The 2019 MotoGP Championship began three weeks ago under the lights at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit, and immediately renewed the rivalry between Mission Winnow Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and the reigning five-time MotoGP Champion, Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez.The Italian crossed the finish line by a mere 0.23 of a second of the Spaniard; it was the second-straight year Dovi beat Marquez at Qatar by two-tenths of a second at the opening round. Finishing third was last year’s winner in Argentina, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda).
Dovizioso and Marquez are the favorites heading into round two this weekend at Argentina’s Termas de Rio Hondo, which hosts MotoGP for the sixth-straight year.With two wins from pole in Argentina (2014, 2016), Marquez has the upper hand. Last year’s race wasn’t so kind to Marquez. After a confusing start due to a rain delay, Marquez stalled his bike but was able to bump-start it to start in sixth. But he suffered a Ride Through Penalty, and eventually finished the race 18th.Those thoughts are far behind though, and Marquez is looking to capitalize on his strong finish in Qatar.“We started well in Qatar and fought until the end for victory,” Marc Marquez says. “The goal is of course to do the same in Argentina and take as many points as possible. Time between the two races has been good, I was able to return training with a motocross bike and I feel confident for this race.”Dovi’s results in Argentina are not nearly as impressive. He has only one podium there achieved in 2015 – the year Monster Energy Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi took the win after starting from 10th on the grid. Last year he finished sixth.Regardless, Dovizioso’s win at Qatar has his spirits high. He now has 22 wins across all GP classes, 12 of those on Ducati Desmosedici machinery.“We started the season in the best possible way, winning the opening race in Qatar, but the championship is long and we know by experience we cannot let our guard down,” Andrea Dovizioso says. “We have a great base, we’re working efficiently and we were able to make the most of our strong suits at Losail, especially in terms of acceleration and top speed, but we need to improve our mid-corner speed.“To this end, the upcoming race will represent a good benchmark and will allow us to try some new solutions. Our goal is to be on the podium also on less favorable tracks to be in contention until the very last race.”Although Dovizioso and Marquez are in the spotlight, consistent wins among one rider are not the case at Termas de Rio Hondo. In its five years, Marquez won two; Rossi one; Monster Energy Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales one; and Crutchlow one.The Brit Crutchlow claimed the win last season ahead of Johann Zarco (then Monster Yamaha Tech3) and Team Ecstar Suzuki’s Alex Rins.After one of 19 rounds, Dovizioso leads the point standings with 25 points, five ahead of Marquez and nine ahead of Crutchlow.For stateside TV times of 2019 Argentina MotoGP, visit 2019 MotoGP TV Schedule.
2019 MotoGP Point Standings (after 1 of 19 rounds)
This week, Senior Editor Nic de Sena rides the all new Ducati Monster. Big changes have been made by Ducati–has the company ruined the considerable heritage of the iconic Monster–or are the changes worth it? In the second part of the show, we chat with Nick Ienatsch, Founder and Head Instructor at the Yamaha Champions Riding School. He says: “We aim to change your riding life by introducing you to Champions Habits: The techniques, approaches, skills, and the mindsets of the best riders in the world. These Champions Habits are the foundation of safety and consistency to whatever speed you ride, in any venue on any bike. Street riders, this is just as much for you as track riders. The best way to make safe riders is to make good riders.“ We hope you enjoy this episode!