Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at the Termas de Rio Honda circuit in Argentina:
Marquez clinches breath-taking pole for Red Bull GP of Argentina
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez has clinched his 24th MotoGP pole position – and second successive – for tomorrow’s twenty-five lap race in Argentina, with teammate Hiroshi Aoyama qualifying 15th.
With track temperatures almost doubling since this morning’s FP3 session, replacement rider Hiroshi was unable to find a better feeling with the Honda RC213V and did not manage to reach Q2. His time of 1’39.715 placed him 15th for tomorrow’s race. Marc, who has been fastest all day, opted for a three-stop strategy in Q2, in order to take maximum advantage of each new tyre. He was able to improve on each exit and his pole time of ￼￼1’37.802 was over half a second faster than second place Aleix Espargaro, and only 0.119 off his 2014 pole record.
Tomorrow’s race will start at 16h00 local time.
“I am happy today, because we were able to fight for pole and eventually got it. It was a lot of fun, because we used a three-tyre strategy and it worked well. It was important to start from the front tomorrow, because the track is quite dirty and that makes it harder to overtake. We'll see what happens, we expect a pretty tough race with even higher temperatures than today. My strongest rivals - Jorge and Valentino - are starting from the second row, so I hope to have a good start and a strong race.”
“Yesterday I struggled to find a good feeling with the bike and also this morning, I still wasn’t comfortable. Then this afternoon we changed something with the setup and I found some confidence on the bike which allowed me to push. In qualifying we made another step with the setup and improved the lap time but of course it’s not the position we had hoped for. We still have some areas to improve and I hope we can find a step in time for the race.”
The Battle Continues in Argentina Qualifying
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 18th April 2015
Movistar Yamaha riders Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi were back on track today in Argentina in qualifying for tomorrow‘s Grand Prix de la República Argentina. The duo enjoyed the best weather conditions yet of the weekend with sunshine and a dry track, Lorenzo taking fifth on the second row and teammate Rossi taking eighth on the third.
Mallorcan double premier class champion Lorenzo was as usual the first man on track and quick to break under the 39s with a first hot lap of 1‘38.485, securing provisional second in the first flurry of activity. Unable to improve on the time he returned to the pits for fresh rubber before hitting the track again with just under seven minutes remaining. The second stint proved challenging and he was unable to better the first hot lap, settling for the second row start tomorrow.
Teammate Rossi‘s first flying lap put him into eighth in the standings with a 1‘39.631. He then picked up the pace a little, dropping half a second to follow up with a 1‘39.116, moving briefly to fifth before a flurry of competitor laps dropped him to sixth. He returned to the pits for a new rear and was back out with six minutes left on the clock. A last minute push was enough to break under the 39s and deliver a 1‘38.890 for the third row.
99 Jorge Lorenzo
5th / 1'38.485 / 8 laps
"The pace was good at the beginning but it drops on the rear tyre as it wears. In qualifying my first lap was very good but the second one I made too many mistakes and I couldn't improve the time. It's a pity because without any mistakes I could be in second place. That's racing; sometimes you don‘t get the perfect lap. We will probably go for the harder rear tyre but we still have to decide on the front for tomorrow‘s race."
46 Valentino Rossi
8th / 1'38.890 / 8 laps
"I am very upset for the qualifying because I feel I could do better. Our strategy was not perfect, we arrived in traffic and unfortunately it was not possible to improve. On the other side, with the hard tyres the bike works well and I have a good pace, that is most important for the race. We have to work in some places as we still have some issues to solve, we will try to improve and do the best we can in the race. The normal tyre is too soft so I will probably use the extra hard rear for the race."
“The qualifying didn't go exactly as we expected. Overall we are satisfied as we improved step by step from the first practice sessions to today where in FP4 the pace was really good, so for the race we are still confident. We will definitely make another step for tomorrow‘s warm up and we will be ready to race. The tyre choice has been made so we are now focused on the fine-tuning. Both Jorge and Vale have been consistently fast, in FP4 Vale did his best lap at the end and showed he can be fast on used tyres. A double podium is definitely realistic goal for us.”
Front row start for Andrea Iannone, who sets third-quickest time in qualifying at Termas de Rio Hondo. Dovizioso, sixth, will start from row 2 for the Argentina Grand Prix
Both Ducati Team riders had a good qualifying session today at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Andrea Iannone set the third-quickest time and will start from the front row of the grid for tomorrow’s Argentina Grand Prix, while Andrea Dovizioso will line up on row 2 with sixth-quickest time.
On a bright sunny day, with an air temperature of around 26 degrees, the Ducati Team riders took to the track in the morning’s FP3 session, notching up the third (Iannone) and fourth-quickest (Dovizioso) times, as a result guaranteeing their passage into the all-important Q2 session.
In the afternoon, following the 30 minutes of FP4 which concluded with Dovizioso in fourth and Iannone in seventh, the two Italian riders got ready to go out on track shortly after for the second qualifying run, this time decisive for the first four rows of the grid.
On his second run with the medium compound rear tyre, Iannone was third quickest with a lap of 1’38.467,around six-tenths away from poleman Marquez, while Dovizioso had to settle for sixth place and row 2, with a time of 1’38.520.
Andrea Iannone (Ducati Team #29) – 1’38.467 (3rd)
“I am pleased because the front row was one of our aims and we managed to achieve it, but together with my team we still have to try and find a solution to get the best out of the soft tyre. In any case we did a good job, and my team helped me a lot this weekend. I managed to improve and get the best set-up for my GP15 in each session, and this is vitally important. For sure tomorrow it will be important to get a good start and I must try not to stress the rear tyre too much, in particular because we do not have the extra-hard compound, and I hope to be there fighting with the leaders throughout the race.”
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 1’38.520 (6th)
“I am satisfied with the work that we have done, because we arrived in FP4 both competitive and fast and we even managed to improve a little. We also did a comparison run of the two front tyres available and in this heat the hard one goes a bit better. In qualifying I was unable to put together a good complete lap, and it’s a pity that I missed out on the front row by so little, but it’s not a big problem. In my opinion it will be a very difficult race because everyone will have to manage their rear tyres, but we are fast and so it will be very important to get a good start. Only in the race will we really see what the pace is, but above all who will manage to be consistent for the whole 25 laps.”
FRONT ROW FOR ESPARGARO & TEAM SUZUKI ECSTAR
Team Suzuki Press Office – April 18th
In only its third race since Suzuki’s return to MotoGP, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro has put the GSX-RR on the front row of the MotoGP™ grid.
The Spaniard has been in the lead positions for the whole weekend in Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina and finally exploited his good feelings to finalise a 1’38.316s lap-time that gives him second place on the grid for tomorrow’s race. This is an historical result for Suzuki and Espargaro’s front-row rewards the huge job made at Hamamatsu in Japan during the last three years to deliver a top-performing machine and the time spent setting-up a competitive team by Suzuki Motor Corporation.
Espargaro’s team-mate Maverick Viñales also had a positive qualifying, whose feeling with both the team and the GSX-RR is constantly improving: so-much-so he scored a 1’39.187s lap-time, which gives him third row on the grid. The young rookie has constantly improved his lap-times throughout the weekend, better understanding how to use his tyres and get to a final set-up for the race.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager:
“We are very happy for Aleix’s result, it’s great to be on the front row since it is only our third race since our comeback and we must be proud of this. I want to thank all the guys in the crew; this is a brand-new team that started from zero this year, as well as all the people in Japan who worked hard over the past three years to allow us to be here. I’d like to think that this result is a stimulus to continue, being aware that we have a lot of good potential in both our riders and our bikes, so we can still improve a lot.
“We are happy for Maverick’s ninth place as well, of course. He has constantly improved during the first three races: he made direct access to Q2 today, then the third row! For sure he is improving and little-by-little his potential is coming out.
“Of course we know that tomorrow’s race will be very hard, we still don’t know how our hard tyres will behave compared to competitors’ extra-hard during the course of the race, but we have a very effective bike and good riders so we will see what will happen. For the moment we will enjoy the day today and tomorrow we will see.”
“It’s great to be on the front row! I did also try to attack pole position but today Marc did a sensational lap. However second place is what we needed to give us the best of chances. This front row is a good result also for all the team, including my technicians, engineers and also the people in Japan. This is an ‘energy refill’ for everybody. I’m aware that the race tomorrow will be very hard, when the rear tyre gets worn – we will have a lot of chattering, but since we don’t have the extra-hard compound we will do the best to finalise a proper set-up and try to be fighting with the top riders until the end. I’m happy for this second place; tomorrow I will try to exploit it in the best possible way and stay as close as possible to the top and gain as many points as possible for the championship.”
“The third row is a good result for me; it shows that I’m improving day-by-day and race-after-race. I still miss the proper feeling with the soft tyre so I couldn’t make the best of the best lap for qualifying, but this also means that we have room for improvements. We are working step-by-step, still learning how to better interpret the lines and I hope we will continue to improve just like we have so far. The race will be hard, we still lack some details to finalise the perfect set-up and tyre choice so we will work again tonight with the data and tomorrow in the warm-up, but my overall feeling is good, so I am confident.”
Bautista does his best qualifying for a spot on the seventh row with the nineteenth best time. Eighth row for Melandri
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), 18 April 2015 - Saturday qualifiers for Aprilia Racing Team Gresini leading up to the Argentinian GP.
After the last two free practice sessions which both Melandri and Bautista spent looking for the best setups for the race tomorrow, the Spaniard rode his RS-GP to the 19th best time in qualifiers that determine the starting order on the grid. This is his best result in this early phase of the season which has the V4 from Noale making its début and it earns him the best spot on the seventh row. Marco Melandri, who closed the gap behind the pack throughout the weekend, finished with the 24th best time, placing himself on the eighth row.
ROMANO ALBESIANO (Aprilia Racing Manager)
"It was a good day. We lapped the entire day with good times, improving the bikes compared to yesterday and also identifying directions for development of the chassis. I would say that the qualifiers were good for both riders. Both Alvaro and Marco were a bit disappointed because of a few tenths of a second lost during their good laps, but at the moment it is encouraging to see the gaps closing behind those who are in front of us. I'm also pleased that Marco is gradually closing the gap behind his team mate. That is very important for us."
FAUSTO GRESINI (Team Manager)
"We worked a lot in various directions. Both to improve performance and to have the most possible data to work with when we get back home. All in all I'm pleased with the qualifiers. Tomorrow will be a difficult race to manage in terms of tyre wear and I think that we'll even be able to improve compared to the practice sessions. I'm happy that Marco has gotten significantly closer to the pack in front of him. It is encouraging even if we know how much work we need to do to improve."
"We worked hard and well. In the morning we tried a chassis setup which was quite different than yesterday to improve performance in turns and we were able to gain a bit. In FP4 we tested with the hard front tyre to see if it might be an option for the race, but I didn't feel very confident with it so we'll be using the medium tomorrow. In the qualifiers I just tried to be as precise as possible. It's a shame that in the two good laps I lost a few tenths, but it is still a good day. Looking after the tyres will be essential tomorrow, especially in the first laps."
"I thought I would have improved more compared to yesterday, especially in the qualifiers. We need to find more grip at the rear and to improve stability in order to close out the turns better. This is a fundamental condition for me to be able to really push."
Smith to challenge Argentinian GP from 10th on the grid
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team rider Bradley Smith will launch from the head of the fourth row of the grid for the Argentina Grand Prix at the fast flowing Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo. After finishing this morning's free practice 3 in 13th, which saw the British rider qualify for QP1, the 23 year old concentrated on assessing different setup options in FP4 as he completed the session in 12th position. With the sun shining down on the circuit for the crucial qualifying sessions, Smith shot to the top of the heap with an impressive lap of 1’38.956 during QP1. This time permitted the Briton to progress through to the final 15 minute shootout. Smith powered onwards as he sought a top grid position and set his personal best on the 6th lap with a 1’39.197 which confirmed his starting position of 10th tomorrow. The young British star remains confident for tomorrow's race where he will intend to once again challenge for the position of the leading satellite bike in the premier class.
Meanwhile, Pol Espargaro endured a tricky qualifying campaign to post a lap time of 1’39.808, leaving him in 18th position on the grid for tomorrow’s 25 lap dash. The young Spaniard began the day by finishing the FP3 session in 11th place but just 0.014 of a second behind the final Q2 position which meant he had to partake in qualifying 1. Here, the 2014 rookie of the year executed a fully determined effort on the challenging circuit, yet still wasn't able to lower his lap time enough to participate in qualifying session 2. Now, the 23 year old Spaniard looks ahead to tomorrow where he will aim to undertake a strong start and then climb through the field to a top ten position.
Position : 10th Times : 1'39.197 Laps : 8
"Obviously, it was not ideal to go through QP1 again today, but I managed to post a really good lap time that allowed me to get into qualifying 2. Unfortunately, there was only one compound of my favoured front tyre left which I decided to keep for the race tomorrow and so I had to run with a used one in qualifying 2. As a result, I couldn't push as hard as before but nevertheless, we did an ok job considering that the tyre had already covered a full race distance in the end. Perhaps we could have been a position or two higher, but 10th is acceptable and especially as it has been quite a tricky weekend so far. Now, we will focus even more on the race pace as this is vital in terms of success tomorrow. Having a competitive bike for 25 laps is highly significant as there is a big tyre drop here and therefore, there is potentially a lot of time to gain. So this is what we will focus on tomorrow in the warm up. The team did a great job and I must say thanks to them as they turned my bike around and adjusted it to make me feel more comfortable on this track. We need to continue working a little bit more, but we are starting to find the right direction to head towards. This may be a bit late in the race weekend, but Sunday is where everything matters."
Position : 18th Times : 1'39.808 Laps : 8
"It goes without saying that I am far from satisfied with how things went today. We concentrated a lot on our race rhythm and tried both compounds of tyre in the initial two free practice sessions plus we completed many laps with the extra hard one and I’m convinced that my pace is pretty good. It was a pity that we couldn’t go straight through to QP2 and that we missed it by just 0.014 of a second. Also, we were close to the factory bikes who were just three tenths away. Nevertheless, I was still confident as we have known since the beginning of the season that this type of situation could happen during the year as the level is really similar and the manufacturers who are allowed to use the softer tyres have improved their bikes a lot. However, unfortunately the session was a disaster. We need to analyse what exactly happened as when I went out for my second run, which was the one where I planned to do a time attack, I realised that it was impossible to ride fast with the bike like this. To be honest, I do not know what was wrong, but I couldn’t even come close to setting my fastest time of the weekend. To kick off the race from 18th is not good news at all and I will need a lot of patience plus a well thought out plan to make up the positions. It will be difficult for sure but until we started this session, my feelings here were positive. Now I need to be confident that we can turn the weekend around tomorrow."
Fourth row start for Redding in South America
Termas de Río Hondo, Argentina – 18 April 2015: Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Scott Redding came close to a second top 10 starting position of 2015 at the end of MotoGP qualifying in Argentina today.
Track conditions at the technical and fast Termas de Rio Hondo circuit may have improved considerably compared to yesterday’s slippery surface. But much hotter conditions still made it a challenging task for Redding to find optimum grip on his Honda RC213V machine.
The 22-year-old set a best lap of 1.39.380 to finish 11th on the grid, with Redding unable to find confidence under acceleration to push for a faster lap time.
The Termas de Rio Hondo is notoriously severe on tyres, with several high-speed sections and an abrasive surface making it one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar for riders and Bridgestone.
As a result, Redding plans to race the new extra hard rear compound tyre to capitalize on the better durability it offers for tomorrow’s 25-lap race.
Scott Redding: 11th - 1'39.380
“I am pretty frustrated with how it went today. The track was cleaner than yesterday but the much higher track temperatures meant it was still hard to find grip. My biggest issue is rear edge grip and it is the same on the hard and extra hard rear tyre. I can’t recover the spin when the rear starts sliding, so we’ll have a look at the data tonight and figure out a plan to improve for the race. I am going to race the extra hard tyre because it will have better endurance for what looks like being a long and hot race.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“After Scott qualified in sixth place last weekend in Austin we were hoping for a similar result today. But it is clear that he has some rear grip issues and we need to study the data in detail later to try and find a solution for the race. I am sure he can fight for the top 10 tomorrow and it will be a good way to bounce back from the disappointment of Texas.”
Petrux gains a fantastic 7th position. Yonny will start 13th
Thanks to the fantastic seventh time of Danilo Petrucci, Pramac Racing Team earns an exciting third row of the starting grid of the GP de la Republica Argentina which will take place tomorrow at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo. Yonny Hernandez will start two rows behind as he narrowly missed to qualify for the Q2.
It was a day superb day of activity for Petrux who directly qualified to Q2 for the second week in row. Following his 8th place in FP3 (only 5 cents of a second behind Marc Marquez's fastest time) the rider from Terni managed to further lower his chrono notching up a time of 1'38.786 (3 tenths of a second from the front row) which will allow him to start tomorrow from 7th position and improving the 9th place on the starting grid gained in Qatar.
Yonny Hernandez finished with disappointment as the qualifying to Q2 vanished for 8 hundredths of a second. After having started in the FP3 with some difficulties (14th place), the Colombian rider has found a good feeling with his Ducati Desmosedici Gp14.2 managing to keep a step in a convincing FP4 (fifth time). The good laptime of 1'39.405 set in Q1 (that would be worth the 12th position in Q2) was not enough to conquer one of the two places available to reach the second qualifying session. Yonny will start tomorrow from the thirteenth position.
7° Danilo Petrucci - Pramac Racing #9 - 1'38.786
"The Q2 is our big goal of any Saturday also because it allows to save time to work as well as save the tires from Q1. Probably the race pace is not the best yet. That's why we are planning to try some alternative solutions tomorrow morning in order to improve the rear grip and the corner entry with full of gasoline. In the meantime I'm enjoying this qualifying. I'm really pleased. In front of me there are few riders but they are all top riders: it is thrilling to be in the third row. I hope to manage to stay with them during the race even if it will be really tough".
13° Yonny Hernandez - Pramac Racing #68 - 1'39.405
"I'm quite satisfied because during the day I managed to lap pretty well. Unfortunately I failed to qualify for the Q2 by only one position and that is a shame. Tomorrow there will be an opportunity to confirm that I felt I had good pace today and I will try to do my best to get to the chequered flag in the top 10. I hope to start good as it happened to Austin and finish the race gaining important points for the championship”.
Differing results for POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar riders at Termas de Rio Hondo
Eugene Laverty with his best yet in MotoGP to finish in 14th place, while Nicky Hayden trails in 20th
For the second consecutive round Marc Márquez brilliantly claimed the pole, and seems to be ready to repeat his form of the start of last season. The Spaniard was over half a second from his nearest rival, having dominated Q2 from start to finish. This time it has not been necessary to run down the pit lane or produce a seemingly impossible lap, as he was in front from the start, and merely had to gradually lower his lap time. Aleix Espargaró finished second to prove his form on the first day was no flash in the pan and that he is ready to aim for the podium. Tyre wear at this abrasive circuit could be a determining factor at the end of Sunday’s race. There was trouble again for the Yamaha riders on the second day, as the best, Jorge Lorenzo, was 'only' fifth.
Eugene Laverty has also been rewarded today for his good work on the first day, doing a great job again, and getting ready to race. Already this morning he had achieved a great time which allowed him to finish seven tenths off the best lap. A positive effort considering the length of this circuit. The Irishman anticipated that this circuit could require time to adapt to, but despite his inexperience The POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar was 14th in qualifying. He also has a great race pace for tomorrow in Argentina. In contrast his teammate Nicky Hayden is finding it tougher at Termas de Río Hondo and concluded the day in 20th place. Nevertheless, the American is convinced he can turn things around tomorrow and get a good result like last weekend in Austin.
Eugene Laverty, 14th, 1’39.434: "Today has certainly been my best day since I'm in MotoGP. This morning we did a great job, getting really close to the top ten. In Qatar we improved, in Austin too and here we have done it again. Our feeling with the Honda is getting better, we were able to conclude today in 14th position, so I consider it a positive result. The good thing is we've got a fast lap, but also in the final practice session we had a strong pace on hard tyres. Today we made some changes to the chassis which allowed me to brake harder. We still need a little more maneuverability in the front end, so during the warm-up session will make a couple of small tests. In general the bike set up is good. I am satisfied, tomorrow I hope to end the weekend successfully, I would definitely like to get some points and have a good battle."
Nicky Hayden, 20th, 1’39.876: "This morning I was able to lap in 1’39.9 with hard tyres in the first outing and I thought we were on the right track. But the temperature has changed considerably as the day went on and with it the conditions changed. We worked hard but we ended the day in 20th position. Clearly I am not satisfied with my performance or my qualifying result. I think the bike has more potential and we need to understand how to get it out. The asphalt was quite hot today and this has affected the balance of the bike. This afternoon we have to analyze all the data for tomorrow to give our best in the race. It will be a tough race because we will start at the back but we will try to do our best."
Three out of three for Hector Barbera in the Open Class
Avintia Racing MotoGP – Grand Prix of Argentina – Q2
Avintia Racing Team rider Hector Barbera was again the fastest Open class bike. This was the third consecutive Open class pole position for the Spanish rider, but this time it was even better as he got a place in the Q2, the final qualifying session reserved for the 12 fastest riders. Once he achieved his goal and with the fourth row of the grid secured, Barbera used the 15 minutes session to make a short run for tomorrow´s race. The set up of his Ducati Desmosedici GP14.1 is not perfect yet for tomorrow’s 25 laps race in Argentina.
It was not so easy for his teammate in the Avintia Racing, Mike Di Meglio, who had the same problems as yesterday. Once again it was difficult for him and his crew to find the best way with the set up of the bike and he finished 23rd on the grid for tomorrow. But the French rider is confident, he thinks that he can gain some positions and a good race tomorrow if they find the way in the 20 minutes warm up session.
HECTOR BARBERA #8 12th (1st Open) 1'39.320 / @HectorBarbera
I’m really happy because the Q2 was our target since we started the season and it was difficult to archive. It seamed almost impossible, but our dream came true here in Argentina. We found a good set up for the qualifying practice, but we have to solve some issues in tomorrow’s warm up. But we were very fast and I enjoyed riding the bike. To be ahead of some factory bikes and to be the first Open is the maximum we can do. But is not something casual, it is the result of a team working at hundred per cent.
MIKE DI MEGLIO #63 23rd 1'40.133 / @Mikejpp63
Today was a difficult day. This morning we saw a few interesting things for the FP4, but like yesterday we didn’t follow one direction until the end with the set up, so it doesn’t work. In the Q1 we tried something different, but the problem remained the same. I think we have to follow just one direction and work on it. Tomorrow’s warm up session will be crucial to find the best set up for the race. If we can manage to do it, I think we can make a good race, because the bike is strong and I’m motivated.
FRUSTRATED CRUTCHLOW NARROWLY MISSES FRONT ROW
Cal Crutchlow will start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina from the second row of the grid, after he narrowly missed out on his first front row start for the CWM LCR Honda Team during Saturday’s qualifying session.
The Brit went into the qualifying practice as the second fastest rider behind world champion Marc Marquez in the four free practice sessions. However, as temperatures soared at the Termas de Rio Hondo for the 15 minute shootout, Crutchlow was unfortunate to hit traffic on his fast laps, and missed out on the front row by 18 thousandths of a second.
His lap of 1’38.485 does however see him start from the head of row two in fourth place, with an identical lap time to that of former world champ Jorge Lorenzo who had been one of the riders he was forced to slow down behind. Nonetheless the 29 year-old’s second fastest lap was quicker than the Spaniard’s and as such he lines up directly behind Marquez on the grid, with real aspirations to put up a fight for the podium positions.
Cal Crutchlow #35, 4th – 1’38.485 (lap 5 of 7)
“I made a mistake one time on my own to miss a lap, but the two other times I came up behind a slower rider. Lorenzo decided in the middle of the lap that he wanted to go fast, but then in the last sector was really slow and I nearly hit him. I lost three-tenths in that sector, which would have put me second.”
“The next lap I pushed, I met Viñales after he slowed following his best lap so I never had enough time to get back to the flag. This is racing though, and we start from fourth. I’m disappointed because we had the pace to be in the 1‘37s, our ideal lap was easily there so we are positive because of this.”
“Tomorrow we have a tyre choice to make, because we could possibly run the softer option, but we need to test the harder one in the morning to find out.”
REAR GRIP AFFECTS MILLER DURING QUALIFYING
Jack Miller will start Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina from 21st position on the grid after he struggled to find grip with his rear tyre during the qualifying session.
The CWM LCR Honda rider has looked in decent shape with his Open spec RC213V-RS in race trim, but with temperatures soaring at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit on Saturday afternoon, when he put in his softer option tyre he just couldn’t find the traction needed to give himself a better grid position.
The Aussie will start the race from the seventh row, and after having made excellent starts in his two previous outings in MotoGP, will hope to do so again tomorrow.
Jack Miller #43, 21st – 1’39.888 (lap 2 of 8)
“We put in the softer tyre for both of our exits from the pits in qualifying, but on the second one we had a few problems and just couldn’t get any grip. Bridgestone are looking at it now, so we’ll see if we find anything.”
“We are happy with the pace on used tyres, it’s really good so it’s disappointing to be in that qualifying position but for the race we just hope to get a start and I think that with the hard tyre we can stay with the guys in front.”
To Sunday´s race in Argentina from the sixth row on the grid
Czech rider Karel Abraham completed challenging Saturday´s qualifying practice with seventeenth best lap time 1´39.758. Abraham lost just four tenths to the Japanese Hiroshi Aoyama on the factory Honda, which is only the evidence of balanced performance in the first part of qualyfing practice. The Sunday´s race Abraham starts from the sixth row on the grid.
„Today it wasn´t bad at all. The only thing we are dealing with over and over again are the problems with tyres. On this track they are demaged always very soon. After making two or three laps the bike starts to slip. Qualifying was really challenging one. A lot of riders are in just two tenths of one second. In front of me there is Aoyama and Bradl and behind us Pol Espargaro with Bautista and the others. I wish to make good start tomorrow, because the race start will be for sure very dramatic.“
Marco Grana, Cardion AB chief mechanic
„In the morning we were trying soft rear tyre, but we quickly realized that it wasn´t good choice for the race. Then we put hard tyres on and improved lap times on braking. We are satisfied with the result. First Karel is almost one second faster compared to the last year qualifying practice and second we left Pol Esparagaro on factory Yamaha behind us. We are second OPEN class Honda and very close to the best riders. The race tomorrow will be very difficult, but we´ll try to do our best and finished on points and be on the first place in OPEN class.“
Difficult qualifying for the team Athinà Forward Racing in Termas de Rio Hondo
It was an uphill qualifying for the riders of the team Athinà Forward Racing on the track of Termas de Rio Hondo this week which is hosting the Grand Prix of Argentina. Stefan Bradl will start tomorrow in 16th place on the grid while Loris Baz will start from the 22nd place.
Bradl is satisfied with the improvements made to the bike during the day even if he is still struggling to find the right feeling with the tires. The German has posted a personal best of 1.39.734, which earned him third place among the Open just a few tenths from his rivals.
Loris Baz had also some lack of confidence with the tires; he set his personal best of 1.39.972. The Frenchman is getting closer to the top of the Open class and will start tomorrow aiming the first points of the season.
"Compared to yesterday the bike is much better, we made a significant step forward. I'm losing confidence with the tires after the first few laps and that held me back in qualifying. We're ready for tomorrow, we are all very close and I can fight for the head of the Open class, it will be important to stay close to those in front. Everything is possible. We keep to analyzing the data for the race”.
“I can not tell, I am satisfied for the position I'm in but we made a really big step forward compared to yesterday. We tried new solutions for the setting and the feeling improved. Unfortunately the temperature rose just before the session and the conditions have changed making my learning process harder. Overall I posted a good time, a few tenths separate me from the first, but we are all very close and I can do well in the race. Sunday will be a tough for the tires but we have to fight to stay close to the group of those in front”.
Marquez masters hot conditions to claim pole position in Argentina qualifying
Round 3: Argentina MotoGP™ - Qualifying
Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo, Saturday 18 April 2015
Bridgestone slick compounds: Front: Soft, Medium & Hard; Rear: Medium & Hard (Asym.) & Ex-hard (Symmetric)
Bridgestone wet tyre compounds: Soft (Main) & Hard (Alternative)
Weather: FP3 - Dry. Ambient 19-21°C; Track 27-31°C (Bridgestone measurement)
FP4/QP - Dry. Ambient 26-27°C; Track 45-47°C (Bridgestone measurement)
Marc Marquez will start on pole position for tomorrow’s Argentina Grand Prix after the Repsol Honda Team rider set a scorching time of 1’37.802 in Qualifying Practice 2 at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo.
With hot track temperatures causing greasy track conditions, Marquez rode impressively to set a time that was half a second quicker than the next best qualifier, Team SUZUKI ECSTAR’s Aleix Espargaro who managed a best lap of 1'38.316 to secure second place on the grid for tomorrow’s race. Continuing his strong form this weekend, Ducati Team’s Andrea Iannone set a qualifying time 1'38.467 to qualify in third place. Marquez set the benchmark qualifying time using hard compound slicks front and rear, while both Espargaro and Iannone used medium compound slicks front and rear for their hot lap.
Track conditions improved today with more rubber laid on the tarmac situation, although the hot track temperatures meant that Marquez narrowly missed out on bettering the existing Circuit Best Lap record that he set last year. The peak track temperature of 47°C during QP2 was the hottest yet recorded at this circuit and was considerably warmer than experienced in qualifying last year. Apart from the qualifying sessions when riders used softer rear slick options, today the riders focused on using their harder rear slick options in the hot conditions; Extra-hard for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders and hard compound for the rest of the grid. Front tyre choice focused on the medium and hard compound rears, with both options performing well in the hot conditions. The medium compound offering better turn-in, while the hard compound front having an advantage in braking and cornering stability.
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport Tyre Development Department
“There was a big increase in ambient and track temperatures today and with more rubber on the track, we didn’t see any of the graining that was experienced yesterday. The higher track temperatures today meant that many riders evaluated our hard compound front slick for the first time this weekend and it seemed to offer more stability in braking and cornering. At this point it looks like both the medium and hard front slicks will be selected for the race. All three rear slick compounds were used today, although there was a preference for the hard and extra-hard options, and these two are the most likely race options. The hard compound rear offers better initial performance, while the extra-hard rear is more consistent over race distance. On a very hot and demanding day, it was good to see that our tyres could maintain such consistent lap times for all the riders, as every session was extremely close.”