Moto2 World Champion fought against the vastly experienced competitors before eventually speeding across the finish line in 5th and as the fastest rookie. Whilst, Jonas Folger ended up one position behind his teammate to clinch a top result at the South American event. The young German kicked off his GP from the 4th row of the grid and undertook a solid start to move up to 8th by the close of the first lap. From here, he set a consistent rhythm as he pushed onwards before hunting down and muscling past Danilo Petrucci on the penultimate lap and then meeting the chequered flag in 6th.
Position: 5th - Championship: 11th - Points: 11
"It’s a happy day for me and we can leave Argentina knowing that we did a good job. I began the race from 14th on the grid, but this did not concern me too much because my feeling on the bike was positive and I knew that I could ride well. In the Grand Prix, everything came together and I was able to fight and overtake my opponents. It was also a bit challenging because a lot happened in the group that I was in, but I kept calm and attacked when I could whilst I held my rhythm and position. Half way through the GP, I was fighting for 4th, but in the end, I couldn’t keep up with Bautista’s pace and he had a good race. I did my best and after the crash in Qatar, it was important to meet the chequered flag and get some points, but to end up in the top five is just awesome so I am very pleased with the result."
Postion: 6th - Championship: 6th - Points: 16
"I felt good on the track today and it’s great to finish our second race in the premier class in 6th. Initially, I was a bit worried because I was not feeling too well last night and I had to take some medicine. Anyway, I had a positive start, which is what I wanted to improve after Qatar, and then I was able to complete the first two laps in an encouraging manner. Unfortunately, I made a mistake shortly after which caused me to lose some positions, yet, I was still in 10th and so I focused on building up a good rhythm. I saw that Petrucci was fighting against his bike because he was pushing hard and burning his tyre, so I tried to save my tyre as much as possible for the end. As soon as I closed in, I was confident that I could pass him, which I managed to do. Johann was a little bit faster than me today, and he is my target. Like every Sunday, he is quick and has a really strong pace, so I have to keep working on myself to analyse what I can do to beat him. Nevertheless, we can be very happy with our performance and I can’t wait to get going again in Texas."
"It was a great race by our two rookies and we can leave Argentina feeling positive. We were a bit nervous on the starting grid because the entire weekend was tricky due to the ever changing weather. We didn’t know what to expect, especially after the disappointment of Qatar. Yet, both riders got off to decent starts and then they put their heads down and rode solid rhythms. Johann Zarco did really well and made a lot of aggressive, yet clean passes as he climbed through the field, just like at the start of the Qatar GP. Once again, Johann has proven that he is comfortable on the YZR-M1 and that he intends to fight for top five finishes, hopefully on a regular basis, as well as for the top rookie honours. On the other side of the garage, Jonas Folger also had a very strong race. We were even more worried for him because he had a stomach bug on Saturday night. However, he powered on and brought the bike home in 6th, which enables us to be second in the MotoGP Team Championship, just behind the Factory Yamaha team, and that is a big achievement. I want to congratulate Maverick and Valentino for their results today, but moreover, I must thank the YMC engineers, managed by Mr Tsuji and Mr Tsuya, who have given us a fantastic bike for our rookies to learn and fight with. Tonight we are a very happy team and I want to congratulate our two riders and thank the entire crew who have worked hard in Argentina. We now have a week to rest and then hopefully, we can pick up from where we left at the next round in Texas."
Excellent double Top 10 finish for Octo Pramac Racing in Argentina
Petrux 7th and Scott 8th
At the end of a race full of emotions, Octo Pramac Racing celebrates the precious double Top 10 conquered by Petrux and Scott and looks enthusiastically at the third place (first team Ducati) in the Team ranking of the World MotoGP Championship.
At Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, Danilo Petrucci was protagonist of a spectacular race. Following a difficult start that saw him lose three positions, Petrux reacted immediately regaining fourth place. The battle with Pedrosa in the first 10 laps was fantastic but forced Danilo to push a lot. As a result he had to take a more conservative strategy in the second half of the race. The seventh place under the chequered flag gives anyway great confidence for the next round in USA.
Scott Redding also can rejoice in a very positive result that gives him a fantastic fourth place in the World Championship classification. The British rider, who started from fifteenth position, did well not to make mistakes in the early laps and this enabled him to climb positions also taking advantage of some crashes. In the last four laps Scott was involved in a terrific scrap with Miller and was able to hold onto 8th place until the checkered.
7th – Danilo Petrucci
“It was a good race. I started well and I felt a good feeling. Unfortunately I could not make the most out of my the bike throughout the race. I fought with Pedrosa and Zarco, but after the first half of the race I could not find enough traction. I wanted to finish in the Top 8 and I reached my target. I took some precious points and this is important. I’m already focused on the next race in Austin”.
8th – Scott Redding
“It was difficult. I expected a better performance, especially in the middle part of the race. At the beginning I lacked speed. I could not put the front tire at the right temperature and this didn’t allow me to find the same grip of the warm up. Then things got better. In the last few laps I had to be aggressive and smart to respond to Miller’s attacks and finish eighth. An excellent result”.
Miller and Rabat race into the points in Argentina
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders Jack Miller and Tito Rabat scored a double points finish in today’s second round of the 2017 MotoGP World Championship in Argentina.
Miller claimed his second top ten finish in the opening two races with another calculated ride in the 25-lap race at the Termas de Rio Honda circuit.
Miller’s Spanish teammate Rabat staged a fast finish to win a close four rider battle for 12th place with just 1.6s covering the group that included Hector Barbera, Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith.
After starting 17th on the gird Miller struggled for bike balance with his Honda RC213V with a full tank in the opening laps. But a storming second half of the race saw the Australian finish less than two tenths of a second behind eighth placed Scott Redding.
The result moved Miller to seventh in the points standings and two points ahead of World Champion Marc Márquez, who failed to finish the race.
The next race at COTA in Texas will be the third in the opening sequence of flyaway races.
Jack Miller: 9th
“The race was the best I felt all weekend and finally I was able to put together the speed I knew we had when it meant something. I made a good start and was sitting with a fast group although I wasn’t comfortable with a full fuel tank in the opening laps and made a couple of small mistakes and lost some time. But there were some positives from the weekend and some solid points for the championship. My goal is to be always top ten this season and so far I’m doing that so hopefully we can keep the momentum going at the next race in Texas.”
Tito Rabat: 12th
“Before the race it had been a difficult weekend with rain in qualifying, but I felt good in the race with a strong rhythm and I’m very happy with this result. I had a great fight for 12th with a group of four riders and was able to finish ahead of them. This is good for my confidence and I'm confident that with some more improvements to my riding style and a better set up for acceleration we can get the results we know we're capable of.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"I am very happy for Jack and Tito to be in the points, the same as they did in Qatar and it looks like we can perform stronger on race day than earlier in the weekend. It was a good step forward, both riders were fighting with riders who perhaps have a little more speed than us so it was good for both them to win their battles in the race.”
Baz close to the Top Ten in Argentina, Barberá takes points again
Reale Avintia Racing riders Loris Baz and Hector Barbera did not meet their expectations in the second round of the MotoGP World Championship at Termas de Río Hondo circuit. Loris Baz, who started from ninth place on the grid following a solid performance during free practice and qualifying, lost all his chances of battling for a strong result when Jorge Lorenzo crashed in front of him at the first corner. The 24 year-old French rider was last after the incident, and although he was able to recover and pass many riders, he couldn’t fight as he consumed his front Michelin tyre when he pushed to regain positions. He was close to finish inside the top ten, but still held eleventh place when the chequered flag came down.
For Hector Barbera, the Grand Prix of Argentina was not easy either. He worked with his team all weekend long to find a good base set-up of his bike, but he has never been comfortable riding his Desmosedici. Finishing 13th was a positive result considering his difficulties.
The MotoGP World Championship will head to the Circuit of the Americas in just two weeks, where both Reale Avintia Racing riders will try to come back stronger. The championship has just started and Barbera and Baz know that they are able to perform much better.
Loris Baz | P11
“I’m disappointed because I think that we missed a great opportunity today. I’ve lost all chances when Jorge crashed in front of me and I was forced to run off the track to avoid running over him. I lost too much time and although I gave my best to recover when I caught Miller and Abraham, my front tyre was destroyed, so I couldn’t attack. It is a shame because today I had the pace to be with Folger and Petrucci. But overall the weekend has been quite positive, my team did a superb job and we improved every time I went out. I hope to be lucky in Austin.”
Hector Barbera | P13
“It was a really difficult weekend for me, and I was not able to tame ‘the beast’. We tried all possible settings on the bike; I didn’t get out on the track with the same configuration twice over the whole weekend and now it’s clear that we can’t adapt this bike to my riding style. So it is me who has to adapt to the bike. When I raced with this bike last season, it was already hard for me to get the right feeling and during the winter test I had the same issues again. The first race at Qatar was not a reference as I was recovering from my collarbone injury, but still, the feeling was bad. Here I was back to full fitness and the feeling was the same. In 25 laps I never did a single corner as I would like to. Riding like this is really difficult, because I’m fighting with the bike all the time.”
MICHELIN SEES VIÑALES CONTINUE HIS WINNING STREAK AT AN ABSORBING ARGENTINIAN AFFAIR
Michelin and Maverick Viñales raced to MotoGP™ victory during today’s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina at Termas de Rio Hondo as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider secured his second consecutive victory of the season.
Viñales started from sixth on the grid following yesterday’s wet qualifying session and he settled in to a comfortable position near the front of the pack as reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) got the holeshot from the start. Pole-setter Marquez led the race until lap-four when the Spaniard made a mistake and crashed. Viñales – who had been closing the gap on the leader – inherited first place and held on to this position to the end of the race, setting the fastest lap on the 12th circulation, as he raced to his second victory with his new team – a feat not recorded since Kenny Roberts Jr. did it for Suzuki in 1999, also on Michelin tyres.
Following Viñales home was his team-mate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as he recorded a podium finish in his 350th Grand Prix start. Rossi had been involved in a long battle with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), before getting the better of the Englishman in the closing stages. Crutchlow took third and the honour of First Independent Team Rider. Alvaro Bautista secured fourth on a Ducati and equalled the best-ever result by the Pull&Bear Aspar Team, after it finished fourth here last year. Fifth and sixth went to rookies Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) respectively, whilst team-mates Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding of the OCTO Pramac Racing team filled the seventh and eighth positions. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took ninth, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) rounding out the top-ten.
Today’s race around the 4,806m circuit was watched by 61,223 spectators and held in overcast conditions, which added to the variable weather that has been over Termas all weekend. Warm sun on Friday produced some very impressive times and allowed the riders to try the full selection of MICHELIN Power Slicks, whilst Saturday saw rain fall and again the riders tried the complete range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres – with some very quick lap-times recorded – meaning all 10 types of tyre were put into operation during the weekend. For today’s race the riders chose a mix of medium and hard compound slick tyres, with many different configurations used throughout the field.
Michelin will now travel to North America for the third round of the championship, as MotoGP moves to Austin in Texas and the next instalment of this year’s already fascinating battle on Sunday 23rd April.
Maverick Viñales – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP:
“We did a great job this weekend and worked very well with all the tyres. Especially with Pascal, he is the guy that takes care of us from Michelin. We all worked hard and we knew the decision of the tyre from this morning and I feel really great after this race. The tyre kept a good grip level all the time and I feel very strong on the tyres, because Michelin is doing a good job and I am really happy and confident right now.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We have had a very successful weekend here in Argentina and are pleased with what we have accomplished. On the first day the temperatures were quite high, but all the tyres performed well and we saw some very fast times, which was impressive considering the track was not in the best condition. Then on Saturday the rain fell and again we had very good performances from the wets, including Marc Marquez setting the fastest wet lap here as he took pole position. Today’s race again saw the medium and hard option front and rear tyres used in different pairings by several riders, again demonstrating the choice that is available for all the teams and bikes. Overall we will take a lot of positives away from Termas, this is a difficult circuit and one that we had in our plans for the season to make big steps at and improve our performance. We believe we have done that and now we will come back next year even stronger. It’s off to Austin now and another track where we feel we have unfinished business from 2016, so we are going there with a competitive range of tyres that we know will work at what is again a very demanding circuit.”