These just in:
Marquez continues flawless start to 2014 leading home second successive Repsol Honda 1-2
2013 World Champion Marc Marquez has enjoyed another fantastic race weekend taking victory from pole position. He has become the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2001 to win the opening three premier class races of the season, and all from pole - a feat not matched since Giacomo Agostini back in 1971
Teammate Dani Pedrosa capped the amazing weekend for the Repsol Honda team with his second place finish at the Red Bull Argentina GP, and has now finished on the podium at the last seven MotoGP races - his longest sequence of successive podium finishes since 2012. He now moves ahead of Alex Barros, into third place, on the top ten list of all-time point scorers in the premier class. (1st Rossi - 3884, 2nd Doohan - 2298, 3rd Pedrosa - 2092, 4th Barros - 2079).
It was a difficult start for Marc and Dani, who were 1st and 2nd on the grid respectively, slipping to 2nd and 5th by turn one. The early stages of the 25 lap race were filled with drama as riders passed and ran wide and Marc dropped back to 6th with Dani 7th by lap three. As the race began to find its rhythm, so did Marc and Dani, and they started to move through the traffic. By lap five Marc was up to 2nd behind Lorenzo but Dani was still amongst the pack. However, he overtook four riders and by lap nine was up to 3rd behind Lorenzo and Marc.
Marc was content to sit behind Lorenzo for thirteen laps but finally made a move on lap seventeen passing him comfortably and opening up a two second gap in just three laps. Dani then began to close the gap on Lorenzo. He set the fastest lap of the race (1'39.233) on lap twenty two and then on the penultimate lap he passed Lorenzo to claim second place for the Repsol Honda Team.
Marc has extended his lead in the Rider Championship to 75 points, with Dani on 56. Honda lead the Constructors Championship by 28 points and also the Team Championship by 68. The team must now pack up and fly directly to Andalucia, Spain for the GP of Jerez next week.
1st - Championship Standing: 1st - 75 points
"I am happy with how the weekend went in general and I'd like to thank all my team! I think it was a nice race for the fans, with plenty of passes and I wasn't expecting it to be like that. As the race went on and I saw what the gap was to Jorge Lorenzo and I tried to catch up with him quickly and spend a few laps on his tail. When I saw that Dani was getting closer, I tried to overtake in order to maintain more of a gap. I took 25 more points today which are very important and I've put together three wins in a row, but we are aware that the season is very long and we are now heading to Jerez where Dani and Jorge are very fast. We will need to be up there with them, fighting for the win!"
2nd - Championship Standing: 2nd - 56 points
"I enjoyed the race but after losing some time at the start it affected me and I found myself alone again. In the final part of the race I had a good pace and was able to recover places, but it didn't count for much. I took second place, but with the pace that we had we could have pushed for the win. You always have to learn and maybe I saved my tyres too much when I was riding as part of the group. Fortunately we found a good setup that allowed us to be more competitive, and this is positive"
MotoGP Race Report - 27/04/2014
Lorenzo Returns to Form with Argentina Podium Fight
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider Jorge Lorenzo made a stunning return to form today, taking third in the Gran Premio de la República Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Starting from second on the grid, Lorenzo catapulted from the line to take the hole shot into turn one, leading the MotoGP pack into the first ever MotoGP race at the circuit.
Teammate Valentino Rossi jumped two places to fourth as the story of the first laps began. What happened next was a flurry of activity with Jorge dropping initially to third with a wide corner and Rossi climbing to second. The positions were not to last as the Yamaha riders shuffled again, Lorenzo climbing back to retake the lead and Rossi dropping initially to fourth before passing Andrea Iannone for third.
With 22 laps to go a brief state of grace saw the Yamaha riders running in first and second. The moment was not to last as Rossi ran wide, dropping to seventh and giving himself a challenge to fight back up the rankings and chase down Sefan Bradl, Dani Pedrosa and Iannone in front.
Rossi began to move forward and showed a fast enough pace to have kept with the ultimate race winner. Unfortunately a mistake by Stefan Bradl under braking pushed him wide whilst running in fourth, costing valuable time and any chance of a podium. He was able to retain fourth, crossing the line less than five seconds from first place.
Lorenzo was meanwhile leading the race, back to his old self and holding off championship leader Marc Marquez for as long as possible. It wasn't until just nine laps remaining that Marquez was able to take the lead, passing on turn five to move up. Lorenzo then did everything possible to hold second but was forced to concede and settle for third on the final lap as Pedrosa was able to pass.
The third place finish moves Lorenzo up to seventh in the standings on 22 points whilst Rossi retains his third position with 41 points.
Bradley Smith, who started from 7th on the grid but slightly dropped back to 9th in the opening laps at the 4,806 meter circuit, regained his composure and proceeded to recover the lost ground fantastically well, with his excellent race pace shining through once again. On lap six, the British rider overtook his teammate to clinch 8th position before firmly setting his sights on the position in front. Smith made an incredible charge to close the gap to the Factory Ducati rider of Andrea Dovizioso, gaining valuable time every single lap and gracefully passing him. As the fuel load decreased on his Yamaha YZR-M1, his speed boosted and the 23 year old set his personal best and fifth quickest lap of the race at the final stages, on lap 20. Todays result sees Smith confident of a top result at round 4 in Jerez as the MotoGP paddock returns to Europe next week.
Rookie Pol Espargaro rode a notable race to collect his second top eight finish in succession at the fast flowing Argentinian Grand Prix. After having ran competitively during the free practice sessions, the Spanish rider qualified in 11th position, but rocketed up to 8th aboard his Yamaha YZR-M1 on the first lap. The reigning Moto2 World Champion then set a rapid pace and battled with teammate Bradley Smith for the first part of the race. Later on, he caught Factory Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso, passing him on lap 19. The 22 year old Catalan eventually completed the race in a confidence boosting 8th position, with high hopes for the next round at Jerez in his home countrys Grand Prix, after gaining more valuable experience.
Aleix Espargaro couldnt take advantage from starting from the second row on the grid. The Spaniard was 10th when he crashed out at Turn 2 on the second lap. Fortunately he was able to pick his bike up and rejoin the race. From that moment Espargaro made a very good race recovering from the 21st to the 15th position. Despite this result, Aleix remains the first open in the Championship ahead of Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama.
It was a very demanding race also for team mate Colin Edwards, who started 14th position on the grid. Colin struggled a lot in the 25-lap long race, losing several positions and finally closed 20th.
The MotoGP paddock will move directly to Spain now for the first European round of the season at Jerez next weekend.
3rd, +3.201 seconds
Im really happy, this is probably the most sweet third place in my career in MotoGP, arriving after two difficult races. We have demonstrated that even in not our best shape we can fight with the Hondas and arrive in a proud third position. We want to improve; I want to improve my physical condition still and also the bike and when the moment arrives I think we will be ready to win races. We have to keep improving and have patience and wait for our moment.
I had the potential and the pace to end on the podium and especially to fight with the three guys in front. Unfortunately in the first laps first of all I made a mistake and lost a bit but the place I lost some more was when Bradl made a mistake. He arrived too deep in braking and he pushed me out of the track and I lost two seconds on that lap and so the podium.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
It has been a positive race. Considering where we started from on Friday we have done a superb job. At the same time, it is a shame that we lost second place on the last lap and that Vales rhythm during the race couldn't be capitalized on at the end to have both riders on the podium. Vale had difficulty stopping his bike in the beginning because of a combination of the hard front and very hot front brake temperatures. This podium gives Jorge back his confidence and now we are going back to Europe to familiar ground with no unexpected surprises to start our practice with on Friday. This race is a great addition to the GP calendar and we look forward to coming back next year with this weekends experience.
It was a tough challenge today, but overall I am pleased to once again finish with a decent position. Unfortunately, my start was not ideal and the race was actually a similar scenario to Austin. My pace at the end was exactly where it needed to be, as I started to do low 1:40 laps, but as usual I struggled during the first half of the race when the bike is on a full fuel load. It happens on different race tracks, with various setups and on all types of tyre, so it seems that I have to find a way to adapt better. I just cant ride with the same corner speed and Im not as smooth as I am at the end of the race. But we already have some ideas and will work on it in Jerez as I know I am there in terms of performance. Altogether the team and I are doing a really good job, but we just need to find that missing piece for Jerez, where we can hopefully make amends and can challenge as the leading satellite MotoGP bike which is the main aim at the moment.
Of course, it was not a bad race at all, but 8th position is not what Im aiming for. Especially because I had a really good feeling and a positive rhythm this morning in warm up. However, for some reason I didnt feel the same at the beginning of the race, possibly because of the full fuel tank so it was a bit harder to manoeuvre the bike around the high speed corners. As a result, the start and the opening laps were difficult for me and after just a few rounds I was already alone. Later on I tried to stay with Bradley, but he was getting stronger and I did not feel too confident with my rear tyre, so I decided not to push any harder and risk crashing out. The positive we can take from today is that we have been getting stronger towards the end of the race, and closing in on the riders in front. It is still a big learning process, but we have to be patient, taking it race by race and continue working. Luckily in just a few days of time I will already be back on the bike, trying to fight with the other satellite bikes and aiming for a better result.
Im very disappointed with todays crash. I need to improve my feeling with the bike at the beginning of the race when the tank is full. I struggle a lot in the first laps, as the front tends to close. Today I crashed without realizing it. Its a pity because we did a great job in the practices and I had the pace to fight for the first five positions. I look forward to Jerez, where I want to get a good result.
It was not an easy race. I cannot ride this bike as I want, Im not comfortable and I cannot push. Yesterday I had found a good set up but today I struggled a lot. We need to keep on working, analysing the data and test new solutions. Id like to thank my team for the hard work.
Aspar Drive M7 Honda
AOYAMA BEST OPEN CLASS RIDER FOR FIRST TIME THIS SEASON, ROUNDING OUT TOP TEN
Japanese rider wins out after attractive duel with Nicky Hayden, placing tenth to his teammate's eleventh
The MotoGP Grand Prix of Argentina was a highly entertaining race, with the most exciting moments coming right at the start, during the opening four laps. Jorge Lorenzo surprised many onlookers by taking charge of the race and gaining an advantage of a second on the first trio of laps, whilst Valentino Rossi, Stefan Bradl, Andrea Iannone and Andrea Dovizioso all looked to find their best spot in the pack with constant overtaking. Several riders crashed on the initial laps to further mix things up. The natural order of things resumed by the midway point, as the weekend's fastest man, Marc Márquez, hunted down Lorenzo down seven laps in and followed him until Lap 16. He then passed his rival and set two hot laps to open a gap. Márquez won the race by 1.8 seconds from Dani Pedrosa, who also got past Lorenzo. It was an all-Spanish podium at Termas de Río Hondo.
The DRIVE M7 Aspar riders also contributed to the excitement of the GP of Argentina, waging a fierce battle almost to the chequered flag. The reward at stake was the honour of being the top Open class rider for the first time in 2014, and the two teammates were not going to back down. In spite of having troubles finding his pace at the start, Nicky Hayden was the first rider to approach the top ten spots, moving up from fourteenth position to pass Redding, Abraham and Hernandez. His teammate, Hiroshi Aoyama, was sixteenth after the first lap and also was forced to fight back. With four laps to go, the battle between the DRIVE M7 Aspar riders, Abraham and Hernandez intensified. It looked as if Hayden would be taking tenth spot after establishing a small advantage, but Aoyama reeled him back in and passed on the penultimate corner. It was the Japanese rider's first Open class top spot of the campaign so far.
10th Hiroshi Aoyama: "The race was tough. At this new circuit we had many doubts about the durability of the tyres, but I'm very happy to have concluded the race as the best Open class rider. In the last third of the race my tyres were almost on the limit, but I guess this was similar for everyone. I had fun, coming from behind at the end of the race I had some good battles with Hernandez and Nicky and we swapped places several times on the closing laps. I'm glad I was able to place ahead of them and take tenth position. Earlier this year everything was new to me, but I've grown since I joined the DRIVE M7 Aspar team and I think that the result today is the reward for all our hard work. I'm excited, I hope to continue like this next weekend when we go to Europe. I want to thank the team and the sponsors for all of their efforts to make results like today's possible."
11th Nicky Hayden: "I really enjoyed riding today. In the race I would have liked to have taken a better result and beaten my teammate after an interesting fight. At the start of the race I did not had a good feeling with the front end. The track conditions had been improving throughout the weekend and so we worked to find rear grip. However, with the improving condition of the asphalt, having so much rear grip made the bike push onto the front end. I guess I am not the only one that this happened to, either. At first I struggled to pick up the pace and move up the field, because I couldn't brake well. As the laps went by I started to feel more comfortable and I managed to overtake people. On the last lap Hiro closed the gap and he was better on the back straight section. I went a little wide and he got past me. It would have been great to finish as the top Open rider, but Hiro deserved it. I will have to be more attentive next time. Nevertheless I am satisfied and I think we did a very good job this weekend; things have gone well."
Argentina GP: a difficult race for Dovizioso and Pirro at Termas de Rio Hondo.
The third round of the 2014 MotoGP season in Argentina was a tough one for Ducati Team riders Andrea Dovizioso and Michele Pirro, who concluded the third GP of the season at the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit respectively in ninth and seventeenth place.
At the start of the race Dovizioso was immediately in amongst the battle for the leading positions, and he crossed the line on lap 2 in second place, but then problems with his front tyre meant that he was overtaken by his rivals over the next few laps.
Pirro on the other hand was never able to find the right feeling with his Desmosedici GP14 during the weekend and struggled throughout the 25 laps of the Argentinean race.
After the first three GPs of the season, Dovizioso however is still in fourth place in the overall standings on 34 points.
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) - 9th
"It was a very tough race, to be honest I didn't think it would go like that. I was a bit unlucky because I also had a problem with the engine, when oil came out and led to a loss of some power. I also think I made the wrong choice of front tyre because I was unable to brake and put pressure on the front wheel, neither under braking nor in the curve, and turn-in was slow as well. The race sort of went a bit wrong for me today, and it just confirms that we still have to improve a lot to be able to stay with the others."
Michele Pirro (Ducati Team #51) - 17th
"It was a disappointing result, after I had finally managed to find a good feeling with the bike during the warm-up. In the race unfortunately I made several mistakes and lost contact with the group that went from tenth to fifteenth place. It's a pity, because my lap times towards the end were very close to theirs. Now I hope to make a big step forward at Jerez next week."
Luigi Dall'Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)
"After the result in qualifying, we had hoped for something better in the race. Unfortunately Dovizioso, after fighting with the leading group in the early laps, had a problem with his front tyre which forced him onto the defensive. We gained some consolation however from the excellent performance by Andrea Iannone who, on the team Pramac Desmosedici, ran a fast and tenacious race, demonstrating that the GP14's competitive level has improved. We know we've still got a lot of work ahead of us, but we are confident and optimistic about the next few races."
BRADL ENDS IN 5th PLACE THE ARGENTINA GRAND PRIX
Termas de Rio Hondo, 27 April: the inaugural round at the renovated Termas de Rio Hondo circuit was followed by 53.000 excited fans that celebrated Marquez third consecutive victory. LCR racer Stefan Bradl, who was consistently fast throughout the weekend despite yesterday's tumble in the Q2, took a very good start from the 9th spot playing an important role in the first part of the 25-lap race battling with the front guys. Towards the end the German was not very confident with the front and managed to finish in 5th position scoring further points in the final standing. Bradl is currently 6th with 24 points.
Stefan: "Considering yesterday's crash in qualifying and the 9th position on the grid, I think we can be very happy with this result. I knew that we needed a good start from the third row and I made it. The first lap was a bit "crazy" but after that I think I played my role in the battle for the front group. We have been strong on braking and we could fight with the other guys and I had a lot of fun. In the final part of the race I could not match the speed of the front guys because I had some issues with the front so I preferred to remain calm to finish my race in a safe and good position".
Scott slowed by front grip issues in Argentina
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina - 27 April 2014: Scott Redding brought his Honda RCV1000R home in 14th place, after struggling with a lack of front grip at Termas de Rio Hondo today.
The 21-year-old Briton had high expectations for today's race, after a strong qualifying performance yesterday, but had to ride for the points after struggling for front grip from the start, especially under braking.
Scott will return to action in just five day's time, during free practice for the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
Scott Redding // 14th
"It was a difficult race today. I started to struggle a little with front grip during morning warm up, but the problem was worse in the race. It made braking into the turns difficult and I was running wide a lot, which meant overtaking was impossible. This issue basically spoiled the whole race for me, as I lost around half a second from my pace in warm up, so I'm obviously disappointed. I wasn't feeling great either. I started to come down with cold symptoms last night and, today, the energy levels were definitely down. It's annoying, because we thought we had a good chance in the race."