A broken down cargo freighter has thrown the schedule for the Argentina Grand Prix at Termas de Rio Hondo into chaos. One of the aircraft carrying some of the freight from Indonesia to Argentina suffered problems, causing the freight to get stuck in Mombasa, Kenya, and delaying its arrival at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. With bikes from a number of teams missing - including the Gresini Ducati of MotoGP championship leader Enea Bastianini - it was decided to cancel practice for all three classes on Friday, and to begin the weekend on Saturday instead.
The problems are twofold. On the one hand, the bikes of several teams - including the Gresini and VR46 MotoGP squads, and the Marc VDS team in Moto2 - will only be delivered to the paddock very late on Thursday evening. The bikes were not cleaned after the race in Indonesia, and the MotoGP bikes, who rode in the rain, are in need of a very thorough clean. Mechanics from one team took 3 hours just to clean the bikes which had arrived from Mandalika.
The other issue is that it is not just bikes which are missing. Crates belonging to equipment suppliers have also been affected, meaning that spare helmets, gloves, leathers, boots etc are also missing. Typically, at least one set of leathers will travel with race bikes, but the spares are needed in case of the inevitable crashes. Missing bikes and spare equipment has made it impossible to get everything ready for Friday morning, without creating unsafe working conditions for paddock staff. Mechanics having to work on just a few hours sleep is a risk for everyone involved.
With Friday canceled, a new schedule has been drawn up for Saturday. It is a very hectic day of action, with two practice sessions for each class on Saturday morning/early afternoon. Moto3 and Moto2 get two 40-minute sessions, and MotoGP gets two 45-minute sessions. Qualifying then happens as usual on Saturday afternoon, the only difference being that FP4 for MotoGP is now FP3. Warm up has also been extended for all three classes, Moto2 and Moto3 getting 20 minutes, MotoGP half an hour.
The new schedule appears below, with the press release from Dorna with more details below that.
|12:00||Moto3||Race (21 laps)|
|13:20||Moto2||Race (23 laps)|
|15:00||MotoGP||Race (25 laps)|
Logistical issues oblige Argentina GP time schedule change
Thursday, 31 March 2022
Logistical issues affecting freight for the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship have obliged a schedule change for the upcoming Gran Prix of Argentina. Five cargo flights were scheduled to ship paddock material from Lombok, Indonesia, to Tucuman, close to Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, in the week following the Indonesian GP.
Due to two separate issues affecting two different flights, the final freight for the Argentina GP will now arrive in the country on Friday. The flight contains freight for all classes of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, with changes to the time schedule therefore obliged for all classes.
Free Practice sessions will now begin and take place for all classes on Saturday morning. Of the sessions that normally take place on Friday, only one has been cancelled, with the other moved to Saturday. Qualifying will take place on Saturday afternoon, with a slightly later start time.
Warm Up sessions on Sunday morning have been extended, with each race set to begin at the same start time as originally scheduled.
The trip from Lombok to Termas consisted of five flights. Three of the planned cargo routes took freight from Lombok to Tucuman via technical stops in Mombasa, Lagos and Brazil. The two other routes saw freight planned to travel from Lombok to Doha, Doha to Accra in Ghana and then on to Tucuman.
The chain of events started last Wednesday when one of the five airplanes suffered a problem during a technical stop in Mombasa, Kenya. The first plane which had already arrived in Tucuman was then returned to Lombok to collect more freight, and unfortunately has also suffered a technical problem during a layover this past Wednesday night.
As of Thursday morning local time in Argentina, one cargo load remains grounded in Mombasa, Kenya. The plane is awaiting a part in order to return to the air, with two parts – one dispatched from Europe and another back up part, dispatched from the Middle East – already en route.
The plane is expected to take off this evening and will follow the route from Mombasa via Lagos and Brazil, arriving in Tucuman on Friday.
Dorna and IRTA would like to thank the teams and paddock personnel for their effort and understanding, as well as the promoter of the Grand Prix of Argentina for their invaluable support and assistance.
We also would like to thank fans for their patience, both those in Argentina and those watching around the world, and we look forward to enjoying some fantastic track action and racing on Saturday and Sunday.
Please find attached the new time schedule for the Gran Premio Michelin® de la Republica Argentina.