2022 Argentina MotoGP Race Result: The Eagle Has Landed

If it was a long wait for flight BSC4042 to return MotoGP to Argentina after Covid, fire and freight tried to spoil what is always a fantastic party, Aleix Espargaro’s wait for victory must have felt like an eternity. Although the latest page in MotoGP’s history book wasn’t written until the final couple of laps in Argentina, Espargaro managed to fulfil the prophecy and reward himself and Aprilia with a maiden victory in the premier class on his 200th start. And throw in there the lead in the world championship for a nice hattrick. Jorge Martin looked prepared to spoil the party for most of the 25 laps, but eventually seemed happy enough with second, while Alex Rins completed an all-Spanish podium.

Espargaro didn’t make the best of starts from pole position, allowing Martin to breeze past into turn one but quickly regrouped to chase down his compatriot, with Luca Marini, brother Pol and Rins in tow. However, Martin and Espargaro quickly extended a one second advantage by lap four, helped by some exchanges between the men behind, Pol Espargaro, Marini and the Suzukis particularly keen to make progress early on. Maverick Viñales, Brad Binder and Pecco Bagnaia were not too far behind at that stage, while Enea Bastianini joined the top 10 by lap two, but already had a one and a half second gap to recover on the group ahead. Meanwhile, Fabio Quartararo seemed to be in trouble, dropping to 13th and struggling to find a way past Johann Zarco, his compatriot inadvertently doing him a favour on lap six, by sliding out harmlessly at turn two.

As if to confirm that it takes two to tango, the leaders had separated into pairs by lap 10, Martin and Aleix two seconds ahead of Rins and Pol, with Joan Mir trying to go solo, away from a feisty lot including Marini, Viñales, Bagnaia and Binder. The Aprilia statesman made his first mistake of the weekend when he ran wide at the start of lap 10, quickly followed by a second mistake at turn five, allowing Martin a second of breathing room over the next couple of laps. Regardless, the Pramac rider didn’t get to enjoy his personal space for long, Espargaro quickly posting personal best times to bridge the gap once more by the halfway point of the race.

While the poleman bided his time for an attack, Rins maintained a respectable distance ahead of Pol Espargaro, but the Honda man accidentally helped him increase that, by crashing out at turn two with 11 laps remaining and leaving the Suzukis separated by two seconds. Viñales was a pretty lonely fifth, another second back, while Bastianini had made good progress to lead the battle for sixth but one liberally-taken line lost him a handful of positions and relegated him right back to 13th. Meanwhile, Bagnaia didn’t have an easy time finding a way past Marini and by the time he made a move stick, heading into the second half of the race, he was six seconds off the lead.

Back in the victory battle, Aleix Espargaro made the first move with eight laps remaining but running wide at turn five immediately returned Martin to the front. The poleman gave it another go two laps later, in the same place, with the exact same result, but third time was indeed lucky and put the premier class veteran into the lead with five laps remaining. There was still a little bit of a threat from behind, where the Suzukis were setting a hot pace but with a second to find for Rins and almost two for Mir. Despite a couple of mistakes taking him off the ideal line, Espargaro kept the lead heading into the penultimate lap of the race and even managed to extend a half second gap to his younger pursuer.

The final lap must have felt interminable for all involved, but Espargaro sealed the deal on his and Aprilia’s first premier class victory by eight tenths of a second. Martin didn’t look all that upset with second place, while Rins closed the gap to half a second to claim the final podium position, ahead of teammate Mir. Bagnaia’s progress stopped at fifth place, both him and Binder demoting Viñales in the final couple of laps, while Quartararo finished in a lonely eighth place. Ninth place was the battle of the Italian youngsters, rookie Marco Bezzecchi coming from 17th on the grid to beat Bastianini and Marini to the punch.

Aprilia's historic weekend puts Aleix Espargaro in the lead of the championship by seven points over Binder, with Bastianini dropping to third by nine points, tied with Rins.

Results:

Pos No. Rider Bike Time/Diff
1 41 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia 41:36.1980
2 89 Jorge Martin Ducati 0.807
3 42 Alex Rins Suzuki 1.33
4 36 Joan Mir Suzuki 1.831
5 63 Francesco Bagnaia Ducati 5.84
6 33 Brad Binder KTM 6.192
7 12 Maverick Viñales Aprilia 6.54
8 20 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha 10.215
9 72 Marco Bezzecchi Ducati 12.622
10 23 Enea Bastianini Ducati 12.987
11 10 Luca Marini Ducati 13.962
12 30 Takaaki Nakagami Honda 14.002
13 88 Miguel Oliveira KTM 14.456
14 43 Jack Miller Ducati 14.898
15 73 Alex Marquez Honda 23.472
16 25 Raul Fernandez KTM 25.862
17 87 Remy Gardner KTM 28.711
18 40 Darryn Binder Yamaha 28.784
19 6 Stefan Bradl Honda 31.943
20 4 Andrea Dovizioso Yamaha 0
Not Classified
  21 Franco Morbidelli Yamaha 12:20.8760
  44 Pol Espargaro Honda 23:21.2580
  5 Johann Zarco Ducati 08:26.9570
  49 Fabio Di Giannantonio Ducati 37:02.7670
Round Number: 
3
2022
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Comments

I feel like Aleix has had it in him to be a winner from his early Yamaha days, and bonus points for sticking with Aprilia all this time. Plus we have three different Euro-marques in the top three of the rider championship. Finally, the two day event seemed nice and streamlined. Maybe more intense work, but perhaps less tiring (and less cost?) overall than three days. 

Aprilia and A.Espargaro! Is there ANYONE not pleased to see this? Lap 10 Asparagus lost his damn mind for a bit, 3 mistakes. Basically the hunger for leading, he has NEVER won a single race so that's a damn goose to break at this late stage in a career. Of all of our current riders (and for a long while in the past too) Aleix is the most hot bare bursting emotion. He externalizes all of his feelings. And we see this in his riding on lap 10. 

Two times drafting slingshot overshoot corner T5. This is just an experience thing plus aero. It is really difficult to not get sucked past the braking marker. Plus hunger. Aleix kept it together just fine and then some. Winning a dry MotoGP race is a big fooking deal.

Yamaha, oh dear lordy. AD04's front ride height device stuck. After Yamaha generators for tire warmers blew motors?! Odd. Morbidelli drops out with a technical issue. Not rubbing your nose in it if you are a Blue backer, but sincerely curious what you think of Yamaha at this Round. Was it just the lower grip level at a seldom used circuit? I think it was a big factor, but not "just." No one off the Blues at Argentina. Trouble.

(Side note -- been watching and quite enjoying MotoGP Unlimited. Learning things, noticing much. Including where I have been wrong. There was a mis-fit of Maverick and two big things. I think it is mainly psychological. 1) Quartararo arriving and Alien riding boiled Maverick's noodle. He really thought he was that rider. Must be. Must win. But wrestles with self if not doing so, and with everyone around him and the bike as extension. He lost his shit. 2) the bike, not able to be over wrangled with aggression and outright wrangling effort, was paradoxical for a struggling Vinales. Underpowered engine also frustrates, cool headed rider is needed. The Blue organization around him also squeezed and limited Maverick. Opposite of what for example the garage does around Asparagus - they loosen his reins and he only briefly raves.)

So, Black IS a better fit for Maverick. And let's really appreciate Aleix Espargaro's long hard push of the Aprilia project. 

The A.Espargaro - Martin battle is certainly interesting. Great view of the bikes. The Aprilia is a bit like a Honda. But with better manners! Like a Suzuki Labrador was bred in with the Honda Pitbull. Top speed of the Duc then Aprilia then Honda, one kph between them. All three quite strong.

Pol Espargaro loses his front at lean crashing out. Honda not so good here this go around. Taka managed a mid pack finish. Alex was way back in the rear with the rookies. Bradl? Backmarking off the rear with a gap. Poop.

Factory Ducati? Tough Round. Unless of course Red sees Martin on that grunty motor as their own...which they may be about now! Bagnaia is not yet back in form. He has been so willful and frustrated. The very last second engine change is looking suspect. And, again, one of a pissy Pecco? Come on kid, snap back into it mate. Remembering that we are in the "appetizer" pre-Euro stage of our 2022 meal still expecting both Factory Red and Honda to be forthcoming. 

Bastiannini only managed 10th, not bad but also a less strong showing than some of us hoped. There is a most heated showdown for the 2nd Red seat. Zarco plopped, and Martin topped. There are really just a couple pens, and of course one signature line. Who is it? In addition to the race for Factory seat #2 there is The Ducati Cup, a race within our race. Martin wins w a big gap yes, AND Bezzechi just beats Bastiannini and Marini in quite a close fight. Italy is attuned of course. Know what isn't well attuned? Having 3 specs of bloody Red bike. Not smart. The decision to revert to the pre freeze engine is looking suspect. Good competition amongst your riders Duc, but...you have pissed in your own gas tank on an advantage you could have had this season. Pecco, you must learn to hear a no. You are young. You are a rider. You are an employee. If things can happen too slowly at "family style" conventional Suzuki, perhaps they can also do so prematurely at Duc? "The oldest child wanted a particular shiny thing on the eve of the first Race, so all our plans changed." Whelp, rubbish. Family counseling for you all. 

The sheer marathon of getting people and equipment over here is NUTS btw. 43 hrs of traveling from England for Terrance MacKenzie for instance. Ouch! Brutal. Not enough time working on bikes. They were pit away wet and dirty, then sat in a plane for a WEEK. This is NOT a bike you want to deal with at all, let alone rush to race. They rust!

Track condition looked OK today. During Q you could see dirt and dust spray off a bike off line. Temps were a touch lower at race time, and at first watch traction looks fine.

Dessert? The rookies race. If you tipped Bezzecchi you (ahem) are looking pretty good eh? 9th!?! Nice kid! Yellow is doing a good job right now. Maybe the one Yellow arm is enough. Good weekend.

He'll have to pull his finger out if he wants to be happier!

 

Great result for Aleix and Aprilia. Hopefully the power of a win  will spur them both on to it happening again.

Possibly this is exactly what the Mav needs. He is being consistently outperformed by his team mate. A team mate who is generally considered to have a smaller 'talent bag'. If so then he is being consistently outperformed by a less talented team mate because Aleix is doing a better job and making the most of what he has. Exactly what Mav needs to do.

Or, as I think has been demonstrated for a long time, Aleix is a bloody good rider.

I hope I am wrong but I think the performance of the Aprilia team this weekend, relative to the rest of the field, is due to the track. This gave Mav the chance to shine a little. Normal service to be resumed ? There is a limit to the amount of time any rider has for adjustment.

What caught my eye was the quote from Aleix a few years back, about having a chance to compete on equal machinery. The point being that pretty much everyone of the grid is within a gnats doodah ability-wise and so far this season it’s all about who’s bike best suits the track on the day and which of the riders is best able to make the most of that fit. This weekend Aprilia were a match for anything else and Aleix had the mental fortitude to do the business. And what a wonderful sight to see, too. 

Aleix, Argentina, Aprilia in no particular order in terms of 3 A's. Rio Hondo organisers and Dorna did a great job in the final analysis to bring it all together on schedule. What a well deserved win for Aleix and Aprilia. It was a nail biter to watch betwixt Martin and Espargaro at certain points, but when Aleix bit the fairing and went for gold, not one MotoGP aficianado would have begrudged him and Aprilia that memorable win.

 

Brad Binder brought big balls to bag points again, barging behind BlackAsparagus for 2nd in the Championship. Even though his ride height stuck on previous race (unlike Dovi today). Badass.

Can you conceive of continued consistency from Rins over compatriot Mir? I cannot. Competition culminating in 3rd and 4th creates Suzuki chances and confidence though. Consequently tipping AR42 for COTA. Crap-out after current continent.

Did Ducati decide on their lineup deal? Do they dig the direction today for Bagnaia 5th and Martin 2nd? Dim desire for Miller dawdling between rear and mid pack in doldrums, decidedly deposed by everyone Red that didn't crash (Digi and Frenchie). Sorry Aussie fans. Raul beat Remy too. Ouch.

Everyone Blue expects easier encouraging endeavors. Ending 8th eats entrails for bike #1 at a twisty track. Bike #2 2nd from the back? Eek. Even engines in generators end up engulfed in smoke? 

For fuxsake Honda fans find this something to forget. I fancy their form in Europe, fast con fuerte. Can anyone guess Marc's gains? Hard, but hopeful. He could have the hammer out here in a week even. Head honcho? 

^ Howdy Pitbull

Hard to say which bike is the best overall on the 2022 Motogp grid. Today it was the Aprilia, from the little factory in Noale. And Aleix Espargaro was the top rider. His story is like Dovizioso's (when Dovi found his Motogp form at Ducati in 2017) only more magnified. Espargaro's first GP win arrived in his 19th season, when the Motogp class is arguably at it's most competitive. 

"The most uh, the special thing is we are leading the championship, so this is...just a dream."

Small margins making big differences in the races. I think Martin's performance was significant. I was sure the general Ducati problems of the weekend would send him rearward at a rapid rate. It did seem to have an effect in the last 25% of the race and he struggled more, relative to the Aprilia, than earlier but he didn't exactly drop.

One more bonkers race to go.

Yes, was so happy for them all. I really worried something would go wrong (because it's 2022) and he'd have a mechanical failure or a helicopter would drop on the track, or a volcano would erupt in pitlane or something. Well fought by Jorge Martin too, and Alex Rins - didn't crash! Here's hoping we have M Marquez back for COTA and he gets a good battle (for his win). With whom? Lucky Dip this year! 

22nd after turn one, to cut through the field up to 9th is super impressive from the rookie. More so than D Binder's heroics in Indonesia as this was in the dry.

12 seconds up the road from the next rookie - you could see how much he gapped them in the space of a couple of laps on a few out of focus shots on the back straight.

Also - Alex Marquez?! What's going on with him?! The way Vietti is going in moto2, Alex needs to raise his game ASAP.

How long ago was it that Ducati was going to run away with the whole show? Nobody could stop them according to those who like to proclaim things over and done with before a wheel has been turned-in-anger. As we used to say, "The BS stops when the green flag drops." May it ever be so, no matter how many keyboard lions think otherwise. FORZA APRILIA!