After an exciting season-opener in Qatar, MotoGP prepares for Round 2 at familiar grounds of Termas de Rio in Argentina. The Argentine round is one of the longest races in the championship at over 120 kilometers across 25 laps. Characterized by multiple long straights, demanding left-hand corners and often-unpredictable weather, the race has produced five different premier class winners in six years.
Reigning Champion Marc Marquez is eager to sought his revenge after a close-shave battle with Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who won the first race. Marquez has a brilliant record at Termas with two wins previously, the only premier class rider to win there more than once. “We started well in Qatar and fought until the end for victory. The goal is of course to do the same in Argentina and take as many points as possible. Time between the two races has been good, I was able to return training with a motocross bike and I feel confident for this race.”
Team mate Jorge Lorenzo had a first race to forget, but he vows to come back strong in Argentina. The multiple Champion will continue to learn and adapt to the RC213V machine. After a physically punishing weekend, where it was later revealed he had sustained a fissure to one of his ribs, Lorenzo and the team are aiming for a smooth weekend.
Following a good weekend in Qatar, Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci, who finished 1st and 6th , hope to continue their consistent results in Argentina. Dovizioso rode with all his might and experience to fend off Marquez for the win. He feels that the bike has a superb straight line speed, but needs improvement on the corners. “We need to improve our corner speed. This year there are plenty of quick riders and it’ll be crucial not to lose too many points on less favorable tracks.”
Petrucci on his full factory squad stint is confident to support his championship leading team mate. He aims to finish in the top five, given the bike’s praise-worthy performance.
Factory Yamaha MotoGP riders Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales need to answer their rivals in a hurry, otherwise it’d be a long and arduous season for the proud MotoGP squad. Rossi was just 0.6s off the victory at the opening round, despite starting from fourteenth. He showed great potential of this year’s YZR-M1.
In Argentina, Rossi is big with the South American fans. The nine-time champion hopes to not disappoint his fans there and aims for a podium finish, like he did in 2015 with a win. In 2016 and 2017, he took scored second on both occasion.
Though he didn’t end the first race of the season as high as he would have liked, Viñales took the positives from the first weekend in Losail and is motivated to show his speed again at Termas. Vinales had a win in Argentina two years ago, but he struggled here last year in a slightly chaotic and challenging race, but he still took home solid points, securing fifth position. This year he wants to feel competitive again, so he can duplicate the 2017 result.
The action in Argentina starts a bit later than usual, from Malaysian time.As always, practice, practice/qualifying 1, qualifying 2 and raceday.