Michelin and Maverick Viñales raced to MotoGP™ victory during today’s Gran Premio Motul de la República Argentina at Termas de Rio Hondo as the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rider secured his second consecutive victory of the season.
Viñales started from sixth on the grid following yesterday’s wet qualifying session and he settled in to a comfortable position near the front of the pack as reigning World Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) got the holeshot from the start. Pole-setter Marquez led the race until lap-four when the Spaniard made a mistake and crashed. Viñales – who had been closing the gap on the leader – inherited first place and held on to this position to the end of the race, setting the fastest lap on the 12th circulation, as he raced to his second victory with his new team – a feat not recorded since Kenny Roberts Jr. did it for Suzuki in 1999, also on Michelin tyres.
Following Viñales home was his team-mate Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as he recorded a podium finish in his 350th Grand Prix start. Rossi had been involved in a long battle with Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), before getting the better of the Englishman in the closing stages. Crutchlow took third and the honour of First Independent Team Rider. Alvaro Bautista secured fourth on a Ducati and equalled the best-ever result by the Pull&Bear Aspar Team, after it finished fourth here last year. Fifth and sixth went to rookies Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) and Jonas Folger (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) respectively, whilst team-mates Danilo Petrucci and Scott Redding of the OCTO Pramac Racing team filled the seventh and eighth positions. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) took ninth, with Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar Team) rounding out the top-ten.
Today’s race around the 4,806m circuit was watched by 61,223 spectators and held in overcast conditions, which added to the variable weather that has been over Termas all weekend. Warm sun on Friday produced some very impressive times and allowed the riders to try the full selection of MICHELIN Power Slicks, whilst Saturday saw rain fall and again the riders tried the complete range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres – with some very quick lap-times recorded – meaning all 10 types of tyre were put into operation during the weekend. For today’s race the riders chose a mix of medium and hard compound slick tyres, with many different configurations used throughout the field.
Michelin will now travel to North America for the third round of the championship, as MotoGP moves to Austin in Texas and the next instalment of this year’s already fascinating battle on Sunday 23rd April.
Maverick Viñales – Movistar Yamaha MotoGP:
“We did a great job this weekend and worked very well with all the tyres. Especially with Pascal, he is the guy that takes care of us from Michelin. We all worked hard and we knew the decision of the tyre from this morning and I feel really great after this race. The tyre kept a good grip level all the time and I feel very strong on the tyres, because Michelin is doing a good job and I am really happy and confident right now.”
Nicolas Goubert – Deputy Director, Technical Director and Supervisor of the MotoGP Programme:
“We have had a very successful weekend here in Argentina and are pleased with what we have accomplished. On the first day the temperatures were quite high, but all the tyres performed well and we saw some very fast times, which was impressive considering the track was not in the best condition. Then on Saturday the rain fell and again we had very good performances from the wets, including Marc Marquez setting the fastest wet lap here as he took pole position. Today’s race again saw the medium and hard option front and rear tyres used in different pairings by several riders, again demonstrating the choice that is available for all the teams and bikes. Overall we will take a lot of positives away from Termas, this is a difficult circuit and one that we had in our plans for the season to make big steps at and improve our performance. We believe we have done that and now we will come back next year even stronger. It’s off to Austin now and another track where we feel we have unfinished business from 2016, so we are going there with a competitive range of tyres that we know will work at what is again a very demanding circuit.”
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