Rio Hondo test underway as Argentinian GP confirmed until 2016
Thursday morning saw the first ever outing of MotoGP™ and Moto2™ machines at the newly built 4.8km Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina about 1,100km north east of Buenos Aires, which has been confirmed in the race calendar from 2014 until at least 2016 today.
The announcement that a GP came at the end of the first day of testing from The Minister of Tourism, Enrique Meyer, who was accompanied by Governor of the Province of Santiago del Estero, Gerardo Zamora and Javier Alonso, Dorna’s Managing Director Events Area. This is the first time a premier-class race will be held in the country since the last race in 1999 in Buenos Aires.
Just over a handful of riders made the long trip down into the southern hemisphere to not only get a taster for the circuit themselves, but also gather vital data for the race, get an idea of bike set-up, and very importantly test tyre suitability. Bridgestone expects the circuit to be the harshest event of the year on tyres, and has brought a variety of symmetric and asymmetric slicks to test.
LCR Honda MotoGP’s Stefan Bradl ended the day as the fastest rider with a time just over the 1.44 mark, after initial times had been in the 1.57s in the early part of the day. GO&FUN Honda Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista left it late to go second, ahead of Monster Yamaha Tech 3’s Cal Crutchlow. Avintia Blusens’ Hector Barbera is the sole CRT representative on his FTR Kawasaki, with the Spaniard also able to gather valuable data for the Magneti Marelli electronics for the coming year’s race. He ended the day in fourth.
For the Moto2™ class it was Tuenti HP 40’s Tito Rabat who headed the first day on his Kalex machine in the mid 1.48s, as he not only searches for a benchmark-time for the class, but also goes through the motions with the Dunlop tyres. His compatriot Nico Terol, on the Mapfre Aspar Team Moto2 Suter machine, lapped just over 1.5s slower, yet will no doubt improve over the next day if the track stays dry, before the test concludes on Friday evening.
Riders were positive after the first day saying that they enjoyed the fast layout of the circuit and that the reception they got at the track was exceptional. With the track being quite fresh however, they sighted that grip levels were still low, yet the fast nature was also proving abrasive on tyres.
A further aspect of the testing, as explained by Dorna’s Managing Director Events Area, Javier Alonso, was to test the safety of the track, the marshals, as well as the general working of the event in preparation for next year. He citied that he was happy with how things had gone so far and that he was impressed with the circuit.
Testing will resume Friday morning at 10am local time.
Source: motogp.com / Dorna Sports