These just in:
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!
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!
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
Gran Premio de la República Argentina
MotoGP 2017 Round 2
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”.
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”.
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”.
MICHELIN SEES VIÑALES CONTINUE HIS WINNING STREAK AT AN ABSORBING ARGENTINIAN AFFAIR
2017 02 GP Argentina 00083
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.”