Felice Monteleone – FMPhotoSport World MotoGP News
Repsol Honda MotoGP Team GP di Argentina – Sunday, 19 aprile 2015
Repsol Honda Team rider leads Argentinian race from first lap until the penultimate, before crashing in collision with Valentino Rossi. Hiroshi Aoyama also crashes out, on the final lap.
The Repsol Honda Team experienced bad luck at the Grand Prix of Argentina, with both riders retiring from the race late on. Marc Marquez crashed out with a lap and a half to go, when fighting for the win with Valentino Rossi. The Repsol rider had dominated the first half of the race, but later lost his lead and saw a collision with the Italian on the penultimate lap send him to the ground. Teammate Hiroshi Aoyama had a great race performance go unrewarded, as he was hit on the final corner by another rider when up into eleventh.
Marquez started from pole position and quickly tried to establish a gap, opening a lead of four seconds over second place. However, in the second half of the race he was unable to keep up the pace and Rossi –running a harder compound tire– caught up with him with three laps to go. One lap later he fended off a move from Rossi, but when Marquez tried to regain position from a second attempt he collided with his rival. The impact sent the reigning World Champion to the ground and ended his race prematurely.
Further back, Hiroshi Aoyama made a great comeback from twenty-second. Starting from fifteenth on the grid, he dropped down seven positions at the start, but regained ground to position himself eleventh on the penultimate time past the finish line. An incident with another rider on the last corner ended with him joining Marquez in not finishing the race.
The next round of the MotoGP World Championship comes in a fortnight’s time at Jerez, when the Spanish Grand Prix marks the series’ first European event of 2015.
“It’s a shame what happened, because we were having a good race! It was interesting, because our tyre choice was different from Valentino’s as I felt we were not as competitive the harder compound. The strategy was working out well for us –it’s just a pity about the last two laps. When I saw that he was closing in on me, I decided to conserve the tyres a little. On the final laps I went back to riding in the low 1’39s to check that the tyres were still in good shape, and knew that we would be fighting to the end. When he caught me, we fought for a few corners and unfortunately we touched and I crashed. I’ve always said that he’s my idol and my reference, so you always learn things from him. Now we have to think about Jerez and begin to recover points.”
“I didn’t get the best start as the start procedure seemed to happen very fast and caught me slightly off guard, so I didn’t get off the line immediately. I lost some positions and had many riders in front of me so I had to fight hard and managed to progress from 22nd position to 11th on the last lap. Unfortunately in the last corner on the final lap, Petrucci tried to pass me but he hit me forcing me to lose the front and I crashed. It was disappointing to end the race in this way. Also, with the incident involving Marc, it’s not been a good weekend for the Repsol Honda Team and I’m very sorry for all the team. Race control penalised Petrucci with a penalty point, so it’s good that they acknowledged the incident, but anyway it doesn’t affect our result.”