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Jul 4, 2013

Bradl Fastest On First Day Of MotoGP Testing In Argentina, Grand Prix Confirmed Through 2016

Stefan Bradl (6) in action. Photo courtesy of Dorna/MotoGP.com.
This morning saw the first ever outing of MotoGP™ and Moto2™ machines at the newly built 4.8km Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina about 1,100km north east of Buenos Aires, which has been confirmed in the race calendar from 2014 until at least 2016 today.

The announcement that a GP came at the end of the first day of testing from The Minister of Tourism, Enrique Meyer, who was accompanied by Governor of the Province of Santiago del Estero, Gerardo Zamora and Javier Alonso, Dorna's Managing Director Events Area. This is the first time a premier-class race will be held in the country since the last race in 1999 in Buenos Aires.

Just over a handful of riders made the long trip down into the southern hemisphere to not only get a taster for the circuit themselves, but also gather vital data for the race, get an idea of bike set-up, and very importantly test tyre suitability. Bridgestone expects the circuit to be the harshest event of the year on tyres, and has brought a variety of symmetric and asymmetric slicks to test.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl ended the day as the fastest rider with a time just over the 1.44 mark, after initial times had been in the 1.57s in the early part of the day. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista left it late to go second, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera is the sole CRT representative on his FTR Kawasaki, with the Spaniard also able to gather valuable data for the Magneti Marelli electronics for the coming year’s race. He ended the day in fourth.

For the Moto2™ class it was Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat who headed the first day on his Kalex machine in the mid 1.48s, as he not only searches for a benchmark-time for the class, but also goes through the motions with the Dunlop tyres. His compatriot Nico Terol, on the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter machine, lapped just over 1.5s slower, yet will no doubt improve over the next day if the track stays dry, before the test concludes on Friday evening.

Riders were positive after the first day saying that they enjoyed the fast layout of the circuit and that the reception they got at the track was exceptional. With the track being quite fresh however, they sighted that grip levels were still low, yet the fast nature was also proving abrasive on tyres.

A further aspect of the testing, as explained by Dorna’s Managing Director Events Area, Javier Alonso, was to test the safety of the track, the marshals, as well as the general working of the event in preparation for next year. He cited that he was happy with how things had gone so far and that he was impressed with the circuit.

Testing will resume tomorrow morning at 10am local time.




More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Cal Crutchlow impressed with new track in Argentina

Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Cal Crutchlow took centre stage in a historic moment for South American motorsport today when he became one of the first to ride a prototype MotoGP machine on the impressive new Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina.

Crutchlow completed 29-laps in the pre-lunch session on the first of a two-day test on the super-fast 4.8km track, which is part of a special promotional tour in anticipation of the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track featuring on the 2014 MotoGP World Championship schedule.

Booming interest in MotoGP in Argentina was evident again today after fans, media and officials gave Crutchlow a warm and enthusiastic reception on his arrival into Buenos Aires on Tuesday.

A large and passionate crowd gathered to witness Crutchlow put his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team YZR-M1 through its paces on the new circuit, which features 14 fast and technical corners.

As well as giving Argentinian fans a small taste of the high-speed and adrenaline-fuelled action they can expect next year, Crutchlow is on a vitally important data-gathering mission for Yamaha and Bridgestone.

The former World Supersport champion is scheduled to test a wide selection of tyres for Bridgestone, his comprehensive feedback giving the Japanese tyre firm precious information that will be used to help develop the tyre allocation for next year’s race.

Next year’s race will be the first time the sports-mad South American nation has played host to MotoGP since 1999.

Cal Crutchlow - 29laps - 1.49,604 min:
“We have had an absolutely fantastic welcome in Argentina and after seeing the enthusiasm for MotoGP I’m really happy to be finally out on track to demonstrate what a spectacle the fans will see next year. The new track is very impressive and it is a really a good facility that Argentina can be very proud of. The track is still very dirty, so we are just enjoying riding around and learning as much as possible while also feeling the emotion of being one of the first ever to ride a prototype MotoGP bike here. It's incredible how many spectators came to welcome us and see us riding. Hopefully we can put on a good show next year and have a fantastic race because it certainly looks like it will take place in front of a huge crowd. The track has a good mix of long and fast corners and some are tight, so it is very important to get into a good rhythm. I really like Turn 6, which is a long and downhill corner. That is really cool to ride and I think the whole of the MotoGP grid is going to come here and love the track.”