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The opening race of the new era of Triumph power was undoubtedly a triumph: records broken and just 0.026 separating first from second, it was a fitting way to kick 2019 into gear. Now though it’s time to head for Termas de Rio Hondo, a very different challenge and one the grid approach with no data after no test at the venue beforehand. That leaves everyone going back to the drawing board as they get a taste of the track for the first time since the technical changes, so will Qatar duellers Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) and Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) stay ahead of the game?
In 10 mins: VisitQatar Grand Prix Moto2™ highlights
Lüthi has been on the podium in Argentina, as have Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) and Xavi Vierge (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), so it’s good reading for the Swiss rider and more. But Baldassarri has some fourth place finishes, as well as a front row start last season, so his record has plenty to say too. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), after their fight to complete the podium in Qatar, will be aiming to keep the ball rolling as well – and that’s without looking through a host of riders looking to bounce back after a more difficult season opener…
Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) won’t have been happy with seventh, although he beat new teammate Vierge, and another of many pacesetters in testing, Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) was a little down the order. That was also true of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), who finished Qatar as top KTM but in P12, and a few of those big hitters are looking to hit back early. The three races that open the season are all very different and there’s plenty of time left on the clock in 2019, but the 25 points up for grabs every weekend is the same.
The man who landed the first blow in the fight to be crowned Rookie of the Year, meanwhile, was Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team). Taking P9 and finishing just ahead of the experienced Vierge, it was an impressive performance from the Italian. His closest challenger for the honour of top debutant was Fabio Di Giannantonio (+Ego Speed Up) in P11, a second ahead of Binder, so he’ll be looking to turn the tables quick. Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo), meanwhile, took a point on his debut, but the reigning Moto3™ World Champion has since had some surgery. How will he fare in what seems like a close fight for the rookies?
See if the new kids on the block can mix it more with the experienced runners as we head for the more unknown quantity of Termas de Rio Hondo, with Moto2™ going racing on Sunday 31st March at 13:20 local time (GMT -3).
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