The Termas de Río Hondo circuit, entirely rebuilt just a year ago, will host its first MotoGP race this weekend in Argentina. The track was designed by the Italian company Dromo, and has been tested by just a handful of world championship-caliber riders prior to this weekend. One of those riders is Tito Rabat, currently leading the Moto2 championship for Marc VDS Racing.
You can see an illustration of the track, with elevation changes, above. Dromo believes from computer simulations that the track will yield the highest average speed of any circuit contested by MotoGP this year. Here is what Rabat has to say about the laps he took during a practice session last year (in a press release from Marc VDS Racing).
Gosselies, Belgium – 21 April 2014: While most of the Moto2 riders will get their first glimpse of the all-new Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo on Wednesday, Tito Rabat was one of only two Moto2 riders that travelled out to Argentina last year to spend two days testing on the track.
The Moto2 championship leader was impressed with both the layout of the circuit and the enthusiasm of the Argentinian race fans he met during his visit.
“The first day the track was very dirty, as they’d literally just finished building it, and on the second day it rained,” explains Rabat. “It meant we never really got to test the track properly at race pace, but at least we got an idea of the layout.
“It’s a nice track, with a good mix of fast and slow corners and two fast straights. The back straight in particular will be interesting, as it’s over a kilometre in length with a slow corner at the end, so the brakes are going to get a good workout!
“Overall the track isn’t too technical, but there are parts that you need to get right. The exits onto the back straight and the start finish straight for example will be critical to a fast lap time.
“The first two turns are quite tricky; you’re hard on the brakes at the end of the start finish straight and then you have to negotiate two 180-degree corners without losing speed. These two corners aren’t particularly quick, but they are quite technical.
“Turns three and four are critical, as you need to carry as much speed as possible out of here and onto the long back straight. Get these two corners wrong and you’re going to have riders pulling out of your slipstream and blasting past you on the straight.
“At the end of the back straight you’re hard on the brakes again for turn five, a fairly slow right hander, but then you’re into my favourite corner on the whole track.
“Turn six is a long, long left-hander that is unbelievable. You need to be completely focussed on the Moto2 bike here, because you’ve got the throttle on the stop and the rear tyre is spinning and sliding all the way through the turn.
“Then it’s hard on the brakes again for turn seven, a tight right-hander, which opens out into turn eight. You’re accelerating all the way through turn eight before getting back on the brakes for the left-hander at turn nine. Out of turn nine you flick the bike right for turn ten, which is more of a kink than a corner, and then you’ve got a fairly long left-hander at turn 11, where the bike is on the side of the tyre for quite a long time.
“The combination of turns 12, 13 and 14 are also critical to a good lap time. The three corners are quite technical, but you need to get a good exit from turn 14 to ensure you have the speed on the start finish straight. Get it wrong during the race and, again, riders will slipstream past you on the run down to turn one.
“The finish line is quite close to the exit of turn 14, so we could see some last lap heroics in these last three turns during the race!”
The Grand Prix of Argentina at Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo gets underway with free practice for all three classes on Friday 24th April.