The second round of the 2019 MotoGP season sees Team SUZUKI ECSTAR head to Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, following a thrilling race in Qatar last month. At the Doha circuit Alex Rins fought consistently in the podium positions, leading the race several times, and he achieved a fourth place – which served not only as a continuation of his great results at the end of 2018, but also gave a lot of positivity to this new season. Joan Mir enjoyed a strong performance too, capable of fighting in the Top 5 for more than half the race and learning a lot of important lessons.
The Termas de Rio Hondo track in Argentina is a peculiar one. It’s a fairly new circuit, built with experience and bulldozers in the north western area of Argentina, close to the Andes. The circuit is very fast and the straight is preceded by a fast corner, this corner speed may well have strong impact on the top speed reached on the straight.
Last year Rins found a very good feeling with the circuit and its tricky conditions – dusty and dirty, as usual. He was able to put in an outstanding performance which brought him his first MotoGP podium with third place. There are also good memories here for Mir, who won the Moto3 race in 2017, the first one in his run to the World Championship Title.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “We are all excited to go to Argentina after the great opening round we experienced in Qatar. Our main objective for the season debut was to continue with the same performance level that we left in 2018 and then to improve further, and Alex perfectly matched this plan with his fight for the podium throughout the whole race, taking the lead a few times too. Joan put together a very positive race, almost above our expectations, as he could fight in the top group for more than half the race, and he learnt some important lesson about race management too.
“The Argentina GP last year was a good one for us, with Alex capable of managing the tricky conditions that we encountered on track, and finally getting his first MotoGP podium. Our main goals for this upcoming GP will be to keep Alex close to the top of the sheets and to give Joan a good package that allow him to learn as much as possible. It won’t be easy for him as it will be his first time on a MotoGP machine on this circuit.”
Alex Rins: “I’m happy to go to Argentina because the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is a layout that I like. The layout is very fast, which suits my GSX-RR’s characteristics, and we have good memories from here as last year I got my first MotoGP podium. Here the surroundings are very different to Europe, the layout is unique, and so are the fans. It’s a place I really enjoy, not only on track but also outside the track. The circuit itself is a good mix: it has very fast corners but also two very slow corners, and the straight is long but it has a very long fast corner where we can exploit the characteristics of my bike and have fun!”
Joan Mir: “The opening round in Qatar was a very positive one for me. I was not expecting to be so competitive at my very first race and it was very exciting to find myself among the top group with the more experienced riders. It was good not only for the race itself but also for the opportunity I had to learn. At the end of the race I had to give up the pace because of the progressive consumption of the tyres, and so the race management is one of the aspects I will need to work on. But now it’s time to think about Argentina, which is kind of a question mark for me with the MotoGP bike. We haven’t done any testing here, and I expect that the early runs will be needed to simply understand how to ride properly. The circuit itself is very nice, and may suit well the GSX-RR, but it will also be tricky in terms of the conditions. In 2017 I got my first victory of the season in Moto3, so I also have good memories from Termas de Rio Hondo, and I hope that they will be replaced by even better memories with the top class.”
TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF QATAR:
Frankie Carchedi – “Argentina can be tricky because we don’t test there, and it’s still fairly new on the calendar. The main challenges for us come from the weather and the tyre choice. In recent years we’ve had varied temperatures and also some rain. It’s a track which suits our bike, and Alex took a podium here last year. We’ve improved the GSX-RR’s braking since then, so we feel positive for the race. Set-up is important with a lot of fast corners, so you need to balance the bike between acceleration and not too much spinning.”