Argentine MotoGP 2022 Preview: Bastianini defends the lead amidst Marc Márquez’s absence

With the Asian leg of the Championship over, the MotoGP entourage travels to the other side of the Atlantic for the two consecutive American rounds. The first one, the Argentine MotoGP is coming up this weekend after the pandemic forced its absence from the calendar in the last two years. 

The South American race, which has taken place at the Autodromo Termas de Río Hondo  since 2014, is marked by the absence of Honda’s Marc Márquez, who is on indefinite medical leave. The Spaniard suffered a horrifying accident in Warm-up at the Mandalika Circuit ahead of the Indonesian GP.

As a result of the hard blow to his head, Marc’s diplopia (double vision) came back, just four months after the previous episode. Unfortunately, this means he has to miss one of his favourite rounds. The Spaniard has won three (2014, 2016, 2019) out of six races in the Santiago del Estero province, and has taken pole in all of them, except in 2018.

The good news for the #93 is that, as reported by the team, the eye injury is evolving favourably. It is because of this, that he has not been completely ruled out of the subsequent round (April 8-10) in the United States. 

Test and reserve pilot Stefan Bradl will take his place at the Argentine MotoGP 2022, where he will be teaming up with Pol Espargaró. The Catalan rider will therefore attempt to repeat his Qatar podium finish as the new spearhead of the Japanese team. Ahead of him are the 25 laps and 4,805m of the South American track. 

Many candidates for the win at Termas de Río Hondo 

In spite of the Spanish six-time champion’s absence, stakes are very close for the Argentine MotoGP 2022. The current World Championship is marked by its equality, with the top nine pilots on the grid separated by a mere ten points. Anyone could potentially win next Sunday in South America. 

Surprisingly, Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) is holding on at the head of the wolve’s pack. Thanks to his unexpected win in Qatar and his 11th place in Indonesia, he leads the standings with two points more than Brad Binder (KTM), second in Mandalika. 

Without taking any merit away from the Italian leader, the fact that he belongs to a private team should make the official squads and supposed MotoGP stars blush. 

One of the few contenders that is fulfilling his role as favourite is Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha). Third in the standings following his second place in Indonesia, the reigning champ is just three points behind Bastianini. And all this, despite the supposed underperformance of his machine.  

After two atypical races, the time has come to really find out what the true potential of the Iwata machine is. The layout of the track, at least, should play in his favour. As a matter of act, the M1 won in 2017 (Maverick Viñales) & 2019 (Valentino Rossi). 

Miguel Oliveira (KTM) is one place below in fourth. Having given the second surprise of the season by winning under the Indonesian deluge, the Portuguese rider is five points away from the top.

 Ducati must improve  

As the supposed top contender for the title before the start of the Championship, Ducati must straighten its act if it wants to fulfil its promise. 2021 runner-up, Pecco Bagnaia, is nineteenth in the standings with a single point for his fifteenth place in Mandalika and his zero of Losail. 

Things aren’t going much better for Jack Miller. A fifth place in Indonesia gave him thirteen points and an eleventh place in the table after he copied his teammate for zero in Qatar. The Desmosedici, at least, is well suited to the Argentine layout as confirmed by Andrea Dovizioso’s third and Jack Miller’s fourth place in 2018, when the aussie set the pole. 

Images of Argentine MotoGP: 

Leave a Reply