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Apr 25, 2014

Marquez Speeds To The Top In MotoGP FP2 In Argentina (Updated)

Marc Marquez (93).

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina

April 25, 2014

MotoGP Free Practice Two Results (all on Bridgestone tires):

1. Marc MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:39.313

2. Dani PEDROSA, Spain (HONDA), 1:40.396

3. Aleix ESPARGARO, Spain (FORWARD YAMAHA), 1:40.566, Open

4. Stefan BRADL, Germany (HONDA), 1:40.891

5. Andrea DOVIZIOSO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:41.042, Open

6. Bradley SMITH, UK (YAMAHA), 1:41.303

7. Pol ESPARGARO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:41.368

8. Valentino ROSSI, Italy (YAMAHA), 1:41.395

9. Jorge LORENZO, Spain (YAMAHA), 1:41.533

10. Andrea IANNONE, Italy (DUCATI), 1:41.924, Open, crash

11. Alvaro BAUTISTA, Spain (HONDA), 1:42.029

12. Yonny HERNANDEZ, Colombia (DUCATI), 1:42.128, Open

13. Karel ABRAHAM, Czech Republic (HONDA), 1:42.348, Open

14. Colin EDWARDS, USA (FORWARD YAMAHA), 1:42.608, Open

15. Nicky HAYDEN, USA (HONDA), 1:42.621, Open

16. Hector BARBERA, Spain (FTR-KAWASAKI), 1:42.739, Open

17. Broc PARKES, Australia (PBM-APRILIA), 1:42.827, Open

18. Michele PIRRO, Italy (DUCATI), 1:42.898, Open

19. Danilo PETRUCCI, Italy (ART-APRILIA), 1:43.106, Open

20. Mike DI MEGLIO, France (FTR-KAWASAKI), 1:43.125, Open

21. Michael LAVERTY, UK (PBM-APRILIA), 1:43.151, Open

22. Scott REDDING, UK (HONDA), 1:43.165, Open

23. Hiroshi AOYAMA, Japan (HONDA), 1:43.347, Open

Moto2 Free Practice Two Results (all using Honda engines and Dunlop tires):

1. Johann ZARCO, France (SUTER), 1:45.066

2. Jonas FOLGER, Germany (KALEX), 1:45.093

3. Dominique AEGERTER, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:45.143

4. Takaaki NAKAGAMI, Japan (KALEX), 1:45.254

5. Maverick VIÑALES, Spain (KALEX), 1:45.331

6. Esteve "Tito" RABAT, Spain (KALEX), 1:45.394

7. Simone CORSI, Italy (FORWARD KLX), 1:45.415

8. Ricard CARDUS, Spain (TECH 3), 1:45.417

9. Mika KALLIO, Finland (KALEX), 1:45.419

10. Hafizh SYAHRIN, Malaysia (KALEX), 1:45.488

11. Xavier SIMEON, Belgium (SUTER), 1:45.689

12. Julian SIMON, Spain (KALEX), 1:45.737

13. Mattia PASINI, Italy (FORWARD KLX), 1:45.742

14. Anthony WEST, Australia (SPEED UP), 1:45.744

15. Sandro CORTESE, Germany (KALEX), 1:45.822

16. Marcel SCHROTTER, Germany (TECH 3), 1:45.839

17. Lorenzo BALDASSARRI, Italy (SUTER), 1:45.853

18. Jordi TORRES, Spain (SUTER), 1:45.927

19. Alex DE ANGELIS, San Marino (SUTER), 1:46.023

20. Sam LOWES, UK (SPEED UP), 1:46.056

21. Nicolas TEROL, Spain (SUTER), 1:46.129

22. Randy KRUMMENACHER, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:46.260

23. Louis ROSSI, France (KALEX), 1:46.397

24. Luis SALOM, Spain (KALEX), 1:46.407

25. Franco MORBIDELLI, Italy (KALEX), 1:46.528

26. Sebastian PORTO, Argentina (KALEX), 1:46.604

27. Roman RAMOS, Spain (SPEED UP), 1:46.642

28. Gino REA, UK (SUTER), 1:46.922

29. Azlan SHAH, Malaysia (KALEX), 1:47.003

30. Thomas LUTHI, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:47.116

31. Axel PONS, Spain (KALEX), 1:47.240

32. Robin MULHAUSER, Switzerland (SUTER), 1:47.547

33. Tetsuta NAGASHIMA, Japan (TSR), 1:47.632

34. Thitipong WAROKORN, Thailand (KALEX), 1:48.420

Moto3 Free Practice Two Results (all on Dunlop tires):

1. Jack MILLER, Australia (KTM), 1:50.367

2. Efren VAZQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:50.630

3. Isaac VIÑALES, Spain (KTM), 1:51.164

4. Alex MARQUEZ, Spain (HONDA), 1:51.234

5. Karel HANIKA, Czech Republic (KTM), 1:51.270

6. Danny KENT, UK (HUSQVARNA), 1:51.283

7. Enea BASTIANINI, Italy (KTM), 1:51.359

8. Miguel OLIVEIRA, Portugal (MAHINDRA), 1:51.470

9. Alex RINS, Spain (HONDA), 1:51.550

10. Brad BINDER, South Africa (MAHINDRA), 1:51.571

More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Repsol Honda duo find their rhythm in Argentina to finish 1-2 in FP2

After a busy morning on a dirty track, Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa have made significant progress in this afternoon’s FP2 session, finishing first and second.

During this morning’s FP1 they chose to remain on the same soft rear tyre for the entire session whilst they adapted to the new track, whereas every other MotoGP rider put a fresh tyre on at the end of the session, thus demoting Marc and Dani to 14th and 16th respectively.

However, this afternoon on a cleaner track, both riders made substantial gains with Marc, who was over a second faster than anyone else, improving his time by 5.790s (FP1: 1’45.103) to 1’39.313 on lap 16 of 18, and Dani shaving 5.328s off his time with 1’40.396 on lap 18 of 18 (FP1: 1’45.724). What made this even more notable was the fact they recorded these impressive times on the hard rear Bridgestone tyre (and medium front).


Marc Marquez

1st - 1'39.313

“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”

Dani Pedrosa

2nd - 1'40.396

"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”

More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

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.

Valentino Rossi

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.”

Jorge Lorenzo

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.”

Massimo Meregalli

“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.”

More, from a press release issued by Bridgestone:

Marquez masters tricky conditions to lead Argentina practice

Round 3: Argentina MotoGP™ - Free Practice 1&2

Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, Friday 25 April 2014

Bridgestone slick compounds available: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Soft, Medium & Hard (Symmetric)

Bridgestone wet tyre compounds available: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)

Weather: FP1 - Dry. Ambient 19-20°C; Track 24-25°C (Bridgestone measurement)

FP2 - Dry. Ambient 23-23°C; Track 33-34°C (Bridgestone measurement)

Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez got to grips with the challenging track surface at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, posting a lap time of 1'39.313 to finish quickest in Friday practice at the Argentina Grand Prix.

Marquez’s quickest lap was set using the medium compound front and hard compound rear slicks, the same combination his teammate Dani Pedrosa used to achieve the second-quickest time of 1'40.396. Third quickest today was NGM Forward Racing’s Aleix Espargaro, who set a personal best time of 1'40.566.

Track conditions were poor on the first day of the race weekend, with heavy deposits of sand and a lack of rubber on the asphalt combining to reduce grip levels and increasing tyre wear. The dirty track and low track temperatures in FP1 resulted in very high abrasion levels for the rear tyre, but conditions marginally improved for FP2 which helped return grip and tyre wear to a more reasonable level. Today’s peak track temperature of 34°C was recorded at the end of FP2.

With grip hard to come by on the dusty track surface, the soft compound front slick was the preferred option in FP1, while the medium compound front slick was more popular in the warmer FP2 session. All three rear slick compound options were evaluated by riders today, with all specifications providing good performance around the fast Termas de Río Hondo track. With conditions set to improve again tomorrow, riders will use Saturday to determine their preferred tyre choice.

Shinji Aoki - Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department

“Conditions were as we expected today, with the sandy track surface causing high rear tyre wear and low grip levels. This problem was compounded by low track temperatures in the morning which resulted in some tyre graining, but we knew that conditions here would get better session-by-session. For FP2 the track showed signs of improvement and this resulted in better tyre wear and greater grip which helped the riders significantly improve their lap times. All rear slick options were used today, as well as the soft and medium compound front slicks, and our allocation for this weekend seems to be well suited to what is quite a challenging track for tyres.”

More, from a press release issued by NGM Mobile Forward Racing:

Great debut for Aleix Espargaro at Termas de Rio Hondo

As the Argentina Grand Prix weekend got underway at Termas de Rio Hondo, Alex Espargaro demonstrated his ability to go quickly at unfamiliar venues, recording the third fastest time with a lap time of 1’40.566.

Despite an engine problem during the FP1 that spoiled his session, the Spaniard of the NGM Forward Racing Team could work well in the afternoon, learning quickly the lines of the new circuit and finishing as first Open and third overall behind the two factory Honda of Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. Aleix is very confident for tomorrow qualifying session, hoping to repeat a strong performance as in the first round of the season.

Team mate Colin Edwards worked also hard to learn his way around the new Termas de Rio Hondo track. On board of his Forward Yamaha, Texas Tornado finished in 14th position with a lap time of 1’42.608. Colin struggled a bit this morning for a tyre issue, but he was able to improve in the afternoon.

Colin Edwards:

“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. I’m sure that we can make another step forward tomorrow. I’m learning the new track and I look forward to get a good result.”

Aleix Espargaro:

“I’m happy to be back on track after Austin, where we had several issues with the rear tyre. I’m satisfied with today’s 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. It’s 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.”

More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

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.”

More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Marquez dominates second practice in Argentina

MotoGP™ World Champion Marc Marquez was in dominant form on Friday at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina, leading FP2 by 1.083s from teammate Dani Pedrosa, with Aleix Espargaro in third

As the riders learned their way around the new Termas de Rio Hondo track Marquez demonstrated his ability to go quickly at unfamiliar venues once again, recording a 1’39.313 best lap to put him clear of nearest rival Pedrosa.

Espargaro once again showed his pace and the potential of his ‘Open’ NGM Forward Racing package, placing himself third on the timesheet with a 1’40.566 best effort on the Forward Yamaha.

In fourth place was LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, the German rider who was one of a select group to test at this venue last year. He ended the day 1.578s behind Marquez.

Completing the top five was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who ended the session riding his second bike after the engine on his first machine blew up early in the practice. The Italian lapped within 1.729s of P1.

Monster Yamaha Tech3 pair Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro were sixth and seventh respectively, with Smith making a late improvement to jump from the foot of the timesheet as he improved his time by three seconds with a fast lap.

Valentino Rossi and his Movistar Yamaha MotoGP teammate Jorge Lorenzo were eighth and ninth after Lorenzo had gone fastest in the morning FP1 session. They will both look to step up the pace on Saturday morning.

Andrea Iannone (Pramac Racing) walked away from a heavy crash at turn five and returned to the track on his second bike to improve his time and complete the top ten.

Moto2™: Zarco the top man in later Friday practice

As the intermediate class FP2 session concluded at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina it was Johann Zarco (AirAsia Caterham) on the pace, with Jonas Folger (AGR Team) and Dominique Aegerter (Technomag carXpert) also in the top three

Zarco led the way by just 0.027s from Folger, with Aegerter 0.077s from the top at the end of a typically tight FP2, with times improving in the final seconds at the renovated 4.8km Termas de Rio Hondo track.

Folger was the pace setter in FP1 and appears to be enjoying the transition to Moto2 machinery this season. Aegerter had a small low-side crash at Turn 13, but was able to rejoin the session.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) and Maverick Viñales (Pons HP 40) were both within 0.265s of Zarco, completing the top five.

Esteve Rabat (Marc VDS Racing), Simone Corsi (NGM Forward Racing), Ricky Cardus (Tech 3), Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Racing) and Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) rounded out the top ten at the end of the opening day.

Moto3™: Miller quickest in afternoon run

The Moto3™ FP2 session at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina saw championship leader Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM Ajo) set the pace, ahead of Efren Vazquez (SAXOPRINT RTG) and Isaac Viñales (Calvo Team)

Miller registered a 1’50.367s lap late in the practice run, improving significantly on his 1’51.929 pace setting best from FP1.

Behind Miller were three Spaniards, with Vazquez (+0.263), Viñales (+0.797) and Alex Marquez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) trailing the Australian. Marquez was 0.867s behind Miller and had briefly held provisional P1, as did rookie Karel Hanika (Red Bull KTM Ajo) before the young Czech eventually finished fifth with a time 0.9s off the top.

Danny Kent (Red Bull Husqvarna Ajo), Enea Bastianini (Junior Team Go&FUN Moto3), Miguel Oliveira (Mahindra Racing), Alex Rins (Estrella Galicia 0,0) and Brad Binder (Ambrogio Racing) were all in the top ten.

Alexis Masbou (Ongetta-Rivacold) and John McPhee (SAXOPRINT RTG) were both just outside the top ten and both escaped unhurt from light crashes.

More, from a press release issued by Cardion AB Motoracing:

Afternoon free practice improvement and thirteenth fastest time

The Czech rider, Karel Abraham completed the first two free practice sessions at Termas de Rio Honda circuit, Argentina today. All morning was dedicated to searching for ideal setting of the bike and familiarization with the track. The result is thirteenth position and promising place in Saturday's qualifying.

Karel Abraham

"In the morning we had substantial problems, because the brand new surface of the track was slippery. What´s more it was dirty as well, so searching for the ideal setting was much more difficult. We decided to use just one set of tyres and the rest we saved for the afternoon session. It turned as a very good choice. Unlike to the riders, which were making fast laps in the morning thanks to using more sets of tyres, we were able to improve our time a lot in the afternoon. We still have to sort out some details on the bike, but we are on the right direction. I feel good physically and I don’t have any problem with the track, which was proofed by today´s result. Now I'm going to relax and focus on tomorrow."

Marco Grana

chief mechanic, Cardion AB Motoracing

„We are very happy today. It was excellent day. In the morning the track was dirty and it was a problem. So we decided to use just one set of tyres. We bet that conditions would get better in the afternoon. And we were right, the final time is very good and we will try to improve it tomorrow. Our aim is to remove the rest of little problems with bike setting and in qualifying be as high as possible. Hopefully the weather won’t change drastically and we will be able to continue on the same way as we did today.“

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Termas de Rio Hondo, 25 April: Latin America fans warmly welcomed the MotoGP field today for the first day of action at the renovated Termas de Rio Hondo circuit which saw Marquez topping the time sheet. LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl, who was one of a selected group to test at this venue last year, ended the day in fourth place (1’40.891) mainly concentrating on the wear of the tyres.

Stefan: “As expected the track is not in a very good shape. It was quite dirty this morning but slightly improved in the afternoon for the second session. On these conditions it’s extremely important to save the tyres for the next days to be in a good position for the qualifying. So far we did a positive job setting the 4th lap time but we have to analyse the data and see where we can reduce the gap to the riders in the front. Let’s see how the track will be tomorrow but for the moment I am having fun lapping here and the crowd is amazing”.

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

Smith and Espargaro make scorching start in Argentina.

The MotoGP World Championship returned to Argentina this morning after a 15 year absence, at the new and exciting Circuito of Termas de Rio Hondo in the north of the country, and over 1,000 kilometres outside of the capital Buenos Aires. Action finally began on track after a brief delay, with both Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team riders immediately competing at a rapid pace.

As the new circuit had not hosted any previous major sporting action before the MotoGP World Championship round, the track conditions were far from ideal at the beginning of the day, but improved as the day progressed.

Bradley Smith enjoyed a fantastic start today finishing as the leading Yamaha in 6th as he continued to demonstrate his determination for this season, and how much of a quick learner his is. The British rider easily accustomed himself to the challenging circuit and established a solid working base setup. The 23 year-old also explored both varieties of tyre compounds, at the new fast flowing track which features a straight of over 1 kilometre. He notched up a top time of 1:41.303 at the final stages of this afternoons session, which puts him in a good position to show another strong qualifying performance tomorrow while preparing for Sunday’s race which lasts 25 laps.

Rookie Pol Espargaro completed today with impressive speed, as he rode to 7th position in the combined times. With the fast, wavering corners of the circuit favouring the agile Yamaha YZR-M1, the Spanish rider notably spent the majority of both of todays free practice sessions within the top five, and proceeded to gather as much information as possible at the 4,806 metre track for qualifying tomorrow. The reigning Moto2 World Champion improved his FP1 time by two and a half seconds to finish with a best lap of 1:41.368, ahead of multiple World Champions Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi.

Bradley Smith - 6th - 1:41.303

“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 Colin’s Ranch, it’s 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”.

Pol Espargaro - 7th -1:41.368

“Today was positive for me, and my impressions of the new circuit here in Argentina were good - it’s 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.

More, from a press release issued by Pramac Racing:

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."

More, from a press release issued by AirAsia Caterham Moto2 Team:

Zarco Tops the Timesheets on Day One in Argentina

Circuit: Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo

Circuit Length: 4.806 m

Bike # 5 – Johann Zarco

FP1: P3; 1:46.597 – 22 laps

FP2: P1; 1:45.066 – 19 laps


FP1: (Conditions) Dry; (air temp) 20°, (track temp) 24°

FP2: (Conditions) Dry; (air temp) 24°, (track temp) 33°

Day one on track at the all new Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo saw AirAsia Caterham Moto Racing rider Johann Zarco get off to a flying start.

The Frenchman topped the timesheets for the majority of FP1 before being knocked off the top spot in the final moments and finishing the session in third place.

Continuing his progress in FP2 Johann Zarco chipped away at his time throughout the 45 minute session. With only seconds remaining he launched himself into P1 with a time of 1’45.066.

#5 Johann Zarco:

“It’s been a good day today. To finish the Friday in first position is good for the mind. I feel happier than I was in Austin as I am pushing less on the bike.

“For most of the riders this is the first time that they have seen the track. It was difficult at the beginning because there wasn’t much grip and the bike was sliding a lot but I was able to adapt myself and stay consistent with my times.

“This afternoon we made a big step and I feel a lot more comfortable and faster on the bike. It has been a positive day and hopefully we will continue in this way.

“Tomorrow morning we still have something to try but I have to keep this good base and easy feeling as this will be the key for the race.”

Gary Reynders – Crew Chief to Johann Zarco:

“Today went well. We did a lot of laps on the race tyre and we did some small adjustments on the bike to find a good consistent setting. When we went to new tyres we improved by more than one second and I think now with the rhythm Johann is in with the 1m45s, if we had to race tomorrow we are already set to fight for the podium.” 

More, from a press release issued by Marc VDS Racing Team:

Rabat and Kallio chasing grip in Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina - 25 April 2014: Marc VDS Racing Team riders Tito Rabat and Mika Kallio finished inside the top 10 at the end of an opening day of practice spent searching for grip on a dirty and slippery surface at the fast and flowing new Circuito Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.

World Championship leader Rabat was sixth fastest, the Spaniard dedicating his entire time on track in overcast conditions to improving grip and tyre endurance with his Kalex machine.

A lap of 1.45.394 was just over 0.3s away from the quickest pace, with the top 20 riders split by less than a second in a typically fierce Moto2 battle.

Mika Kallio eventually enjoyed a positive start to a milestone weekend in his Grand Prix career. The Finn was 33rd in FP1 but major set-up modifications rocketed him back into the top 10 ahead of what is scheduled to be his 200th start, making him the first Finnish rider to reach the landmark.

Livio Loi, who will celebrate his 17th birthday on race day, made an excellent debut at the 4.086km/2.986 mile track, the Belgian rider running close to the top three for the majority of FP2.

He eventually finished in an encouraging 14th and is confident he can battle for a career first top 10 finish in Sunday’s 21-lap Moto3 race.

Tito Rabat // 6th //1’45.394

“Today was very difficult and we had many problems with grip because the track is very dirty, especially this morning when it was very bad. In the afternoon the track improved a lot and I could go almost 1.6s faster but I still need to improve the setting of the bike tomorrow to get more grip. This morning we had problems with the rear and in FP2 it was more the front causing me some trouble, so we have to work to find a good balance.”

Mika Kallio // 9th //1’45.419

“This morning was a complete disaster and a horrible start to the weekend. The rear linkage I prefer is different to what most of the other riders use, and we know it doesn’t work at some tracks when the grip is low. We decided to start with the same package I raced in Qatar and Austin but we saw immediately I was so slow and I destroyed the tyres in the first three laps. We changed the linkage and immediately in FP2 the bike felt completely different and I was much faster. I am happy with the feeling now and it is good to be back in the top 10. The challenge now is to adapt the bike to work as the track gets cleaner and more grip is on the surface.”

Livio Loi // 14th // 1’52.010

“The track is interesting with some very fast and flowing parts on a Moto3 bike, but as expected this morning the surface was quite dirty and the grip low. I was fourth for a long time in FP2 after a really strong first exit that was close to perfect. I came in to change tyres but I had too much movement on the front on braking into the corners and couldn’t improve my lap time and lost a few places. The grip is going to improve a lot and after equalling my best result in Texas I am going to go for it and try and secure a top 10.”

Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal

“We are satisfied to see both Tito and Mika inside the top 10 because it has not been an easy first day here in Argentina. The track layout is fantastic but it is not easy to find grip and the tyre performance drops quite a bit after a few laps. Tito was still quite strong in both sessions but this morning Mika was really struggling and his crew drastically changed his set-up and he was able to be back inside the top 10 and his improve his pace by over four seconds. The times are very tight and the work we do tomorrow will be important for the race because it looks like the riders that can manage the tyres the best will be the strongest. Livio also did a good job because for a long time in FP2 he was in fourth position. Today was the first time we gave him new tyres at the end of practice to try and help him achieve better laps in the end of the sessions. It was new for him and I am sure in the future it will be a good strategy to help him also be ready for qualifying.”

More, from a press release issued by QMMF Racing Team:

Strong start for QMMF Racing Team in Argentina:

West on the pace, Rámos faster than ever

QMMF Racing Team riders Anthony West and Román Ramos had a strong start at the Grand Prix of Argentina. On the 4.8 kilometre-track of Termas de Rio Hondo, a town located about 1200 km northwest of Buenos Aires and famous for its hot springs, West felt good almost immediately and was on the pace in both free practice sessions on Friday. Only a small tyre problem towards the end of the second session kept the 32-year-old Australian from improving further. 14th in the classification so far, West is confident to climb even higher up when it counts in qualifying on Saturday.

Spaniard Román Ramos had also good reason to smile. The 23-year-old bounced back from a slow start in the morning and improved his lap time by no less than 4.2 seconds to climb up to 27th in the classification sheet, only nine tenths of a second behind his experienced team-mate and with more to come on Saturday.

Anthony West –14th in 1.45,744

“The track was really slippery in the beginning, but it improved steadily. It’s nice to be on a new circuit and I really like the fast corners here, one turn especially, where you shift through the gears at full throttle and where you are sliding even in fifth gear. That’s really exciting! The bike is also feeling okay. In the morning, we had some small problems pushing the front, but for the second session, we managed to fix the bike and I could do many, many laps consistently fast. I could follow Rabat easily and felt really comfortable. Only in the end, I couldn’t further improve my lap time due to a small tyre problem: We swapped for the other rear tyre compound that I had used in the morning and the bike just vibrated and chattered around the whole track. Apart from that, I am happy with the way the bike is handling. Everybody I am coming up against, I feel I am on a good line, so I’m confident for the rest of the weekend!”

Roman Ramos – 27th in 1.46,642

“When we went out for the first time, the track was very dirty and I found it very difficult to ride. My bike was not at a100 percent either, which is why we were too far behind in the beginning. But we improved the set-up a lot for the second free practice session and we managed to go faster by a full 4.2 seconds. The bike works really well now and I’m closer to the front than I ever was since I joined QMMF Racing Team at the beginning of the year. I want to thank everybody in my crew, because they really did a great job on the bike!”

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