MotoGP: Dorna Previews This Weekend’s Races in Argentina

MotoGP: Dorna Previews This Weekend’s Races in Argentina

© 2023, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc. From a press release issued By Dorna:

Reset. Reload. Race! Ready for Round 2?

Termas de Rio Hondo gears up to host the second round of a blockbuster 2023

There were thrills, there were spills, and there was some seriously close racing in Portimao. Now, we saddle up to do it all again as Termas de Rio Hondo prepares to host round two for the Gran Premio Michelin® de la Republica Argentina. Ready to get back in the ring?

DUCATI LENOVO TEAM

As one side of the garage enjoyed one of his best weekends ever, the other arguably endured one of his worst – and through no fault of his own. Enea Bastianini is sidelined this weekend due to that broken shoulder blade, so that means reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia will be flying solo – but he’s coming in on quite a high.

Taking the first ever Tissot Sprint win after piling the pressure on Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) was already quite an improvement on the start Bagnaia had last season, and it only got better. In the Grand Prix race there was more sublime speed too, and it proves a warning shot for the field. Bagnaia, and his fellow Ducati riders, also have chance to take the factory’s first win at Termas as it’s one of the three tracks they haven’t yet reigned. But can we expect those rivals from Portugal flip the form book?

APRILIA RACING

Speaking of “those rivals”, Maverick Viñales has now come within a few tenths of that win on a third different machine not once, but twice. He pushed Bagnaia all the way on Sunday and he’s arguably had the upper hand at Aprilia so far, including getting his elbows out in the Sprint with teammate Aleix Espargaro.

Now, we head for Argentina. It’s a venue the bike has already reigned with Espargaro last year as man and machine made history with their first wins – and one where Viñales also has a previous victory, back in 2017. That’s quite a combination. Can Espargaro stamp some authority on the weekend? Or has Viñales got another chance to edge away?

MOONEY VR46 RACING TEAM

The Sprint wasn’t the best start to the season for Luca Marini and Marco Bezzecchi, with Saturday afternoon proving a somewhat damp squib after strong pre-season showings. That turned round for Bezzecchi on Sunday in some style, however, as the sophomore sliced through to third, escaped the scuffle and didn’t look back – taking a second premier class podium. Is there more in the locker for Argentina? Marini, meanwhile, leaves Portimao with nil points, crashing out of the Sprint and the GP race. As one of three riders who suffered only a single DNF in 2022, his first aim in Argentina is likely to recapture that consistency and get those points.

PRIMA PRAMAC RACING

It was a weekend of two halves for both Johann Zarco and Jorge Martin in Portugal, and both will want a more balanced weekend Argentina. Zarco had a tougher Tissot Sprint before becoming the star of the show in that hard-fought battle for fourth on Sunday, and Martin crashed in the GP race after having lost out in the Marquez-Oliveira incident. On Saturday, however, the number 89 was close to that Sprint win – and was also very close to denying Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia their first Grand Prix win last year in Argentina.

Zarco remains on the hunt for a first MotoGP™ win, Martin has something to prove and the speed to do so… we can expect both at the front again this weekend.

RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

SURPRISE! Or was it? After ending testing a little down the timesheets, Friday in Portugal felt like Jack Miller ripped the covers off a magic trick, but maybe it shouldn’t have. A lot of work has gone in, a lot of laps have been done and it seems like KTM are on their way. Miller too. What can we expect this weekend at a very different venue? The Austrian factory are missing a top five at Termas so that could be a first target.

Teammate Brad Binder, meanwhile, still somehow managed to stun on Sunday despite ongoing neck pain after a crash in testing. The South African got stuck in in that awesome fight for fourth, and with a few more days will hopefully be a little closer to feeling 100%. Both Miller and Binder at full pelt is quite a force to contend with…

GRESINI RACING MotoGP™

Friday and Saturday were a bit underwhelming for Alex Marquez after pre-season progress on his new Ducati, but Sunday was both a good result and a fantastic battle too. He’ll be buoyed by that and on the hunt for more in Argentina – where he’s won in Moto3™ and Moto2™. Fabio Di Giannantonio, meanwhile, needs to unlock the flashes of pace we’ve seen and take that step forward we’ve seen before.

MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA MotoGP™

Fabio Quartararo had a difficult start to 2023. After a tougher qualifying, contact from Mir then hampered his Sprint before he’d really got going, and then that grid position added another hurdle at the start of the Grand Prix race. But he did get in that big group fight late on. With some very different tracks now coming up, starting with Argentina, we’ll likely see Yamaha seriously hunker down on trying to figure out what they’re missing. Franco Morbidelli may well be doing the same himself after a tough opener too.

REPSOL HONDA TEAM

It was a rollercoaster season opener for Repsol Honda, with some glory, some drama and some mistakes. After that stunning Saturday for Marc Marquez, the error that saw him crash into Miguel Oliveira on Sunday leaves the number 93 on the sidelines for Argentina, having sustained a broken bone in his hand. His absence – given incredible speed at the venue in the past – takes one ace out of play.

That leaves Joan Mir heading into his second weekend with the team flying solo. He hasn’t got the best record at Termas but neither has he the worst, so more progress will be the name of the game.

LCR HONDA

The same is true for Alex Rins (LCR Honda Castrol) as he managed to finish top Honda. The mission continues for Rins and Mir to adapt, to learn, and to give quality feedback to Honda as the Japanese giant continue to push towards the front. For Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), the mission is similar – but he also has to try and stay with the new recruits. Can he rediscover some form?

GASGAS FACTORY RACING Tech3

Did someone say first points? Rookie Augusto Fernandez took just those in Portugal, and he’ll want more from Argentina. It’s not a place he’s had much experience though, so that could make the mountain a little bigger this particular weekend. And we’ll be missing Pol Espargaro as he recovers from that Friday crash, with GASGAS also not replacing the injured Spaniard.

CRYPTODATA RNF MotoGP™ TEAM

Promise and then disappointment was RNF’s weekend in Portugal. But Miguel Oliveira certainly put on a great show for the home fans – despite feeling sore all weekend after a highside on Friday – until being crashed out of contention on Sunday. Now, he’ll miss the Argentina GP and Raul Fernandez races solo. The Spaniard had an underwhelming season opener and will need to start banking those points soon as the new bike, new team and second season of MotoGP™ are all opportunities to show that incredible pace we’ve seen in Moto2™.

SHOWTIME

Friday’s two practice sessions decide entrants to Q2, before the MotoGP™ grid qualify on Saturday morning. The Tissot Sprint then gets in gear at 15:00 on Saturday, before Sunday puts on a stunner at 14:00. Don’t miss it!

Tissot Sprint: Saturday 15:00 (GMT -3)

Grand Prix Race: Sunday 14:00 (GMT -3)

See you there!

Can Acosta double down in Argentina?

Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) overcame two kinds of pressure in Portimao to leave with the first win of the season: the pressure of Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40) chasing him all the way home, and that of the hype that has already risen to swirl around the number 37 again.

With a little less experience of Termas de Rio Hondo, can he keep the roll going? Can Canet hit back? Or will the very different venue belong to someone else entirely? We’ll find out at 12:15 (GMT -3) on Sunday!

Sophomore success leads Moto3™ into Argentina

The season opener saw Moto3™ sophomores lock out the podium, with Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3), David Muñoz (BOE Motorsports) and Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) pipping rookie Jose Antonio Rueda (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Now the likes of veterans Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) and Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) will be looking to hit back… and Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) will be aiming for less of a mountain to climb. Tune in for more spectacular Moto3™ at 11:00 (GMT -3) on Sunday!

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