Rennie Scaysbrook | April 1, 2023
2023 Argentinian MotoGP News—Saturday
Brad Binder posted a barely believable performance, powering to an unlikely Sprint triumph from 15th on the grid. The South African was way off on Friday and qualified poorly in the wet. But changes to the RC16’s set-up have gradually brought the confidence back.
“In the test we started to find our feet on the last day in Portimao. The first day at round one I couldn’t really ride the motor bike because my neck and shoulder was really not good from the crash in the test. The second day wasn’t very good either. The third day I felt a lot better. The guys gave me a lot more confidence on the bike. It was a lot more stable. I could brake later and also kept rear grip better.”
As if Marc Marquez’s absence wasn’t bad enough. Joan Mir had the weekend from hell, struggling to feel competitive all weekend on a low-grip track. The Majorcan qualified 18th and last before high-siding out on the first lap. The fall damaged his ankle and gave the two-time World Champ concussion, ruling him out of Sunday’s race.
Despite showing some promise on Friday the LCR Hondas of Takaaki Nakagami and Alex Rins had a chastening Sprint race, finishing eleventh and 15th respectively. “More or less a similar feeling to Portimão,” said an exasperated Rins. “It’s so hard to stop the bike going into the corners, to reduce the speed. I’m not finding the way right now with these electronics, it’s not enough. So it’s clear that we need to improve on braking and on the traction side.”
It was only the Sprint. But Franco Morbidelli enjoyed his strongest race performance since the start of 2021 – before his serious knee injury – as he finished fourth and the top Yamaha in a combative performance.
The Italian appeared devoid of belief and shot of confidence through preseason, unable to find a direction aboard the new Yamaha M1. But on a low-grip track he was transformed, leading the early laps of the Sprint and defending well from faster Ducatis at the end, notably on the 1.1km back straight, where he could defend from their slipstream.
“They did a great work on improving the engine,” he said of Yamaha’s offseason We have much more potential this year and that’s great. It feels so good. I’m so full of joy.”
Teammate Fabio Quartararo had another tough outing in ninth. “We have two riding styles that are totally different and the tracks where there is low grip, like Barcelona, Malaysia in the first tests, he is always fast,” explained the Frenchman. “He is aggressive on the brakes and with corner speed. I am missing in some areas so here I am struggling to do it.”
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). That’s it, that’s the sentence. The South African produced a stunning performance to win the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina Tissot Sprint from P15 on the grid, slicing through early on and then hanging on ahead of a charging Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) on the final lap… by just 0.072s. Luca Marini made it a Mooney VR46 Racing Team double podium with a hard-fought P3.
It was a fast and ferocious start as Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) got a phenomenal launch to briefly lead into the first corner, but it was polesitter Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) who grabbed P1 early doors as the Italian ran wide. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) got shuffled down the pack on Lap 1, the Championship leader in P7 from the front row as Binder picked his way through the pack like a knife through butter – the South African was P4 on Lap 1 from 15th on the grid!
It was breathless. Morbidelli was the new leader halfway around Lap 1 and led until Binder got the better of him on Lap 3. The top nine raced line astern: Binder, Morbidelli, Marini, Alex Marquez, Bagnaia, Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Viñales and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) were split by 1.6s with seven laps to go.
Where do you look? Passes galore! Binder, Morbidelli and Marini became a stable top three for a few laps as a fierce battle raged 0.5s behind. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was getting into the mix too, clinging onto the back of Martin to make it a 10-rider lead group as we entered the final five laps.
With four to go, Binder’s lead was up to 0.5s as Marini swarmed all over the back of second-placed Morbidelli. The former made a move stick at Turn 9 before we saw a little drama and Aleix Espargaro slid out unhurt, the 2022 winner looking for more on Sunday. Bezzecchi then followed teammate Marini through on Morbidelli. Moments later, the number 72 also dispatched Marini and then locked his radar on Binder, who was now 0.7s up the road.
Last lap time. The gap was down to 0.4s between Binder and Bezzecchi, with Marini 0.3s shy of his teammate’s rear wheel in P3. Binder held firm through sectors 1, 2 and 3, but Bezzecchi was eyeing up a final complex move – and he was closing. Binder defended well though and there was no way through at Termas’ famous penultimate corner for Bezzecchi, who was forced to follow the KTM home as Binder won the second-ever Tissot Sprint. From 15th on the grid! It was an unreal effort from the KTM stalwart as the Mooney VR46 duo finish a brilliant P2 and P3.
Morbidelli held onto P4 and one of his best results for some time, fending off Alex Marquez, Bagnaia and Viñales. Martin pipped Quartararo for P8 as the latter picked up the final Sprint point in P9. The points scorers were split by just 3.8s in a truly epic 12-lap dash.
After a Lap 1 crash, Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) suffered a concussion and is out for tomorrow.
2023 Argentinian MotoGP Results—Sprint Race
|2||Marco Bezzecchi||(Duc)||+ 0.072|
|3||Luca Marini||(Duc)||+ 0.877|
|4||Franco Morbidelli||(Yam)||+ 2.354|
|5||Alex Marquez||(Duc)||+ 2.462|
|6||Francesco Bagnaia||(Duc)||+ 2.537|
|7||Maverick Viñales||(Apr)||+ 2.643|
|8||Jorge Martin||(Duc)||+ 3.754|
|9||Fabio Quartararo||(Yam)||+ 3.856|
|10||Jack Miller||(KTM)||+ 5.143|
2023 Argentinian MotoGP Results—Qualifying
An incredible 1:42.472 lap from Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp) saw him snatch a late Moto2™ pole position at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina. Aron Canet (Pons Wegwow Los4) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) put in strong efforts during Q2 to bag front-row starts in 2nd and 3rd respectively, with the three covered by just 0.048.
Q1 honours went the way of Darryn Binder (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) as he got the better of Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing), Jeremy Alcoba (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™), and Sean Dylan Kelly (American Racing) who finished in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively, but all fought their way into Qualifying 2.
The stage was then set for the battle for pole to commence. Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) then took early control, putting his Kalex machine at the top of the pile with just under nine minutes on the clock.
As ever, however, lap times came flying in during the closing stages. Chantra quickly pushed Dixon off the top spot, with Aron Canet setting a stunner soon after to reshuffle the order once again. At this point, it was Canet from Chantra and Dixon but fast laps were still coming in. Lopez then nailed the final sector to snatch pole out of nowhere, demoting Canet, Chantra and Dixon. Portimao winner Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) rounds out the top 5.
2023 Argentinian Moto2 Results—Qualifying
|2||Aron Canet||(Kal)||+ 0.041|
|3||Somkiat Chantra||(Kal)||+ 0.048|
|4||Jake Dixon||(Kal)||+ 0.114|
|5||Pedro Acosta||(Kal)||+ 0.202|
Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) has made it two pole positions from two in 2023, with the Japanese rider pulling a whopping six tenths clear on Saturday at Termas de Rio Hondo. Second place goes to Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the Turk coming through Q1, with first-time podium finisher first time out this season, Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), completing the front row. That’s a lot less work to do on Sunday for the Brazilian rider after he qualified P16 in Portugal.
Another Q1 graduate, Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team), heads up Row 2, ahead of the experienced Leopard duo of Jaume Masia and Tatsuki Suzuki. David Alonso (GASGAS Aspar Moto3™) is the top rookie in P7, just ahead of Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team), who slots into eighth. Replacement rider and veteran Andrea Migno (CIP Green Power) takes P9, with Portuguese GP winner Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completing the top ten.
2023 Argentinian Moto3 Results—Qualifying
|2||Deniz Öncü||(KTM)||+ 0.603|
|3||Diogo Moriera||(KTM)||+ 0.243|
|4||Ivan Ortola||(KTM)||+ 0.593|
|5||Jaume Masia||(Hon)||+ 0.783|
2023 Argentinian MotoGP News—Friday
Honda appeal Marquez penalty
The fallout from Marc Marquez and Miguel Oliveira’s collision in Portugal continued in one week on. First the FIM Stewards handed the #93 a Double Long Lap Penalty which had to be specifically served in Argentina. As Marquez is absent this weekend, recovering from the first metacarpal fracture on his right hand, he could return to Austin and have no penalty to serve.
The FIM then amended the penalty on Wednesday when news Miguel Oliveira would miss Argentina was released on Tuesday, stating “the Double Long Lap Penalty shall be served by the Rider at the next MotoGP Race in which he will be able to participate.”
But Repsol Honda countered, launching an appeal, rightly pointing to the dangerous precedent of amending a penalty previously set. “That this modification was issued by the FIM two days after the initial sanction was final and definitive, is not in line with the current regulations of the FIM for the MotoGP World Championship,” read a team statement.
Whether it was careless or negligent wording, the FIM now appears set to be left red faced. The FIM Appeal Stewards have now referred the case to the MotoGP Court of Appeal “for the adequate resolution of the case.”
Many, including RNF Aprilia, are furious at the leniency of the sanction. “The incident at the recent race between Marc Marquez and Miguel Olivera should serve as a wake-up call for riders in MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3,” read a team statement. “Thus, it’s imperative that they’re reminded of the severity of the punishment for any kind of reckless and irresponsible racing.”
But Honda is within its rights to appeal the change in penalty. Again, the FIM has been found lacking when needed to make a big call.
Pol’s return delayed
Pol Espargaro is recovering well from his horror smash in Portugal. But the Catalan faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines as he recovers from four fractured vertebrae in his back.
“If we want to see the positive side, Pol is going to come back with a possibility to have a normal life and be a full-time MotoGP rider again,” said team boss Hervé Poncharal. “We weren’t sure about this when we saw the crash. This is good news.
“The negative news is he’s in a lot of pain. He’s had an operation on his jaw and can’t open the mouth. The lungs are OK now. But a few vertebra, have been broken without any consequence for the future. But he needs to wear a corset for a while for the bones to heal. We’ll let nature to do its job. It looks like it’ll be a long recovery. At the moment there is still a question mark for Mugello (in June).
“This isn’t good for our project but the main concern is seeing Pol return to a normal life. As long as he’s wearing this corset it will be painful.”
KTM test rider Jonas Folger will deputize from round three of the championship.
First and second in Practice 1, first and second in Practice 2 – it doesn’t get any better than that for Aprilia Racing as Day 1 at the 2023 Argentinian MotoGP belonged to the Noale factory. Ending Friday on top was Aleix Espargaro after the 2022 Termas race winner got the better of teammate and Practice 1 pacesetter Maverick Viñales in the afternoon session, while Portuguese GP podium finisher Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) claimed third.
It wasn’t until the final 20 minutes that we started to see plenty of movement on the timesheets in Practice 2, as Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) pounced to demote Viñales to second after the latter had produced a dominant performance in Practice 1 to lead the field by a couple of tenths. On his second flying lap, Martin moved the goalposts further as his 1:39.092 became the time to beat, as Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) climbed to P3.
With all eyes focused on grabbing a top 10 spot ahead of Saturday morning’s qualifying, Practice 2 lit up. Aleix Espargaro set a new benchmark as Viñales slotted into P2, 0.009s off his teammate, before Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) then went top of the pile with a 1:38.969. Then, Viñales was back at the summit – but not for long. Bezzecchi was now the pacesetter, with teammate Luca Marini going third fastest. Meanwhile, with 10 minutes to go, Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was in P13 and 0.9s off P1.
With three minutes to go, Quartararo was still in P13 having been shuffled down a couple of spots. The gap to P1? 0.6s. In contrast, Viñales found an extra dose of pace and went back to P1, but his stablemate would make sure that didn’t last long. Aleix Espargaro set a 1:38.518 to beat Viñales by 0.162s, as Quartararo remained outside the top 10 with seconds to go.
And that’s where he stayed. Quartararo ended Day 1 in Argentina in P14, 0.746s shy of Aleix Espargaro’s table-topping time – differing fortunes for two of the top contenders.
Behind the top three, Marini bounced back from a disappointing opening weekend with a solid Friday P4 in Termas de Rio Hondo, with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) rounding out the top five. Reigning World Champion Bagnaia settled for P6, 0.4s off Espargaro, with Martin, Nakagami, a rebounding and upbeat Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) and Alex Rins (LCR Honda Idemitsu) acting as the final automatic Q2 qualifiers on Saturday morning in P7, P8, P9 and P10 respectively.
Some big hitters will be battling it out in Q1 at 10:50 local time (GMT-3), including Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™), 2020 World Champion Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo Brad Binder and Jack Miller, and Quartararo. Do not miss qualifying on Saturday morning, it’s going to be a barnstormer.
Alongside Rins’ Turn 1 crash in Practice 1, reigning Moto2 World Champion Augusto Fernandez (GASGAS Factory Racing Tech3) was unhurt in a Practice 2 Turn 1 crash.
2023 Argentinian MotoGP Results—Friday Combined
|2||Maverick Viñales||(Apr)||+ 0.162|
|3||Marco Bezzecchi||(Duc)||+ 0.249|
|4||Luca Marini||(Duc)||+ 0.315|
|5||Johann Zarco||(Duc)||+ 0.391|
|6||Francesco Bagnaia||(Duc)||+ 0.426|
|7||Jorge Martin||(Duc)||+ 0.488|
|8||Takaaki Nakagami||(Hon)||+ 0.553|
|9||Franco Morbidelli||(Yam)||+ 0.562|
|10||Alex Rins||(Hon)||+ 0.599|
Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) began his weekend in fine fashion on Day 1 of the Gran Premio Michelin de la República Argentina putting in the fastest lap of the day with 1:43.172. Filip Salac (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™) followed in hot pursuit finishing the day in 2nd, with Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) looking to defend his championship lead and finishing Friday in P3.
The Italian put in a strong display during the closing stages of Practice 2, and despite late charges from Acosta and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia), Arbolino’s lap time remained unmatched. It looked as if Acosta was going to go top in the dying moments of the session, but with his lap time cancelled due to track limits, the Spaniard was forced to settle for 3rd.
Despite a big moment in the early stages of P2, Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) had a strong start to his weekend. The Brit put himself in 4th spot after venturing into the top 3 throughout the session. Rounding out the top 5 was Somkiat Chantra, who led the way for the majority of the session to be bumped down the order in the closing stages.
2023 Argentinian Moto2 Results—Friday
|2||Filip Salac||(Kal)||+ 0.066|
|3||Pedro Acosta||(Kal)||+ 0.080|
|4||Jake Dixon||(Kal)||+ 0.121|
|5||Somkiat Chantra||(Kal)||+ 0.126|
Day 1 honors in the Moto3™ class at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina went the way of Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) as he sets his sights on the top spot in Argentina. Joining the Japanese rider in the top 3 on combined times was the Brazilian Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) with Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) rounding out the top 3.
Having crashed early on in Practice 1 and missing the majority of the session, Moreira came into the 2nd session of the day determined to make up for his misfortune. The young Brazilian put on an impressive display, lighting up the timing screens from start to finish. The youngster was on target for a new lap record in the closing stages of the session, but traffic in the final sector halted Moreira’s progress as he took second place.
Despite the efforts of Moreira, no one was stopping Ayumu Sasaki on Day 1 as the Japanese rider was always one step ahead of the competition, dominating the session and defending the top spot. With ten minutes to go, the riders began to put the hammer down, threatening Sasaki’s number one spot. The ‘Crazy Boy’ did not sweat a bead, and responded to the flurry of fast laps in fine fashion with a 1:48.597.
2023 Argentinian Moto3 Results—Friday
|2||Diogo Moreira||(KTM)||+ 0.186|
|3||Jaume Masia||(Hon)||+ 0.243|
|4||Tatsuki Suzuki||(Hon)||+ 0.593|
|5||Stefano Nepa||(KTM)||+ 0.783|
For more MotoGP news and results, click here