Movistar Yamaha MotoGP arrive in Argentina this week to set up for round three of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship on Sunday, the Gran Premio de la República Argentina.
Valentino Rossi arrives sitting in third in the world standings and looking to improve on the ninth place finish of the last round in Texas where tire wear prevented a serious podium challenge.
Teammate Jorge Lorenzo arrives determined to put the last two incident marred rounds behind him and return to his traditional hunting grounds at the front of the pack.
The 4.806m Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit welcomed selected MotoGP teams in 2013 for its first Official IRTA Test ahead of this weekend’s inaugural MotoGP race. Originally built in 2007, the circuit was then re-designed by Italian circuit designer Jarno Zaffelli to be ready for MotoGP.
This week Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro head to Argentina aiming to build on their positive form shown so far this season, at the exciting new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Britain’s Bradley Smith aims to continue his confident start to the season and assert himself as the leading satellite MotoGP bike in Argentina, having finished with a personal best position of 5th in Texas. Whereas rookie Pol Espargaro, will extend his knowledge of the Yamaha YZR-M1 and attempt to challenge inside the top ten again on Sunday having clinched his first ever MotoGP points last race with an expertly executed ride to 6th position.
For the NGM Forward Racing riders it will be a completely new track, as they were not among the riders who tested at Termas de Rio Hondo last year. After a 4th and a 9th place finish, Aleix Espargaro looks forward to a strong race in Argentina. His team mate Colin Edwards is excited to discover a new racetrack, where everybody will start from zero.
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team
“It is important to go immediately to Argentina after the weekend in Austin and try to get a good result. This is a new circuit for everyone and we have to interpret it well. It is really hard to understand now if this track will be suitable for the Yamaha as there are many variables. We'll know after the first few laps on the track. I am happy with the work we are doing so far and in Argentina we will be even more focused to get good results. We'll have to understand as soon as possible the ideal set up of the bike, and above all we’ll have to understand how the tires behave on this asphalt. We will analyze all the data and we will do our best. Going to a new circuit is always exciting!”
"Obviously it’s not the beginning of the season I had dreamed of but I’m quite confident that we can revert the situation. It’s not easy to swallow what happened at Austin but I always try to get the positive thing even if we are in trouble. Now I’m just thinking about Argentina and I’m really looking forward to racing as soon as possible there. Staying on track is the best way to forget and I think our championship is going to kick off over there. I think I’m going to be much more stimulated in front of the Argentinian fans and finally we will achieve a normal race. That track is a new one in the championship and the first ever visit to Termas de Rio Hondo. That’s why we need to improve in a rush from Friday and try to stay calm and concentrate to get the best pace as soon as possible with the bike. Just a few riders could test in Argentina last year so I guess the inconvenience of learning the circuit is almost the same for everyone. Hopefully we will enjoy that track and we will catch a good result before we start racing in Europe. From my side I will arrive with plenty of energy after resting and training hard in Mexico!”
Massimo Meregalli Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
"We head to a new track now where we really don't know what to expect. We can’t wait to start on Friday to see how the new track is. it’s always exciting to go to a new circuit. Our base set up will be built on the data we got last year from Tech3 when they went to test there so at least we won’t be completely blind going in. After the first 45 minutes we will know a lot more, but also our riders and most of the premier class' will need to learn the track. We fully expect Vale to continue showing his confidence and remaining competitive with the front riders and after two difficult weekends we are all behind Jorge and supporting him to start his 2014 campaign and catch up to his rivals.“
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Team
“We head to a new track now where we really don't know what to expect. We can’t wait to start on Friday to see how the new track is. it’s always exciting to go to a new circuit. Our base set up will be built on the data we got last year from Tech3 when they went to test there so at least we won’t be completely blind going in. After the first 45 minutes we will know a lot more, but also our riders and most of the premier class' will need to learn the track. We fully expect Vale to continue showing his confidence and remaining competitive with the front riders and after two difficult weekends we are all behind Jorge and supporting him to start his 2014 campaign and catch up to his rivals.”
“For sure it will be very exciting for all of us to return to Argentina after so many years. The fans there have so much passion and I am truly looking forward to the race on this brand new circuit of Termas de Rio Hondo. All the facilities are partly still under construction, so it's a big step into the unknown. After my best ever result, and finishing as the leading Yamaha in Texas, I am determined to carry on this positive display. The Yamaha feels great and I am pleased with my performance over race distance, so for sure with a big team effort we will be able to get a competitive result in Argentina this weekend."
NGM Forward Racing Team
“After the Texas GP I had some time to rest a little bit at home and now I look forward to the Argentina GP. We were not among the riders who did a test session there last year, but anyway it will be new for most of us. It will be important to try to work well during the whole weekend in order to prepare the race in the best possible way and arrive at the race with a good set up to fight with the front guys."
“I look forward to racing in Argentina. I like the country very much and it’s exciting to race in a new place. We had an unlucky race in Texas, so we go to Termas de Río Hondo to get a better result."
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.