Argentina MotoGP at Termas de Rio HondoWhen the FIM released the 2013 MotoGP schedule in November, 19 rounds were initially listed.
Besides the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, there was supposed to be another new track on the calendar – Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina.The circuit had signed a three-year contract with Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of MotoGP, to host a round in April, but due to “safety reasons,” the circuit was removed from the 2013 schedule.Why “safety reasons?” There was a travel warning in place by the Spanish Government. Dorna said if the travel warning was withdrawn by Nov. 18, Argentina would be confirmed on the 2013 MotoGP schedule.But this deadline was not fulfilled, forcing Dorna to drop Argentina from the schedule, though the travel warning was removed two days later on Nov. 20.Once the travel warning was removed, Dorna committed itself to including Argentina on the 2014 MotoGP Calendar. And as part of this commitment, the FIM, the governing body of MotoGP, spent two days at the Argentinian circuit this week, reviewing all safety measures. Following “two days of intense scrutiny” at Termas de Rio Hondo, MotoGP reported on Friday that the reviews were positive.Franco Uncini (FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer and 1982 500cc World Champion) says: “The track is beautiful and the safety standards are very high. Overall I can say that we are very pleased and impressed by the quality of the work that has been done, but right now we are not willing to fully approve the circuit as a few minor modifications will soon be taking place.”This positive news moves the new Argentinian track a step closer to obtaining the maximum approval required by the FIM in order to host a round of the World Championship. MotoGP has planned a test session at the new circuit for the first week of July.The last time MotoGP occurred in Argentina was in 1999 at the Autodromo Oscar Alfredo Galvez in Buenos Aires.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.