Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after the races at Termas de Rio Hondo:
Superb Victory for Powerful Pawi
With Ono Top6 Finish
Rd02 GP MOTUL DE LA REPÙBLICA ARGENTINA: Saturday, April 3 2016
Ambient: 23℃ : Track: 27℃
Moto3 rookie Khairul Idham Pawi made history for his home country by celebrating a superb victory at the twenty-one lap Argentina GP today. With this victory, he became the first ever Malaysian winner in the world championship. His team mate Hiroki Ono also did a good fight till the end and finished in sixth place.
The dry conditions for the previous two days were replaced with wet conditions in the morning, requiring the use of wet tires for the twenty minutes Warm-Up. Pawi, who set fastest and pulled away others more than one second in the morning session, boosted confidence and concentration for the race. The 17years old Malaysian who chose slicks under the tricky conditions, had a massive lead from the opening lap and crossed the line with huge gap of twenty-six seconds.
Behind from Pawi, Ono contested a fierce but clean battle with his rivals and had a checkered-flag with sixth place.
The first free practice of the Americas GP is set to start at 09:00 (GMT -5) local time in the morning on April 8.
Khairul Idham Pawi (winner)
“I am very happy to have won today in this difficult conditions, but the race was not so difficult for me because my team did an excellent job. During the race, I made my best to keep consistent lap times and pull away other riders. I would like to share this victory with everyone who always support me.”
Hiroki Ono (6th)
“I made a decent start and did a good battle in the group. To be honest, I am a bit disappointed to have finished in sixth place because I had to struggle in high speed corners. Anyway, we had a good race today and I am looking forward to going to Austin.”
Tadayuki Okada - Team Manager
“Congratulations for Pawi to have won the race in this difficult condition! He made our day with his strong victory. Considering the fact that our Moto3 team has just launched a few month ago, it is special. Good job and well done for Ono to have finished sixth. I would like to thank all of our sponsors, partners and everyone who always support us. We will keep this momentum to Austin.”
Binder takes podium finish and series lead in Argentina
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider is new leader in Moto3 after finishing third in tricky conditions. Bo Bendsneyder completes the race twenty-second.
04/03/2016 - Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
Brad Binder took a second consecutive podium from as many races in the 2016 season, with third place in Argentina. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider was able to tackle a tricky damp track at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, claiming third place on the rostrum on the final lap. Teammate Bo Bendsneyder recovered four positions to cross the finish line twenty-second at the Argentinian GP.
After two hot days in Argentina, Sunday morning saw rainfall that complicated matters for the Moto3 World Championship field. Despite the race being declared wet, most riders went out on slicks -as was the case with the Red Bull KTM Ajo pair. From the early stages, Brad Binder was part of a first large group the fight for fourth place, but was always at the head of the pack. Late on, a crash from another rider on the final lap allowed him to complete the contest in third.
Bo Bendsneyder did not have easy race, starting from the ninth row of the grid. On his first ever race in Argentina, the rookie was part of a group battling for nineteenth. After tussling much more experienced competitors such as Romano Fenati and Enea Bastianini, Bendsneyder finished the 21-lap race in twenty-second position.
Binder's third place today, added to his second place in Qatar at the season opener, give the South African the lead in the overall standings with 36 points. Bendsneyder is 21st, with two points. The next race for the Moto3 World Championship will be held next week at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin (United States).
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
"Once again, the track conditions were very difficult today; they were tough to deal with during the entire weekend, because the surface was dirty and has hampered the work of the riders and teams. Brad [Binder] has shown this weekend that he is the rider with the best pace in Moto3, but the rain this morning changed everything. However, in the warmup he went well too, and I am very proud of how he handled the race. He has proven to be very mature, riding with calm and knowing how to handle the risks. In the end, with a little luck, he finished third and claimed another podium, although I would have been happy with a place in the Top 6 with the way the race was set up. The whole team can be very happy, because everyone has done a great job and has helped Brad to perform like this.
For Bo [Bendsneyder] this has been another great experience. At the start he was a little more cautious due to the difficult track conditions, and I understand that. He finished the race for the second time in two Grands Prix, and that is another step forward for him. We have to continue working, race after race."
41 BRAD BINDER
"Before starting the race I talked to Aki [Ajo] and he told me that whatever I did, I should not throw away points. At first it was difficult, but I was very careful. As the laps went by I tried to push a bit more, although there were some times when it was tough with the bumps that this track has. Later I tried to keep on the dry racing line and decided to settle for fourth. I stayed focused and kept looking to get the clean line. On the last lap a crash from another rider put me onto a podium that I was not expecting to feature on today.
We have taken the lead in the World Championship, which doesn't really have much importance after two races, but it means the whole team are doing a good job. We hope to continue in the same way in Austin."
64 BO BENDSNEYDER
"The race was tough because the conditions were very difficult. The asphalt was in mixed conditions and there were both wet and dry patches. After talking with the team we put slicks on the bike, like most of the grid. On the first few laps it was hard riding through the wet parts of the track, but by the end I had found my pace and was able to fight against fast riders like Fenati and Bastianini. I learned a lot from that. I'll take everything that I have learned here and try to use it for the next race; I can't wait to get to Texas."
Jorge Navarro claims valuable podium
Repsol rider finishes second in a race affected by rain. A crash ends the day for Aron Canet, who rode as high up as fourth in Argentina.
Raceday was complicated in the Moto3 class in Argentina due to unstable weather conditions at Termas de Rio Hondo, and rain prior to the Moto3 race presented the riders with a track that was both wet and dry in places. In a difficult race, Jorge Navarro was able to handle the situation well and leave the Argentinian GP with 20 points to his name, thanks to his finishing second. He had held onto the position right up to the final corner in a battle with Adam Norrodin –his rival crashing out after being forced into a mistake. Rookie Aron Canet showed great poise in only his second ever Grand Prix, and spent the race in the third group, fighting for fifth place. A crash with three laps remaining meant that he went unrewarded for his efforts, but he nevertheless showed his competitiveness in a group of very experienced riders.
Jorge Navarro 2nd at 26.170 sec.
"The hardest thing about today's race was deciding on the starting grid which tyres we were going to use. This track has good grip and we eventually opted for slicks. The first few laps were used to check the state of the track and I let a few laps go by calmly in order not to take risks. However, when I saw that the group was a little dangerous because there were riders in there who aren't used to being so high up the order –and could make mistakes–, I decided to put myself at the head of the pack and push. I caught Norrodin and when I saw that Pawi was far ahead, I decided to use caution and kept my pace up until the end. On the last lap I knew Norrodin would try a move, but he had several scares and went down at the last corner. I feel sorry for him, but for us this result is very good."
Aron Canet not classified
"It was a difficult race. I had never ridden in mixed conditions and this situation is a bit confusing, but it's true that you learn a lot when you ride in these circumstances. The fight in groups that we had reminded me of the FIM CEV Repsol; I was comfortable and I was able to control the race from the second or third position I occupied in the group. At the end of the race we made a mistake, but we are already thinking about the next race."
First points of the season for RBA Racing
Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
Today the circuit of Termas de Rio Hondo hosted the races of the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina.
After the rain in the morning, the riders from Moto3 had to deal with the track in mixed conditions. The choice to use slick tyres proved to be the right one, despite being risky in the parts that were still wet.
Guevara had a good start, getting straight away close to the top-10. The Spanish youngster improved his rhythm lap after lap, fighting to score points. Eventually Juanfran crossed the finishing line in 12th position, achieving his first 4 points for the general classification.
Rodrigo started off the day with a good pace in the warm up with wet conditions, which granted him the 12th time. In the race, the Argentinian had a good start. Even if he didn’t finish in the top-15, throughout the weekend Gabriel proved that he was improving and that he is getting closer and closer to the points.
#58 Juanfran Guevara: 12th
”Today’s race wasn’t too bad: we could finish on a positive note. We achieved our first few points, since in Qatar we didn’t manage to. We weren’t expecting these track conditions, after all the work we did throughout the weekend on the dry. It was a tough race: it was declared wet, but most of us used the slick tyres. There were some tricky parts, where the track was still very wet. On the first lap I did my best not to lose positions, after I tried to maintain a consistent rhythm and to stay focused. For us it was important to finish the race and grab some points. Despite all the trouble, we could save this one. The positive part is that on dry tarmac we improved a lot, compared to Qatar we have a better setting. With the team we understand each other well and we’ve been developing work for the race during all the sessions. We have a good base, now we must fix the small mistakes for next week. The objective we had in the preseason was to be in the top-10, now we’re getting closer and closer.”
#19 Gabriel Rodrigo: 19th
“This morning we had a wet warm up and I was quite fast, without having to risk too much. I finished 12th, but the situation got more complicated for the race because the track started to dry. There were dry lines in a few areas and the conditions were complicated, but that was the same for everybody. We decided to use slick tyres. I started off quite well, but I had a couple of moments that cut my confidence short. I was on my own and maintained in 17th position for quite a few laps. I worked to keep the position, but right on the last lap I was overtaken and eventually I finished 19th. It’s not the end we wanted because the results from the sessions of the weekend made us hope in something better. Our objective was to finish within the points. We must stay positive, since we did learn a lot in these difficult conditions and that will be useful for the future. We are going to keep working in this direction in order to achieve a better result in Austin.”
Martin fights through to eighth in fraught Argentine GP
Santiago del Estero Province, 03 April 2016:
Aspar Mahindra rider Jorge Martin opened his World Championship account today in Argentina, with a brilliant ride through from 19th on the grid to a strong eighth place – making the most of his wet-weather skills and the sweet handling of his MGP3O racer on a treacherous drying circuit.
While team-mate Pecco Bagnaia – third in the opening round in Qatar – struggled with the conditions in round two at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, and finished out of the points, Martin made a blazing start from the seventh row, and by lap two of 21 of the 4.806-km circuit he crossed the line in sixth place.
The white-liveried Mahindra – all new this year from the only Indian constructor in the World Championship – was in the thick of a jostling pack chasing runaway winner Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda), Malaysia’s first GP winner.
Martin was challenging for the lead of a typically close seven-strong battle fighting for an eventual third. Riders were changing places throughout as they searched for grip on the fast and sinuous circuit. All were using no-tread slick tyres, and lingering damp patches, as well as brief swirls of rain made it a battle not only for split seconds, but also for survival.
In the later stages, Martin found himself battling with John McPhee, riding a Peugeot: sister machine to the Mahindra. Only at the closing stages did the Spaniard lose pace with a gear-shifting issue, and McPhee was able to escape to seventh place.
Next weekend, Mahindra will rejoin the Moto3 battle at Austin in Texas, before the opening of the European season in another fortnight.
JORGE MARTIN – Eighth Place
I am quite satisfied and was expecting a good race: the rain helped us a bit. I could make a very good start and was in fifth and able to fight in the group. Then I had a problem with the gearshift, and couldn’t keep the rhythm of the group. But eighth is okay.
MUFADDAL CHOONIA – CEO, Mahindra Racing
The race result was far more satisfying than the rest of the weekend. Argentina has traditionally been a difficult track for Mahindra. Conditions did help us, but at the same time they were very tricky, so it could have gone either way. We’re happy also to see our brand, Peugeot Motocycles, well up in the points. Both Martin on our Mahindra and Peugeot’s John McPhee rode brilliantly, from way back on the grid, taking some risks in the early stages and reaping the rewards at the end, with eighth and seventh places."
Morbidelli unlucky to miss podium in Argentina
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli was robbed of a podium finish when he crashed out of second place on the penultimate lap of the Argentine Grand Prix.
The cruel blow came after a superb performance in tricky conditions after overnight and morning rain had cleared before the start.
Morbidelli started fifth on the grid but immediately settled in the lead group with Moto2 World Champion Johann Zarco, Sam Lowes and Jonas Folger in a race long, four-way fight for victory.
Morbidelli, 21, was both fast and patient and had secured second place behind eventual race winner Zarco on lap 22 of the 23-lap race.
The Italian young gun then crashed out when his rear tyre hit a damp patch on the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit. He bravely remounted to be classified in 25th place.
The nightmare start to the 2016 season continued for Spanish rider Alex Marquez who crashed out at the start of lap two as he fought for track position in 11th after qualifying 15th.
Marquez also failed to finish the opening race in Qatar and is now determined to reverse his unlucky run at the next race in Texas
Franco Morbidelli: 25th
“I was fighting for the podium again in this race but first of all I want to say sorry to the team because this was a very good opportunity for a podium and I missed it. I though too much about fighting with Lowes rather just taking some points home. But we are fast and fighting for top positions and having fun in the races. The crash came when I hit a wet patch and the rear slid sideways. Fortunately the next race is this week in Texas and I go there looking for a better result."
Álex Márquez: DNF
“I don't understand what happened, I lost control of the bike both front and rear so luck is not running my way at the start of the season. We need to change this at the next race in Texas. The positive is that we did a good step with the bike set-up here and now we need to go to Austin and push hard. I believe I have the potential to get much better results."
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
"It was disappointing what happened with Alex, crashing at the end of the first lap is something that should not normally happen. Franco fought really had to be on the podium and he rode a fantastic race until he hit a wet patch and crashed on the penultimate lap. It was a shame after his strong start to the season in Qatar. But I am happy with Franco as our new rider and he has shown that the team has big potential to be racing for the podium as we did in the past with riders like Scott Redding, Mika Kallio and Tito Rabat."
DIFFICULT RACE FOR THE SKY RACING TEAM VR46 AT TERMAS DE RIO HONDO
The rain affects the performance of the Italian trio. They closed out of the points the GP of Argentina
Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina), April 3rd, 2016. On a Sunday characterized by rain, which started to falling since last night, Nicolò Bulega, Romano Fenati and Andrea Migno struggled to interpret the uncertain conditions of the track and finding the right feeling with the setting chosen for the race. They arrived to the finish line of the GP of Argentina respectively in the 18th, 20th and 29th place.
Fenati, Bulega and Migno, among the top positions for all the weekend, suffered the start of the race in wet conditions. They recovered several positions in the final, but the gap to the top was unbridgeable for the young riders of the Sky Racing Team VR46.
PABLO NIETO - Team Manager
It was a very tough race: the rain and the feeling in wet conditions prevented us to stay in the front group. We have to analyse the data and figure out exactly what happened with the set up. We were unable to interpret the race with this weather and with this kind of setting.
ROMANO FENATI - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
It was not the race I expected: the conditions were completely different from yesterday, and I had not 100% confidence driving with this weather. I suffered at the beginning, I lost many positions. I was able to push at the end, but the gap to the front was too important.
ANDREA MIGNO - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
I struggled right from the first turns to get the right rhythm with this conditions and I found myself at the end of the group. I tried to recover some places, but I had no feeling, and I could not push as I wanted.
NICOLÒ BULEGA - Pilota Sky Racing Team VR46
It was a difficult race: I have suffered since the start and I was not able to interpret the uncertain conditions of the track. I had no feeling with the bike and I could not keep the pace. It is a shame after the yesterday’s qualifying: I can not wait to back on track at Austin.
Amazing Top Five for Locatelli and Mir
The Italian earns his best result on the World stage, while the rookie scores the fastest lap. A difficult race for Quartararo.
An extraordinary result rewarded all the efforts of the Leopard Racing Team, completing a great afternoon at the Argentina GP. All three riders left the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit with points, their performance emphasised by Locatelli and Mir.
The day began with a cold shower, after a week characterized by high humidity and roaring air and track temperatures, on Sunday morning the heavens opened and threw a spanner in the works. The 20 minute Warm Up session allowed Andrea Locatelli to show off his skills, seizing a great fourth place behind Pawi, Antonelli and Bulega.
In the race the Malaysia Pawi immediately took off in the lead and ran away with the race. Joan Mir sprang from fifth on the grid, but the first laps were difficult for him because of the mixed conditions on track. A highlight came early on from Andrea Locatelli, who went from 20th to ninth in just a single lap. The Italian able to enter the second group of five riders alongside his teammate.
It was an uphill struggle for Fabio Quartararo, the French rider struggling to keep pace with his rivals and losing important ground mid race. Importantly, he was able to bring his KTM RC250 GP to the finish line and collect points, ending the race in 13th for 3 World Championship points.
The last three laps of the race gave a great show: the potential third step of the podium on offer with the top five a certain possibility. Mir made a small mistake but was able to clock the fastest lap of the race, a 1’56.365. Locatelli was passed by Binder and finished fourth, the best result of his career. His rookie teammate, Mir, was fifth and moves to sixth in the overall World Championship Standings.
#55 Andrea LOCATELLI - 4th:
“There are no words! Right from the warm up this morning we knew that in these conditions I could do well to show my true potential. I have to thank the team because they gave me a bike that was almost perfect. I was able to push hard. I enjoyed it, something that we have to keep doing in the next races. This result gives us hope and stimulates us to work harder!”
#36 Joan MIR - 5th:
“It was a good race, we went in a crescendo and fifth is a very good finish. Shame about my mistake in the final laps which upset my rhythm a bit, because I thought I could have been even closer to the guys ahead. I want to thank my team for the good bike. I also did the fastest lap of the race, for the first time in the World Championship. I can’t wait for Austin!”
#20 Fabio QUARTARARO - 13th:
“It was a very difficult race for me, I have not found the right feeling with the bike, I was better in the early stages with a wet track than on dry asphalt. We have to analyse the data to identify the problem. The important thing is to leave the track and think of Austin.”
Johann Zarco takes repeat victory in Argentina
Ajo Motorsport rider wins at Termas de Rio Hondo for second consecutive season, overcoming difficult track conditions.
04/03/2016 - Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina
Just as he did in the 2015 Argentinian GP, Johann Zarco occupied the top step of the podium at Termas de Rio Hondo in 2016. Despite facing mixed track conditions that were neither wet nor dry, the reigning Moto2 World Champion managed to play his cards to perfection on raceday and claim his first win of the year. His latest victory is the tenth of his career to date, and was the perfect end to Round 2 of the season.
In order to take the win, Zarco needed to tackle 23 difficult laps for the Moto2 riders. Morning rainfall leaving several damp patches on track meant the intermediate class had to ride with caution, but it was the Frenchman who proved to be the best in adapting. The Ajo Motorsport rider started from second place on the starting grid and held his position on the opening lap, settling into a four-rider leading group. With 11 laps remaining, Zarco took the lead; with 3 remaining he pulled away from rivals Lowes, Morbidelli and Folger to go clear. So strong was his finish that he set the fastest lap of the race on the final lap.
After the first two races of the year, Zarco occupies second position in the overall standings -just five points behind the current leader. The Frenchman will try to establish a winning run next weekend in Austin, at the Grand Prix of the Americas.
Aki Ajo - Team Manager
“It was another excellent race from Johann [Zarco] in what has been a great weekend for him. He proved to be very strong. In the winter he found it hard to get a good feeling with the bike, but in Qatar we took a big step forward and here, from Friday on, we have seen how Johann is very confident on the bike. He had a great pace all weekend, whatever the conditions. For me this is a good sign for the future, and we have to continue working like we have done up to now."
5 JOHANN ZARCO
"Honestly, I did not know if I was really strong in these conditions, but before the race I thought I should be careful. Being in the lead group was very important, because then it would have been more difficult to reduce any gap later on. I started to get in control and did everything I could to avoid the wettest areas of the track, then began to push. Maybe I made a few small mistakes, as I was fighting against other riders such as Morbidelli. When the track dried out further I focused much more, and when I had the opportunity to lead the race I felt more comfortable using my lines -taking advantage of the gap to push harder and get everything under control. In the end I succeeded. I am very happy with the victory, and after Qatar this is fantastic. I hope things go the same way in Texas."
DAMP RACE WITH NO REWARD FOR GRESINI RACING TEAM MOTO3 RIDERS AT TERMAS DE RIO HONDO
Gresini Racing Team Moto3 riders Enea Bastianini and Fabio Di Giannantonio leave Termas de Rio Hondo without picking up points in a complicated Grand Prix of Argentina, which was held on a damp track after overnight rain.
Starting from the second row, in the early stages of the race with a very damp track Bastianini was unable to keep the pace of the fastest riders, dropping down to 26th place on lap 10. In the final stages, when the track dried out, the 18-year-old rider from Rimini started to get some good lap times, crossing the finish line in 17th position.
Despite the difficult conditions, rookie Fabio Di Giannantonio enjoyed a good race, although his final placement, 25th, was affected by a technical problem that forced him to slow down in the closing laps of the race: the 17-year-old rider from Rome, who showed good progress over the weekend, thus lost some positions and he couldn’t stay in the fight with the group of riders in front of him.
The team now flies to Texas for the third round of the season, scheduled for this weekend at the spectacular Circuit of the Americas, in Austin.
ENEA BASTIANINI (17th)
“Unfortunately, at the beginning of the race, with the track still damp, I was not feeling at ease: probably we choose a little bit too rigid set up and I was unable to maintain a good pace to stay in the leading group. Towards the end of the race, when the track dried more, I managed to get good lap times and I was also faster than the riders in front of me, but unfortunately it was not enough to recover. I’m disappointed because I could have a good race here, in both dry and wet conditions. Unfortunately I struggled in these mixed conditions. However, the Championship is still long and we will have time to show that we are competitive”.
FABIO DI GIANNANTONIO (25th)
“The race started very well, and although I was racing for the first time in these mixed conditions, with the track wet in some places and dry in others, I felt immediately a good feeling. I was improvign lap after lap, then unfortunately I started to feel a strange behaviour of the bike, probably for a technical issue that now we need to analyze. I’m disappointed because I had the potential to stay in the group of riders with whom I was fighting. Regardless of today’s result, we still had a good weekend, so we now look forward to the next race!”.
“It was definitely a very difficult race for us: Enea has always struggled a bit in the conditions encountered at the beginning of the race, but in the final stages he managed to be fast, but it was too late to recover. Unfortunately the track was not drying out as fast as we had hoped and as a result today we were unable to fully express our potential. We were not the only ones with problems, but it is a little consolation... Now we have to stay focused to be even stronger in the next races, because we have to start to recover points. Di Giannantonio was slowed down in the final laps by a technical issue on the bike, so we’re going to analyze what went wrong. I’m sorry for his final result, but Fabio nevertheless completed a good weekend, where we have seen a nice growth from him”.
This time the gamble on tyres doesn’t pay off
In Indianapolis last year Livio Loi was the only rider on slicks and he won the race thanks to that gamble. In Argentina today the circumstances were more or less the same, but this time Livio Loi was the only rider at the start of the Moto3 race on rain tyres. It was a gamble again, but this time it turned out to be a bad shot. Loi finished empty handed in sixteenth after a brave race.
Dark clouds covering the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit and the thinnish dry line made RW Racing GP choose for rain tyres. “It wasn’t a blind gamble,” team manager Jarno Janssen says. “We all agreed on wet tyres. We expected more rain to come. It was drizzling all the time, but unfortunately it didn’t increase, otherwise we would strike it rich. Instead it dried out pretty quickly and our choice turned out to be a mistake. As team manager I take full responsibility for that.”
Being the only one on rain tyres Livio Loi made a rocket start from tenth on the grid to second halfway through the first lap. By the end of that lap he and Khairul Pawi were already 4 seconds away from the rest of the pack. Pawi, the Malaysian rookie was not on rain tyres and was able to make the most of the thin dry line, while Loi had to ride different lines to profit from the wet. In those circumstances the young Malaysian could get away and built up an advantage of 15 seconds to Loi by lap 6.
In that phase the rest of the field had managed to close in on Loi as the track dried out quickly. The rainflag was being waved several times, but the rain held off and Loi lost ground. In lap 8 he was caught by Adam Norrodin and Jorge Navarro and the next lap the Belgian dropped to eleven, to thirteen, to sixteen. Thanks to Adam Canet’s crash he moved back up to fifteenth and had his hands on a single championship point, but in the final lap Phillip Oettl managed to pass as well, leaving Loi empty handed despite a brave race.
Livio Loi - 16 (+ 1.10,165)
“Just too bad. We were in doubt on the grid and in the end we decided all together to use the wet tyres. I didn’t expect to be the only one and I certainly didn’t expect the rest to be fast so soon. I tried to keep the pace high but also try to save the tyres a bit as it was drying out quickly. I couldn’t get away as much as I had hoped for, but eventually it took until halfway through the race before I was caught by the pack. It is very unfortunate Oettl caught me in the end and snatched the last championship point, but looking at who were still behind me - riders like Fenati, Bastianini and Bagnaia, who were fighting for the podium in Qatar - I’m not even that disappointed, because at least I tried and have been fighting for the podium for half of the race. And that’s what happens when you take a gamble: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. But if you don’t try, you certainly have no chance of winning.”
Injured Baldassari scores point, Marini fights for Top15
The second race of the season has just finished for Forward Racing at Termas de Rio Hondo. After a downpour swept the circuit overnight, Lorenzo Baldassarri and Luca Marini went on to race on a difficult track that dried up gradually during the race.
Baldassarri, still suffering from dislocating both shoulders in Qatar, started the race very aggressively moving up to sixth position in the first laps. Continuing the race the Italian began to lose feeling on corner exit, closing in 13th position and in the points.
Marini, starting from the back, was engaged in an overtake battle with the group close to the Top15. “Maro” finished the race in 18th position at his debut on the Argentinian track collecting many useful inputs for the rest of the season.
"Today's race was a bit weird because on the track conditions, I felt competitive, I started strongly but then I took too many risks and I was not so fast on corner exit. I still learned a lot about how to run the race in these conditions; I wish to thank the team, the VR46 Riders Academy and the Clinica Mobile who have been very close to me after the injury. "
"It was a very difficult race because of poor track conditions. I learned so much because I found myself battling with very strong and aggressive riders. I am a bit disappointed because I felt I could finish in the points but we lost too much time overtaking each other; these are the competitions. Now we will analyze this race to get ready for Austin, another new track for me but very stimulating. I wish to thank Forward Racing and VR46 Riders Academy who supported me so much. "
Kent & Oliveira overcome new challenges in Argentina
After a week characterized by high humidity and high temperatures on Sunday morning came unexpected rain, turning team plans on their head.
The Leopard Racing Team had 20 minutes at their disposal in morning Warm Up to make the best of the situation, Danny Kent and Miguel Oliveira ending in 15th and 17th respectively. Both were focused on the race and had collected good data should the race be held in similar wet conditions.
But the race proved to be a difficult one for the two riders of the Leopard Racing Team, Kent losing his advantage from a great Qualifying and Oliveira unable to find the same feeling as in Warm Up, both riders struggling in the first lap.
Subsequently the 21 year old from Portugal made the best of a bad situation and finished the opening laps in 16th place, the doors to championship points on the verge of opening.
Kent blamed his performance in the opening laps on a lack of feeling with his Kalex, unable to perform in mixed conditions. Neither rider had ever raced mixed conditions such as these and were learning with each lap.
Three laps from the end, in a key moment, a small braking error occurred for Oliveira and forced him wide, dropping him to 21st at the Finish line and a minute behind race winner Zarco. Simultaneously Kent forced his way through the field after his poor start, coming back to end the day in 16th place and just 0.159s from the points.
Tomorrow the team will return to Buenos Aires and from there transfer to Texas where in seven days the Grand Prix of the Americas, the third race of the 2016 season, will take place.
#52 Danny KENT - 16th:
“Obviously it’s not the result we were hoping for. Having a great weekend until the race and we went into the race with very mixed conditions. They were conditions that were new to me in Moto2; I’ve not had them before. The first half of the race I had no confidence at all especially in the wet parts with slicks. This is something I need to improve on as we lost too much time then. In the last five laps when it was dry, it wasn’t so bad. We’d lost too much at the beginning. I’m disappointed to sorry to the team. We made a step forward from the first race but hopefully we can recover in Austin.”
#44 Miguel OLIVEIRA - 21th:
"The day began in the wet warm-up, I had a good feeling with the bike and I was expect to race on slicks. In the first two laps, maybe I was too conservative and I lost time. During the race I could keep a good pace, I was 16th but I made a mistake and ran wide with 3 laps to go, that was it for me. In Austin my objective will be to improve my grid position and then fight from the start till the end!"
Vierge battles to 14th in hard fought Argentina GP
Tech3 Racing Team rider Xavi Vierge determinedly clinched his first World Championship points in what was a challenging race at the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo today. The young Spaniard started from 23rd as the track continued to dry from the morning rain. Nevertheless, Vierge bolted forward and elevated up six places at the close of the opening lap. He stuck into his pace and rode rapid times with his sights set on a point scoring finish. The 18 year old moved into 15th at just over half distance and quickly opened a gap on the pursuing riders. Then on the penultimate lap, he jumped up again and powered to the end as he secured a valuable result in his inaugural appearance at the Argentine circuit.
Meanwhile, Isaac Viñales fought the tricky conditions in Argentina and crossed the finish line to gain more valuable race experience. The class rookie launched from the 9th row of the grid and completed the first lap in 26th. He quickly set into his rhythm and maintained his consistency as time progressed before eventually meeting the chequered flag in 24th, closing a tough weekend for the 22 year old. He now focuses on the next event at the Circuit of the Americas in one week.
Position : 14th - Championship : 21 - Points : 2
“I am very happy with the end result and it’s great to finally score some championship points. I needed to complete a GP inside the top fifteen, because last year, I fell on several occasions when I was fighting in that position, which was the same case in Qatar. Yet, we are all pleased about what we achieved here, especially as the race was really challenging. I had a good start, remained calm and every lap I focused on the times and continued pushing. A few riders fell which shows how tough it was, but anyway I must say thank you very much to the Tech3 guys for their excellent work. Of course, our goal is to finish higher but this is the first step for me, so now I am excited for Texas where I hope we can have another strong result.”
Position : 24th - Championship : Not classified
“I found the race tricky today, but I pushed nonstop and I am pleased that I got some more Moto2 experience under my belt. To be honest, I haven’t felt completely comfortable on the bike for the whole weekend, even though the team and I worked hard to solve the issues that we had. The qualifying didn’t go too well, so the GP was always going to be difficult, especially with the circuit being how it was after the rain. Yet, when the lights went out and we started, I did my best, so the end position is not where I want to finish, but I am encouraged and fired up for the next Moto2 event in Texas."
Hervé Poncharal : Team Manager
“I’m really happy with the Tech3 Racing Team’s performance here. After the disappointment in Qatar, where we missed out on some points, which I feel were well within reach, we left the track with a bitter taste in our mouths. However, we never gave up and didn’t stop believing that our guys could do it. Xavi did a top job and even though he has never raced here before and despite the fact that the conditions weren’t easy in terms of weather, he managed to have an incredible Grand Prix. He had a good start and rode some strong lap times, which eventually resulted in 14th. This was his first point scoring finish in the Moto2 World Championship so I hope there’s plenty more to come, but it’s definitely a superb conclusion for us and we need to continue pushing. On the other side, Isaac rode a really strong GP and his pace was encouraging but unfortunately he was too far back on the grid to make the most of it. Having said that, this is promising and I hope that it will give him a big boost. Next up we head to the Circuit of the Americas, where hopefully both riders can clinch some more points.”
PODIUM JOY FOR RESOLUTE LOWES AT TERMAS DE RIO HONDO
The Team Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 and Sam Lowes took their first podium finish of the season in today’s Grand Prix of Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, crossing the finish line in second position.
Started from pole position, Lowes rode a determined race: the 25-year-old British rider took the lead on the third lap and set the pace for 10 laps, before Frenchman Johann Zarco passed him. Sam continued to follow closely the reigning World Champion, then a slight mistake with 5 laps to go didn’t prevent him to get back quickly in second place with a nice pass on Franco Morbidelli, but the ground lost no longer allowed him to launch the final attack to Zarco for the win.
Thanks to the 20 points obtained in Argentina, Lowes is now third overall in the Championship, only 7 points behind Thomas Luthi, the winner in Qatar, and 2 points behind Johann Zarco.
SAM LOWES (2nd)
“The conditions were not easy today, but I had a good pace so I was expecting to do a strong race today. I was in the lead for several laps and it’s definitely a nice feeling, then with 5 laps to go I made a small mistake that made me lose contact with Zarco and therefore I didn’t had the opportunity to attack him in the final laps. After the mistake however I was fast and I managed to quickly pass Morbidelli in front of me, so I’m satisfied. I’m happy with this start to the season: I had the pace to win also in Qatar and the Championship, despite the Jump Start at Losail, is already looking quite good, because I’m only 7 points off the lead. We are working hard and the team is doing a great job, the bike has been good on all the tracks I’ve been riding this year and also this morning and I felt really good in the wet. The goal this year is to fight for the title, even if we know that it won’t be easy to beat reigning champion Zarco, but we'll try. It’s going to be a good season”.
“Lowes rode a great race: after the pole position and this morning’s Warm Up, in which Sam was fast also in the wet, we expected to be able to do well today. We also knew that it would be hard to beat Zarco, who was really strong here. We can say that our chances of beat him finished when Sam made a little mistake in the final stages of the race, otherwise he would surely have tried to attack him in the closing laps. Anyway that's okay: today it was important to recover heavy points in the Championship after the Jump Start of Qatar and we did so, leveling the situation in the overall standings. I’m really happy for this podium”.
PEUGEOT MC SAXOPRINT TO CELEBRATE FIRST CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
The team’s John McPhee delivered an incredibly display in tricky conditions to come home in an excellent seventh place whilst Alexis Masbou wasn’t able to show a similar comeback from P21 on the grid due to a too slow bike.
Changed weather conditions after overnight rain showers forced teams and riders to start from scratch in order to prepare for the second race of the season in South America this afternoon. An uncertain outlook if possible further rain stays out or not right before the start wasn’t easy to handle too. But almost the entire grid decided to race with dry settings likewise both riders in Peugeot MC SAXOPRINT.
On a slowly drying track it was the team’s John McPhee who almost flew through the pack as soon as the lights went out to gain almost twenty positions during the opening lap. Well settled in a big group with fast and talented riders the young Brit rode a hard fought race to cross the line in a fantastic seventh place after demanding 21 laps in pretty much tricky conditions.
Unfortunate for his team mate Alexis Masbou from France, who didn’t get a brilliant start like McPhee for which he failed to get in touch with the group fighting for the last points scoring position. The experienced Frenchman was forced to race amongst riders, which he couldn’t overtake and get away from them.
The Moto3™ world series will now take no rest as the championship heads straight to Texas for round three at the challenging Circuit of the Americas in just one week.
#10 Alexis MASBOU – 21st:
“Well, there is honestly speaking not much to say about my race. I’m definitely not happy about it. I couldn’t push harder from the beginning and unfortunately I wasn’t in a fast group to make up positions. The whole weekend was difficult and today’s race has shown again that we still not competitive enough, particularly my bike is too slow. The entire team as well as all people involved in this project are working so hard to find solutions for our problems every time. But for the moment the best possible solution gives us not the result that we want to achieve. Argentina is checked so I look forward to the next race already.”
#17 John McPHEE - 7th (World Championship position13th, 9 points):
“I’m really happy with this race obviously to score the first points of the season and for this new project. It makes me a bit proud. A big thanks to everybody in the team and of course to all people in Peugeot and Mahindra for bringing new parts for this race which developed the bike. It was a big help for sure. But we need to make the next step finding some more acceleration and more speed. But overall we had a good race today. My start was really great but the first lap was even better. I passed so many people to try to get to the front group which worked out perfectly. To be in a really fast group was so important because with this bike you can stay with them easily but it isn’t possible to catch a group riding alone. The conditions were tricky all race long but I managed it well to stay on the bike till the line. I felt comfortable at all, fighting for position but also with these conditions. It makes a lot of fun to know I’m able to fight for positions and from halfway point for the race I was pretty confident that we can make a good result today. I’m happy at all.”
Terrell THIEN (Team manager):
“Today is a big milestone in the history of Peugeot Motocycles because we gained the first championship points since 50 years. We’re very proud to achieve it for and with Peugeot. Unfortunately we still miss more engine performance though we have to push Mahindra to work even harder on this part of the bike. We now will analyse all data collected this weekend and hopefully we will find a solution soon. However, the next track in Austin I think will not suite the Mahindra bike so well but we need to try and do the best possible as ever and hopefully Mahindra will bring a next step. Beyond that we already consulted specialists in Germany and England to support our project in this respect. Thank you to the entire team who managed a difficult weekend in that great way. I also would like to express my thanks to all of our sponsors and partners who accompanied us in somewhat of an uncertain future and hopefully they all remain on our side in the future.”
Enrico PELLEGRINO (Peugeot Motocycles, Project Director Moto3):
“A very good result, which came a bit surprisingly today. We’re very happy for John’s seventh place but honestly speaking we have been a bit lucky by the changed weather conditions. But the talent of John and the good overall performance of our bike gave us the first important points for the championship. Now we will keep working hard to be more and more competitive in all conditions. A big thank you to the entire team for their incredible job they did after the first race in Qatar till now.”
Moto3 - Difficult race for 3570 Team Italia in Argentina
At Termas de Rio Hondo Stefano Valtulini (28th) and Lorenzo Petrarca (31st) have to face more difficulties than expected in a race characterised by mixed wet and dry conditions.
A surrealistic race in Moto3 World Championship at Termas de Rio Hondo (Argentina) didn't give satisfaction to 3570 Team Italia. In the big day of Khairul Idham Pawi (Honda), unexpected winner with a big gap from his direct chasers, Stefano Valtulini (28th) and Lorenzo Petrarca (31st) faced more problematics than expected, due to the adaptation to the mixed wet and dry conditions of the asphalt.
After they lined up on the grid with slick tyres, the two riders of 3570 Team Italia lived a negative race, with the final result not in line with their expectations and the team. After the weekend in Argentina, they are already thinking about the next round of World Championship, in few days at the Circuit of the Americas of Austin (USA).
Stefano Valtulini (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #43) 28th
"A race to be forgotten. In these conditions I was confident to do my best, but honestly I struggled more than expected with the wet asphalt. I am sorry for this performance, it will be useful as experience to improve from now on.".
Lorenzo Petrarca (3570 Team Italia - Mahindra MGP3O #77) 31st
"I struggled to adapt at these mixed conditions of the asphalt and this is the result. I am sorry and disappointed for the team because of this performance: after the practice and the feeling I had with the bike, I expected to do better. I start from this difficult day, in order to improve in the next races.".
Emanuele Ventura (3570 Team Italia - Team Manager)
"We expected something more from both our riders. In these particular weather conditions, we were confident to play our cards right, but today Stefano and Lorenzo lived a difficult race. The final result is the consequence of some troubles to find the right pace and to understand the track conditions. We leave this race behind and we will keep on working for the next Grand Prix scheduled in few days in Texas.".
Brad Binder takes third in dramatic Moto3 in Argentina
2nd Rd. Moto3 2016 – Termas de Río Hondo (ARG)
Red Bull KTM Ajo rider Brad Binder picked up a podium third in the final minutes of a tense 21-lap Moto3 race on the Termas de Río Rondo circuit in Argentina on Sunday. The race, the second round of the Moto3 World Championship was won in spectacular style by a Malaysia rookie Khairul Idham Pawi, who took full advantage of the difficult and quickly changing weather conditions. Spanish rider Jorge Navarro was second.
Brad Binder, who qualified on pole in very different weather to that of race day advanced into third place when another young Malaysian rider, Adam Norrodin, crashed in the final stages of the last lap while making a move on second-placed Navarro that didn’t quite pay off. The South African KTM rider, who had been fighting for the lead in the following group then moved up to third.
Downpours of rain had drenched the track earlier in the day, and marshals worked to clear standing water from the surface prior to the start. But with wet patches still visible, riders and teams struggled on the grid to decide whether to gamble on wet weather tires or slicks. In the end, while tire choice and bike settings were important, it was a rider used to riding in tropical rain who was able to make the best of it.
Following Binder across the line were two other KTM riders, Andrea Locatelli of Italy and Spain’s Joan Mir but many of the usual leaders in the class struggled under the conditions.
Binder admitted after the race that team manager Aki Ajo had cautioned him before the race not to throw away valuable world championship points. “I was a bit too careful at the beginning but pushed more in the middle of the race and tried to stay focused.” His careful approach however ensures he goes to round three as the championship leader.
Binder’s teammate, the young Dutch rider Bo Bendsneyder, who came into the team as 2015 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup winner, finished the race in 22nd place but was in good company. Riders who usually find themselves in the top 10 were also back in this group.