MotoGP has been missing from Argentina for three years, since the Covid pandemic made it impossible to go to the Termas de Rio Hondo track. Despite the absence of races, the circuit has experienced some ups and downs, such as a fire that broke out last February that damaged much of the main building, the one that houses the press room, the Race Control offices and the VIP area.
There has been time to put everything back in order, but the biggest question remains in what conditions the riders will find the track. The Termas circuit is not used very much during the year and the pandemic has further reduced the activities on the track, with the consequence that the riders will most likely find dirty asphalt with little rubber. If we want to look at things a bit philosophically, after the Lombok GP in this sense the riders are already used to finding themselves in difficult conditions.
To understand more, we will have to wait for the first practice session on Friday, but a look at the past says something about what to expect from the Argentine trip. First of all, of the 6 editions of the GP, Honda has won 4 and Yamaha 2, while Marc Marquez is the rider with the most successes to his name, three to be exact. The Spaniard, however, runs the risk of not racing this weekend after the worsening of the problem of double vision in the right eye. Today he will undergo a new medical check, after which we will know what the plans of the 8 times world champion are.
For sure since 2019 a lot of water has passed under the bridge, the bikes have changed and so have the riders, with some who have never even had an opportunity to race at Termas in MotoGP, such as Bastianini and Brad Binder, who will arrive in Argentina first and second respectively in the standings.
Another interesting fact is that Ducati has never had very good results in South America. Leaving aside the disaster of 2016 (Iannone crashed taking Dovizioso out while they were fighting for 2nd place), the Desmosedici has reached the podium in the Argentine GP only twice: in 2015 (Dovizioso was 2nd) and in 2019 (Dovizioso 3rd), in both cases with a fairly high gap from the winner.
Writing the Ducatis off would be premature, however, because last year the Rossa proved to be able to have its say on tracks where it had struggled in the past (such as Jerez) and, if there is a perfect moment to break the curse of Argentina, it is this one.
Bagnaia, in fact, finds himself with only one point in the standings after two races and must (the imperative is a must) begin his comeback, especially against Quartararo. The Frenchman is 26 points away and in theory he could have his say at Termas, because Yamaha has not only won two races in Argentina (with Rossi and Vinales) but has always placed at least one M1 on the podium.
However, things could go differently if you believe what Fabio said in Indonesia: “The race in Argentina will be the most difficult one of the year for me. We know we have made some choices on the bike that will make the first part of the season complicated, but I will give my all and I think we can do well ”.
So the form factor could change, without forgetting KTM, which has been the surprise of this early part of 2022 (you can read our interview with the team manager Francesco Guidotti HERE), and Suzuki which aims to return to the levels of the winter tests.
There is a lot of uncertainty on the eve of the race, but when it comes to MotoGP we are now used to it…