These just in:
Reigning MotoGP World Champion in strong form on first outing at Termas de Rio Hondo, ending opening day over a second quicker than second-placed Dani Pedrosa.
The official debut of the Termas Rio Hondo track in the MotoGP World Championship featured another dominant performance from the Repsol Honda Team. Marc Marquez led the way, with Dani Pedrosa close behind. The series leader concluded the opening day of free practice with the fastest time, more than a second quicker than Pedrosa in a demonstration of the rapid adaptation of the Spanish stars to the Argentine track.
Hindered by an extremely dirty asphalt which quickly wore down tyres in the opening session, Marquez and Pedrosa ended the initial runout fourteenth and sixteenth, respectively. In the second session Marquez improved by almost 6 seconds and Pedrosa 5, leading to them placing first and second with respective times of 1'39.313 and 1'40.396.
Using data gathered by the Repsol Honda technicians today, the pair will work in two further free practice sessions tomorrow to prepare for qualifying and for Sunday's race.
Marc Marquez 1st
"It was a fun day, it is always interesting to learn all the different corners and their secrets at a new track and the practice sessions go by more quickly. Maybe the day was affected by the first session, in which we sacrificed putting in a fast lap in order to keep the same tyre on during the entire session. That was to enable us to keep more tyres for the remainder of the weekend. This afternoon we were able to have a more normal practice session and the track had improved a lot. The tyre durability also seemed much greater than before, and I think that it will continue improving as the weekend goes on. I am happy with how this first day went and with the base that we have. We shall continue working in the same way, as we are aware that tomorrow's times will be much closer."
Overall this was a good first day, because we were able to try out the track in dry conditions. The asphalt was very dirty this morning and the tyres were getting destroyed immediately so we weren't able to make much progress. In the afternoon the asphalt was better and we had an opportunity to put in some laps, testing things out with the bike and with the track. We were able to ride more consistently and gather data that will allow us to improve again tomorrow."
Argentine Adventure Begins
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 25th April 2014
The inaugural Grand Prix of Argentina got underway today as the MotoGP paddock took its first official practice sessions on the Termas de Río Hondo Circuit.
Yet again tyre wear proved to be the biggest challenge of the day as both Movistar Yamaha MotoGP riders experienced issues with the rear tyre on the new circuit.
Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man in the first ever session in the morning, leading FP1 by nearly half a second with a fastest time of 1'42.804. Teammate Valentino Rossi was slower to find his pace on the track, ending the morning session in tenth with a 1'44.502.
The afternoon saw big improvements from both, nine-time champion Rossi making the biggest step to finish in eighth with a fastest time of 1'41.395. Double MotoGP champion Lorenzo was just behind him in ninth with a 1'41.533.
The team will now work to improve the set up for both to overcome the rear tyre wear issues that proved to be the major issue of the day.
8th / 1'41.395 / 31 laps
"A difficult day here in Argentina at the new track. The conditions are not fantastic and we are struggling very much with the tyres, especially the rear. In the afternoon it became a bit better and we worked well with the bike but we still haven't found the right balance so we have to work to make it better. We have to concentrate on making the tyre work harder as after a few laps the rear slides a lot. We hope the conditions of the track improve but we will also work to improve the setting of the bike for tomorrow."
9th / 1'41.533 / 25 laps
"We are having problems with the tyres because there is a lot of graining and the tyres only have a good performance for six or seven laps. In the morning I was the last one to put a tyre in so I had a better grip at the end of the practice, that's why I was first. In the afternoon I was the opposite: I stayed with the old tyre at the end of the session when everyone had a new one; that's why our position was not so good. I think our real position is in the top five today. If we can make the tyres last we will have an advantage."
"We started well this morning and both Jorge and Vale were clearly comfortable learning their way around a new circuit. As the pace began to drop in the afternoon we were able to identify where we need to improve, so we now have some work to do with the data gathered to start to close the gap to the front. In particular the tyres are potentially an issue so we will work to adapt our set up to deal with this. I'm confident we can make some steps tomorrow to improve our pace."
Dovizioso 5th, Pirro 18th for Ducati Team on opening day of practice for Argentine GP
The first two free practice sessions were held today at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, a new circuit for almost all the MotoGP riders. After the two 45 minute sessions, Andrea Dovizioso set fifth quickest time, while his team-mate Michele Pirro, standing in for the injured Cal Crutchlow in this race, for the moment has been unable to go any higher than eighteenth place.
Dovizioso was particularly impressive in the afternoon session, immediately setting a good time on his third lap with a hard tyre, but his Desmosedici GP14 then had an engine problem on the following lap and he was forced to come back to the pits to finish the session on his second machine. Now on a soft tyre, Andrea put in an excellent time of 1m41.042s on the fifth lap, but was unable to complete more than 11 laps in total throughout the session and he finished in fifth place. Dovi however said he was optimistic regarding the rest of the weekend.
Michele Pirro, who stepped onto Crutchlow's bike this morning, has not yet been able to establish a good feeling with his GP14, and he finished the day in eighteenth place. The Italian rider is convinced that he will be able to improve his position tomorrow.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 5th (1m41.042s)
"It was a bit of a lively session for me. We didn't have the opportunity to do many laps because of my Desmosedici's engine problem, and on a new track you always need to do so. Despite this I managed to be fast here, and I think I've been able to interpret this track pretty well. For sure the times will drop tomorrow, but we all have a big problem with tyre wear and at the moment it's difficult to do 25 laps at the right pace. I hope the track conditions improve tomorrow. I set my time on a soft tyre, because when I was using the hard tyre I had a problem with the engine and had to change bikes."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) - 18th (1m42.898s)
"It was a bit of a difficult session, but we managed to get some good indications for tomorrow. Today I didn't use the soft tyre because I needed to improve my feeling with the bike. I am confident because the GP14 is going well: I'm just missing a bit of rhythm but tomorrow I'm sure I can move up the timesheets. Cal's bike has a slightly different set-up to the one I normally use in the tests: the track however is new for everyone and it's me who has to adapt to the bike. Tomorrow in any case I count on being closer to the other Ducatis."
In general, I am happy with the first day of practice here in Argentina, especially as I finished as the leading Yamaha. The circuit is as nice as it seemed to be and it was not different from my expectations, with my favourite part being the last corner. It feels like riding Supermotard back at Colins Ranch, its just amazing! The main point of today was to learn the circuit, and to establish a base setup which we achieved, and I feel confident with. I am still not sure on the choice of tyre, but tomorrow I will ride on both varieties in order to decide which one to use when the track surface will be cleaner. We will continue to look at modifying the setup in tomorrows session, as we need to improve the race pace a bit more. However, I'm confident that we are in a good position to qualify well and fight for a strong result on race day.
Today was positive for me, and my impressions of the new circuit here in Argentina were good - its different to the other tracks we visit, which makes it more entertaining to ride.The layout is really nice, it is technical with long, fast and blind corners. My favourite part is probably T4 where you have to change direction quickly, and also the last corner. Actually, my pace in this sector was also strong, but I have to improve the first one where I was losing time and we will work to develop this area tonight. Another aspect where we still have some margin to refine is the front setup of the bike, but the feelings are positive especially because I have been competitive straight away this morning.
Im happy to be back on track after Austin, where we had several issues with the rear tyre. Im satisfied with todays result, I was able to ride as I wanted and show the potential of the bike. During the FP1 I had an engine problem, but the team did a great job and I could ride again with the first bike in the FP2. Its only the first day and it was important to learn the new track. We will keep on working, aiming at repeating the strong performance we had in Qatar.
All in all it was a good day, even if I struggled a bit with the tyres this morning. In the FP2 we changed some electronic setting and the feeling improved. Im sure that we can make another step forward tomorrow. Im learning the new track and I look forward to get a good result.
DEBUT in Termas De Rio Hondo
First day ever of testing on the Argentine track of Temas De Rio Hondo round of MotoGO. The riders of the Pramac Racing team entered the track from the first second of the session to take advantage of all the time available on the new track in Termas. The track was particularly in lack of grip due to the presence of dirt and sand on the asphalt causing the rear tire to spin a lot in acceleration, this sliding abnormal determined a sudden degradation of the tire. Tomorrow the track conditions should gradually improve with more rubber on the racing line.
Andrea Iannone - Pramac Racing - during the FP1 takes on the track trying to find the best racing lines of this completely new circuit, he ended the first free practice session in fourth position with a good overall feeling. In the second free practice session Andrea and the team worked to find the solution to the problem of the deterioration of the rear tire, unfortunately the work was slowed down by a crash on the fifth lap caused by a technical problem. Back on track The twenty-four year old ends the day with the tenth lap time 1'41 "924 improving it by almost two seconds from the morning session.
Yonny Hernandez - Energy T.I. Pramac Racing - started well the first session of testing on the new track of Termas, lap by lap he gained more feeling being able to improve constantly. The practice session ends with the Colombian in twelfth position. During FP2 Yonny and the team carry on with the work of memorization of the track. As in the previous session he closes the session again in twelfth position but with an improvement of more than two seconds than the FP1, putting down his best lap time in 1'42 "128
Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing)
"This morning we were fast from the start, I could had a lot of confidence with the track despite the lack of grip. I'm sorry that in the second free practice session after a few laps we had a technical problem and I had a bad crash, because in that point of the track we go very fast. I have a bit of a headache but for the crash I had I could have gotten hurt much more. I thank the team and the ducats for support. "
Yonny Hernandez (Energy T.I. Pramac Racing)
"I am happy with the way I took on the two practice sessions today, I managed to improve little by little. I feel that the setting of the bike is almost ready, we need to work on some small details for qualifying practice. The track is very slippery but I can handle the bike and stay on the racing line. tomorrow I will do my best to finish qualifying with a good result. "