Relentless Rossi grabs amazing Argentina MotoGP victory
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Valentino Rossi put in one of the performances of his career to win his second race of the year at Argentina’s Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo ahead of Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso and CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow.
Starting from the third row of the grid, Rossi worked his way through the field and showed excellent pace during the race – including setting a new Circuit Record Lap time on the twentieth lap – to chase down early race leader Marc Marquez who led the first twenty-three laps of the contest. On the penultimate lap, Rossi managed to pass Marquez for the race lead, with the Repsol Honda Team rider then crashing out while the two were challenging for position. Rossi would go on to win by 5.685 seconds from Dovizioso in second place, while a last-gasp pass by Crutchlow on Andrea Iannone ensured the British rider finished in third for his first podium with his new team.
Track temperatures at the start of today’s Argentina Grand Prix was 37°C, some 10°C lower than seen in qualifying yesterday. On perhaps the most demanding circuit for rear tires, all but three riders selected the harder rear slick option available; extra-hard for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders, and hard for the rest of the field. The three exceptions were Honda riders Crutchlow, Marquez and Aoyama who selected the hard compound rear slick – the softer of their two options. Front tire choice was more varied, although it was the hard compound front slick that was the most popular race choice, with fifteen of the twenty-five riders selecting this option, and the remaining ten riders opting for the medium front slick. All tire options performed incredibly well with a new overall race time record and race lap record being set, while seventeen of the twenty-five riders were able to set their fastest lap in the second half of the race.
After three rounds Rossi extends his lead in the championship to six points over Dovizioso in second place, while Andrea Iannone moves into third place in the standings twenty points behind his teammate.
Hiroshi Yamada – Manager, Bridgestone Motorsport Department
“This was another amazing race in what has been a thrilling season so far! Congratulations to Valentino and Yamaha on such an impressive victory, his pace in the second half of the race was outstanding. It was unfortunate to see Marc crash out, but we know that he never gives up and will be challenging for victory at the next round. We had another large and passionate crowd at Termas de Rio Hondo this year and undoubtedly the exciting race they witnessed will help boost their love for MotoGP even more. It was a successful weekend for Bridgestone as our new tire allocation performed very well and we are looking forward to starting the European leg of the MotoGP season at Jerez in a couple of weeks’ time.”
Masao Azuma – Chief Engineer, Bridgestone Motorsport tire Development Department
“We were fortunate to have good conditions again today and apart from a few exceptions, the riders selected the same tire combinations they used during race simulations yesterday. The lower temperatures did make choosing which rear tire to use for the race difficult, particularly for the factory Honda and Yamaha riders. However, I am pleased with how all of our slick options performed at a circuit that is incredibly demanding on the rear tire. Having so many riders setting their quickest lap of the race in the final stages is an indication of the consistent performance our new tire allocation provided. In particular the debut of our new extra-hard specification rear slick was a satisfying result as it was the winning tire and Rossi was able to set a new race record lap time on the twentieth lap of the race on this specification of tire.”
Valentino Rossi, Movistar Yamaha MotoGP – Race Winner
“I am sorry for the incident with Marc and I hope he is ok, but it was a great race and I am very happy to have won. I had good pace and although Marc was far ahead during the race, I saw he selected the hard rear tire and so I had to concentrate and keep riding at one hundred percent to catch him. Two victories already and I believe we can fight until the end of the championship.”