Riders reflect on slippery opening day in Argentina

MotoGP 2023

Round Two – Argentina

MotoGP Friday Practice

Aleix Espargaro continued where he left off last year in Argentina, on top. The 2022 Termas race winner got the better of team-mate and P1 pacesetter Maverick Viñales in the afternoon, while Portuguese GP podium finisher Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) claimed P3 just ahead of team-mate Luca Marini.

Reigning Champion Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) ended the day in sixth and may be glad the fight for an automatic place in Q2 is already over, but his predecessor Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) likely wished for another shot at it. El Diablo ends Day 1 in P14, with team-mate Franco Morbidelli up in ninth and moving through.

Some big hitters will be battling it out in Q1, including 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Jack Miller, Alex Marquez, and Quartararo.

Aleix Espargaro – P1

“Even though, before arriving here, everyone said we’d be fast like we were last year, I was still convinced that we’d have to demonstrate that on the track. The risk was that we might have gotten ahead of ourselves and that has happened to me in the past, so I tried to find my pace little by little today. Evidently it worked. I lapped at a good pace and, when it came time to find the speed for a flying lap, I did it.”

Aleix Espargaro
Maverick Vinales – P2

“A decidedly positive day. We still need to improve our pace a bit, but overall I’m satisfied. I’m confident because our pace already seems to be good and knowing that we still have margin for improvement is a good feeling. Now we need sit down and calmly analyse all the data we gathered today. I can’t wait to get back out on the track to see what we’ll be able to accomplish tomorrow.”

Maverick Vinales
Marco Bezzecchi – P3

“The aim of the weekend is, as always, to work as hard as possible but, immediately, I managed to be very fast. Here in Argentina I’ve always had a good feelings, but the conditions are tough, even with the grip, and the level is very high. We haven’t made any radical changes compared to Portimao, the first bike was identical, while in the second we made some small changes that worked right away. Friday is crucial: we need to start immediately strong. I took great care with my riding style today, in order not to overload the tires, and I’m happy both in terms of the Sprint and the race. We are all there.”

Marco Bezzecchi
Luca Marini – P4

“A positive day: I’m satisfied with the work done and the changes brought to the track, especially in terms of settings. I have to say that the asphalt conditions, especially this morning, were particularly difficult to manage even in terms of grip. We have to keep working: I need a step forward on the engine braking and rear tire management, at least for the long race. We changed bike 1 a lot, I didn’t feel at ease even if the lap time is very similar to the one I set with the bike 2. I’m not confident on the front and the rear moves a lot. It is normal that the two bikes are not identical, it is, at the same time, strange that they are so different.”

Luca Marini
Johann Zarco – P5

“I am satisfied with this first day of work on the track, and having the security of being in Q2 helps a lot. We made a step forward from FP1 to FP2 and I think tomorrow we could fight for important positions.”

Pecco Bagnaia – P6

“It was a positive day all in all, and I am satisfied with our work. Compared to Portimão, where we had two days of testing before the race weekend, we were not starting in the best conditions. The time available to fine-tune the bike is not much, but we still did a good job. On used tires, my pace is competitive, and we are not far from the frontrunners. Tomorrow morning it will be very important to keep riding on used tyres again to try to make an additional step forward, and in qualifying, it will be crucial to secure a spot in the first two rows of the starting grid.”

Pecco Bagnaia
Jorge Martín – P7

“It was a positive day overall, although we need to improve in some areas. However, having the time for Q2 is fundamental. Tomorrow, I need to find what is missing to be among the top riders, but I have good sensations.”

Takaaki Nakagami – P8

“I’ve always liked this track and I’ve felt good on the bike today. We are always working hard to improve because we still miss a bit compared to our rivals. Today I’ve enjoyed the sessions and I believe we are always closer, as session after session we are confirming our progression”.

Takaaki Nakagami
Franco Morbidelli

“It was a positive Friday for us. We started already with a good feeling, and we went ahead with the weekend and started improving the bike little by little. I feel that we have improved today, that’s positive. There are some areas to work on, for sure. But, so far, it’s been a positive start to the GP weekend. Tomorrow, it would be very nice for me to be somewhere on the front two rows. Let’s see if it’s possible.”

Franco Morbidelli
Alex Rins – P10

“I’m quite satisfied after today’s performance, it’s true that there’s still work to do because we haven’t had time to find the best setup, but being able to test different parts has given us important information to keep pushing; I’ve had better feelings and step by step we are getting closer to our rivals.”

Alex Rins
Alex Marquez – P11

“It was a very positive Friday. We worked well with both the new and the used tyres. Shame that I encountered some traffic on my good lap: we had a big chance to get into Q2 today but somehow we seem not to like the easy way. We have everything in order to get into Q2 tomorrow and we’ll be ready for the sprint race. Tyres and track are very different here, but I expect a very similar sprint race to the one we had in Portimao.”

Alex Marquez
Brad Binder – P12

“Physically I’m feeling good on the bike . Struggling a bit with rear grip but we are making steps and I definitely think we can do a good Job tomorrow”

Brad Binder
Joan Mir – P13

“It was a pretty tough day. We started with a base setting which was not the best for this track, and we spent a lot of time working on it to improve. There is clearly a lot of potential there with the bike, Taka and Rins were strong, but I am just missing the final few tenths. We made a lot of progress and finally our pace at the end, especially with used tyres, was quite close to the top five. We just need more time now to work on the fine details, it’s still just our second race so this is part of the process. Even like this we were able to make some big improvements today and we aim to continue it tomorrow.”

Joan Mir
Fabio Quartararo – P14

“It was a bad day for us. The feeling is not so bad, but there are many things to work on. We lack corner speed and drive. But the corner speed is the thing I’m missing the most. We have to understand why this is happening, because we haven’t changed that much on the bike compared to before. I hope that later today I will understand why. I was expecting to do better, considering that we had a strong pace last year.”

Fabio Quartararo
Fabio DiGiannantonio – P15

“Things are a bit better than what they look like… We’re all very close and the feeling with the bike is now similar to the one we had in the tests. We made a plan with tyres a little different to everybody else’s and we didn’t have two sets to use in the afternoon, but we were still one tenth or so away from the Q2 lot. We’re working well and trying to improve in all areas; here the grip is very low, but we’re getting there.”

Fabio DiGiannantonio
Jack Miller – P16

“Well as per usual all the boys are going extremely fast right from the get go  from our side we obviously wanted more out of it today, however we did make some solid gains from the morning! I’m confident we can improve tomorrow and I’m looking forward to that.”

Jack Miller
Augusto Fernandez – P17

“We are learning a new track with a MotoGP bike, so I tried to take it easy, but I am quite happy about my fast adaptation. In the afternoon, I lost a bit of confidence after my crash at Turn 1 when I lost the front. It was not ideal, but I recovered pretty well into the session. I got back the confidence in the braking points and the time attacks were not too bad. We are not very far from the fastest riders, but we are still missing a little something to grab a few hundredths. We will continue working hard for tomorrow.”

Augusto Fernandez
Raul Fernandez – P18

“I feel good and I am lucky with my arm. The track doesn’t have a lot of grip and there are quite many bumps. I don’t know why, but always when the grip level is low, I do struggle. Especially here, I lost a lot of time. We need to work on that and analyze it. It’s just about small details, mainly on corner exit. We saw the data and we have an idea on what we need to work on and we think it’s just some minor changes, we need to do. Overall, I am happy about today. We are not far from the front, but obviously the position doesn’t look very nice.”

Raul Fernandez

MotoGP Friday Practice Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 A.Espargaro APRILIA 1m38.518
2 M.Viñales APRILIA +0.162
3 M.Bezzecchi DUCATI +0.249
4 L.Marini DUCATI +0.315
5 J.Zarco DUCATI +0.391
6 F.Bagnaia DUCATI +0.426
7 J.Martin DUCATI +0.488
8 T.Nakagami HONDA +0.553
9 F.Morbidelli YAMAHA +0.562
10 A.Rins HONDA +0.599
11 A.Marquez DUCATI +0.666
12 B.Binder KTM +0.684
13 J.Mir HONDA +0.719
14 F.Quartararo YAMAHA +0.746
15 F.Di Giannanto DUCATI +0.770
16 J.Miller KTM +0.858
17 A.Fernandez KTM +1.043
18 R.Fernandez APRILIA +1.057

Moto2 Friday Practice

It’s tight at the top after Day 1 for Moto2, with Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) quickest off the mark but the Italian enjoying close company from both Filip Salač (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2), 0.066 in arrears, and Portuguese GP winner Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) at a deficit of just 0.080.

It stayed close from there on out, too. Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Moto2) was 0.121 off the top, and Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) just 0.005 off the Brit. Aron Canet (Pons Wegow Los40), Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) and Fermin Aldeguer (Beta Tools Speed Up) are tightly packed just behind them, with Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) completing the top ten.

Moto2 Friday Practice Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 T.Arbolino KALEX 1m43.172
2 F.Salac KALEX +0.066
3 P.Acosta KALEX +0.080
4 J.Dixon KALEX +0.121
5 S.Chantra KALEX +0.126
6 A.Canet KALEX +0.154
7 S.Lowes KALEX +0.233
8 F.Aldeguer BOSCOSCURO +0.268
9 B.Bendsneyde KALEX +0.436
10 A.Lopez BOSCOSCURO +0.472
11 M.Gonzalez KALEX +0.483
12 A.Arenas KALEX +0.571
13 B.Baltus KALEX +0.802
14 J.Roberts KALEX +0.853
15 S.Kelly KALEX +0.855
16 C.Vietti KALEX +0.949
17 J.Alcoba KALEX +0.997
18 D.Binder KALEX +1.157
19 D.Foggia KALEX +1.359
20 L.Dalla Porta KALEX +1.463
21 M.Ramirez FORWARD +1.494
22 S.Garcia KALEX +1.619
23 J.Torres KALEX +1.754
24 Z.Vd Goorberg KALEX +1.797
25 B.Gomez KALEX +2.023
26 A.Ogura KALEX +2.194
27 R.Skinner KALEX +2.289
28 D.Sanchis FORWARD +2.944
29 S.Minamimoto KALEX +3.642

Moto3 Friday Practice

Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) topped the timesheets on Friday in Moto3, the Japanese rider 0.186 clear of Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI). Moreira, fresh from taking his first Grand Prix podium and the first for Brazil in the lightweight class, was less than half a tenth clear of veteran campaigner Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) in third.

The top three had a small advantage by the end of play, with Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) in fourth but three and a half tenths off his teammate. Suzuki also had a couple of tenths in hand over Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) as the Italian headed a closer gaggle completing the top ten: Matteo Bertelle (Rivacold Snipers Team), Kaito Toba (SIC58 Squadra Corse), David Alonso (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Moto3), Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team) and Portuguese GP winner Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3). So close that Dutch rookie Collin Veijer (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) missed out on that top ten by just 0.002.

One rider currently set to miss out on Q2 is Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), something he’ll be keen to rectify on Saturday morning.

Moto3 Friday Practice Results

Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1 A.Sasaki HUSQVARNA 1m48.597
2 D.Moreira KTM +0.186
3 J.Masia HONDA +0.243
4 T.Suzuki HONDA +0.593
5 S.Nepa KTM +0.783
6 M.Bertelle HONDA +0.832
7 K.Toba HONDA +0.885
8 D.Alonso GASGAS +0.924
9 S.Ogden HONDA +0.960
10 D.Holgado KTM +0.963
11 C.Veijer HUSQVARNA +0.965
12 D.Muñoz KTM +1.077
13 A.Migno KTM +1.141
14 X.Artigas CFMOTO +1.166
15 D.Öncü KTM +1.225
16 R.Rossi HONDA +1.284
17 J.Rueda KTM +1.517
18 R.Fenati HONDA +1.530
19 I.Ortolá KTM +1.708
20 S.Azman KTM +1.875
21 F.Farioli KTM +2.075
22 T.Furusato HONDA +2.269
23 D.Almansa CFMOTO +2.362
24 D.Salvador KTM +2.499
25 M.Aji HONDA +2.640
26 A.Carrasco KTM +2.766
27 R.Yamanaka GASGAS +2.812
28 J.Whatley HONDA +2.910

Argentina MotoGP Schedule (AEDT/AEST)

Time Class Event
2300 Moto3 FP1
2350 Moto2 FP1
0045 (Sat) MotoGP FP1
0315 (Sat) Moto3 FP2
0405 (Sat) Moto2 FP2
0500 (Sat) MotoGP FP2
2240 Moto3 FP3
2325 Moto2 FP3
0010 (Sun) MotoGP FP
0050 (Sun) MotoGP Q1
0015 (Sun) MotoGP Q2
0250 (Sun) Moto3 Q1
0215 (Sun) Moto3 Q2
0245 (Sun) Moto2 Q1
0310 (Sun) Moto2 Q2
0400 (Sun) MotoGP Sprint Race
2245 MotoGP WUP
0000 (Mon) Moto3 RACE
0015 (Mon) Moto2 RACE
0300 (Mon) MotoGP RACE

2023 MotoGP Calendar

Rnd Date Location
1 Mar-26 Portugal, Portimao
2 Apr-02 Argentina, Termos de Rio Honda
3 Apr-16 Americas, COTA
4 Apr-30 Spain, Jerez
5 May-14 France, Le Mans
6 Jun-11 Italy, Mugello
7 Jun-18 Germany, Sachsenring
8 Jun-25 Netherlands, Assen
9 Jul-09 Kazakhstan, Sokol (Subject to homologation)
10 Aug-06  Great Britain, Silverstone
11 Aug-20 Austria, Red Bull Ring
12 Sep-03 Catalunya, Catalunya
13 Sep-10 San Marino, Misano
14 Sep-24 India, Buddh (Subject to homologation)
15 Oct-01 Japan, Motegi
16 Oct-15  Indonesia, Mandalika
17 Oct-22 Australia, Phillip Island
18 Oct-29 Thailand, Chang
19 Nov-12 Malaysia, Sepang
20 Nov-19 Qatar, Lusail
21 Nov-26 Valenciana, Valencia

Source: MCNews.com.au

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *