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Jul 5, 2013

Rain Dampens Final Day Of MotoGP Testing In Argentina

FIM MotoGP World Championship: Alvaro Bautista (19).
MotoGP's visit to the newly built Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina saw the second day of testing affected by rain, due to a Friday morning downpour at the South American venue.

Following Thursday’s announcement that the track will join the FIM MotoGP World Championship calendar from next season, the riders and teams decided not to risk potential mishaps on Friday morning after an early shower.

The six riders participating lapped somewhat cautiously in mixed conditions later on day two, with the Friday afternoon session extended by 30 minutes to make the most of some late sunshine.

Cal Crutchlow, Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl were amongst the MotoGP™ contingent who made the trip to South America to check out the new facility, visiting Buenos Aires and the smaller city of Termas de Rio Hondo earlier in the week - before getting down to the real business of putting in some laps of the 4.8km track on their prototype machines.

Crutchlow put his Monster Yamaha Tech 3 YZR-M1 through its paces, gathering crucial data for both Yamaha and Bridgestone. GO&FUN Honda Gresini rider Bautista also worked on set up and understanding the nature of the track, topping the timesheet on Friday afternoon with a 1’45.578 lap.

LCR Honda MotoGP’s Bradl ended the test as the fastest rider with a time of 1’44.188 from Thursday - and only put in 13 extra laps on Friday.

Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera, meanwhile, collected important data for Magneti Marelli electronics on his FTR Kawasaki. Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat and Mapfre Aspar Team’s Nico Terol were also in attendance as they tried out their Moto2 bikes and Dunlop tyres around the new layout.

Thursday also saw the official announcement that Termas de Rio Hondo will join the MotoGP calendar until at least 2016, from next year, meaning a return to racing in Argentina for the first time since 1999.

With Friday morning’s poor weather conditions at the track meaning that further testing was limited, the riders added some additional laps in the afternoon session before signing autographs for the fans and heading off to return to Europe for round 8 next weekend in Germany.

More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda:


Termas de Rio Hondo, 5 July: despite his busy agenda (five races in seven weeks, three testing sessions and his important home race in Sachsenring next weekend) LCR racer Stefan Bradl’s moved to Argentina last Tuesday for a first taste of the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit (situated 1.100km north-west of Buenos Aires) which will host MotoGP until 2016 from next year. more and download the official photos.

Stefan Bradl

“This was my first time in Argentina and we had a great welcome from local people here. They seem very interested in MotoGP and it’s nice to take the MotoGP back for the first time since 1999. With Alvaro and Cal we had a tour in Termas discovering a new culture and the place is very nice. Before my departure I checked the circuit layout in the web and it looked really fast. So it is! I think it perfectly suits the MotoGP machine but the big question mark are the tyres because the early indications indicate that the surface here is set to be extremely abrasive for tyres. I was happy with my fastest lap on day one but our main target was to get vital data for next year race. Unfortunately on day two the weather was not that good so I made only nine laps in the afternoon. Now it’s time for me to relax for couple of days before my crowded and warm home race”.

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

Rain disrupts final day of MotoGP testing in Argentina

The final day of MotoGP testing at the magnificent new Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina was disrupted by rain today, with Cal Crutchlow completing just over 30-laps on a drying track this afternoon.

After a positive first impression of the new 4.8km circuit yesterday, Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team rider Crutchlow was eagerly anticipating more time on track today to gather vital data for both Yamaha and Bridgestone.

Adverse weather conditions though prevented Crutchlow from venturing out on track until late this afternoon, with another massive crowd patiently waiting to get a glimpse of him riding the YZR-M1 machine that he has raced to three podium finishes in the previous four races.

When he did finally go out to complete 32-laps and post a best time of 1.45.852, the British rider got a rapturous reception from the packed grandstands and today’s rain hasn’t taken the shine off a truly memorable first visit to Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo for the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team.

Exceptional hospitality and passionate support from Argentinian fans has only heightened the sense of excitement and anticipation ahead of next year’s race, with Dorna confirming the Autodromo de Rio Hondo will feature on the MotoGP calendar until at least 2016.

Crutchlow will now fly back to Europe in readiness for the Sachsenring’s German MotoGP round next weekend, which is immediately followed by a second trip of the campaign to North America for the Laguna Seca race ahead of a well deserved summer break.

Cal Crutchlow 1.45.852 – 32 laps:
“It was a big pity today that the rain came because people told us that there has been no rain here for more than 20 weeks! I’m really pleased the track dried out at the end and I was able to do some laps to thank the fans for being so patient and coming out to support us. This test has been one of the few times when there’s not been so much pressure, so I’ve been able to have a lot of fun with the other guys on track. Nowadays in MotoGP you have to be on the limit and giving it 100% for every lap of every test and race, so it was nice to be able to have a bit of fun on the bike. We collected some data for Yamaha and Bridgestone but I’m not sure how helpful it will be because conditions for the race will be completely different. The track was quite dirty but some sections are incredible. Some corners are really fast and there are a lot of overtaking opportunities, so I think it will make for great racing in all three classes. It has been a great trip and very important for Dorna and Yamaha to promote MotoGP in such a key market like Argentina and I am proud that Tech 3 and Monster were able to play such a big part in it. I’d like to thank everybody involved in our visit this week. I’ve loved every minute of my first visit to Argentina. It is great to experience another culture and the welcome and hospitality we have received has been overwhelming and my first visit to Argentina is one I will never forget. The support and passion for MotoGP has been amazing to see and now I can’t wait to be back next year for the race.”