Yamaha's Maverick Vinales Aims for Back-To-Back MotoGP Wins in Argentina
The MotoGP circus heads to Argentina this weekend, where last year's winner will face serious competition.
The MotoGP World Championship is trading the hot sand dunes of Qatar for the glamorous racetrack and resort of Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina this weekend. Last year it was Yamaha's Maverick Vinales who edged out his teammate Valentino Rossi and the Honda of Cal Crutchlow for the top step of the podium, but what will 2018 bring?
Vinales finished in sixth place and missed out on a podium at the Losail International Circuit two weeks ago, but the fact that he clawed his way back from the 12th spot on the grid is a testament to his skill and the Yamaha YZR-M1's performance. The Spaniard, who often interacts with his followers through social media, has been hard at work making sure his physical stamina is ready to face the humid weather and high-altitude conditions found at the riverside racing circuit in Argentina.
The Autodromo Internacional Termas de Rio Hondo is a 2.9-mile Grand Prix circuit located in the province of Santiago del Estero, which sits on the edge of the Rio Hondo River in northern Argentina near the Andes mountains. The main circuit was rebuilt in 2012 to specifically accommodate the regulations set in place by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme and features 14 different corners that range from blind right-handers to high-speed sweepers.
The long straight and various sweeping turns are eerily similar to those found in Qatar, which means that the threat that Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo pose with their Ducati Desmosedici GP18 should not be taken lightly. On the other hand, Vinales and Rossi will most likely be briefed on the reigning champion Marc Marquez's horsepower deficit, which can play a big role for the Honda Repsol team as the racing weekend unfolds. Of course, other MotoGP top-finishers like Pedrosa, Crutchlow, Smith, and Petrucci will also be looking to stop Vinales' South American winning streak.