Worth the wait: Aleix Espargaro creates history in Argentina
Worth the wait: Aleix Espargaro creates history in Argentina
History beckoned; history was made. On his 200th MotoGP™ start, Aleix Espargaro – for the very first time in his career – is a Grand Prix race winner after converting pole position into a dream victory at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina. Aprilia Racing are now premier class race winners and World Championship leaders as we witness a spell-binding battle for the win in Termas de Rio Hondo, with Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) crossing the line P2 less than a second away from P1. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) ended Sunday’s race in P3 to pick up his first podium of the season.Aleix Espargaro and Aprilia: underdogs to top dogs
For the first time since 2019, it was lights out in Argentina and getting away superbly from the middle of the front row was Martin. The Pramac star grabbed the holeshot, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team) launched well from the second row to slot into P3, just behind polesitter and older brother Aleix Espargaro.
The top two, Martin and Aleix Espargaro, then started to stretch clear. The gap was up to a second pretty rapidly as Pol Espargaro and Rins battled past Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Racing Team), as a whole host of riders sat line astern. Reigning World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) had dropped back to P13 from the second row, he had Indonesian GP winner Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) behind him and the likes of Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing), Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) and Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) in front of him.
As one Pramac Racing Ducati set the fastest lap of the race, the other crashed out at Turn 2. Martin edged out a 0.4s gap to Aleix Espargaro in the chase for victory, while Zarco tucked the front on Lap 7. Martin and Aleix Espargaro had two seconds to Rins and Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) was now P5 ahead of Marini, who in turn had Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing), Bagnaia and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) for close company.
Lap 10 of 25 saw Aleix Espargaro run wide at Turn 1, losing 0.4s, and then the Aprilia man ran wide at Turn 5 – two mistakes in five corners cost the Spaniard 0.9s and now, Rins was just a second in arrears. Martin’s lead, with 15 laps to go, was up to just over a second. The response from Aleix Espargaro? The fastest lap of the Grand Prix – a 1:39.375, 0.4s quicker than Martin.
With 11 laps to go, while running P4, Pol Espargaro crashed out unhurt at Turn 2. That promoted Mir to P4, but the 2020 World Champion had two seconds to bridge if he wanted to fight his teammate Rins for the final podium spot. Aleix Espargaro had regrouped and was now back to where he was before the double error – 0.3s behind Martin’s bellowing GP22.
The first hint of a move came with eight laps to go. Aleix Esaprgaro moved out the slipstream and was ahead, but it was only briefly. Hard on the anchors, Espargaro couldn’t get his RS-GP stopped at the apex and Martin was back through. This was compelling. Rins was not out of this either, the Suzuki man was just 1.3s off the leading duo with seven laps left.A lap later, it was copy/paste at Turn 5. Still no way through for Espargaro, who looked like he had a bit of pace in his pocket over Martin. And then, at the third attempt at Turn 5, Espargaro was through. Four and a half laps to go, Aprilia and Espargaro were leading.
Three to go. Martin hadn’t been dropped by Espargaro, and Rins was now 0.8s behind Martin. Two to go. 0.2s split the top two, Rins was still just under a second away from Martin.
Heading onto the last lap, Aleix Espargaro had given himself 0.6s breathing space. A monumentally huge lap was incoming for the number 41 and Aprilia, 4.8km of asphalt was all that separated him from a dream debut victory. Turn 5 was safely negotiated. Turn 7 too. Three corners left for Espargaro quickly become two. Turn 13 was safely deposited, no attack from Martin was coming, and flicking his RS-GP left, Espargaro took the chequered flag in P1 for the very first time, handing Aprilia their first premier class victory. Emotion, relief, pandemonium.
Martin had no answer in the end for Espargaro but second place is crucial to kickstart his World Championship after two DNFs in Qatar and Indonesia, as Rins completed the podium for his first visit to the rostrum in 2022.
Stories through the points as MotoGP™ delivers again
In the end, Mir was only 0.5s away from teammate Rins and a podium finish, but it’s a solid result for the Suzuki rider. Pecco’s P5 was a fantastic comeback ride after failing to make it out of Q2, the Italian finished ahead of Brad Binder and Viñales in the battle for the top five. Quartararo took a lonely P8 in a tricky race for the Frenchman, as El Diablo ended the day 2.4s ahead of star rookie Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) – the Italian beats compatriots Bastianini and Marini to bag a tremendous P9. Bastianini relinquishes the Championship lead with a P10, a mistake at Turn 5 cost ‘The Beast’ a shot at a better result, with Marini slipping down the order from half race distance.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu) fended off Oliveira in P12 and P13 respectively, Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) couldn’t make progress on Sunday afternoon and picked up a lowly P14, while Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) claimed the final point in P15.Top 10
1. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing)
2. Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) + 0.807
3. Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.330
4. Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) + 1.831
5. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) + 5.840
6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) + 6.192
7. Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) + 6.540
8. Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) + 10.215
9. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) + 12.622
10. Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) + 12.987
Aleix Espargaró P1
"I'm very proud of this milestone we’ve reached. We tackled a long path to get here, but we’ve finally done it! It was a fantastic weekend, but it wasn’t a simple race. In practice I was extremely fast, as well as in the warm-up session, but in the race I struggled a bit with a lack of grip. I didn't lose heart. I tried changing the electronic settings several times to overcome these problems and, in the end, I managed to improve. I was faster than Martín by a few tenths, but it wasn’t at all easy to overtake him, partly because it was a new situation for me. I had never been in the position to battle for a win in MotoGP. It was truly exciting, especially the last lap. I am extremely happy for Aprilia, for me, and for my family. We deserve it. I would like to thank again all the team, who is working hard in Noale and the Piaggio Group for the support. Now we’re leading in the championship, but we’ll just try to take advantage of this positive moment, continuing to have fun and keeping our feet planted firmly on the ground.”
Enea Bastianini P10
“We’re not satisfied with how today went. We were not comfortable with the bike, and we lost the good feeling we had in the warm up this morning. We really didn’t understand this race well. I did have a decent pace, but I was too often at the limit. Maybe with a more ‘traditional’ weekend we may have had a few more options, but the goal was vey different. We had too many issues with the rear-end of the bike. We scored a few points, so let’s think positive and look forward to Texas.”
Vietti marches to victory
Vietti marches to victory
The classy Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) marches on in the 2022 Moto2™ World Champion after another stellar performance saw the Italian claim victory number two of the season at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina. Idemitsu Honda Team Asia celebrate a double podium as Somkiat Chantra finishes P2, adding to his Indonesian GP victory, and Ai Ogura fends off Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) on the final lap to finish P3. Polesitter Fermin Aldeguer (MB Conveyors Speed Up) crashed out after contact with Vietti at Turn 13.
Vietti marches on, but he was made to work
The lights went out for the Moto2™ race and getting away the best of all was polesitter Aldeguer, but alongside him, Augusto Fernandez (Red Bull KTM Ajo) was sluggish. A bad start then turned into a disastrous start for Fernandez, as contact with Ogura’s rear wheel at Turn 1 saw the Spaniard crash out of contention.Vietti made a wonderful start from the third row and was the only rider keeping tabs on Aldeguer in the opening exchanges.
Vietti, at Turn 1 on Lap 4, then carved past Aldeguer to take the lead. Third place was Chantra, the Thai rider was a second away from Aldeguer’s rear wheel, as Canet made great progress to climb to P4.
The race had settled down with Vietti, Aldeguer and Chantra holding station. But with 16 laps to go, drama unfolded for Aldeguer. Vietti was slightly wide at Turn 13 and sniffing an opportunity, Aldeguer stuck his front wheel up the inside. Unfortunately, contact was made and the rider coming off worse was Alduguer. It was a nasty crash for the young Spaniard who has been phenomenal all weekend, but thankfully he was up on his feet.
Back on track, Vietti now had his hands full with Chantra. Canet was P3 by 1.1s off second place, with Ogura keeping tabs on the Spaniard in P4 – and the Japanese rider was the fastest rider in the lead group. For a second time, Vietti was then wide at Turn 13, allowing Chantra to come through and take the race lead. On the following lap though, Chantra was wide at the same corner, meaning Vietti was back holding the race lead baton.
Chantra settled in behind Vietti as the top two remained the same for a number of laps, with the action happening behind between Ogura and Canet. That scrapping saw Vietti and Chantra sail 1.7s up the road from the Japanese and Spanish riders, and with five laps to go, it looked like it was Vietti vs Chantra for victory.
With just over two laps to go, Vietti made the crucial break. The gap was 1.084s heading onto the last lap, Chantra in turn was now 3.8s clear of teammate Ogura, who had Canet swarming all over the back of him in the fight for the final podium place. Canet lunged at Turn 5 but he was wide, allowing Ogura back. Canet then tried again at Turn 7 and managed to hold it around the outside of Turn 8, but it would come down to the penultimate corner.
Vietti made no mistake on the final lap to win for the second time this season, Chantra rode brilliantly to claim a second consecutive podium, with Ogura getting the better of Canet at the infamous Turn 13 to earn his first podium of the season. Chantra and Ogura prove once more that the Road to MotoGP™ is working wonders with fantastic rostrums.
The points scorers in Argentina
Finishing less than a second behind Canet was Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) in P5, that’s a great way to bounce back for the British rider after his Indonesian GP disappointment, as Dixon gets the better of Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) in the closing stages. Arbolino claimed a fantastic P6, the Italian was over four seconds clear of reigning Moto3™ World Champion Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in P7. Albert Arenas (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team), Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) and Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) closed out the top 10.
Cameron Beaubier (American Racing) takes a P11 home from his first visit to Termas, the American now gets set for his home Grand Prix next weekend. Marcel Schrötter (Liqui Moly Intact GP), Joe Roberts (Italtrans Racing Team), Manuel Gonzalez (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) and Marcos Ramirez (MV Agusta Forward Racing) took the final points on offer.Top 10
1. Celestino Vietti (Mooney VR46 Racing Team)
2. Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 1.538
3. Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) + 5.703
4. Aron Canet (Flexbox HP40) + 5.880
5. Jake Dixon (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) + 6.584
6. Tony Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 7.538
7. Pedro Acosta (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 12.177
8. Albert Arenas (Autosolar GASGAS Aspar Team) + 12.418
9. Bo Bendsneyder (Pertamina Mandalika SAG Team) + 13.656
10. Sam Lowes (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) + 14.254
Simone Corsi P17
"We brought the race to a close and that was important. We worked all weekend but unfortunately we never found enough grip. Now we will continue to work to do better in Texas".
Augusto Fernandez NC
“It was a shame to finish the race this way and so soon. We made a bad start; I had problems putting the gear in, and that caused us to get into trouble on the first corner. There was contact with another rider and I went down, without being able to do anything about it. I feel bad because we haven't been able to take advantage of all the potential we had shown here, since we were having a very strong weekend and we could have fought for the victory with the pace that we had. Nothing is over because we haven't taken points at a round and, luckily, we have another opportunity next week. We have to take away the positives as we are still up there and are strong, we just need to finish it off in the race. I want to thank the team for all their work on this unique weekend, which has been hard for everyone. I'm sorry I couldn't repay them for it with a good result. Now we are already thinking about Austin.”
Lorenzo Dalla Porta NC
“Too bad about the crash. I was 13th and was trying to overtake Schrotter, but I made a mistake. I'm sorry because I was managing to take home a few points. In Texas we will try again, even if it is not an easy track for my shoulder, but the goal is always to achieve the best possible result ".
Niccolò Antonelli NC
"Too bad because today's goal was to race in the group and we had really worked very well in this regard. I had a good sprint at the start, I recovered a few positions, but at turn 5 another driver made a mistake in braking and hit me in full. I could not do anything to avoid the crash and then I was unable to restart the bike. I'm sorry because it was important to do kilometers in the race today."
Last lap stunner sees Garcia beat Foggia to victory
Last lap stunner sees Garcia beat Foggia to victory
As last laps go, that was pretty special from Sergio Garcia (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team) as the polesitter goes from P3 to P1 to claim a stunning victory at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina.Garcia passed both second place finisher Dennis Foggia and his Leopard Racing teammate Tatsuki Suzuki on the last lap to pick up his first win of the season, as Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) completed the podium despite a Long Lap Penalty.
A dramatic encounter goes to the wire
It was a perfect getaway from pole position for Garcia who comfortably led into Turn 1, but it was a slower start for teammate Guevara on the outside of the front row. However, despite dropping to P5 on the opening lap, Guevara expertly picked his way back through the pecking order and on Lap 2 at Turn 5, the Spaniard took the lead from Garcia. The two GASGAS stars immediately started stretching clear as second on the grid Sasaki took his Long Lap Penalty.
Jaume Masia (Red Bull KTM Ajo) set the fastest lap of the race on Lap 3 and had climbed up to P3 from outside the top 10, but with plenty of squabbling going on, the GASGAS leading duo were nearly one second up the road. With 14 laps to go, Masia had bridged the gap and had Andrea Migno (Rivacold Snipers Team) in tow – the top 19 down to Scott Ogden (VisionTrack Racing Team), in fact, were split by just four seconds.
A leading quintet then formed consisting of Guevara, Garcia, Masia, Migno and Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), but drama then unfolded for race leader Guevara. At Turn 3 with 12 laps to go, the sophomore’s machine said no more and through no fault of his own, Guevara was out of the race. Meanwhile, Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) had made his way up to P5 and on Lap 11 of 21, the Italian snapped up a two-for-one deal at Turn 13 – Moreira and Masia were dispatched, and Foggia was now P3.
Turn 13 was then the talking point again.Trying to go through a door that wasn’t fully open, Migno collided with Masia and both were down with just over five laps to go. This left Garcia leading Leopard duo Foggia and Tatsuki Suzuki by half a second, with Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and Sasaki in the top five.
With two to go, Garcia was still leading but Foggia was closing in. Half a second became 0.2s in a couple of laps and at Turn 12, Foggia led. Last lap time. It was Foggia from Garcia, Suzuki, Sasaki and Rossi in the top five, as we saw Suzuki grab P2 of Garcia at Turn 5.Turn 9 then saw Garcia produce a brave and beautiful move back on Suzuki, before the penultimate corner reared its head.
Garcia chucked his GASGAS machine up the inside of Foggia’s Honda. There was slight contact, but it was clean. Garcia made a daring last lap move stick on his title rival Foggia to claim victory in Argentina, his first of the year, as Foggia had to settle for P2. Sasaki, recovering from a Long Lap Penalty, earned a great P3.
The points finishers
Rossi benefitted from a penalty for Suzuki to pick up P4, with Suzuki dropping to P5 after exceeding track limits on the final lap. Moreira’s P6 is yet more proof that Brazilian have a new gem to cheer on in the World Championship, the rookie finishes ahead of 2021 Moto3™ Junior World Champion Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) – all those guys were less than a second from victory. Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP), Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) and his teammate Joel Kelso rounded out the top 10.
Elia Bartolini (QJMotor Avintia Racing Team) and Ryusei Yamanaka (MT Helmets – MSI) were P11 and P12 respectively, the duo finished ahead of Red Bull KTM Tech3 duo Adrian Fernandez and Deniz Öncü – both of those guys had to take Long Lap Penalties. Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team) was the final point scorer in P15.Top 10
1. Sergio Garcia (Solunion GASGAS Aspar Team)
2. Dennis Foggia (Leopard Racing) + 0.146
3. Ayumu Sasaki (Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max) + 0.375
4. Riccardo Rossi (SIC58 Squadra Corse) + 0.507
5. Tatsuki Suzuki (Leopard Racing) + 0.484*
6. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) + 0.587
7. Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Ajo) + 0.715
8. Carlos Tatay (CFMoto Racing PrüstelGP) + 2.032
9. Kaito Toba (CIP Green Power) + 3.098
10. Joel Kelso (CIP Green Power) + 3.397
Dennis Foggia P3
"Very pleased for the second place achieved in the #ArgentinaGP. Starting from the 4th row and with the feeling with my moto not at 100 percent, I still run for the final victory and we earned twenty important points for the championship!!! Now Austin is calling. Let’s go and Full gas!"
Riccardo Rossi P4
"Race p.4 What a race, I had a lot of fun, it was very close to the podium, but it will come .. thanks a lot to all the team who worked very well as always. Y muchas gracias Argentina, te queremos
Mario Aji P21
"A difficult weekend here in Argentina. But we get a lot of positive information that could help us in the future. The most important now is to maintain a constant progression, every practice, every race. We learned a lot, we need to solve some problems, but we only need time. I’m not worried about this. Just keep working to the best next weekend in Austin."
Jaume Masia NC
“It was a shame about the crash, which prevented us from finishing the job in today’s race. We felt very strong here and I am confident that we could have fought for the podium and even to win the Grand Prix. However, that’s racing and these things can happen. Next week, in Austin, we will come back stronger and try again.”