Minus four before the start of the Grand Prix
Even before the start of the Argentinian leg, it was clear that not all the riders would attend the Termas de Río Hondo circuit. Paul Espargaró was seriously injured during Friday’s training in Portugal. The driver’s jaw is damaged, a rib is broken, and a pulmonary contusion is diagnosed. On Saturday, Enea Bastianini broke her clavicle in a sprint accident, and on Monday, Marc Márquez, who caused the accident in the main race, learned that he needed surgery on his hand. Jorge Martín, who was also injured in the incident on the third lap of the Portuguese Grand Prix, suffered a cracked big toe but still made it to Argentina. But Miguel Oliveira missed the second stage of the season. The team decided to keep quiet about the nature of the Portuguese driver’s injuries, but Oliveira became the fourth driver to leave the fight in the second stage before it started. The management of the teams decided not to replace the injured pilots, so the peloton was reduced from 22 to 18 people.
Brother by brother or rating with a shine
The morning rain brought with it a significant change in the balance of power at the Argentine Grand Prix. The track was wet and gradually dried out, but switching to slicks could prove costly for the rider. At the end of the first qualifying segment, the best time was shown by Alex Márquez, who, in the absence of his older brother Mark, decided to support the family business of winning pole positions. But then, after a fast lap, the Spaniard suddenly lost control of the bike and almost ran over the teammate of his older brother, Joan Mir. They helped Alex up, he kept driving. He just didn’t get far. His Ducati motorcycle caught fire and the Spaniard had to urgently find a place to park, closer to the bailiffs with fire extinguishers.
However, both Márquez and 2021 world champion Fabio Quartararo qualified for the second segment.
Time passed, the track dried, but more slowly than the drivers would like. The beginning of the second segment was rainy. Just in the middle of qualifying, Francesco Bagnaia and Marco Bedzecchi decided to go with slicks, but they didn’t add much pace in the first few laps.
The rain tires worked best. And with about three minutes to go before the end of the session, Márquez decided to try some slicks. And he immediately he became the second. During this time, Bedzecchi set the best time of the session and was passed by Márquez on the last attempt. Bagnaia appeared only for the third time, but tomorrow he will start from the first line. Three riders on the Ducati are ahead of everyone. They are followed by Franco Morbidelli on the Yamaha and Maverick Viñales on the Aprilia. The best rider at Honda was Takaaki Nakagami (11th), at KTM – Brad Binder (15th). And few could have imagined that it would be the South African who would become the hero of the sprint race.
Through the peloton in three laps
Starting from 15th place makes the fight for victory much more difficult, especially on a track not as fast as Argentina. However, this is conditional, because MotoGP did not experience a shortage of overtaking.
Binder got off to a great start. Slightly off-kilter in the first corner, he lapped eight riders at once. Around this time and ahead there were changes, the race was led by Morbidelli. In the second round, Binder was already second, and in the third he became the leader.
And also, he created a small gap for Morbidelli. It is true that the Italian had to fight off attacks from Márquez and Valentino Rossi’s half-brother, Luca Marini. And Bezekki began to break behind him, having dropped back after the start to the fringes of the top ten.
There are only 12 laps in the sprint which means you have to push to the limit. Bedzecchi caught up with him and by lap nine he was fourth. Marco was doing fast laps one after another. He came second and caught up with Binder. Captured, but not surpassed. At the finish line, the runners were only 0.072 seconds apart.
The KTM rider won for the first time since the summer of 2021. Bedzekki second, Marini closed out the top three. Morbidelli is fourth, polesitter Márquez is fifth and Bagnaia is sixth. The top ten was completed by Viñales, Martín, Quartararo and Jack Miller.
The main race of the stage will take place on Sunday.