#ArgentinaGP Day two roundup: MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing). That’s it, that’s the sentence. The South African produced a stunning performance to win the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina Tissot Sprint from P15 on the grid, slicing through early on and then hanging on ahead of a charging Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) on the final lap… by just 0.072s. Luca Marini made it a Mooney VR46 Racing Team double podium with a hard-fought P3.
It was a fast and ferocious start as Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) got a phenomenal launch to briefly lead into the first corner, but it was polesitter Alex Marquez (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) who grabbed P1 early doors as the Italian ran wide. Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) got shuffled down the pack on Lap 1, the Championship leader in P7 from the front row as Binder picked his way through the pack like a knife through butter – the South African was P4 on Lap 1 from 15th on the grid!
It was breathless. Morbidelli was the new leader halfway around Lap 1 and led until Binder got the better of him on Lap 3. The top nine raced line astern: Binder, Morbidelli, Marini, Alex Marquez, Bagnaia, Bezzecchi, Aleix Espargaro, Aprilia Racing teammate Maverick Viñales and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) were split by 1.6s with seven laps to go.
Where do you look? Passes galore! Binder, Morbidelli and Marini became a stable top three for a few laps as a fierce battle raged 0.5s behind. Fabio Quartararo(Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™) was getting into the mix too, clinging onto the back of Martin to make it a 10-rider lead group as we entered the final five laps.
With four to go, Binder’s lead was up to 0.5s as Marini swarmed all over the back of second-placed Morbidelli. The former made a move stick at Turn 9 before we saw a little drama and Aleix Espargaro slid out unhurt, the 2022 winner looking for more on Sunday. Bezzecchi then followed teammate Marini through on Morbidelli. Moments later, the number 72 also dispatched Marini and then locked his radar on Binder, who was now 0.7s up the road.
Last lap time. The gap was down to 0.4s between Binder and Bezzecchi, with Marini 0.3s shy of his teammate’s rear wheel in P3. Binder held firm through sectors 1, 2 and 3, but Bezzecchi was eyeing up a final complex move – and he was closing. Binder defended well though and there was no way through at Termas’ famous penultimate corner for Bezzecchi, who was forced to follow the KTM home as Binder won the second-ever Tissot Sprint. From 15th on the grid! It was an unreal effort from the KTM stalwart as the Mooney VR46 duo finish a brilliant P2 and P3.
Morbidelli held onto P4 and one of his best results for some time, fending off Alex Marquez, Bagnaia and Viñales. Martin pipped Quartararo for P8 as the latter picked up the final Sprint point in P9. The points scorers were split by just 3.8s in a truly epic 12-lap dash.
After a Lap 1 crash, Joan Mir (Repsol Honda Team) is to be reviewed Sunday morning before Warm Up.
An incredible 1:42.472 lap from Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools SpeedUp) saw him snatch a late Moto2™ pole position at the Gran Premio Michelin® de la República Argentina. Aron Canet (Pons Wegwow Los4) and Somkiat Chantra (IDEMISTU Honda Team Asia) put in strong efforts during Q2 to bag front-row starts in 2nd and 3rd respectively, with the three covered by just 0.048.
Q1 honours went the way of Darryn Binder (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) as he got the better of Celestino Vietti (Fantic Racing), Jeremy Alcoba (QJMOTOR Gresini Moto2™), and Sean Dylan Kelly (American Racing) who finished in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th respectively, but all fought their way into Qualifying 2.
The stage was then set for the battle for pole to commence. Jake Dixon (GASGAS Aspar Team) then took early control, putting his Kalex machine at the top of the pile with just under nine minutes on the clock.
As ever, however, lap times came flying in during the closing stages. Chantra quickly pushed Dixon off the top spot, with Aron Canet setting a stunner soon after to reshuffle the order once again. At this point, it was Canet from Chantra and Dixon but fast laps were still coming in. Lopez then nailed the final sector to snatch pole out of nowhere, demoting Canet, Chantra and Dixon. Portimao winner Pedro Acosta(Red Bull KTM Ajo) rounds out the top 5.
Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) has made it two pole positions from two in 2023, with the Japanese rider pulling a whopping six tenths clear on Saturday at Termas de Rio Hondo. Second place goes to Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the Turk coming through Q1, with first-time podium finisher first time out this season, Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI), completing the front row. That’s a lot less work to do on Sunday for the Brazilian rider after he qualified P16 in Portugal.
Another Q1 graduate, Ivan Ortola (Angeluss MTA Team), heads up Row 2, ahead of the experienced Leopard duo of Jaume Masia and Tatsuki Suzuki. David Alonso(GASGAS Aspar Moto3™) is the top rookie in P7, just ahead of Scott Ogden(VisionTrack Racing Team), who slots into eighth. Replacement rider and veteran Andrea Migno (CIP Green Power) takes P9, with Portuguese GP winner Daniel Holgado (Red Bull KTM Tech3) completing the top ten.