On the 6th-8th of April, the MotoGP paddock will make its way to Argentina for the second round of the championship, held at Termas De Rio Hondo circuit.
On the face of it, the track doesn’t seem to be a very good fit for the MotoGP calendar. It is a 12-13 hour flight from most of the rider’s European bases, and then another 12 hour journey from the Buenos Aires airport, a journey of over 1100KM. It can be exhausting for the riders, and there are definitely lower spirits arriving at the track. However, once you walk through those gates, you encounter a hidden gem of a track, a 4.7KM strip of tarmac with elevation changes, challenging off-camber corners and at least four places to pass on a MotoGP bike.
There are seven right hand corners and five lefts, with two straights. Both of the corners leading onto the straights are fast, with a good exit essential to both if you have aspirations of winning this race. But all of the features of the Termas De Rio Hondo track culminate in the final sector. It has you spend a lot of time on the left side of the tyre, going downhill from turn 8 all the way to turn 13. Then you dive down into an off-camber, 180 degree right turn, a very tricky corner which will punish you, as Andrea Iannone found out at the end of the 2016 race, which then puts you into a left kink to strike for the finish line.
This year the riders also have an extra challenge thrown into the mix, with the circuit having been resurfaced for this year. The majority of the corners are very long, so the riders are on the tyre edge a lot, with rear grip of massive importance. With this new surface, we don’t yet know how the tyres will react. We have already seen tyres not agreeing with this circuit in 2016, after Redding’s Ducati had a rear blowout causing the rear tyres to be taken away and replaced. Will they be fine, or even worse, will we have another Phillip Island 2013 incident?
In order to attempt to combat the expected abrasion of the circuit, Michelin have taken the very wise step of bringing in a wider range of tyres. It gets a little complicated, as the options will be this. On the front: Soft, medium, another medium, albeit with a slightly different compound, and hard. For the rear: Soft, medium, another medium, with a different casing, and hard. The hard tyre on the rear will be the only asymmetric tyre, which is harder on the right, that will be brought.
The pole position record is held by Marc Marquez from 2014, a 1.37.683 lap, which is also the absolute lap record.
The race lap record is held by Valentino Rossi from 2015, a 1.39.619 lap.
The top speed record is held by Hector Barbera in 2017, with a 334.4 KPH (211.7 MPH) top speed.
The rider with the most wins is Marc Marquez, with two.
The rider with the most Poles is Marc Marquez, with four.
You can find an onboard guide of the track here.