All set for action to commence at Termas de Rio Hondo
In the preliminary press conference on Thursday in Argentina premier class riders Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi, Andrea Dovizioso, Stefan Bradl and Bradley Smith were joined by former World Championship regular Sebas Porto, the Argentinian who will make a wildcard appearance in Moto2™ this weekend
On the back of the victorious start to his MotoGP™ title defence Marquez is full of confidence going into the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina and he was the first rider to address the media.
The Repsol Honda star commented, “I think it will be an interesting weekend here in Argentina, as it’s a new track for everybody. We need to work a little bit more than usual to find the best line, to adapt our riding style and to find the right set-up for this track. I am back at 100% for riding, I still can’t run but I am fine on the bike.”
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s nine-time World Champion Rossi is the only premier class regular with previous experience of Grand Prix racing in Argentina, albeit at a different venue to this weekend’s host circuit.
Rossi noted, “I have some riding experience in South America, a lot in Brazil, but also some unforgettable moments in Buenos Aires in 1998 and 1999. This track is new but it is good for motorcycles and I think it will be a flowing circuit which will be fun to ride. I have a good first impression.”
Following his first podium for the Ducati Team last time out in Texas, Dovizioso looks to maintain his good form at this round. “The podium in Austin was great for many reasons,” he acknowledged. “Obviously it is great for a rider to be up there but it is also a reward for all the people working hard behind the scenes. I was not feeling well in Austin during the weekend so to end up on the podium was a great feeling. I’m also excited to be riding at this new track.”
One of a select group of riders to have tested last year at the renovated Termas de Rio Hondo circuit – a new venue on the MotoGP™ calendar for 2014 – is LCR Honda man Bradl.
He stated, “I don’t know if it will be any real advantage as the conditions were not perfect here for the test. The others will catch up very fast. I like the track and the layout is good, it will be demanding on the tyres and I think the gaps between the riders will be very close so I expect some good racing.”
Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Smith comes into the Argentina Grand Prix on a high, having registered his best MotoGP™ result to date in Austin. He said, “I struggled in Austin last year so it was good to get the result and get over the line, although I think the potential for the podium was there. I finished as the top Yamaha so I was very pleased with that and pleased for our team. I’ve been around this new track on a scooter and am looking forward to getting out there on a MotoGP bike tomorrow.”
Proud Argentinian Porto, who makes a guest appearance this weekend on Kalex Moto2™ machinery for Argentina TSR Motorsport, is delighted to see the World Championship back in his home nation.
He commented, “I am very happy to be here, it has been a long time since my last appearance in the World Championship. I will try to do my best as the fans are really excited about the racing coming back to Argentina. It has been 15 years since we raced here and motorcycling has grown a lot in that time in South America and in Argentina. I hope I can ride at a good level.”
Practice at the Gran Premio Red Bull de la Republica Argentina commences tomorrow with the Moto3™ riders heading out on track for their FP1 run at 9am local time (GMT -3).