2016 Argentina MotoGP Upside/Downside CommentaryIt was an odd weekend at Termas de Rio Hondo during the Argentina round of the 2016 MotoGP World Championship. Between the unpredictable weather, the new-spec Michelin tire troubles, and dirty track, it was a huge challenge for the teams and riders. To be on the Upside, you had to be able to roll with the punches. Caution was rewarded at Argentina, and greed punished.
2016 Argentina MotoGP – The Upside
1. Movistar Yamaha’s Valentino RossiAlthough Rossi lost touch with Repsol Honda’s Marc Márquez after the mid-point bike switch, he was still in the mix for second place as the race was coming to a conclusion.At the end, Rossi didn’t have the front-end confidence to hang with Team Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone. But when the two GP16 pilots came together and went down, Rossi was there to claim second without winning the fight. Skill wins championships, but every rider will take a gift of seven lucky championship points.2. Repsol Honda’s Marc MárquezWith all the problems Honda had in the preseason testing, and the last minute tire issues after Márquez dominated in Argentina MotoGP qualifying, it was hard to know what was going to happen in the mixed condition race.After dicing with Rossi for the first half of the race, Márquez leapt (literally) ahead in the pits, got some help for Aprilia’s Alvaro Bautista when reentering the track, and left Rossi in the dust. Winning by seven seconds is a huge confidence-builder for Márquez, and he also benefited from two major competitors crashing out, and a third finishing last. Márquez leads the series by eight points after two rounds—not bad.3. Aspar Ducati’s Eugene LavertyYes, you can point to all the crashes and the odd structure of the race, but the fact is that Laverty was the top Ducati at the Argentina GP. Laverty kept the bike on two wheels, and passed fellow Ducati rider, Avinta Racing’s Hector Barbara, on the final lap. Laverty’s 13 points is four more than he scored in all of 2015, so this was a huge race for him.4. Suzuki Ecstar’s Maverick ViñalesYes, Viñales went down the in the notorious Turn 1 on Lap 18 when he hit a damp patch, leaving him with zero points in Argentina. However, the miscue happened late in the race while he was riding in a podium position, and within striking distance of second-place Rossi. Viñales goal is top six finishes at each round; that is over, but he knows going into Austin MotoGP this weekend that he’s capable of finishing on the box.5. Repsol Honda’s Dani PedrosaCertainly, Pedrosa was not satisfied with his performance at Argentina. Finishing 28 seconds behind a teammate is not cause for celebration, but finishing on the podium is, no matter how you get there. With those third place points, Pedrosa sits third in the MotoGP World Championship standings, two points ahead of defending Champion Jorge Lorenzo on the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP YZR-M1.