Since 2014 and Termas de Rio Hondo joining the MotoGP™ calendar, the winner in Argentina has gone on to take the crown. In 2018, that was veteran Italian Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team).
The first time the MotoGP™ riders and teams visited the circuit was the year Tito Rabat took victory and later sealed the Moto2™ title. The following year saw Johann Zarco claim victory in front of the hugely passionate Argentine fans.
The Frenchman was crowned Moto2™ World Champion later that year, and after claiming another intermediate class win at Termas de Rio Hondo in 2016, he would become the first ever rider to win back to back Moto2™ World Championships since the class was introduced in 2010.
Last season, it was Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) who mastered Argentina, holding off a hard charging Miguel Oliveira on board his Red Bull KTM Ajo. The Italian added the Moto2™ World Championship to the trophy cabinet last season, before making the jump to the premier class in 2018.
So will Mattia Pasini be able to carry on the lucky charm and take his Italtrans team to Championship glory? He is leading the points standings as it stands, and was happy – as expected – after the race.
“It was a great race and a great weekend,” grinned the Italian. “From the start I knew I had a great feeling and could ride how I wanted. That was the best thing in the race because I could enjoy the ride!” Another good titbit from the veteran? “I feel younger now than when I was young!”
There are, however, a few men standing in his way. Francesco Bagnaia (SKY Racing Team VR46) pipped Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) to the line in Qatar, and they could be good candidates to do battle throughout the season – and EG 0,0 Marc VDS rider Alex Marquez was the fastest man in Qatar qualifying before a brake problem in the race.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was back on it in Argentina, too, and teammate Brad Binder had some good speed despite a crash sadly ending his race early. Sam Lowes (Swiss Innovative Investors) is another previous intermediate class winner and there are a few dark horses such as Xavi Vierge (Dynavolt Intact GP), who was on the charge in Argentina to take a podium…
After winning in Argentina it’s advantage Pasini, but the stats only tell you the past – not the future.