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Home Heroes: Heading south

Home Heroes: Heading south

Both Gabriel Rodrigo and Yonny Hernandez call the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina home in 2016, could they emulate Porto?

For the third year in succession, the MotoGP™ World Championship will race in Argentina at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. Yonny Hernandez (Aspar MotoGP Team) might be from Colombia, but treats the Argentina GP as his home race. For Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA Racing Team) the Argentina GP is a true home round. Although he was born in Spain, his heritage is strongly Argentinian and he races under the Argentina flag.

Having spent his youth racing in Spain, Rodrigo achieved several podiums in the CEV Championship and having joined the Moto3™ World Championship full time in 2015. It was a difficult rookie year with many falls and no points. Even after only a single round, 2016 is already looking more positive and achieving his first World Championship points at his home round could be a dream come true for Rodrigo.

Hernandez immediately made an impact when he stepped onto the world stage, fans in awe of his sideways riding. Coming from a motocross and supermoto background, the Colombian is more than happy with a completely sideways motorcycle. The new Michelin tyres have made his style even more exciting to watch, smoke now often seen streaming off his rear tyre.

Having spent his first years aboard underpowered CRT machines, Hernandez’s move to Ducati power for the final five rounds of 2013 saw his results immediately improve with four point scoring finishes. It hasn't all been easy; the 2015 edition of the Argentina GP didn’t quite go to plan as his bike burst into flames, prompting a swift dismount. Hernandez’s race in 2014 went better with a 12th place finish on the Ducati.

As the first Colombian to compete in the World Championship, he has done his country proud, in 2010 and 2011 he achieved six top ten finishes in the Moto2™ World Championship. Since 2012 he has had a best premier class finish of seventh at the 2014 Malaysian Grand Prix, frequent trips into the top ten and has had a steady income of points.

On several occasions Hernandez has upset the established order in Q1, able to frequently produce one off quick laps. But Hernandez’s biggest weakness remains his consistency, his wild riding style often finding the often and his Q1 speed not carrying over to race day.

Argentina’s most successful rider is Sebastian Porto who took seven wins in the 250cc class, his last coming at the Dutch TT in 2005. After a step away from the World Championship, Porto returned for a wildcard at the inaugural Argentina GP in 2014 where he finished 23rd in the Moto2™ race.

Tags:
MotoGP, 2016, GRAN PREMIO MOTUL DE LA REPÚBLICA ARGENTINA, Gabriel Rodrigo, Yonny Hernandez, Sebastian Porto, RBA Racing Team, OCTO Pramac Yakhnich

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