By Antonio López
MotoGP: Maverick Viñales
Márquez landed the 4th pole position of the 4 races held thus far at Termas de Río Hondo. So far he has won two and crashed out in the other two while fighting for victory. In 2014 he was so dominant that he “played” with Lorenzo who was trying to overtake him “por fuera” (on the outside). Despite all this, he’s not our main bet for the win. For this race we are betting on Viñales. In Qatar, the Yamaha rider showed that he could have fought for the victory. His race pace was at the level of the lead group and demonstrated that at the more favorable circuits he is a good bet, and this is the case in Argentina. Last year he showed a pace in dry conditions that was superior to the rest of the field. His victory was achieved without having to fight with Marc, who crashed after a few laps. Maverick needs and expects another win, as his last was at the French Grand Prix last year, and he knows he has a good chance here.
In addition to Marc, Dovizioso and Rossi are the other two major contenders. In the case of Dovi on the Ducati, he will be on a track that he likes and where he can squeeze all of the massive power out of his machine. The last two years have ended in crashes due to other riders, and this kind of thing can take its toll, as it is difficult to recover from a DNF so early in the season. For Valentino, Argentina is a track where he goes well, he won in 2015 after a comeback that seemed impossible, and has finshed second here the last two years. In Qatar he was strong, like a carbon copy of the previous season, and will arrive in Argentina with his same motivation he always has.
The risky bet: Cal Crutchlow
Termas is one of the most comfortable tracks for Cal. He finished third here twice and demonstrated that he was very competitive in both races. The pass on Ionnone that he made in 2015 is one of the most spectacular of all the races in Argentina. His fourth position in Qatar, with so many “wolves” around, was a remarkable result. If we add to all this that he is now reaching a pace in practice similar to that of the top riders, then he is the most likely “surprise” winner in Argentina.
That’s how the bets are before the start of practice for the GP of Argentina
Moto2: Miguel Oliveira
The inaugural race in Qatar we saw the strongest preseaseason riders confirm the expectations. Of all of them, Oliveira was the most stationary, as if he was one step behind, something we don’t think is the case. Termas is a track that the Portuguese rider is well adapted to. In fact, last year he landed pole position in only his second Moto2 race ever, and in the race he finished second (though quite far behind the winner). Álex Márquez will try to avoid last year’s error when he crashed because not admitting an other result but a win. This season his approach seems to have changed. It looks like he has assumed there are races to finish in order throwing away the title options so early. The path to a podium could be worth it. The winner of the first race, Francesco Bagnaia, is a rider who goes extremely well at certain tracks, like Qatar, and at others disappears, like at Termas. Lorenzo Baldassarri is the great unknown. Last year he finished fourth in what ended up being his best result of the season, so it is expected that he will also fight at the head of the race. Brad Binder is somewhat in the shadow of his teammate, but in Argentina it could be discovered that this is a track where he is fast.
Moto3: Jorge Martin
Jorge Martín won the last race of 2017, and the first race of 2018. He struggled before to get on top of the podium, but he seems to have found the way. He is the fastest rider in the category and has learned to perform well while in the lead group. Along with Aaron Canet and Enea Bastianini, he should be among those who is a bet for the victory here this season. For the Italian, he has the advantage of being on the team that scored the last two wins in Argentina that were held in dry conditions. Aron was strong last year until a tire problem relegated him to later positions. An unknown is placed on Antonelli, one of the so-called great talents but who does not always express that talent. Of those who could be a surprise we can’t forget Gabriel Rodrigo, the only Argentine on the grid, and despite the best result being a fourth position, the motivation to win on home soil could help him make the big jump. In Qatar he managed to be the first KTM to finish.