Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina

2019 Argentina MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Honda's Race Pace, Ducati's Revelation, Yamaha's Race Pace, And How The Rain Means None Of This Matters

Qualifying in MotoGP is always important, but at the Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina, it matters just that little bit more. That would seem odd at such a fast and flowing track, but the problem is that the circuit doesn't get used much. That leaves the surface dusty, and without much rubber on the track to provide grip. Over the three days of the Grand Prix weekend, the three classes gradually clean up the track and put down a layer of rubber, adding to the grip.

The trouble is, because it is practice and qualifying, most of that rubber gets laid down on the racing line, as everyone tries to find the quickest line around the circuit. Stray from that line, and you are quickly back in green, dusty tarmac, with nary a hint of rubber on it. The grip is gone. "That's an important thing, because if you go 1 meter wide, you feel the bike like it is floating," is how Danilo Petrucci describes it.

That's why qualifying matters so much. If you start from the first couple of rows, you stand a chance of getting in the leading group, and biding your time until a safe opportunity presents itself. But if you don't qualify up front, or you mess up the start, then you have to take your chances out on the dirty part of the track, and hope your luck holds.

Run wide at your peril

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2019 Argentina MotoGP FP4 Result: Marquez Re-establishes Chain of Command

Marc Marquez covercame a broken chain on his number one bike Saturday and topped the timesheet in FP4 as the riders worked on race-setup with qualifying up ahead at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. 

Cal Crutchlow, who effectively is the number two factory Honda as Jorge Lorenzo recovers from injuries, finished only a tenth arrears of Marquez as the two swapped fast laps. Crutchlow won the bizzare 2018 race which saw a solo race start by Jack Miller and three penalties for Marquez.

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2019 Argentina MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Reigns, Dovizioso Crashes

Marc Marquez maintained his stranglehold on the MotoGP class in Argentina, dominating the final session of free practice from start to finish. The Repsol Honda rider led for most of the session, unseated temporarily during the final push for Q2, but claiming back top spot toward the end, before opening a gap of a couple of tenths over Jack Miller with his final lap.

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2019 Argentina Moto2 FP3 Result: Gardner Holds Off Marini And Luthi

Remy Gardner has topped the timesheets after the final session of free practice for the Moto2 class. The Australian just held off a charge by Luca Marini and Tom Luthi to clinch top spot by mere hundredths of a second. 

Jorge Navarro impressed on the Speed Up, taking fourth just behind Luthi, while Jorge Martin was the quickest of the KTMs, under two tenths off the pace of Gardner. Nicolo Bulega, another rookie, was sixth quickest.

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