The 2019 Argentine Grand Prix produced another dominant display by Repsol Honda prodigy Marc Marquez. A benevolent dictator, Marquez allows the other MotoGP riders to follow him around these tracks, not bothering to charge for lessons. Today’s easy win at Rio Hondo was the Catalan’s third in Argentina, putting him on top of the championship standings and bringing a sense of foreshadowing to the rest of the grid.
Right now would be a pretty good time to forget most everything you thought you learned two weeks ago in the Arabian Peninsula. This week the sadists at Dorna take us from the desert to the jungle. From them sizzling wide open man-made Qatari spaces to a grueling, tighter Argentinian layout hacked out of triple canopy, deep in the humid heart of nowhere. Marquez and the factory Yamahas like this place.
In a perfect world, Maverick Viñales and Marc Marquez, the two brightest young stars in the MotoGP firmament, would have squared off for a thrilling fight to the flag here at the Middle of Nowhere Grand Prix. Marquez, starting from pole, took the hole shot and led the field by almost two seconds when he carelessly lost the front in Turn 2 of Lap 4. Viñales, running second at the time, assumed the lead, laid down 21 1:40 or better laps, and won easily, hardly breaking a sweat.
Having left the wide-open spaces of the Persian Gulf, The Greatest Show on Two Wheels heads south of the equator to Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina. Round Two of the tantalizing 2017 season, The Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, promises to answer a few questions that popped up in the desert two weeks ago. The various and sundry Honda teams, especially, have a few things to prove at this very RC213V-friendly circuit. But is the 2017 bike up to it?
After a convincing performance in the Qatari desert two weeks ago, defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo confronts one of his demons this week. The Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina, running as usual at the shiny new-ish Termas de Río Hondo, operates outside of Lorenzo’s Land. One of five venues on the 2016 calendar where Lorenzo has yet to taste victory in the premier class (quick – name the other four*), Lorenzo will have his work cut out for him this weekend. *COTA, The Sachsenring, Red Bull Ring and Sepang.
The second Grand Prix de la República Argentina of the modern era started out as a parade and ended with everyone – riders, fans, announcers – gasping for air, going mad over the events on Lap 24. Defending world champion and Honda poster boy Marc Marquez would have, could have and should have won this race. But two errors on his part, combined with one of Valentino Rossi’s finest hours, spelled disaster for the young Catalan, who now sits squarely behind the eight ball heading to Jerez.
One year ago, heading into Round 3 in Argentina, I was pretty sure of two things: 1. Marc Marquez was going to win a second MotoGP world championship in 2014, and 2. Valentino Rossi’s alien days were behind him. Going 1-for-2 is great in baseball, not so much in the world of motorcycle prognostication. As it turns out, Rossi may offer the biggest obstacle to Marquez’ quest for a third consecutive title. And Andrea Dovizioso’s application for membership in the alien club has now been approved, at the apparent expense of Repsol #2 Dani Pedrosa.
Repsol Honda crown prince Marc Marquez recovered from a confusing start to win the inaugural MotoGP chase at the picturesque Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo. After slipping briefly into seventh place from pole position at the start, the charismatic Catalan sliced his way through the field, spent 13 laps in second place giving leader Jorge Lorenzo the heebie-jeebies, and went through Lorenzo’s Yamaha easily on Lap 17. Cruising to the flag from that point, he became the first premier class rider to start the season with three wins from pole since Giacomo Agostini in 1971.
MotoGP returns to Argentina for the first time since the 1999 season finale, when Kenny Roberts, Jr. flogged his Suzuki RGV500 to the win, two seconds ahead of a trio of Yamaha s headed by Max Biaggi, Norick Abe and Carlos Checa. (At the peak of his career, Roberts would win his only premier class world championship the following year.) In October 1999, the last go-round for the Autódromo Juan y Oscar Gálvez in Buenos Aires, the 3rd place finisher in the 250cc class was a brash 20 year old Italian by the name of … Valentino Rossi.