TERMAS DE RÍO HONDO WELCOMES DRIVE M7 ASPAR RIDERS
Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama impressed by spectacular new Argentinian circuit after first contact
In the province of Santiago del Estero, at the new Termas de Río Hondo circuit, the MotoGP World Championship held the opening day of the first Argentinian GP in 15 years. Jorge Lorenzo was the fastest man in the first session at the track, but it was Marc Marquez who dominated the second session almost from start to finish. He was far and away the quickest on track, with an advantage of over a second separating him and the rest of the MotoGP field.
The track may lack grip and there may be some way to go before sufficient rubber is laid down, but the Termas de Río Hondo circuit has made a big impression on Nicky Hayden and Hiroshi Aoyama. The DRIVE M7 Aspar riders are delighted with the facilities, although prudent on the opening day of the Argentine GP. Hayden was ninth after the opening practice session, then worked exclusively with used tyres in the second session to place fifteenth overall –improving his best time by nearly 2 seconds.
Aoyama worked on gaining grip on his opening laps, and made a notable improvement between sessions. Both he and his teammate are convinced that they can take a step up on Saturday.
15th Nicky Hayden 1.42.621 (36 laps): “First of all, I want to say that the circuit is fantastic and I had a lot of fun on my first time out. Obviously the grip levels are still pretty bad, which is understandable considering that it is a new track. As time goes on and we ride more here, the conditions will improve. This morning things went well for us, but in the afternoon we stagnated a little. We spent a lot of time working with used tyres, trying to find a ‘race feel’ with them. We were hoping to improve the transmission between sessions, but we didn’t have the time. We changed the gearing a little, but tomorrow we shall improve this as it worked better or worse depending on the sector of the circuit. The atmosphere at this track is incredible, with all the fans supporting us, and it gives us plenty of strength to keep on improving.”
23rd Hiroshi Aoyama 1.43.347 (38 laps): “The characteristics of this track are very interesting and I’m sure that we can have a lot of fun riding here. However, the surface was very dirty and we were losing grip on every corner –above all with the rear. Both in the morning and in the afternoon we tried to find more grip with the rear end, but it was difficult. In the afternoon we slightly improved our feeling compared to the first session, but we still have a long way to go. In any case, I like this circuit and I am convinced that tomorrow we will improve, increase our confidence and manage to ride faster. We tried various tyre compounds but have doubts about them all still. That means that on day two we will need to improve the setup of the bike for that