Ahead of MotoGP™ testing at the brand-new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina this week, various riders gathered in capital city Buenos Aires on Tuesday afternoon. They were joined by representatives behind the planned full-time return of the sport to the South American country from 2014.
The two-day test session at the all-new circuit, which is situated 1,100km north-west of Buenos Aires, will welcome MotoGP™ for the very first time and will be taking place on Thursday and Friday of this week.
On Tuesday came an introduction to the country on what was a first official trip to Argentina for the riders. The press conference was staged at Buenos Aires’ Hotel NH City and attended by Angel Hugo Nicolai (Vice Governor of the Province of Santiago del Estero), Leonardo Boto Alvarez (Executive Director, National Institute of Tourism) and Ignacio Sagnier (Communications Manager, Dorna Sports).
Looking ahead to the test, Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow is particularly excited about the circuit and some of the ‘banked corners’ it offers.
"It will be great to get there and finally try it out," Crutchlow began. "Then we can go back and tell the other riders what we thought of the place. From what we have seen, I don’t think any improvements will need to be made because it looks like a fantastic facility and circuit, so we are looking forward to going and hopefully we can have two good days riding around the track to also give them some important information."
Crutchlow was joined by MotoGP™ rivals Alvaro Bautista, Stefan Bradl and Hector Barbera as well as Moto2™ representatives Tito Rabat and Nico Terol.
"We will start with this official test and maybe next year have a GP here in Argentina," added GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Bautista, having witnessed the official presentation. "It will be very interesting to see the new track; the corners, the asphalt and also the (level of) safety, which will be very important."
In May, the track moved a step closer to obtaining the maximum approval required by MotoGP™ governing body the FIM in order to host a championship round. As LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl reckons, the venue will be a true test for tyres:
"The layout of the circuit looks really fast. That can be really busy for the tyres because we will be on the edge, accelerating really hard for a long time. I can see some really fast corners, so I’m looking forward to seeing it and then testing on Thursday to get as much information as possible for next year. Probably one of the most important things is that we will be able to find out how the tyres will work."
This week’s two-day test will run from 10am-5pm local time (GMT -3) on both Thursday and Friday, including a one-hour break during the day. Full coverage, featuring live timing and video updates, will be available on motogp.com.