Tough weekend for Laverty & POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar in Argentina.
The MotoGP race at Termas de Río Hondo was a close battle of strategy to the end, in which tyres played a crucial role in the outcome. Marc Márquez burst away at the front, but by the end his tyres had slowed him down and Valentino Rossi –starting from eighth on the grid- gradually caught up with him. The Italian overtook Petrucci, Espargaró, Lorenzo, Iannone, Dovizioso and Crutchlow along the way, and with three laps to go reached Márquez. After an initial attempt to pass was defended, on the second Márquez clipped Rossi and crashed out. Rossi went on to win the race, whilst Dovizioso and Crutchlow, five and eight seconds behind,respectively, joined him on the podium.
Nicky Hayden was close to repeat his feat from last weekend. In Austin, the POWER ELECTRONICS Aspar rider had 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.
16th Nicky Hayden: “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.”
17th Eugene Laverty: “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.”