What to expect from qualifying day at the Argentina MotoGP | MotoGP

Following freight delays that resulted in Friday practice cancellations, day-one of the Argentina MotoGP is set to begin with prolonged FP1 and FP2 sessions before qualifying as normal. 

It means MotoGP will undergo its first two-day weekend since Motegi 2013, and one where most of the grid has never done so before. 

One of those will be reigning world champion Quartararo, who heads into today’s action off the back of a brilliant Indonesian round. 

Wet or dry, Quartararo looked back to the type of form that saw him clinch the 2021 MotoGP championship, not that of Qatar which suggested he and Yamaha were ‘lost’ as it related to finding raw pace. 

Speaking about his energy-boosting podium finish, Quartararo said: “Yeah it was super important because when we arrived at Mandalika they changed the tarmac and rear tyre, we knew we were fast on that track but with all the changes you never know what to expect. 

“Basically we were fast in the dry, the pace was great, but you never know what to expect when it’s raining. 

“We’ve never been fast but the grip was crazy. It took me time to realise that I could be really fast, but we need to try and find something on the bike because even when we had no grip, the bike was the same in Mandalika. 

“We had luck that the track was grippy but we need to find a solution on tracks that aren’t grippy.”

While Quartararo should be a contender to fight for a podium at the Termas de Rio Hondo Circuit, especially given sectors one and four align themselves well to the M1’s strengths, uncertainty remains given Yamaha’s inconsistent start to 2022. 

For his sake, producing that level of performance could be key as Ducati have struggled so far this season, while Marc Marquez – a firm favourite every time the ArgentineGP rolls around – is out of action due to his ongoing battle with Diplopia. 

Talking of Ducati…

For many, 2022 was meant to be the year of Ducati and more specifically Bagnaia. 

And while it’s been just two rounds, meaning Bagnaia could easily fight his way back into the title picture, Qatar and Indonesia were far from what he or anyone else expected. 

A weapon when it comes to qualifying, Bagnaia has so far been lacklustre by his standards – achieved a best of sixth in Mandalika – while race pace hasn’t been much better. 

Argentina could suit the Desmosedici GP22/21 more than Mandalika, however, it remains to be seen if the factory team can get the best from its hybrid package. 

Look for Bagnaia to make a statement of intent during today’s qualifying, but for that to happen, making the most of FP1 and FP2 will be crucial. 

Finally, can Suzuki deliver on the promise they showed leading up to the opening race of the year?

Alex Rins and Joan Mir have both lauded the improvements made by Suzuki during the off-season, improvements centred around top speed gains, but with that said, results on Sundays haven’t suggested the team is better off than last season. 

Both riders secured a top six finish in Mandalika, and in Mir’s case it was a stunning ride from P18 to sixth. 

Aiding Suzuki in their hopes to fight for a potential front two rows should be a switch away from Michelin’s revised 2018 tyre compound that was made available in Mandalika. 

With that said, this weekend’s allocation is not a return to Michelin’s newest tyres, instead a carcass similar to 2019 will be used, therefore it’s hard to judge where Suzuki will stack up. 

Ahead of the weekend, Mir said: “I have only competed on the GSX-RR once at Termas, in 2019, and I wasn’t able to finish the race, but I’m keen to get on track again and see what I can do. 

“The layout is really nice because it has a bit of everything and it keeps us focused and pushing. 

“I won here in the Moto3 class and I really enjoyed it. Even though I don’t have much data for this weekend I’m sure we can build on the results achieved in the first two races of the year.”

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