Track action at the Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina kicks off on Friday but before that, the usual Pre-Event Press Conference took place as Qatar GP race winner Andrea Dovizioso (Mission Winnow Ducati) was joined by Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team), Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol), Team Suzuki Ecstar’s Alex Rins, Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and Danilo Petrucci (Mission Winnow Ducati) on Thursday afternoon.
Championship leader Dovizioso was the first to speak about his thoughts ahead of what has been a notoriously difficult track for him and Ducati in the past. But the Italian is expecting to be more competitive this time around compared to previous years.
Pre-GP Press Conference: GP Motul de la Republica Argentina
“Well I expect to be more competitive this year than last year, because last year I struggled a lot. Argentina is a strange race, we have to see the conditions tomorrow because normally it is difficult to work during the practice with the conditions, the tyres, with the lines, it was difficult to setup… Honda are also really competitive here, also Yamaha will be competitive. It will be difficult to get the result, but our goal is the points and to bring the maximum.”
Weather and track conditions in Argentina were a particular talking point and for Marquez, Termas de Rio Honda is a circuit that he says suits his style well. But the reigning World Champion knows that we could be in for a range of different conditions this weekend.
“Here in Argentina, normally it suits my riding style well, but we’ll see throughout the weekend what the conditions are like and all of these things… You never know in these conditions, but I feel ready in every condition. I will try to be ready in every condition. This is our mentality; if it’s raining, we put in wet tyres, if it’s dry put in the slicks and then try to find the best way to be there fighting for the podium.”
Fellow Honda rider and last year’s Argentina GP race winner Crutchlow is looking forward to his return to see if he can repeat last year’s feat, especially after such a strong showing in Qatar. But despite having a great record at Termas de Rio Honda, the British rider admits it isn’t one of his favourite tracks:
“I wouldn’t say it’s a circuit I like. It’s not one of my favourite circuits but I always seem to go well here. I have no idea why. I think with the Honda we take advantage of the long braking zone into Turn 6 and also the last sector a little bit. But I don’t really know why. I’ve always had a great relationship with the track. We always have a lot of fans come out here which is good. They always like to come out and watch us race and hopefully we can put on a good show for them.”
What does a typical Grand Prix weekend look like?
On the contrary to Crutchlow, Qatar GP sixth-place finisher Petrucci says Termas is a track he likes, despite not having a great record here. “Sincerely it’s a track that I like but I never score so many points here. Some bad luck and some mistakes. My target here is to always fight with these guys and always stay around the top five. For sure a top 6 is good but I want to be faster but here in Argentina the predictions are impossible to do because we have to check tomorrow how the asphalt will be and especially the weather. For sure Honda and Suzuki will be very fast.”
One of those Suzuki riders is Rins, who earned his first MotoGP™ podium at the Argentina GP 12 months ago. Can he go one better than he did in Qatar and grab a podium, or even his first premier class victory? “Well we don’t know. For sure I have more experience than last year. The bike is faster and stronger than last year and I think this track is going to be good and for sure I will be doing 100% to be there to fight for the podium or for the victory.”
Nine-time World Champion Rossi was another rider who pointed to Argentina being a tricky Round because of the conditions, saying “Argentina is a particular track for the layout but especially the asphalt and the weather. Looks like this year will be difficult with the weather like last year so I hope we can be lucky to get a dry race.”
So, what will the South American weather bring for the paddock this weekend? The unpredictable nature of the Argentina GP sets us up for what looks set to be an incredibly interesting weekend of MotoGP™ action. And that action starts on Friday, as Moto3™ kick off proceedings with FP1 at 09:00 local time (GMT-3) before the MotoGP™ riders head on track after Moto2™ at 10:50 local time.
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