MotoGP 2015 Round Three Argentina Gallery D Images by AJRN

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MotoGP 2015 Round Three Argentina Gallery D Images by AJRN

Rossi wins in Argentina after clashing with Marquez

The sun had come out and track temperatures had risen to 37 degrees for the start of the MotoGP race at the Termas de Rio Hondo. The reigning MotoGP World Champion Marquez, along with CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow, decided to switch to the hard rear tyre on the grid, unlike Rossi and Lorenzo who both decided to use the extra hard compound rear.

This would prove crucial later on in the race, but it was Aleix Espargaro who led the pack into turn one on the Team Suzuki Ecstar, but it didn’t take long for Marc Marquez to make his move for the lead. The Spaniard was able to make a break at the front almost immediately to lead by 0.8s at the end of the first lap.

Marquez took advantage of his hard tyres extra grip early on in the race to extend his lead to over 4 seconds, all the while though Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi was making his move through the field. “The Doctor” moved into 2nd place at the expense of Dovizioso on the Ducati Team GP15 with 15 laps to go.

Rossi then set about hunting down Marquez, as the Spaniard’s tyre performance started to fall away, and it suddenly became apparent he would be able to catch the Honda.

It was like watching a ticking time bomb as Rossi made huge in-roads into Marquez’s lead, finally catching him with just 2 laps to go. Marquez was not going to let the Italian pass him without a fight though, and in the ensuing battle the riders touched a couple of times, before Marquez clipped the back of Rossi’s bike and crashed out of the race. Although Marquez was not best pleased, Race Direction ruled it as a “racing incident” and took no further action.

Marc Marquez – DNF – “It’s a shame what happened, because we were having a good race! It was interesting, because our tyre choice was different from Valentino’s as I felt we were not as competitive the harder compound. The strategy was working out well for us – it’s just a pity about the last two laps. When I saw that he was closing in on me, I decided to conserve the tyres a little. On the final laps I went back to riding in the low 1’39s to check that the tyres were still in good shape, and knew that we would be fighting to the end. When he caught me, we fought for a few corners and unfortunately we touched and I crashed. I’ve always said that he’s my idol and my reference, so you always learn things from him. Now we have to think about Jerez and begin to recover points.”

Marquez’s unceremonious exit left Rossi on his own to take the victory by over five-seconds, with Andrea Dovizioso taking advantage of Marquez’s crash to claim 2nd. CWM LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow left it until the very last corner to pass Andrea Iannone to claim the final podium place, managing to hold off the Ducati Team GP15 on the run to the line to take 3rd and finish as the leading satellite rider.

Valentino Rossi – P1 – “It’s a great victory, we made the right decision and started with the extra hard tyre. When I saw Marc start with the red one I knew that he would try to push at the beginning. I made a great start but on the first corner Iannone pushed me on the outside. Step by step I came back, and when I arrived in second Marc had a little more than four seconds lead. I knew the race was long, so I knew he could have some difficulty. Catching him lap by lap, I could see him far away but coming closer and closer, it was a great taste! I overtook him in braking, but he is a rider who is all or nothing, he touched me in the corner, then he touched me again as I was accelerating, I think he made a mistake and he crashed. It’s a shame because it could have been a great fight on the last lap. In three races we have demonstrated we can be competitive everywhere and fight for the championship.”

Andrea Dovizioso – P2 – “I am really pleased, even more so than in the first two rounds, because this was a very difficult track for us. In practice and qualifying we went quite well but we were not that fast, and managing such a demanding race with the drop in rear tyre performance was very important and rather complicated. Everyone really had to struggle, but once again we managed to get onto the podium. This result means that we are looking really strong, because we are there up at the front even when the conditions are not so much in our favour. I want to thank the team, who are working very well, as well as Ducati who have made a special bike, and I feel very confident about the future because we can only get better.”

Cal Crutchlow – P3 – “We are so pleased to get the podium, when I get to come up here it’s usually because you’re going fast! The CWM LCR Honda Team did a great job, we worked so hard for the third spot. The plan was always to try and let Marc go at the start, hold the other guys up and then try to push at the end. I had a bad middle of the race though and the bike locked up a couple of times and I made a few mistakes, but I tried my best to hold onto some grip for the end – and it seemed to pay off! We would have been happy with fourth place, because that’s where we started. We got lucky though because Marc crashed, but ultimately we battled for it, so we deserve it.”

Andrea Iannone – P4 – “In the race we could have certainly have battled for the podium, because we were set up well to be quick and in the end we demonstrated it. Around half-way through the race I was in a bit of difficulty and I changed the engine mapping to try and reduce the sliding of the bike and ride a bit better, but it was too late. I probably didn’t guess the strategy right, and in the end I paid for it. It was a pity because in the final stages I was quicker than Cal, but I arrived a bit long at the final corner and he passed me. In any case it was a great scrap, and for sure I will try and get even in the next race.”

Paolo Ciabatti (Ducati Corse Sporting Director) – “We are really satisfied with this result, which comes on a difficult track for us. Also on this occasion the riders and the team worked very well and the GP15 demonstrated once again that it is a really competitive bike. Dovizioso was really fantastic and he ran a fast and intelligent race to take second place for the third time this season. It was a pity about Iannone, who deserved to finish on the podium, but in any case we return to Europe with our two riders second and third in the championship and we can be pleased about that. I want to thank all the guys in Ducati Corse who have worked non-stop these last few months and I dedicate this result to them”.

Rossi’s teammate Jorge Lorenzo had no answer to the pace of the guys at the front, and finished in rather a lonely fifth place, over 9 seconds ahead of the Satellite Monster Yamaha Tech 3 bike of Bradley Smith in 6th.

Jorge Lorenzo – P5 – “Honestly, I am very disappointed. I didn’t expect to finish in fifth position. I expected to fight at least for the podium. I was was not able to ride as good as Valentino with the hard rear tyre, maybe we needed a softer one to feel better. I didn‘t feel good and I wasn‘t able to ride as I wanted. Anyway, we keep getting points and let‘s see in Jerez if we can be faster. Valentino‘s race was unbelievable, he was able to go faster than anyone else with the harder tyre, he is in an unbelievable shape.”

Massimo Meregalli – Yamaha Team Director – “Valentino delivered an incredible performance today, a race we won‘t forget! It‘s been a challenging weekend but both Vale and Jorge and the whole team have worked hard from the beginning to find solutions and improve the set up of the bikes so I have to thank them all for their efforts. Tyre choice was always going to be critical today and Vale was able to make the hard option work spectacularly to reel in Marc and take the win. He is in top form and proving he is still a real contender for the title fight. Jorge started really well and initially looked to have the pace to contend for the podium. Unfortunately he was not able to get as comfortable as Vale with the harder option but still worked hard to ensure a good points finish. I‘m confident we will see him at the sharp end in Jerez.”

Aleix Espargaro ended the race in 7th, ahead of his brother Pol, with Scott Redding and Maverick Viñales completing the top ten.

Aleix Espargaro – P7 – “It’s been a tough race, unfortunately I finished seventh after being in second place on the grid. This is not what we were hoping or expecting for. We are afflicted by some issues at the rear from the beginning and we need to fix them to be more competitive. For sure this seventh place doesn’t pay justice to the positive that we had this weekend and this is why I am a little disappointed after the race. We have transferred a lot of feedback to the engineers, therefore I hope we will get some improvement in the European races. So far we are too-far from the top than we actually deserve.”

Scott Redding – P9 – “All I can say it was a better weekend than Qatar but not as good as Texas. I was behind Hernandez in the early laps when his bike caught fire and I was getting covered in oil. That disturbed my rhythm a little bit but I was struggling for front and rear grip. I ran the extra hard rear tyre because Bridgestone said the hard was a big gamble and we knew the extra hard would be good for the race distance. Hindsight suggests the hard might have been better when you look at Crutchlow and Marquez, but the important thing is I finished in the top 10 and gained more valuable experience.”

Maverick Viñales – P10 –  “I was hoping for a better result in the race according to the progress I made this weekend, including my direct access to Q2. Unfortunately I had a bad feeling with the tyres in the early laps so I could not be as effective as I wanted, but then unexpectedly the feeling got better and better as the tyres got more worn, so at the end of the race I was lapping at nearly the same times as the race leaders. For sure we take comfort from this, because it means that we have a good machine. We need to improve in the qualifying session and also in the set-up for the race. But once again, being in the top-10 is a positive result we must be proud of.”

Satoru Terada – Team Suzuki Director – “This was the third race for us and again we go back home with positives and negatives. We have clear realisations that we have some issues with chattering. We have tried many different solutions in Austin and also here, but we couldn’t solve it in a racing situation. The engineers in Japan are already working with our data and feedback. Now we go back to the Factory and will develop some solutions to be applied hopefully immediately in Jerez. But we must also be happy for the weekend here in Argentina. Aleix finished second in qualifying and Maverick entered directly into Q2. These results are in-line with our expectations and we must be proud of them. For this I want to say thank you to the riders, who put a lot of effort in – and to all the team here in Termas de Rio Hondo – as well as our engineers in Japan. These results also confirm that the project course of this bike is good. Of course we need to improve it and make it more competitive but I’m confident about the potential overall.”

Pramac Racing’s Danilo Petrucci finished in 11th, but was later given one penalty point by Race Direction for irresponsible riding that led Hiroshi Aoyama to crash.

CWM LCR Honda’s Jack Miller took the Open class victory as he finished in 12th, just 0.075s ahead of Hector Barbera on the Avintia Ducati and Athina Forward Racing’s Loris Baz, with his teammate Stefan Bradl in 15th.

The Australian had started the race from a lowly 21st position on the grid, but as has now become customary in his fledging MotoGP career, he quickly made up positions, and was battling well within the points scoring spots.

Having dispensed of former world champion Nicky Hayden, Miller also made it past Stefan Bradl, with just the Ducati of Hector Barbera standing in his way of becoming top Open man. Miller conjured up some of his usual magic in the final corner of the race, slotting his Honda RC213V-RS underneath the Spaniard to take four points and the honour of top Open bike for the first time in his rookie year.

Jack Miller – P12 – (Open Class Win) – “It was a great day today, we are always making steps forward and I am so happy to see things progress like this. Step by step we are getting closer to the front. Today it was so hot out on track and the tyre was really destroyed by the end of the race – we were sliding about so much. I can’t thank the CWM LCR Honda Team enough for giving me the bike I needed. We needed to do a lot of work in the warm up to get it where we needed it for the race, so I’m absolutely delighted.”

Nicky Hayden started the race from far back and put together a great comeback. Today, in Argentina, he took off from twentieth position on the grid, had some uncomfortable first laps, but managed to ride in a large group and manage his tires almost to the end. He had entered into the points-scoring positions, and could have been the best Open rider of the GP, but over-braking at the last corner saw him open the door to a number of riders who had been on his tail.  In the end, he crossed the line in sixteenth place, getting little reward for a great performance.

Teammate Eugene Laverty was also unable to close the weekend in Argentina successfully. The Northern Irishman had completed his best round of practice sessions in MotoGP so far in the run-up to the race, but on Sunday he encountered problems. A loss of feeling with the rear and a lack of grip forced him to ride with caution and he concluded the race in seventeenth place.

Nicky Hayden – P16 – “Today I had a very hard race; my start was bad and on the early laps I was not riding well. Thankfully, afterwards I felt comfortable and I was able to climb several positions. But while I was riding a little faster than the other riders around me, I could not leave them behind. At first, with a full tank, I found it really hard to slow the bike down on the back straight, and that cost me several positions. As the race progressed I was riding with more confidence and I could position myself well. On the last lap I managed my best time in the second sector and greatly reduced the difference to the group that was battling to be the top Open rider. I even got up to twelfth, but on the last corner I braked too hard and went wide, which cost me some positions. It’s frustrating to finish a race like that after we had done a good job, plus the team had worked so hard this weekend. We have learned a couple of things about the geometry that improve the bike’s handling, and we will have to continue working on them at Jerez.”

Eugene Laverty – P17 – “We’ve done a great job this weekend, probably the best since I’ve been in MotoGP. In contrast, today I completely lost rear grip and I was not able to continue performing at my best. The other riders who were going round with me had much more grip when cornering, and the behaviour of our bike had changed a lot compared to practice. We went with the harder tyre compound, which we had been testing throughout the weekend. Everyone today was slower, but our times were significantly slower. I don’t know why, but today we suffered a lot from a lack of grip. The suspension didn’t work the same way as previously during the weekend either. At the beginning of the race the bike slid out a lot and I almost crashed, I lost some time and I realised that something was not working properly. It’s a shame, after the great work we’d done this weekend I was convinced we would get a better result.”

Aprilia Racing Team Gresini confirmed the progress demonstrated in Austin. The two RS-GP bikes, for the first time both crossing the finish line, significantly reduced the gap behind the leaders and the middle pack.

Some conservative riding in the first part of the race kept the two riders from being able to battle for positions in the points with Bautista finishing 19th ahead of Melandri in 20th, both coming back in the final stages of the race. But the times (just over 4 seconds from 11th place) in the end reward the hard work they and the entire team have done on development.

Romano Albesiano (Aprilia Racing Manager) – “Today’s result in terms of times is quite positive. We finished with Alvaro at 4.672 seconds from eleventh place and about 44 seconds from the leader. I would have liked a better final placement but perhaps we were too careful in the first part of the race. But our overall pace, both Alvaro’s and Marco’s, was very close to that of the riders in the middle pack. An encouraging performance and Marco also confirmed that by now he has come quite close to his team mate’s performance.”

Alvaro Bautista  P19 — “In the first part of the race I was too calm. I wanted to conserve the tyres, but I actually noticed less wear, probably because the track conditions were better. At the end I tried to push harder even though at that point the group of riders ahead of me had already created a gap that I was unable to close. In any case, we finished another important race, also reducing the gap behind the winner compared to how we did in Texas. No we are already looking forward toward Jerez, the location of the first European race, with the goal of improving further. I want to thank the team which is always working very hard: we take a small step forward every time and we are able to better identify what we need to do to improve.”

Marco Melandri – P20 – “To be honest today I had hoped to keep up with the group of riders ahead of me, but at the beginning of the race I lost a lot of time, struggling with the lack of stability at the front and poor grip at the rear. It’s a shame because I had even gotten off the line well and from the mid-race point on the bike felt like it had been feeling these last few days, letting me lap at a good pace, staying around 1’41.5.”

Hiroshi Aoyama – DNF – “I didn’t get the best start as the start procedure seemed to happen very fast and caught me slightly off guard, so I didn’t get off the line immediately. I lost some positions and had many riders in front of me so I had to fight hard and managed to progress from 22nd position to 11th on the last lap. Unfortunately in the last corner on the final lap, Petrucci tried to pass me but he hit me forcing me to lose the front and I crashed. It was disappointing to end the race in this way. Also, with the incident involving Marc, it’s not been a good weekend for the Repsol Honda Team and I’m very sorry for all the team. Race control penalised Petrucci with a penalty point, so it’s good that they acknowledged the incident, but anyway it doesn’t affect our result.”

Rossi now has a six-point lead over Dovizioso in the Championship standings, and is 30 points ahead of Marquez.

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 tyre 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 Tyre Development Department – “We were fortunate to have good conditions again today and apart from a few exceptions, the riders selected the same tyre combinations they used during race simulations yesterday. The lower temperatures did make choosing which rear tyre 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 tyre. Having so many riders setting their quickest lap of the race in the final stages is an indication of the consistent performance our new tyre allocation provided. In particular the debut of our new extra-hard specification rear slick was a satisfying result as it was the winning tyre and Rossi was able to set a new race record lap time on the twentieth lap of the race on this specification of tyre.”

MotoGP 2015 Round Three Argentina Race Results

1 ROSSI Valentino 46 ITA 25 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha 41’35.644

2 DOVIZIOSO Andrea 4 ITA 20 Ducati Team Ducati +5.685

3 CRUTCHLOW Cal 35 GBR 16 CWM LCR Honda Honda +8.298

4 IANNONE Andrea 29 ITA 13 Ducati Team Ducati +8.352

5 LORENZO Jorge 99 SPA 11 Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +10.192

6 SMITH Bradley 38 GBR 10 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +19.876

7 ESPARGARO Aleix 41 SPA 9 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki +24.333

8 ESPARGARO Pol 44 SPA 8 Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +27.670

9 REDDING Scott 45 GBR 7 Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda +34.397

10 VINALES Maverick 25 SPA 6 Team Suzuki Ecstar Suzuki +34.808

11 PETRUCCI Danilo 9 ITA 5 Pramac Racing Ducati +40.206

12 MILLER Jack 43 AUS 4 CWM LCR Honda Honda +42.654

13 BARBERA Hector 8 SPA 3 Avintia Racing Ducati +42.729

14 BAZ Loris 76 FRA 2 Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha +42.853

15 BRADL Stefan 6 GER 1 Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha +43.037

16 HAYDEN Nicky 69 USA 0 Aspar MotoGP Team Honda +43.252

17 LAVERTY Eugene 50 IRE 0 Aspar MotoGP Team Honda +43.400

18 DI MEGLIO Mike 63 FRA 0 Avintia Racing Ducati +43.808

19 BAUTISTA Alvaro 19 SPA 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +44.878

20 MELANDRI Marco 33 ITA 0 Aprilia Racing Team Gresini Aprilia +56.236

21 ABRAHAM Karel 17 CZE 0 AB Motoracing Honda +1’03.371

22 DE ANGELIS Alex 15 RSM 0 Athina Forward Racing Forward Yamaha +1’08.444

23 AOYAMA Hiroshi 7 JPN 0 Repsol Honda Team Honda DNF (1 lap)

24 MARQUEZ Marc 93 SPA 0 Repsol Honda Team Honda DNF (2 laps)

25 HERNANDEZ Yonny 68 COL 0 Pramac Racing Ducati DNF (19 laps)