Battlelines drawn for Argentina MotoGP

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Johann Zarco, Cal Crutchlow, Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci

Bengaluru, April 6: The battlelines for Argentina Grand Prix, the second race of the 2018 FIM MotoGP World Championship has been drawn.

Ahead of track action at Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, it was time to talk with championship leader Andrea Dovizioso, who won the season-opener under lights at the Losail circuit in Qatar taking the centrestage at the pre-event press conference.

He was joined by Repsol Honda's world champion Marc Marquez, the evergreen Valentino Rossi of Movistar Yamaha, rookie Johann Zarco, the promising Danilo Petrucci and entertainment king Cal Crutchlow.

The talk centered the unknown - weather, tyres and asphalt in Argentina as all the riders looked geared up for round 2 which will be held on Sunday (April 8) at local time 3pm (11.30pm IST).

Stunning duel

Stunning duel

Marquez spoke about the stunning duel in Qatar where he was pipped to the post by Dovizioso.

"You can always improve but I'm proud of the Qatar GP weekend because we did a good job," said the No. 93.

"We arrive in Argentina in a different way this year because last year we arrived with some doubts. It's a circuit where normally I'm competitive and it fits my riding style," the world champion added.

Stark contrast

Stark contrast

Last year, one man whose fortunes were a stark contrast to those of Marquez was Rossi, who took second behind a win for team-mate Maverick Viñales.

But so far, 2018 had been looking more difficult after some tougher tests during pre-season. Then, however, in Qatar, it started looking up and the first race weekend of the season saw Rossi take a stunning podium in P3 - not far from the win.

"In Qatar we did a good job, and in the test we improved day by day," said the rider from Tavullia.

Good record

Good record

Another man with a good record at Termas de Rio Hondo is Cal Crutchlow, who took his only podium of a tougher 2017 at the venue last year.

After a solid start to take fourth in Qatar - traditionally a more difficult venue for man and machine - the Brit is in high spirits, and thinks it could be a big fight for the podium...

"We did a good job as a team and a manufacturer in Qatar, we were a lot more competitive this year," said the Brit.

Modus operandi

Modus operandi

Zarco is another who, upon arrival, isn't yet sure how Argentina will shuffle the pack. But he did explain his modus operandi now - which is to lead from the front, something he did for the majority of the race in Qatar.

"I was happy to lead in Qatar for so long. I wasn't sure because in the test and during the weekend I was slow with a slow tank, but then we changed a few things in Warm Up and found a better compromise to be good at the beginning until the end."

Story first published: Friday, April 6, 2018, 12:21 [IST]
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