The 2017 MotoGP season kicked off in entertaining fashion late last month as Spain’s Maverick Vinales held off Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi to win the opening race in Qatar.
Sunday sees the second race of the season, this time around the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina, and Vinales, 22, will be aiming for back-to-back victories as a Yamaha rider.
He will face stiff competition, though. Defending world champion Marc Marquez will be looking to improve on his fourth-place finish at Qatar, while Jorge Lorenzo has much to prove with his new Ducati team.
Here is the schedule for the weekend’s action:
The action can be streamed via the BT Sport website (UK) and beIN Sports Connect (U.S.)
Vinales had looked impressive throughout the winter and duly converted pole position into a race victory in Qatar.
Per BT Sport MotoGP, he did not have it all his own way but eventually won his battle against Ducati‘s Dovizioso to seal the win:
The key now is for the young Spaniard to continue his excellent form and earn his place as the man to beat this season with another fine performance in Argentina.
As part of the Suzuki team last year Vinales failed to finish in Argentina, but he did claim 10th place in 2015.
He now has the bike and the momentum to seal his first victory at the circuit and pile the pressure on the likes of Marquez and Lorenzo very early in the season.
Vinales is aware that he is now a marked man, but he insisted that makes him more motivated, per RoadRacingWorld.com: “I can feel the pressure a little bit because the level of my rivals is very high, but that motivates me even more to keep working hard.”
Three-time MotoGP world champion Lorenzo endured a tough opening race as a Ducati rider in Qatar as he could only finish in 11th place.
He was plagued by rear-grip issues in the season opener and was eclipsed by team-mate Dovizioso.
The 29-year-old Spaniard hinted at the problem being a lack of familiarity with the Ducati but said he was raring to go ahead of the Argentina Grand Prix, per Crash.net: “In Qatar the world championship didn’t begin the way we wanted but now we have to turn over a page and carry on, by focussing on the next race. I can’t wait for the Argentina GP weekend to begin so I can accumulate more mileage and experience on the Ducati.”
A decent grid position would be a good start for Lorenzo as he looks to make an impact on the early championship standings.
He has never won in Argentina but has experienced triumph almost everywhere else.
It was always likely Lorenzo would take a little time to adapt to his new bike and team, but he will want to show at the weekend that he is still set to be a legitimate force in the 2017 MotoGP season.
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